Planning a trip to Las Vegas? We all recognize that it can be almost too easy at times to give into the excitement and temptations of gambling in a Las Vegas casino, but believe it or not, this city, which was built on dreams of riches, is becoming increasingly less involved with gambling. Now considered the entertainment capital of the world, it is at the center of the world's finest dining, shopping, nightlife, and extravagant getaways.

Of course, Las Vegas was not always the beautiful tourist magnet it is today. The city issued its first gambling license in 1931 to the Northern Club on Fremont Street, and in 1941, the El Rancho Vegas became the first resort on what is known today as the Las Vegas Strip. The rising city was also heavily influenced by organized crime. Famously recognized gangsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky built The Flamingo in 1946, which brought attention to several organized crime leaders of the potential profits in gambling. During the post war era multiple casinos and resorts, including The Sands, The Sahara, Binion's Horseshoe, and The Rivera, were established and still exist today, although they are no longer in the hands of organized crime.

By the 1950's, famous stars such as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra helped expand the cities entertainment realm by bringing in more tourists from around the world. Today, numerous singers and comedians perform live on a daily basis, and several fights, shows and exhibits can be seen.

As the city grew into the 1960's and 70's, government agencies began laying down regulations to cut down on organized crime, which allowed the city to go corporate. In 1989, Steve Wynn used Wall Street money for the first time to build The Mirage. This established the present mega resort era, which now fuels the Las Vegas economy. It is at these mega resorts where millions of visitors per year enjoy their stay in luxurious hotels with every amenity available. In fact, nineteen of the world's largest twenty-five hotels reside on the 3.8 mile Las Vegas strip, which is notoriously now known for its unique and extravagant architecture. Only in Las Vegas can you visit the Eiffel Tower at Paris, visit Caesar's empire at Caesar's Palace, see a volcano at The Mirage, explore an Egyptian pyramid at Luxor, or enjoy a gondola ride through the Great Canal of The Venetian within the same day.

The Las Vegas Strip also provides one of the best shopping experiences in the world. The competition between each mega resort provides a top quality luxurious experience, but the 634,000 square feet Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace blows them all away with 160 stores and 13 gourmet restaurants. While shopping or walking down the strip, you can find bars serving large margaritas and other alcoholic beverages. Yes! You can drink in public, so go for it! Just make sure you don't get carried away too early because Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps! You definitely do not want to be passed out drunk at your hotel room. Las Vegas is home to some of the most extravagant nightclubs and celebrity hot spots in the world such as Rain at The Palms, Tao at the Venetian, XS at Encore, and Pure at Caesars Palace.

So...what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas right? Not really. One thing that won't stay is your newly wed if you happen to be one of the 150,000 marriages that occur each year in the numerous themed chapels. Remember what happened to Britney Spears?

Fine Dining can also be enjoyed at restaurants such as Fleur De Lys at the Mandalay Bay with Chef Hubert Keller, Chef Thomas Keller's Bouchon at the Venetian, and Olives by Chef Todd English at Bellagio. In addition to these listed, there are several other world famous chefs preparing exquisite global cuisines at top scale restaurants.

You can do almost anything in Las Vegas. Beyond the strip lies open space. Literally. If your pockets are deep enough, you can actually experience what it is like being inside of a space shuttle. Zero G, a company that uses zero gravity inside of a Boeing 727 plane, will take you for a 90 minute outer space experience for $3,500. They even alter the gravitational balance to create a replica of the atmosphere of Mars and the moon, so you can experience weightless floating at each of the different planets. They even serve astronaut food! Now what if you actually were in outerspace? You can still experience Las Vegas! The Luxor is one of the four largest pyramids in the world, and its spotlight, located on top, beams directly upward into space. It is the brightest beam in the world with 42 billion candle power and can be seen from outer space.

Clearly Las Vegas has become more than just the gambling capital of the world. It has become the entertainment capital as well. From show seeing to shopping, and fine dining to space dining, Las Vegas has it all. So go ahead and book your next vacation to Las Vegas!