Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The South Strip

I like the South Strip. This is the area south of the Bellagio and Paris. The major properties here include the Monte Carlo, New York New York, Excalibur, MGM, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and Tropicana. These are some of the best and most unusual place to play poker in Las Vegas. But for the casual visitor, there isn’t a ton to see. There are a few highlights that I’d like to point out.

The MGM Grand is one of my favorite places to play poker. The hotel is still, to the best of my knowledge, the largest hotel in the world with about 5500 rooms. The poker room is at the front of the casino with lots of noise, traffic, and most importantly, players. For this reason, I usually end up spending a lot of time at the “Gem” when I’m in town. As for sights, there is a lion habitat is a large glass enclosed area right on the casino floor across from the poker room. Admission to the habitat is free. Hours are from 11 am to 10 pm daily.

New York New York is a neat place to just stroll through. They have recreated many of the streetscapes from various areas around NYC. You can watch the roller-coaster zip overhead, but riding is not in the cheap range. I think the price for a 45 second ride is about $12.

The Excalibur, across the walk from NYNY, is fun to look at from the outside, but there really isn’t anything free to see on the inside. They have shops and food. If you are headed to the Luxor, you can get there by cutting through the “Excal” or Castle, but the way is complicated (go into the casino, up one level and to the right, follow the signs through to food court).

There isn’t a ton to see at the Luxor either. The atrium of the pyramid is the largest open atrium in the world, but the rest of the property is better if you are spending some bucks. Did I mention that the Luxor has Carrot Top appearing nightly? No, I didn’t and for good reason, too.

Mandalay Bay doesn’t do much better on the cheap entertainment scale. They have a Shark Reef attraction, but that runs $16 a person. I love the House of Blues at MB. Tickets for those events start at $20 for some events. Major shows can start at $50 or higher.

Finally, the Tropicana. This used to be one of the marquee locations on the strip. But time has taken its toll. There are some interesting exhibits, but all of them take a few bucks. Bodies: The Exhibition is a look inside 21 real human bodies. Yea, it’s kinda gross, but very educational, I’m sure. The other attraction is Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition featuring many artifacts that sunk with and were recovered from the Titanic.

So the summary for the South Strip is that it’s a nice place to play or spend money, but don’t go past the MGM if you are looking for free attractions. Next, I’ll look at some things to do that you will need a car to see.

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