The Las Vegas Strip. A Guide.

If you have heard of Las Vegas, it’s almost certain you’ve heard of the Las Vegas Strip. Its four-mile length is packed to the gills with rollicking lights, over-the-top resorts and a veritable cornucopia of humanity. This is where almost everything happens in Las Vegas. Beyond the Strip, there’s an entire city in the desert, but few visitors feel the urge to venture beyond the neon lights of Las Vegas Boulevard South.

The Las Vegas Strip is a spreadsheet of interesting statistics. Nineteen of the planet’s 25 biggest hotels by number of rooms can be found along the Strip. There are more than 67,000 rooms along this four-mile stretch alone, many of them regal suites fit for a prince. America’s tallest free-standing observation tower is here and will soon be accompanied by the country’s tallest observation wheel.

Whether it’s your first time to Vegas or your fifth, the Strip has tremendous staying power.

Sure, it’s crowded, noisy, gaudy and impersonal, but where else in the world can adults feel like they’ve stumbled into some kind of over-21s amusement park co-inhabited by thousands of like-minded souls? From the gambling and shows to the exquisite dining and sumptuous pools of the resorts, Vegas truly is a heaven of sorts.

Four miles is a long stretch of pavement. It’s no casual stroll to walk from one end to the other, so choosing your home base strategically is a wise move. The northern end of the Strip is home to Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Encore, two of the finest and most expensive resorts in town. This is also where you’ll find Circus Circus and the Stratosphere, which cover the other end of the price spectrum. But the majority of attractions are to the south, so you’ll need transportation to get around if you stay at the north end.

Useful transportation options for those who prefer to stay in the quieter northern end of the Strip are plentiful.

Taxis queue up in front of every hotel and the relatively short hop along the Strip means fares are cheap, but can add up. The public bus also runs a continuous loop along the Strip, stopping near all the resorts. There’s even a slick monorail line that connects MGM Grand to the Sahara, stopping at Bally’s, Harrah’s and the Flamingo along the way.

A Las Vegas Strip map is a key component to navigating the resorts, attractions and transport options. These can be found in every resort as well as official tourist offices. Most of the action along the Strip is concentrated in the central and southern blocks where the most famous casinos are located, such as Caesar’s, the Bellagio, the Venetian and Luxor. It’s fairly easy to walk to a dozen or so resorts in this area, with useful pedestrian bridges crossing over the boulevard every few blocks.

No matter which resort you stay at, the amenities and attractions are all open to the public. There are a number of fantastic freebies like the erupting volcano at the Mirage, Rio’s Show in the Sky and the Bellagio’s dancing musical fountains. It’s even great fun to simply explore the other resorts as each has a distinct theme and plenty to admire.

There are also lots of attractions and activities at the resorts themselves, but these often cost patrons to enjoy.

The gondola rides at the Venetian are wonderful, while the thrills rides at the Stratosphere are guaranteed to get the adrenalin flowing. New York New York even has roller coaster running through its resort. You can zip to the top of the Eiffel Tower for a lofty view over the Strip or play with dolphins at the Mirage.

You are forgiven for thinking that Las Vegas travel destination is an adults-only playground. Indeed, much of it is sexy and tinged with vice. But there are also loads of things for kids to do, which has helped Vegas emerge as one of America’s leading holiday destinations for families. Circus acts, amusement park rides, wildlife shows and awesome swimming pool facilities will keep the little ones entertained.

One factor that makes a Vegas vacation appealing to such a wide range of people is that it can be done on almost any budget.

The Strip has plenty of free fun to go with the super-luxury that is always lurking right around the corner. The shopping along the Strip is as good as anywhere on earth. Even if you’re just window shopping, don’t miss the cool scene at the Grand Canal Shoppes of the Venetian or the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace. The Palazzo also has an outstanding boutique arcade and the new Crystals at City Center luxury retail centre brings an array of high fashion to the Vegas Strip.

One classic Vegas Strip attraction worth saving up for is a headliner show. Since the earliest days, famous crooners and performers have been wowing the crowds at casino lounges along the Strip. Sinatra may have been replaced by Cher, but the glamour is still here. In fact, the array of shows now on offer is as diverse and entertaining as it’s ever been.

Besides the big name headliners like Bette Midler, Celine Dion and Elton John, there are Broadway musicals like Phantom of the Opera and Jersey Boys.

Outrageous acts like the Blue Man Group bring their subtle humour, while a full roster of comedians, magicians and illusionists put on nightly performances. And then there are the seven Cirque du Soleil shows, ranging from the Beatles-inspired Love to the surreal O. All one can say about a Cirque show is wow!

With so much to see and do right on the Strip, there’s little reason to wander elsewhere. Your only restraint to absolute indulgence is your budget and time. Las Vegas is many things to many people, so if you need to escape for a few days into a fantasy realm custom made for fun in the sun, look no further than the Vegas Strip.