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South Strip

The southern third of the Strip, from roughly Russell Road to Harmon Avenue, is home to some of the biggest and most extravagant hotels in the world.

Best For: First-time visitors who want to experience all of the Vegas insanity they have read about and seen on TV.

Drawbacks: Prices are higher here than in non-Strip locations; the sheer number of people can cause major traffic jams (and we're not just talking about on the street).

Understanding CityCenter -- Much has been written about CityCenter, the $9-billion (yes, you read that right) development in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip that opened in late 2009. What is confusing, however, is that CityCenter is not a hotel, specifically, but rather a collection of them and other facilities. Aria Las Vegas (the only one with a casino), Mandarin Oriental, and Vdara are the hotels; the Crystals mall is reviewed in our shopping section. 

The complex features its own monorail, connecting Monte Carlo to the south and Bellagio to the north, and has multiple parking garages and valets. Although it is considered to be the largest privately funded construction project in history, the developers went out of their way to remain as green as possible, with heavy reuse of material (93% of the construction waste was recycled), energy-saving devices (radiant cooling, sunshades over the windows), and even the world's first fleet of natural gas-powered limousines.

Mid-Strip

The middle of the Strip is from Harmon Avenue to Spring Mountain/Sands Road and features many of the grand Vegas gambling destinations you have seen in the movies.

Best For: People without transportation who want to be able to walk to everything they want to see.

Drawbacks: Peak times bring out massive crowds and higher prices.

North Strip

The northern end of the Strip, from Spring Mountain/Sands Road to Charleston Avenue is not quite as densely populated with major casinos, but still has enough Vegas flair to make it worth your while.

Best For: Visitors who want to be on the Strip but want a slightly more manageable experience from a crowd and congestion perspective.

Drawbacks: It's a longer walk to most of what you'll want to see; some of the hotels here are past their prime.

Just Off the Strip

Within about a mile east, west, and south of the Strip are dozens of hotels, many of which offer the same kind of casino-resort experience but usually at significantly cheaper rates.

Best For: People with a car at their disposal; those who want to be near the action but not in the thick of it.

Drawbacks: Traffic to and from the Strip can be a nightmare, even if you are only driving a mile.

South & East of the Strip

The main areas worth knowing about are the Boulder Highway strip on the far east side of town, the bedroom community of Henderson, and Lake Las Vegas -- all of which offer a range of casino and non-casino hotels that can save you money and/or provide a unique Vegas experience.

Best For: Repeat visitors who want to try something new; value hunters.

Drawbacks: You'll have to drive to get to most of the major tourist attractions; upper-end restaurants and shows are harder to find.

North & West of the Strip

Summerlin, on the far west side of town, and North Las Vegas (north of the city, appropriately enough) are suburbs that have pockets of casino-hotel options ranging from budget to luxury, and lots of outdoor opportunities from golf to hiking and beyond.

Best For: The recreation-minded; people who want a more relaxing Vegas vacation.

Drawbacks: Long drives to the Strip and fewer entertainment options.

Downtown

The original Las Vegas, with classic and historic hotels; the glare of Glitter Gulch has become the must-see tourist destination of the Fremont Street Experience.

Best For: Budget-minded tourists; those looking for a more friendly atmosphere than the snooty Strip.

Drawbacks: Harder-to-find upscale experiences; the surrounding neighborhoods can be a bit rough.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.