Nearly 40 million people visit Las Vegas each year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau. Approximately 87 percent of them throw at least one coin in a slot machine. As exciting as Vegas casinos can be, the city offers much more -- celebrity-studded nightclubs, world-class restaurants and lavish hotel/casinos. Below is just a sampling of the best Las Vegas has to offer:
The best places to gamble
Vegas offers myriad places to gamble, from lavish casinos to local gambling halls. Increase your odds of striking it rich by learning how to play the more complex games. Although there is some element of luck involved, you have much better odds if you learn how the games work and what to look for. There are many additional resources available for learning about how to sharpen your gambling skills, and you can find that info here.
• Bellagio -- Named the number one casino in Las Vegas by AOL.com, the elegant Bellagio Hotel has more than 2,300 slot machines, a separate poker room, all the popular table games and a sports book.
• MGM Grand -- The largest casino in Las Vegas, the MGM features more than 3,500 slot machines and 165 table games. There's also a poker room, high-stakes area and sports book.
• Luxor -- Located at the south end of the Strip, this Egyptian-themed casino has 1,300 slot machines in denominations ranging from one cent to $100, table games and a poker room that offers free lessons.
The best places to party with the stars
Vegas nightclubs are famous for hosting Hollywood's hottest young stars. If you want to party with the stars, check out these three clubs:
• Marquee Day Club and Night Club at the Cosmopolitan -- One of the hippest clubs in Vegas, according to "USA Today," the 60,000-square foot Marquee has attracted such notables as Jay-Z and Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Bradley Cooper.
• XS at the Encore -- Named the number one club in the country by "Nightclub and Bar" magazine, XS is also a popular spot with the Hollywood crowd. Recent guests at the sophisticated nightclub have included Prince Harry and will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas.
• 1OAK at The Mirage -- Kim Kardashian and Kanye West hosted the 2012 New Year's Eve party at this popular Vegas dance club. Other celebrities who have danced the night away here include Leonardo DiCaprio, John Legend and Paris Hilton.
Where to dine in Vegas
Gone are the days when eating in Vegas meant grabbing a sandwich at an all-night coffee shop or standing in a long line at the buffet. Today, the giant playground we call Vegas attracts some of the best chefs from all over the world. A list of Vegas' top restaurants can fill a book in itself. However, we particularly like these three:
• Picasso at the Bellagio Hotel -- This elegant eatery is named for the original art that adorns the walls. But the food is what you'll remember about Picasso. The fare is a mixture of continental and American cuisine good enough to have earned the restaurant a five diamond Mobil rating for 12 years running. And, if that's not enough, you can see the spectacular fountain show while you dine.
• Le Provençal at Paris Las Vegas -- The tastes of southern France at medium prices gained this restaurant a spot on Epicurious' best affordable Vegas restaurant list. The menu features things like bouillabaisse and clams Nicoise. There are even singing waiters and a sidewalk cafe.
• Firefly -- This affordable restaurant has four outlets around Vegas, so you're never far away from their Mediterranean small plates (most of which are priced under $5.) The mini-chain was named one of the best cheap restaurants in Vegas by CheapoVegas.com.