Massive Casino at Vegas Strip’s First High-Rise Hotel
It’s hard to imagine nowadays, but in the 1950s, the Las Vegas Strip was just a string of modest roadside motels. The Riviera Hotel & Casino was the first to buck this trend, ushering in an era of high-rise towers soaring over the city. Liberace cut the ribbon at the Riviera's opening ceremonies, and he—along with Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, and Frank Sinatra—performed there for several years. The iconic hotel has served as a backdrop for a number of movies, including the original Ocean’s Eleven, the first Austin Powers, and The Hangover.
Today, the Riv continues to embody the Vegas lifestyle with five international restaurants, a 100,000-square-foot gaming floor, and a regular rotation of concerts and comedy acts. Recently, the casino added an Asian pit featuring pai gow poker, a seven-card game inspired by Chinese dominoes. But you’ll still find all the old standbys, including craps, roulette, and blackjack. And it’s one of the few places on the Strip where you can wager on bingo.
Head to Le Bistro Lounge for cocktails and live music, or drop by the Comedy Club to chuckle along with standup artists every night at 8:30 p.m. The spacious classic, deluxe, and luxury rooms are within walking distance of the casino and the outdoor pool, where you’ll find a café and steak house.
Las Vegas: Neon-Lit Casinos and Light Shows at Entertainment Capital of the World
For most people the mention of Las Vegas 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, there are vintage signs and showgirls crowned with headdresses that recall the days of Sinatra and Martin. But this area—also called Glitter Gulch—burns even brighter today than it did in the Rat Pack era. Beginning at dusk, a canopy of more than 12 million LED lights erupts 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 artifacts on display 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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