Las Vegas is nicknamed "Sin City" for a reason. Whether you're in town for a bachelor party, convention, or a poker tournament, at some point one of your friends will blurt out, "Let's go to a strip club!".
There's plenty of variety to see in Las Vegas including multiple Cirque du Soleil shows, magicians like Penn & Teller, or quirky entertainment like the Blue Man Group.
Here are some of the most popular shows in Las Vegas…
Blue Man Group
If you're a fan of experimental art, Blue Man Group pushes the genre to a new level. Yes, the performers are all blue and they may or may not actually be human. Blue Man Group is a blend of infectious percussion, bourgeoning technology, and stunning visual arts. Blue Man Group demonstrates how you can make music with almost anything and even concoct their own instruments. Their current theme is post-modern with a slant on robotics, but they're also incorporating “balls” into the show during into their newest incarnation.
Blue Man Group is “kid friendly” so this is a prefect show to see if you're visiting Vegas with your children. If you're really adventurous, spend the extra money to sit in the first few rows. You get to wear a poncho because you might get spilled on during the performance.
If you show up early, you get to experience the pre-show which is the best way to expose newcomers to the peculiar world of Blue Man Group. “The Percussipede” is a centipede-like creation comprised of lights, instruments, puppets, robots, and musicians that entertains the guests before the show.
LOVE Cirque Du Soleil
A trip to the Mirage to see Love, Cirque du Soleil's tribute to the Beatles, should top the list for any fan of the Fab Five. Some of the songs have been rearranged by music director Sir George Martin, who produced many of the Beatles' albums including Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. At Love, you will embark on a psychedelic trip with acrobatic dancers gyrating to your favorite Beatles' songs while reliving the tumultuous time of change and revolution in the 1960s.
If you don't like the Beatles, there's plenty of other Cirque Du Soleil shows to choose from including a Far East adventure story in Ka (at MGM), or get aroused at the sex-themed Zumanity (at New York New York), and delve into an elements theme of air, water, and fire at O (at the Bellagio).
A ticket to this show is like being transported back in time to the Moulin Rouge after having a glass of absinthe. It's essentially a vulgar parody of Cirque du Soleil. Absinthe is an intimate show and exciting late-night adventure which mixes raunchy comedy, burlesque, and acrobatics. There are plenty of unusual characters in this show like the ringmaster and his quirky assistant, who are surrounded by a cast of eccentrics including foul-mouthed clown, pornographic sock puppets, a stripping green fairy, roller-skaters, eccentric tight rope walkers, and aerialists.
Just a disclaimer, Absinthe is a little naughty and uses crude humor, which is something you want when you go to Vegas, right? The show is located inside a tent and you sit on wooden chairs, giving it a carnival-like atmosphere. The good thing is that you're very close to the action because Absinthe is performed on a tiny nine-foot circular stage.
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller are among the best live entertainers in the world and their show at the Rio is a fusion of magic, street theatre (like juggling), and comedy. As per usual, Penn is the only one who actually does the talking while the silent Teller never utters a word.
The duo reveals the secrets to some of their favorite bits like demonstrating the “find the ball” trick using see-through cups. They break the golden rule in magic by giving the audience the inside dope on how magic works. They do a great job at mixing things up with shtick and magic but they also pull off several amazing tricks that baffle audiences with their infamous double bullet trick in which they capture bullets with their teeth.
If you go to this show, you might become a part of it. Penn & Teller rely heavily on audience interaction.
If you don't know, Celine Dion is the greatest singer in the entire world. Okay, maybe that's not true, but she's definitely one of the highest-paid performers in the world. She currently has a lifetime contract at Caesar's Palace, where she performs at an intimate venue called the Colosseum. Fans from all over the world fly out to Vegas to catch one of Celine Dion's gigs. Some of them are such huge mega-fans they've seen her show dozens of times. Some fans get so worked up at the site of Celine that they break down and start crying the moment she takes the stage.
Celine Dion's show is not just a rundown of her greatest hits. Sure, you'll still hear all of her classic #1 hits but her sets include deep cuts from her vast repertoire. Celine also covers several songs from other musicians like Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Joel. Depending on the song, Dion sings in front of a normal band or an orchestra.
Celine even performs a duet with herself in hologram form! It's just one of the many show-stopping moments you'll see. She also does a mini-tribute to Michael Jackson and sings “Man in the Mirror.”
Bonus: Elton John
Whenever Celine Dion goes on vacation, Elton John takes her place at the Caesars' Colosseum. Elton John's show is titled The Million Dollar Piano because of the specially designed high-tech piano that incorporates a visual display. Elton John's show is one of the best musical performances you'll see in Las Vegas. His back-up band is super tight and Elton John weaves plenty of his classic songs into the show like Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man, and Bennie and the Jets. Elton loves to tell a few stories to the audience as well about the crazy life in the rock and roll biz.
Elton John's first Vegas show, The Red Piano, was so popular that he got extended from 75 shows to almost 250. Vegas is really lucky to have him back with The Million Dollar Piano because he's a genuine bona fide rock star.
I get asked about poker rooms all the time. It's really hard to give someone a specific answer, because much like playing poker, it all “depends” on the situation. What constitutes a good poker room? I'm looking for terrible players with deep pockets, comfortable seats, good and quick dealers, and a knowledgeable floor staff to adjudicate disputes in a swift, fair manner.
Buffets and Las Vegas go hand-in-hand. Buffets represent the best and worst aspects of our self-indulgent culture of overconsumption. If you like to people watch, then a trip to the buffet is like a National Geographic special – spending time in the wildlife watching lions in the Serengeti feast on gazelles.
You're in downtown Las Vegas and either got really drunk and a taxi dropped you off there, or you opted to let your friend book a cheap vacation and ended up at one of the many seedy no-tell motels on East Fremont. Well do not fear, I have a couple of things you can do while you're slumming in Downtown Vegas…
When I was a kid, my parents told me they saw Elvis Presley perform in Las Vegas, so from a very young age I associated Las Vegas with musical spectacles and over-the-top performances. The King has been dead for several decades, but the modern-day headliners in Sin City are still heavyweights like Celine Dion and Elton John.
An entire culture in Las Vegas exists around pool parties. There's been a big push to capitalize on "day clubs" or massive gatherings poolside with lots of booze, lots of skin, and lots of loud music.
Las Vegas is one of the few places in America in which you can legally place a sports bet. You don't have to worry about getting scammed by an offshore book or dealing with shady local bookies. If you're a fan of any major sport or horse racing, you'll be able to wager on the outcome at different sports books in Las Vegas.
If you're visiting Las Vegas for an extended period of time, you might want to break up your holiday by scheduling a side trip. Las Vegas is a pretty crazy place and excessive indulgence has ruined too many people, which is why you sometimes need a vacation away from your Las Vegas vacation.
We've all hit the low point at some point in Las Vegas when you ran bad and lost all your money, whether it was the bad end of variance at the poker table or an annoying dealer cold-decked you at blackjack.