Las Vegas Strip - South
Image by Paul Arrington from Charleston, USA under Creative Commons License.

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

This tour takes you to all the major hotels at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. We start at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and travel up the west side of the Strip to Las Vegas' newest creation, City Center before we cross the street and return to the Tropicana.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Las Vegas Strip - South
Guide Location: USA » Las Vegas
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 3.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Mandalay Bay   Luxor   Excaliber   New York New York Hotel   City Center   Monte Carlo Hotel   Aria Hotel   Planet Hollywood   MGM Grand Hotel   Tropicana Hotel  
Author: Scott Weber
Author Bio: Scott is a longtime resident of the area and enjoys writing about his travels and adventures every chance he gets
1
Mandalay Bay

1) Mandalay Bay

Our tour starts at the Mandalay Bay. Rising from the desert sands, this beautiful 43-story three-winged golden tower was built in 1999, has 3,300 rooms, and is one of the most popular full service hotels on the strip. Floors 35 through 39 are occupied by the highly rated Four Season’s Hotel and the top three floors are penthouses. The property also supports a one million square foot convention center and a special events center that’s used to host major sporting events and concerts, but the beach and water park is probably the favorite, especially with families with kids. Built into the 11-acre beach is the world famous wave pool, a long lazy river you can float down, three swimming pools, 2,700 tons of sand, and plenty of exercise options. Other attractions include the famous 1,800-seat House of Blues and the always popular Shark Reef saltwater aquarium. And not just any aquarium, Shark Reef has two glass tunnels that pass through the 3rd largest aquarium in the country. The hotel has 24 restaurants, Disney’s ever-popular Lion King show, and a huge casino. On a historic note, the Hacienda Hotel, one of the Strip’s early landmarks, was imploded in 1996 to make way for the Mandalay Bay.
Image by Erin Khoo under Creative Commons License.
2
Luxor

2) Luxor

The city was abuzz when the Luxor opened its doors in 1993. Not only was this 30-story, 350-foot high black, glass pyramid unique to anything ever built in Las Vegas, the world’s strongest laser beam shot out of the pyramid’s apex jetting to outer space. Perched at the entrance, a giant Sphinx welcomes visitors to this Egyptian themed gambling Mecca. You have to go in to get the full effect this engineering marvel. The pyramid is really an empty shell except the hotel rooms are built into the outer glass walls. You take an incline elevator up to your room and the windows in each room are the same glass of the pyramid’s exterior. Open hallways outside your room overlook the largest atrium in the world and are not for those afraid of heights. The hotel also has two conventional towers that increase the occupancy to just over 4,400 rooms. The 120,000 square foot casino offers all the popular games. On going attractions include the King Tut Museum, and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. And if you’re in a party mood, the hotel has 2 dance clubs, and 6 bar-lounges. This is the middle stop for the free-to-ride, Mandalay Bay–Luxor -Excalibur monorail.
Image by Mantlewood under Creative Commons License.
3
Excaliber

3) Excaliber

One of the more kid-friendly hotels on the strip, Excalibur opened in 1990 and sports a King Arthur theme with castles, towers, moats and an assortment of medieval-styled attractions. The hotel was built by the Circus Circus company, which explains its family oriented theme, but given Las Vegas’ penchant to re-invent itself every decade, most of the family themed hotels have been losing money and have been forced to catch up with the current upscale resort trend. Excalibur has over 4,000 rooms, a 100,000 square foot casino, and the long running Tournament of Kings dinner show is always a crowd favorite. Where else can you eat dinner and watch jousters try to kill each other at the same time? Other shows and attractions for kids include the Spongebob Squarepants 4D ride, and Fun Dungeon. For adults they offer Thunder Down Under. This is the last stop for the free-to-ride, Mandalay Bay–Luxor-Excalibur monorail.
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4
New York New York Hotel

4) New York New York Hotel

Although the 2,000-room New York New York Hotel and Casino is not one of the largest on the strip, it is certainly one of the most popular and easiest to recognize. And just like its namesake, New York City, the developers managed to pack in everything they could, including the kitchen sink. On first glance you might not think you’re not in Las Vegas anymore. The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, a Coney Island-style roller coaster, and even a 150-foot Statue of Liberty tower over the Strip. Inside you’ll be treated to some famous eateries and bars from Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Coyote Ugly, the Nine Fine Irishmen Pub, Gallagher’s Steakhouse and a host of others. And if you tire of the 84,000 square foot casino, there’s an exciting array of amusements and simulations at the Coney Island Emporium. The main show headliner is Cirque Du Soleil’s erotic sensation, “Zumanity.” The hotel was built in 1997 and is owned by MGM Resorts International.
Image by High Contrast under Creative Commons License.
5
City Center

5) City Center

This 76 acre self-contained city within a city opened in 2009 and supports 3 hotels, 1 casino, a residential tower, and a shopping center. In addition, they’ve installed collections of world famous art in each of these facilities. Two of the 3 hotels are partially annexed for owner-occupied residences. This is to date the largest development ever completed in Las Vegas. The first building off the Strip is the Mandarin Oriental. This 539 foot high non-gaming hotel is split with 392 hotel rooms and 225 residences, and the hotel’s primary focus is on spa services. Set behind the Mandarin Oriental is the 4,000 room Aria Resort and Casino, the only hotel casino here. The Veer Towers are right in the middle and got their name because they’re built on a 4.6 degree slant. The Veer Towers are strictly residential. The building at the rear of City Center behind the Aria Resort is Vdara. It is a hotel-condo tower and has 1,500 rooms. And the crazy looking structure to the north is Crystals, a center devoted to shopping, dinning, and nightlife. As the name implies, Crystals represents the best of the best retailers. MGM Resorts International developed City Center and the project has received numerous awards and certifications for utilizing the newest “green” building resources.
Image by Lasvegaslover under Creative Commons License.
6
Monte Carlo Hotel

