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Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas

Drop a few coins in gay America's favorite playland.


Las Vegas welcomes two kinds of visitors: Those who want to go, and those who have to go for business or a convention. While Sin City is notorious for gambling, it offers a selection of other attractions some of which may surprise you, especially if you haven?t visited in the last few years.

Now you?ll find incredible dining options, great entertainment (Cher, anyone?) and world-class shopping. The diversity all around you is another surprising facet of this desert oasis. You may find yourself at an authentic French caf? at the Paris Hotel surrounded by cowboys from Oklahoma, a table full of Arab sheiks and a group of partying bachelorettes. And they all seem to recognize and respect the diversity we gay and lesbian travelers bring to the game. There?s just too much going on for anyone to worry about who you?re sleeping with.

If you can tear yourself away from the casinos, you?ll also find pretty exciting outdoor activities.

The really good news for today?s travelers is that all those 3,000 room hotels they constructed over the past few years have to be filled night after night, so you?ll find bargains galore at even the most upscale hotel throughout the year.

Great packages (some targeting gay travelers) and loads of rooms to fill make the gigantic fantasy hotels along the Las Vegas strip more affordable and fun than ever.

Some of the most exciting of these include New York-New York with its replica of Lady Liberty, Paris and its imported 1/3-scale Eiffel Tower, Luxor?s Pyramid, and the Venetian with its charming canals and gondolas rides.

The Wynn properties, especially the gorgeous new Encore Hotel & Casino are the newest additions to the strips collection of mega hotels.

For a way gay stay in Sin City, go straight to the moon. Blue Moon Resort, that is. The hotel is an all-male, clothing-optional, Palm Springs-style resort off the Las Vegas strip, with 45 rooms and suites.

Gone are the days when the all-you-can-eat buffet was the only game in town. We have nothing against pigging out, but nowadays, Vegas offer cuisines from around the world in remarkable with celebrity chefs and superb wine lists.

If you had just one meal to eat in the city, make it at Picasso. Located in Bellagio, the dining room is sophisticated, with a bit of country elegance, complemented with actual multimillion-dollar Picassos.

Considered one of the city's finest restaurants, the Jo?l Robuchon is refined but intimate within its Art Deco-inspired setting.

For a more low-key dinning experience, The Border Grill is a great spot, run by openly-lesbian chef Susan Feniger. This winning restaurant offers Vegas visitors innovative empanadas and tamales and Nevada's best margaritas.


For an alternative to the gaming tables, relaxing at one of Vegas? world-class and sprawling spas. Peaceful oases, spas, including Qua at Caesar?s Palace and Paris? Mandara Spa, come as a welcome break from the noisy gaming rooms.

You can also take a quick break with an enjoyable visit at the newly- renovated Liberace Museum. Housing Liberace?s favorite costumes, pianos, and some of his many cars, including a mirror-covered Rolls-Royce, the museum is a must-see for any fan.

If museums don?t catch your fancy, there are many other thrilling activities for adventure seekers, like The Roller Coaster at New York New York or even Mandalay Bay?s Shark Reef Aquarium that features a glass tunnel filled with sharks, rays, and hundreds of exotic fish.

For art lovers, Vegas offers a chance to visit the stunning Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. For those seeking a breath of fresh air and some exercise, a visit to Hoover Dam and Tuscan Village, in the Lake Las Vegas area, are not far from the Strip. And for those looking to bare some skin, there is even a nude beach a couple miles down from Lake Mead.

Vegas has always been heavy in the clubbing scene. With the Vegas Passport's Gay and Lesbian Nightlife Package, at $120 a pop it ain't cheap, but can pay for itself quickly with discounted unlimited access to some of Vegas? hottest gay-friendly clubs and bars, including Krave, a booming gay club located right on the strip. Saturdays at Krave also feature Candybar, a lesbian?s party. It?s also worth checking out the Chippendales Show and Australia?s Thunder from Down Under, featuring a saucy adult show of low fat hunky beefcake.

For those high rollers who strike it big in the city, why not indulge in some shopping? Dress properly at the tables tomorrow night by visiting the Fashion Show Mall, with retailers such as Neiman-Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. If you can?t find anything at the largest shopping mall in town, then take a visit to the Forum Shop at Caesars. Think ancient Rome, in plastic, beneath a trompe l'oeil sky, with stores from DKNY to Ted Baker to Versace to Louis Vuitton. Also another great option are the Vegas Premium Outlets which offer a selection of discounted higher end retailers, only a $20 cab ride from the Strip. Another popular shopping destination, just 35 miles off the Strip, is the Fashion Outlet of Las Vegas. An upscale outlet center in Primm, Nev., includes brands like Kenneth Cole, Guess, Escada, and more than 100 others.

Whether you?re hoping to strike it rich or just meet some friends for a fun weekend and catch an off-Broadway show, Vegas is the place to find it all. Attractive to both business and leisure visitors, Vegas really is one of the few destinations that can say it has it all.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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