Las Vegas Strip - North
Image by Msc44 under Creative Commons License.

Nevada, Las Vegas Guide (A): Las Vegas Strip - North

This guide tours the landmarks and hotels that make the Las Vegas Strip something tourists come to see from all over the world. The guide starts at the Wynn Hotel, cruises north as far as the Stratosphere and then returns. Other attractions visited are an Indoor Skydiving center, the Riviera and Sahara Hotels, the world's largest gift shop, and ends at Circus Circus. This guide is the complement to the South and Midtown Las Vegas Strip tours.
This article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on iTunes App Store and Google Play. You can download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the attractions featured in this article. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Walk Route

Guide Name: Las Vegas Strip - North
Guide Location: USA » Las Vegas
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Wynn Hotel and Casino   Encore   Vegas Indoor Skydiving   Peppermill   Riviera Hotel   Fontainebleau Las Vegas   Sahara Hotel   Stratosphere Hotel   Bonanza Gifts and Souvenirs   Circus Circus   Slots-A-Fun   Echelon Place  
Author: Scott Weber
Author Bio: Scott is a long time resident of the Southwest and divides his time between Las Vegas and Southern California. He loves to travel and writes about his adventures every chance he gets.
1
Wynn Hotel and Casino

1) Wynn Hotel and Casino

The Wynn is the latest masterpiece from developer Steve Wynn, the man who resurrected the Golden Nugget, built the Mirage, Treasure Island and Bellagio hotels, and now develops his Wynn Resorts in all the major gaming Meccas. The 2,716-room Wynn opened in 2005 and was the first hotel on the Strip to feature a gently curving shape. The golden glass façade is very pleasing to the eye and reflects the high level of service and comfort the hotel is known for. The Wynn is the only hotel in town to have received 5-star ratings from multiple agencies. In addition to a 110,000 square foot casino and sports book, the hotel boasts a shopping Esplanade, the ultra-popular Blush and Tryst nightclubs, a Tom Fazio designed golf course, pools, waterfalls, and even a Maserati Dealership, just in case you hit a jackpot, a really big jackpot. And for entertainment, Cirque Du Soliel’s “Le Reve,” plays nightly. And of course, there’s no lack of fine restaurants to choose from. On a historical note, this location was the site of the Desert Inn, the hotel Howard Hughes made famous, and was centered between all of the Strip hotels. The Sands Hotel was next door to the south, the Castaways, New Frontier and the Silver Slipper were across the street, and the Stardust, Riviera, and Sahara were right up the street. I think Mr. Wynn picked a location with some pedigree.
Image by Blane under Creative Commons License.
2
Encore

2) Encore

The 2,034-room Encore is the sister property to the Wynn and although it has fewer rooms, Encore has larger rooms and more suites. Opened in 2008, Encore exudes Asian influences in its decor and shares many of the same attractions with the Wynn. The 74,000 square foot casino is small by Strip standards, but Encore makes up for it with its spa services, and the Encore Beach Club; a lush oasis with tiered pools and a gaming pavilion. Headline entertainment includes, “Sinatra, Dance with Me,” a show choreographed by Twyla Tharp to the music of Frank Sinatra, and “Le Reve,” Cirque Du Soleil’s visual masterpiece. Encore’s nightclubs, Surrender and XS are two of the most popular in town. And I’m sure your appetite and thirst can be satisfied in one of their 5 restaurants and 7 bars. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Encore, cruise over to the Wynn. They have everything.
Image by Kris Ziel under Creative Commons License.
3
Vegas Indoor Skydiving

3) Vegas Indoor Skydiving

Have you ever wanted to try skydiving, but for one reason or another never drummed up the courage to leap from a plane to what one can only imagine is certain death? Welcome to my world. I completely understand. Vegas Indoor Skydiving provides some of the thrills associated with freefalling without the obvious death-defying risks. From child to adult, pretty much anyone is welcome to slide into a specially designed flight suit, climb into the enormous vertical wind tunnel and ride the wind to weightlessness. Of course, you’ll not only receive instruction ahead of your adventure, one of the instructors will be by your side as you experience the magic of flight. The first fight includes a training class and use of their flight suits. The first flight costs around $75, but $10 off coupons are available in most of the Las Vegas circulars. Photo courtesy of Fred Morledge.
4
Peppermill