6) Monte Carlo Hotel

The 3,000 room Monte Carlo Hotel was built in 1996 and was an elegant addition to the burgeoning Las Vegas Strip. Built with a South of France neoclassical theme, the hotel features marble floors, arches, ornate fountains, and an old-style European attention to details. The hotel is one of only a few in Las Vegas to have a four-diamond rating. Because the hotel is much more spa and business based than attraction based, there are very few gimmicky come-ons found here, but what they do offer is style, comfort, and service. Their spa and fitness center are as good as they come. And the 21,000 square foot pool includes waterfalls, a wave machine, and a long lazy river where you can take a relaxing inner-tube ride. Frank Caliendo, the famed impersonator, is the main entertainment headliner, and you’ll find a variety of top-of-the-line lounges acts performing nightly.
Image by Sascha Brück under Creative Commons License.
7
Aria Hotel

7) Aria Hotel

The Aria Resort and Casino is probably the most modern hotel in Las Vegas. Set at the rear of City Center, the 4,000 room resort features a 150,000 square foot casino, a spa, 5 acres of swimming pools, not to mention a convention center and a theater. The hotel continues to win awards for being environmentally conscious and consequently many health-minded visitors come to partake in their state of the art spa. Aria’s two-level, 80,000 square-foot spa features 62 treatment rooms, a Shio Salt room, the country’s first Japanese style stone beds, a full service salon, and a fitness center. They have three primary swimming pools and Liquid, an adults-only pool. The casino offers 150,000 square feet of opportunities to test your luck, and whatever your appetite, there’s 16 restaurants and 10 upscale bars and lounges for your entertainment. The main theater attraction at Aria is Cirque Du Soleil’s, “Viva Elvis,” a tribute to the music legacy of the “King.” And don’t forget to check out the fine art on display.
Image by Lasvegaslover under Creative Commons License.
8
Planet Hollywood

8) Planet Hollywood

Although this is now the home to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, this property rose to casino status in 1963 when the Tally Ho Hotel was built. In 1964, it became the King’s Crown Hotel, but it never opened its doors. When the Aladdin opened in 1966, it became an instant favorite on the Strip until 2003 when Planet Hollywood bought it, but financial difficulties got the better of that group and now it’s owned by Caesar’s Entertainment. With just over 2,600 rooms and a large casino, Planet Hollywood has been a Las Vegas staple for many years. Many of the hotel rooms are dedicated to a specific film and then decorated with props and memorabilia from that film. One half of the Aladdin’s famous, Desert Passage shopping mall was converted into a new, Hollywood-themed “Miracle Mile Shops.” The primary entertainment attractions are Peepshow and Tony and Tina’s Wedding, but many concerts are held here too.
Image by Kris Ziel under Creative Commons License.
9
MGM Grand Hotel

9) MGM Grand Hotel

The big green behemoth with the giant lion out front is of course the MGM Grand. It is the second largest hotel in the world and the second largest hotel-resort complex in the U.S. behind the Venetian. Built in 1993, the 6,800 room, 30 floor hotel includes the Grand Spa, five outdoor pools, waterfalls, convention center, theaters, concert halls, and a large events arena. And if that isn’t enough, they even have a lion habitat, where you can view the king of beasts. The casino is one of the largest in town at 171,000 square feet and you can get just about any kind of food you want here. For entertainment you might enjoy, Cirque Du Soliel’s, “Ka,”, the Crazy Horse Burlesque Review, as well as an ever-changing assortment of today’s top performers playing in one of their venues. The MGM also hosts the Studio 54 and Tabu nightclubs. But if you really want a treat, the Seablue Restaurant serves a lobster tail dipped in a batter of corn meal, and then cooked like a corn dog. You eat it on a stick. It’s incredible. Enjoy.
Image by Arichnad under Creative Commons License.
10
Tropicana Hotel

10) Tropicana Hotel

The Tropicana was for many years the epitome of what Las Vegas was all about; a lush garden paradise with swimming pools, waterfalls, teriyaki flavored meals, and tropical drinks with umbrellas. And surprisingly, the Tropicana has held onto that theme despite the city’s numerous makeovers, mergers, and economic turmoil. Built in 1957, the Tropicana is small in comparison to its neighbors, with 1,658 rooms and a modest sized casino at 50,000 square feet. But it has a timeless appeal. In 2006, the ownership announced they were going to invest 2 billion dollars into the Tropicana to make it the largest resort casino in the world, but the economic recession put a swift end to those plans. Still, many renovations have been made to keep the hotel current. The most popular show is Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club, but you’ll find many popular performers in the one of the lounges. And don’t neglect your appetite; they’ve got plenty of Polynesian themed restaurants and some of the best cuisine in town.
Image by Xavier6984 under Creative Commons License.

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