Las Vegas's return to its wilder side coincides with another major shift for the city: While drag
shows have always been an entertainment draw, Las Vegas is vamping to the gay
and lesbian market with new hotels, shows, and bars.
Sight Scene Where else in the world can you combine some
of the most beautiful natural scenery with the most overdone manmade fantasyland?
Practically within neon's glow are Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead,
and the Grand Canyon. Meanwhile, The Strip flashes day and night
with a combination glitz, glamour, and grit. Its skyline now includes re-creations
of Egyptian pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, the canals and bridges of Venice, and
New York City. A queer pilgrimage should be made to the Liberace Museum.
Though little is said during the guided tour about the late performer's sexual
orientation, his fabulous pianos, cars, and outfits tell all.
Love Scene Lovers considering a commitment ceremony have
several choices of wedding chapels, including Cupid's Wedding Chapel, Silver
Bell Wedding Chapel, Gay Chapel of Las Vegas, and Eternal Hope Ministry.
For romantic entertainment, the latest show turning the Strip red-hot is Cirque
du Soleil's Zumanity, a risqu? and sexy version of the circus troupe's
act, now hosted by a drag queen.
Sleep Scene The recently opened gay-owned Blue Moon Resort
features 33 deluxe rooms and 11 parlor suites and is the city's first and only
full-service gay resort for males (866-798-9194, doubles from $99). Other gay-owned
or gay-friendly properties include the clothing-optional Las Vegas Rainbow
(866-367-6849, doubles from $97) and the Viva Las Vegas Villas, also
known as the "Las Vegas gay hotel," with both standard and kooky themed rooms
(consider booking the Disco, Blue Hawaii, or Camelot suites; 800-574-4450, doubles
Good deals on Strip hotels can be had, especially on midweek
stays. The best themed properties include the Luxor (800-288-1000; doubles
from $69), MGM Grand (800-929-1111, doubles from $69.95), and New
York-New York (800-693-6763, doubles from $64.99). Top-tier hotels include
the Bellagio (888-987-6667, doubles from $159), Hard Rock Hotel
(800-473-7625, doubles from $69, $89 in spring), Venetian (877-857-1561,
doubles from $119), and Four Seasons (877-632-5000, doubles from $225).
Food and Bar Scene Celebrity chefs continue to open up restaurants
in many of the bigger hotels along the Strip: Julian Serrano's Picasso
and Sirio Maccioni's Le Cirque at the Bellagio, Alessandro Stratta's
Renoir at the Mirage, and Wolfgang Puck at the MGM Grand. Tramps,
the city's largest gay bar, also offers dinner most nights, and Freezone,
another gay-owned restaurant-bar attracts cabaretgoers on weekends and a ladies
night. Gay clubs include Flex, Spotlight, Badlands Saloon, and Buffalo,
while the Las Vegas Lounge is the only transgender bar in town. The oldest
gay bar and club remains Gipsy, on Paradise Road.
Miscellanea Gay theme parties, events, and listings can be
found in the Las Vegas Bugle. The Center, the city's gay and lesbian
center, has an information line that can be reached by calling 702-733-9800.
Links Las Vegas is rediscovering its hedonistic ways.
If you want to be in-the-know when traveling to Sin City, visit the Las
Vegas Bugle newspaper's site. Other resources can be found at GayVegas.com
The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. We suggest that you confirm all details directly with the establishments mentioned before making travel plans. Please feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com if you have any new information.