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The Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas

Noe Dewitt Las Vegas

Photo: Noe Dewitt

+ Food and Drink
+ Room Service Dining in Las Vegas
+ Latest in Hotels & Casinos
+ Best Values: Hotel Suites
+ The Best Las Vegas Nightlife
+ Four Cool Poolside Cabanas
+ Las Vegas Travel Toolbox
+ Best Shops in Las Vegas
+ 3 Amazing Las Vegas Spas
+ Las Vegas Contact Info

I recently had lunch with a former neighbor at Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas, the French bistro in the shadow of the Paris casino’s Eiffel Tower, which, if you’re willing to ignore the sidewalk full of tourists toting yard-long margarita bongs, could, as the restaurant hopefully suggests, evoke dining on the Champs-Élysées. "I love this place," she sighed. "It reminds me of Epcot."

When I moved to town two years ago, some of my friends were scandalized, citing "appropriation" among the city’s offenses against the culturally aware. Yes, Las Vegas shamelessly borrows the world’s most celebrated icons and experiences, proudly stacking them atop one another for maximum loopy effect. But it also makes the rarefied accessible—and what’s so wrong with that?It’s virtually impossible to score a table at legendary East Harlem restaurant Rao’s. Yet at Rao’s in Caesars Palace, anyone can get in to savor Uncle Vincent’s Famous Lemon Chicken. And Las Vegas has an inimitable sense of humor, injecting things with a whimsy and weirdness that could never exist elsewhere. What other place would invite its citizens to town hall–style gatherings in local bars for "Martinis with the Mayor"?This town has always made its own rules, as easily as it has remade its own image. But lately something remarkable has happened: drawing on its local talent and sublime natural setting (look past the Witness Protection–worthy residential sprawl), Las Vegas has finally become a proper city, diverse and complex, that’s worth exploring in its own right. What follows are its current highlights: down-home rib shacks, glittering sushi bars, sultry nightclubs, ultracool design boutiques—plus the best deals on suites from where to survey it all.

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