Luxury Travel Blog + vintage

The Next Episode: Announcing Wib's Vegas Mobile Giveaway

The commercials are omnipresent: Dude works in cubicle, dude becomes king of the universe in blurry montage in Las Vegas, dude returns to cubicle with smug smile and refuses to dish on the details with a hammy "Whatever happens in Vegas... " liner. Does everything really have to be such a secret? There's a better chance he's using that as a euphemism for "I was really drunk and have nary a clue what I did." (see: "The Hangover.")

Whatever cubicle guy's reason for being so guarded, we at Where I've Been like to be a little more forthright. Vegas has been immortalized in print, on screen and by your one slightly-crazed aunt for decades, and yet they still only tell part of the story for the average traveler. Grab our coattails and let us take you on a crash course through Las Vegas, the mecca of money, merriment and mistakes.

Get a better view of the lights .

You might not be able to see a star in the sky in Vegas, but who needs natural light anyway? The work is truly an achievement, and there are plenty of spots to take in a more complete view. After you've sauntered down the Strip, the best sights might be afforded at the top of the gaudy Eiffel Tower replica at Paris Las Vegas. Stratosphere Tower offers a magnificent 360-degree panorama view of the city from the center of it all. The Palms has three tall towers from which to take in the lights, but you'll pay a pretty penny for food and drink if that's your gig. Many visitors prefer the view from Mix at THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay.

Troll for celebs.
You can call it vapid or pointless (it is both), but keeping tabs on celebs is just too much fun. While the resident celebs of Vegas might seem like re-tread jokes, Vegas remains one of the top celebrity playgrounds. Drop into these places and you might find yourself in a delightfully awkward pose in a TMZ post the next day.

  • Cursory imagination might tell you all the stars hang at Planet Hollywood, but even if you spot a stray VIP'er, that seems like boring advice. The truly dedicated (a nice word for "just below stalkers") might want to check shopping centers like Spago, located in the Forum Shops, for celebs going on sprees. The best spot for finding young guns is the club scene, particularly at the Palms Hotel, and you might wanna try your luck at the clubs within the Venetian and MGM Grand and at the hot pool party Rehab, hosted by the Hard Rock.
  • Eva Longoria Parker of "Desperate Housewives" fame is planning on opening a new restaurant, Beso, in the giant Crystals retail center. Plan on hitting up Beso around New Year's 2010 for a chance to hobnob around the ribbon-cutting gala for her famous pals. Toby Keith firmly placed his boot in the behind of Vegas with the opening of his twangy hangout I Love This Bar. Robert De Niro didn't leave Vegas after his turn in Casino - he opened AGO, located in the Hard Rock Hotel, with top restauranteur Agostino Sciandri and Nobu with Nobu Mastuhisa has successfully franchised both place to numerous other cities. They're prime material for celeb fishin'.
  • The best thing of all: When all fails, you have the wax museum. Madame Tussaud's is one of the best-known wax museums on the planet, and it makes for a great photo-op spot, as well as a place to debate whether or not certain "celebs" ever merited a wax statue made of them. First topic of discussion? Criss Angel .
Away from the glitz
While most Vegas newcomers aren't always coming to explore the more refined, artsy tastes, there are a number of offbeat destinations that could enrich your trip.
  • Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit has chilling and fascinating leftovers from the tragic disaster, from little things like cookware to not-so-little things, such as a 15-ton chunk of the ship itself.
  • The Palazzo Casino shops hosts Bauman Rare Books, a rich collection of antique literature and is a veritable goldmine for English majors and casual readers alike. Its crown jewel is an encased second edition of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar from 1691. Kind of a big deal.
  • The lost art of pinball is preserved at the Pinball Hall of Fame, where visitors can trace the history of the game with a multitude of different models. And they know the draw: Nearly each and every machine is playable.
Play your part
Not convinced you have the chutzpah and cash to keep up with whatever trend is hitting the Strip the week of your visit? Why not master your own fashion domain? Thrift stores surround Vegas, and perhaps you'll stumble upon a gem -- where do you think Siegfried and Roy give their old jumpsuits? If you're willing to pony up a little extra cash, Buffalo Exchange at Flamingo and Maryland offers a fine collection of vintage mixed in with last season's modern looks. Wanna get even more out of season? Find a Savers, of which there are a few in the metro area, which specializes in clothing. It's about how you wear it after all.

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The Next Episode: Announcing Wib's Vegas Mobile Giveaway + vintage