Las Vegas: the Entertainment Capital of the World
Las Vegas has many nicknames: Entertainment Capital of the World, City of Lights, Marriage City and, of course, The Gambling Capital of the World. Read all about the do’s and don’ts when travelling to Vegas, and remember to get your ESTA sorted out before you head off!
The largest nightlife city in the desert
The city of Las Vegas has existed for just over a hundred years and is located in the middle of the desert in the American state of Nevada. As a result, the area in and around Vegas can get quite hot. November to March have manageable temperatures, from a bit chilly up to 20 degrees Celsius. Outside this short period, however, it quickly becomes much warmer. During summer, it can often get above 40 degrees Celsius, with peaks of as high as 47 degrees. The city of Las Vegas has about 641,000 inhabitants, but millions of tourists travel there each year. Of course, when you think of Vegas, the first things that come to mind are the casinos. But there is more. Much more!
The must-sees and must-do’s
- The Las Vegas Strip is the most famous boulevard in Vegas. The promenade is almost 7 km long, but is being expanded further and further into the desert. The Strip is home to 15 of the 25 largest hotels in the world and Las Vegas has some 62,000 hotel rooms. The boulevard is perfect for a stroll, particularly in the evening, when the casinos and restaurants are lit up in dazzling colours and street performers show off their skills. The hotels and casinos often have shows and attractions that are free of charge, so you can just walk in without trouble. Must-sees: the roller coaster of New York, the fountain and free shows at Caesars Palace and the water and light show at Bellagio.
- The oldest part of Las Vegas is Fremont Street, also called Downtown Las Vegas. It is especially recommended for evening outings so you can enjoy the beautiful light and music shows, street musicians and souvenir shops.
- Attend one of the numerous Vegas shows. You can choose between performances by many famous artists, illusionists and DJ’s, and Cirque du Soleil also has several shows running.
- The Stratosphere Tower: the highest and most striking tower in Las Vegas. From the top, you have a lovely view of the city and it also has a diner. And, of course, it has a casino. For dare devils, there are even attractions at the very top of the Stratosphere.
- Las Vegas also has a number of museums. One of them is the Mob museum, or mafia museum. Lovers of arcades and (vintage) pinball machines will enjoy the Pinball Hall of Fame, which has pinball machines from 1940 to 2009 and is free of charge.
And, last but not least: take a selfie at the Welcome to Las Vegas board!
The surroundings of Las Vegas
If you have some time left, the Grand Canyon is the biggest attraction in Arizona, about a 4 hours’ drive away. Furthermore, the hottest place on earth, Death Valley, is just a few hours’ drive from Vegas. Be careful, it can get as hot as 50 degrees there and there are no shops or gas stations, so make sure you have enough petrol, water and sunburn.
If you’re a fan of impressive structures, the Hoover Dam is the place to go, a gigantic concrete dam in the Black Canyon, 50 km from Vegas.
What do I need for my trip? ESTA and other things
For a holiday in the United States, you first of all need a passport that is valid until after your trip. So if your passport is set to expire halfway through your trip, you first have to get a new one at the passport office. Also make sure your travel and health insurance is in order. The cost of medical care in the United States can get exceedingly high without proper insurance. Finally, you need either a visa or an ESTA.
What is an ESTA?
“ESTA” stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It is a digital travel permit to travel to the USA. For a number of years now, Homeland Security wants to know in advance who wants to travel to their country. This is done by having travellers fill in an online form before departure, which contains information about your trip, your passport details and a contact person.
An ESTA is mandatory for holidays, but also for business trips and even if you simply have to change flights to another destination at an American airport. Children must also have their own passport and ESTA.
What can I do with an ESTA?
With a valid ESTA, you can stay in the USA for a maximum of 90 days. During your stay, you can visit family and friends, make tourist trips and attend business appointments and meetings. It is also possible to undergo medical treatment with an ESTA. Working is not allowed under any circumstances. To do so, you need a special work visa.