4) Peppermill

The Peppermill Coffee Shop is always on several “Top 10 - Best of Las Vegas, must-see” lists. Centrally located on “The Strip,” the Peppermill has been a favorite for late night revelers, and celebrity sightings are quite common in the ultra cozy and stylish fireside lounge. It’s been used for location scenes in more than one movie. The Peppermill opened 30 years ago across the street from the once famous Stardust Hotel and immediately became a favorite of locals and repeat tourists. Upon entry you can choose either the Lounge or the Coffee Shop. It’s known for its great breakfasts, good service, and a relaxed old-style Las Vegas atmosphere. The Peppermill is a great refuge when the frenetic insanity of the Strip starts getting to you. At peak hours, you’ll likely find yourself waiting for a table, so plan your visit accordingly.
5
Riviera Hotel

5) Riviera Hotel

Built in 1955, three years after the Sahara and the Sands, the Riviera took the lead from other Strip hotels with its new innovative architectural style. Instead of the motor court configuration most of its competitors were using, they built their hotel 9-stories high to set it apart from everyone else, but not for long. Today, the Riviera has 2,100 rooms and a 110,000 square foot casino. The hotel is still popular, but growing economic difficulties forced the owners to file for bankruptcy in 2010. But the show still goes on. The main headline attractions are Crazy Girls, a dance review, and ICE. The Riviera has, and still hosts many big name performers. In fact, Liberace was the headliner when the resort opened.
Image by kokalola under Creative Commons License.
6
Fontainebleau Las Vegas

6) Fontainebleau Las Vegas

I’ve included the Fontainebleau Las Vegas in this guide because at the time of this writing, construction is scheduled to resume on the project. The Fontainebleau was started in 2007 just as the economic downturn was beginning and by the time the main tower was completed, Las Vegas was reeling with financial woes and the project was put on hold. In 2009, the parent corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The resort is about 70 percent complete, but who will be the eventual owner is a mystery. Still, when finished, Fontainebleau will feature 1,018 condo-hotel units, a 100,000 square foot casino, a spa, a performing arts theater, a retail shopping mall, nightclubs, restaurants, lounges, and indoor and outdoor conference spaces. Once it’s completed, Fontainebleau will likely be classified as another one of Las Vegas’ city within a city.
Image by Lasvegaslover under Creative Commons License.
7
Sahara Hotel

7) Sahara Hotel

The Sahara Hotel, the sixth resort built on the Strip, opened in 1952, the same year as the Sands, and is one of the last remaining hotels associated with the Strip’s early years. The 1,720-room hotel and the 85,000 square foot casino are small by todays standards, but with the Sahara comes five and a half decades “everything Vegas,” from the desert theme, the classic neon sign, right down to the Moroccan style rooms. The property also has several specialty restaurants, NASCAR attractions, and a twisting-turning roller coaster that circles the property. The Sahara was for decades one of the premier entertainment venues in the city with acts like the Beatles, Martin and Lewis, Johnny Carson and even the “Rat Pack,” all performing here. It’s interesting that the early Strip hotels sought to project an image that reflected a desert or pioneer-like theme. Names like, the Sands, the Desert Inn, the Dunes, the New Frontier, the Stardust, Riviera, Flamingo, the Aladdin, and even Caesar’s Palace. Today’s hotels look more like conventional skyscrapers and have names that read like sentence fragments: Encore, Aria, Cosmopolitan, Wynn, Fontainebleau, and my favorite, Veer’s Towers because the towers are built on a 5-degree slant. Who names these things? I can’t wait for Apple to build their iHotel.
Image by mrak75 under Creative Commons License.
8
Stratosphere Hotel

