...in no particular order:
1. Walking down the strip at night.
You can't miss the Bellagio fountains as they go off every 15 minutes, and there is also the tacky outdoor Sirens performance at Treasure Island. Go to gamble, see a show, or for a convention, but be sure to check out the surrealistic lights and architecture along Las Vegas Boulevard. The sparkling neon signs are a veritable Vegas art form. You may as well grab a free drink card along the way.
2. Window shopping at Caesars Palace.
Sure, you may not be able to afford anything, but it can't hurt to look!
3. The pastries.
Where do I begin? Try Bouchon for a fabulous breakfast at the Venezia. Sit by the bay windows and look out on the garden terrace, complete with elegant swimming pool. You would never know you are actually 10 stories up! No time for breakfast between slot pulls? Stop by the Bouchon bakery on the bottom floor of the Venician. They have delicious pastries to go.
Also, see previous posting on Jean-Philippe.
4. The attractive people.
I am, of course, talking about the people in the hotel and entertainment industry. If you are people-watching on the strip it will become painfully obvious that visitors of Vegas are mainly overweight Americans. Ugh. However, the cocktail waitresses and showgirls are worth viewing. The bartenders are also very talented (think Tom Cruise in Cocktail!)
5. The FOOD.
While I did mention pastries as a separate category, the food itself is generally delicious and very affordable. Check out one of the fantastic buffet dinners. Most will offer an extensive selection of roasted meats, king crab legs, pastas, sushi, salads, fresh fruit, desserts...and because competition is fierce, you can be sure it will be pretty damn good (and not too expensive!) As for restaurants, see previous postings on Austins Steakhouse, Rosemary's, and Todd's. But really, there's no shortage of choices.
6. The hotels.
If you are smart, you'll gamble a little while in Vegas and be offered a tempting discount for your return visit. While the strip is most convenient for the main sites, some of the complexes further out are worth a visit. At Green Valley Ranch one can relax by a gorgeous pool (complete with misting palm trees and over-sized day beds) or take in a spa treatment. There is also a full-sized movie theater and a cute shopping district, along with the requisite in-house casino.
7. The shows.
There's no shortage of shows to see in the evenings. See Danny Gans
imitate any famous singer or movie star. He does an impressive selection ranging from Louis Armstrong (trumpet playing included) to Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole (in the same song); Johnny Carson in the Tonight Show to Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman. Or catch one of the many Cirque du Soleil shows or a classic Jubilee show. If you stop by a Tix4Tonight booth ahead of time, discounts are available for day-of shows.
8. Madame Tussauds.
Cheesy, yet still a lot of fun. Have your photo taken with Cameron Diaz or George Clooney. The best part about this place is that you are allowed to touch, lean up against or hug any of the wax models. So cozy up to your favorite star and savor the moment: this may be the closest you get to the real deal. Buy tickets the day of at one of the Tix4Tonight kiosks and get a discount.
9. The gambling.
I don't actually gamble, but figured I should put it on this list.
10. Just to say you went.
Incidentally, Vegas is home to the World's Largest Gift Shop. Just so you know.