Extensive Casino at Vegas Strip’s First High-Rise Hotel
It’s hard to imagine nowadays, but in the 1950s, the Las Vegas Strip was no more than a modest collection of roadside motels. The Riviera Hotel & Casino was the first to buck this trend, its high-rise tower soaring above neighboring buildings. Liberace cut the ribbon at its opening ceremonies, and he also performed there for several years, alongside Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, and Frank Sinatra. The iconic hotel has such a classic feel that it served as a set for the original Ocean’s Eleven, the first Austin Powers, and The Hangover. Today, “the Riv” continues to embody Vegas nightlife with five international restaurants, a 100,000-square-foot gaming floor, and a regular rotation of concerts and comedians.
Recently, the casino has added an Asian pit featuring pai gow poker, a seven-card game inspired by Chinese dominoes. Yet there are still plenty of classics: craps tables, roulette, blackjack. And it’s one of the few places on the Strip where you can wager on bingo. Head to Le Bistro Lounge for a pair of welcome cocktails, complemented by live music most nights. For a night of laughs, the Comedy Club showcases standup artists every night at 8:30 p.m. (two tickets included).
In the classic rooms, you’re steps away from the casino and the outdoor pool with a poolside café and steak house. For a little more room, choose a studio suite for its separate sitting area, plush armchairs, and marble bathroom vanity.
Las Vegas: Neon-Lit Casinos and Light Shows at Entertainment Capital of the World
The mention of Las Vegas usually conjures up images of spinning roulette wheels, larger-than-life spectacles, and stone-faced poker players. If that’s what you’re looking for, set out for the casinos lining the neon-lit Strip. Downtown on Fremont Street vintage signs and showgirls crowned with headdresses recall the days of Sinatra and Martin, but this area—also called “Glitter Gulch”—burns much brighter today than it did in the Rat Pack era. Beginning at dusk, a canopy of more than 12 million LED lights erupt in a psychedelic light and music show every hour.
Educational attractions have never been Sin City's strong suit, but the Mob Museum has a winning formula: bank robberies, prostitution, and money laundering. Exhibits profile legendary mafiosi from Capone to Gotti, and mob artifacts include the blood-stained, bullet-pocked brick wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Within the former federal courthouse, you can fire a Tommy gun simulator, participate in a police lineup, or enter witness protection for the rest of your life.
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