8) Stratosphere Hotel

Okay, are you ready for some fun? The 2,427-room Stratosphere hotel was built in 1996, has an 80,000 square foot casino, and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Las Vegas. The hotel does not promote any shows, but who needs a show when you have a 1,149-foot tower with several daredevil rides at the top guaranteed to scare the daylights out of you. The tower is the main attraction and you should by all means go up. The tower was originally planned to rise to 1,815 feet, but complaints about safety from nearby McCarran Airport forced the owners to revise their plans. The top of the tower has several observation decks, a restaurant that revolves once an hour, and of course the thrill rides. The most popular is Big Shot. It jets you straight up a 160-foot tower generating 4G’s of force and then lets you free fall back down. X-Scream is a teeter-tooter like ride that gives the illusion you’re going to roll off the track and plummet to your death. And on the newest attraction you do go off the edge. Really! For one hundred bucks and a death wish, SkyJump drops you 829-feet using a controlled decelerator. So what are you waiting for?
Image by Msc44 under Creative Commons License.
9
Bonanza Gifts and Souvenirs

9) Bonanza Gifts and Souvenirs

This place has been on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara for as long as I can remember. Billed as the largest gift shop in the world, it measures in at just over 40,000 square feet, and although its claim to be the largest in the world may be a slight exaggeration, it’s certainly the largest in Las Vegas. Inside you’ll find every kind of souvenir, memento, postcard, knick-knack, bobble, key chain, t-shirt, and guess what? They all have the words Las Vegas on them. Did I forget Elvis? The also have several adult lingerie and novelty stores. Built over 40 years ago, the back corner housed the Big Wheel Casino, but they found gifts and souvenirs to be more profitable and less of a risk. The huge lot across the street has been empty for decades. The Strip’s very first hotel, the “El Rancho Vegas” operated there from 1941 to 1960 until a fire destroyed everything.
10
Circus Circus

10) Circus Circus

I remember this place when it opened. Circus Circus was the first themed hotel and casino to focus on the family experience. The 3,773 room hotel was built in 1968, has a 126,000 square foot casino and although it doesn’t host headliner shows, it has a maze of arcade games and a midway featuring carnival acts. With the completion of each new mega-hotel and the all-in-one city center, family focused hotels declined in popularity. They just can’t compete with the newest ways hotels are delivering entertainment to their guests. Thus, the traditional circus-style formula has become a dinosaur. The hotel’s midway was featured in the 1971 James Bond film, “Diamonds are Forever,” and it has been used for location scenes in plenty of other films and commercials too. One attraction that still sets Circus Circus apart from any of the other hotels on the strip is their 399-space RV Park at the rear of the property.
Image by Mutari under Creative Commons License.
11
Slots-A-Fun

11) Slots-A-Fun

This is another one of those pesky, won’t-go-away mini casinos on the Strip that has survived despite the ever-changing landscape going on around it. And in my view, I wish there were more of these on the Strip. They’re convenient for pedestrians and their fun. Anchored soundly on Las Vegas Boulevard between Circus Circus and the now defunct Stardust Hotel, Slots-A-Fun has lured gamblers into its 17,000 square foot open-front casino with promises of cheap drinks and low-limit craps and blackjack. They also have several fast-food kiosks and a ticket agency inside, but the real attraction is that the front of the casino is wide open and anyone that walks by has unlimited access to Slots-A-Fun’s open-air casino. Originally owned by Carl Thomas, an associate of the Kansas City mob, the casino was sold after he was convicted for skimming money. Some things never change.
12
Echelon Place

12) Echelon Place

As you may have noticed in your travels through Las Vegas, hotels are no longer just hotels; they’ve become or are becoming cities. Or at least that’s what the developers want you to believe. Nowadays you need some kind of GPS device to navigate through the theme park attractions in front of the hotels, and then when you finally get inside, it doesn’t get any easier. This enormous block of rusting steel and semi-developed land was going to be the largest of all the mega-city complexes in Las Vegas. Boyd Gaming, which owns these 63 acres set off to build the resort of all resorts. They demolished the popular Stardust Hotel, motels and commercial business, and began construction, but the recession and the resulting economic downturn for Las Vegas put an immediate halt to construction. When the project is completed, Echelon Place is scheduled to have 4 hotels, a 140,000 square foot casino, 25 bars and restaurants, and an expo and convention center. I sure hope they reconsider naming it the Stardust.
Image by Simon Johansson under Creative Commons License.

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