There was a time when Las Vegas' restaurants were known more for quantity than cuisine. This was due to the legendary casino buffets, which offered mountains of food for modest prices on the well-calculated assumption that diners would hit the tables or slots machines to work off their meal, and would stay longer in the casinos if lavishly well fed.
Today, however, Las Vegas has a large selection of world-class eateries, with Italian trattoria, classic French fine-dining and luxury steakhouses especially well represented. Some of the country's top chefs are now based in Las Vegas and exciting new restaurants open weekly. In addition, Vegas is home to several world-class sommeliers. Eating out has definitely become one of the many entertainment options in Vegas, with restaurants competing for attention and many novelty eateries.
All this increasing activity and greater competition means that Vegas offers decent value for money compared to other large cities. The net result is that the former capital of the 99-cent shrimp cocktail is now regarded as a global cuisine capital. When it comes to eating at least, the odds are really in your favour. Visitors shouldn't panic, though, as the enormous buffets are still available!
Las Vegas is one of the shopping capitals of the world. There are around 20 mega malls, each uniquely themed and offering prices that retailers in other cities struggle to compete with.
Town Square Las Vegas's stores are mostly outside so shoppers can enjoy a pedestrian friendly village atmosphere while exploring a comprehensive range of stores. Town Square also offers an eclectic range of restaurants, a newly built day-spa, and a wonderful interactive children's park.
Caesars Palace is home to the hugely popular Forum Shops, with more than 700,000 square feet (220,000 sq/m) of retail space. The Fashion Show Mall at 3200 Las Vegas Boulevard is worth a visit for its incredible bargains. The recently revamped Boulevard Mall, offering more than 170 stores, is also a good option.
If travellers like their mall shopping with a healthy dose of kitsch, they shouldn't miss The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian. This indoor shopping area is built as an authentic reproduction of Venice's Grand Canal, complete with gondolas and a replica of Piazza San Marco as the extravagant centrepiece.
The Strip is known for designer boutiques and haute couture, and all the big names are represented here. Away from The Strip and the opulent malls visitors can find more individual stores selling Las Vegas collectibles such as old gambling chips, esoteric books, and kooky clothing.
Two markets that are really worth visiting are Broadacres Swap Meet and the Fantastic Indoor Swap Meet. Sales tax is built into the price of goods. Because states set their own sales tax, the US government has no system for refunding shoppers as a non-US visitor.
There's a reason they say 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas'. With bars, clubs, strip clubs, casinos, and world-class international shows running for years at a time, it's little wonder that Las Vegas has earned itself fame, and often infamy, as one of the world's party capitals.
The world-famous Strip can be bland and dingy-looking during the day, but the minute the sun sets this desert oasis springs to life. The real problem when heading out for a night on The Strip is choosing where to begin.
There are always headline comedy or music acts and large-scale Broadway productions on show, all of which can be seen at the main hotels throughout town. World-famous magicians like David Copperfield and Criss Angel, singers like Celine Dion, Bette Midler and Cher, and renowned acts like the Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group all call Las Vegas home.
Hotels in Las Vegas offering great entertainment include the Bellagio, the Venetian, Caesar's Palace, Mandalay Bay, Treasure Island, and the MGM Grand. Las Vegas casinos are also the best place to go for nightclubs and bars, with famous clubs throwing celebrity-hosted parties nearly every weekend.