Vegas is naturally associated with gambling. Then came the inexpensive food, in order to get people to stay near the casinos to… gamble. Later came shows to attract people to the casinos to, well, gamble. But Vegas has evolved. Fine restaurants, shows solely for the sake of entertainment and – finally – great shopping has arrived. Today, the Las Vegas visitor will find more choices than any amount of plastic could cover. The shops offer everything from run-of-the-mill clothing to fine chocolate to exotic cars, all done Vegas-style, of course.
Several of the hotel/casinos have become shopping meccas as well. One of the largest is the 175,000 square foot, tri-level complex at Caesars. The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace are located at 3500 S. Las Vegas Blvd (‘The Strip’) and provide over 100 shops to choose from. Versace, the famed clothing designer, sells clothing but has added a Home Collection shop full of rugs, dishware and other items for your own royal abode. The equally famed jewelry design company, Harry Winston, has a shop at The Forums. Between the pair, your plastic is sure to get dented, but save some for The Cheesecake Factory. After all that shopping you deserve dessert. The 100,000 square foot shopping area at Mandalay Place may not be the town’s largest, but it is second to none. There are over 40 shops that offer everything from golf accessories to doggie spa products.
The latter, Lush Puppy, is a dog’s best friend. Stuffed full of beds, sweaters and dog toys, your best friend can even get a fortune cookie made just for him or her. After you’ve eased your conscience by spoiling Rex, spoil yourself at 55 Degrees Wine & Design. An array of tablet PCs allow even the most technophobic to easily select from a huge selection of fine vintages. Sally up to the wine bar and try out a few. Improve your knowledge of wine, or any number of subjects, by visiting The Reading Room. This bookstore has a selection of books not generally found in any other retail store. You can pick up a tome on Ancient Greek oenology or brush up on the latest information available on glass-blowing techniques in British Columbia. Located at Mandalay Bay, 3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd, be sure to stop into the Chocolate Swan and indulge. Then slip over to Giorgio Caffé & Ristorante. Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.
The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian is another themed shopping area with a wide variety of choices. Movado watch company offers fine timepieces not far from the elegant clothing at Ann Taylor’s. As the street performers entertain you, walk along the canal and listen the gentle sloshing of the gondolas transporting visitors along a half-mile journey. Take a ride yourself, then step off and do some window shopping. Enjoy the simulated St. Mark’s Square while you peruse the Venetian glass figurines, such as the exquisite hand-blown dolphins from Ripa de Monti. Go next door to Il Prato and pick out a delightful costume mask for the next royal ball. Select some fine stationary to make out invitations and get a personalized wax seal so the guests will know immediately from whom it came. Speaking of wax, be sure to check out the Madame Tussaud’s while you’re there.
For sheer size and number of stores, try the Desert Passage complex at the Aladdin. With 475,000 square feet of retail space, and over 130 stores, you’re bound to find something to please. While you’re there, check out the full-sized freighter anchored next to a North African dock. Casablanca never looked so intriguing. Stick around for dinner and go to the excellent New Orleans restaurant, Commander’s Palace. Crawfish to crawl for. Las Vegas has a dozen other shopping centers and hundreds of independent shops scattered over Fremont Street, The Strip and elsewhere. You’ll have to come several times just to pick your favorites. Take that afternoon plane and zoom in for a fun weekend where the shopping is no gamble.