The Most Authentic Experiences in Gloriously Phony Las Vegas

The flamboyant showman Liberace once said “too much of a good thing is wonderful!” He may very well have been talking about <a href="http://www.frommers.com/destinations/las-vegas">Las Vegas</a>, a city in which he was a frequent headliner, and one which has built its reputation on the concept of excess. There’s too much too look at, too much to do, too much to eat, too much to drink, and certainly too many ways to lose your money. Indulgence is where most people start their visit and why not? <br><br>You can run out of room on your memory card trying to snap pictures of all the postcard-worthy sights from dancing fountains to blasting volcanoes. The hotels are so big that getting from your room to the front door requires rest periods, the dining scene has turned this town into a culinary destination, and the nightclubs have elevated Sin City to the biggest, most successful party spot in the world. <br><br>Are you feeling overwhelmed? We have some ideas for how to have the most “authentic” vacation in this deeply inauthentic town. Hey, when it comes to <a href="http://www.frommers.com/destinations/las-vegas">Las Vegas</a>, Liberace may have had a point. Dave Herholz/Flickr
The flamboyant showman Liberace once said “too much of a good thing is wonderful!” He may very well have been talking about Las Vegas, a city in which he was a frequent headliner, and one which has built its reputation on the concept of excess. There’s too much too look at, too much to do, too much to eat, too much to drink, and certainly too many ways to lose your money. Indulgence is where most people start their visit and why not?

You can run out of room on your memory card trying to snap pictures of all the postcard-worthy sights from dancing fountains to blasting volcanoes. The hotels are so big that getting from your room to the front door requires rest periods, the dining scene has turned this town into a culinary destination, and the nightclubs have elevated Sin City to the biggest, most successful party spot in the world.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? We have some ideas for how to have the most “authentic” vacation in this deeply inauthentic town. Hey, when it comes to Las Vegas, Liberace may have had a point.
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A birds eye view of the Las Vegas Strip at Night Tostie14/Flickr
You haven’t really seen Las Vegas until you’ve seen it at night. This neon wonderland is the world’s greatest sound-and-light show. Begin at Luxor and work your way north past the incredible hotels and their attractions. You’ll probably be exhausted, both physically and mentally, by the time you get to the halfway mark around Caesars Palace, but forge ahead and you could go all the way to the Stratosphere Tower for a bird’s-eye view of the city from more than 1,000 feet up. Make plenty of stops en route to see the Mirage volcano erupt, take a photo of the full moon over the Eiffel Tower, and marvel at the choreographed fountain ballet at Bellagio.
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The roccocco exterior of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas Pedro Szekeley
The interior (and often, the exterior) of each lavish hotel-casino is more outrageous and giggle-inducing than the last one. Just when you think they can’t possibly top themselves, they do. From Venice to Paris, from New York City to the Manhattan-style chic of CityCenter, it is all—completely and uniquely—Las Vegas.
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A Man Crashes in a Las Vegas Bedroom, Still Wearing Sunglasses Photo by B@sky/Flickr
Come on! You’re on vacation! Yes, there are lots of things to see and do in Las Vegas, but with tens of thousands of the most luxurious hotel rooms in the world, don’t you just want to stay in one of those big fluffy beds and maybe order room service? We know we do.
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Guests Tour the Neon Museum in Las Vegas East Coast Gambler
A stuffy and “tasteful” museum would never do the trick in Vegas—so visit these few that are worthy of their Sin City locales. Go nuclear at the National Atomic Testing Museum, go naughty at the Erotic Heritage Museum, get “made” at the Mob Museum, or get lit up at the Neon Museum (pictured above).
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Visitors under the Canopy of Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas Rustler2X4/Flickr
Glitter Gulch is undergoing a renaissance with updated and upgraded hotels and casinos like The Plaza; terrific new and affordable dining options such as Eat and Radio City Pizza; fun and funky bars like Insert Coin(s) and Atomic Liquors; and must-see attractions like the Fremont Street Experience (pictured).
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A Gondolier in "St. Marks Square" in the Venetian Casino of Las Vegas D Stanley/Flickr
Take what Napoleon called “the greatest drawing room in Europe,” replicate it, add shops, and you’ve got The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian—it’s St. Mark’s Square, complete with canals, working gondolas and lots and lots of fancy stuff to buy.
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A Road Through Red Rock Canyon, Nevada Frank Kovalchek/Flickr
Las Vegas can be overwhelming, so be sure to put some time on your itinerary to find your Zen at such scenic spots as the Valley of Fire State Park or Red Rock Canyon (pictured above).
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