Las Vegas, Nevada is a sprawling metropolis in the middle of a desert wasteland. Native Americans originally occupied the land; next, Europeans began to farm the area. Gambling was going on a long time before it was officially made legal in 1931. By 1945, casinos were in full-scale operation, shaping what many refer to today as America’s Sin City–a place where money talks and can make anything happen.
The city’s slogan may be ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,’ but by my observations, it seems like everyone lets it all hang out as photos get snapped and uploaded to various social media! Whatever pleasure or vice you want to experience, you can here–in excess. All around are flashing lights and outrageous sights. For instance within sixty seconds, I gazed into a taxi to see an eight-year-old man accompanied by a twenty-something-year-old woman with blond hair in a skimpy sequenced dress followed by a drunk Mickey and Minnie Mouse swerving on the sidewalk with over-sized drinks followed by a child collecting hooker cards of naked women he found on the ground. Ah yes, welcome to Vegas. This city is not for the timid nor the judgmental, so be prepare to be entertained because there’s no place like Las Vegas.
Whether it’s gambling, lounging, nightclubbing, dining, shopping or watching a show, everything is found in the casinos. The casinos are designed for people to meander through and get lost in; carpeted areas will slow down manual wheelchairs when there’s no marble, granite or wooden walkways. Most casinos have wheelchair accessible slot machines and table games. For assistance locating them, contact the casino manager. Furthermore, some casinos may not seem wheelchair accessible from the outside due to barriers but there are ramps into every casino, you just need to find them, and most of the time there are signs.
From Las Vegas’ beginnings, entertainment is a draw for visitors as is gambling. Today a plethora of shows are offered to meet the unique interests of every visitor who comes to Las Vegas. Get giggly at a comedy or hypnotist show, enjoy a world-class musical artist, or be dazzled at one of the many abstract Cirque du Soleil performances. The Blue Man Group has been a long-time Las Vegas favorite. You can also catch Broadway productions and plenty of erotic shows to tease the senses; some come and go while others may last forever like the Chippendales.
In addition to such shows, sporting events are also abundant. The Rio Casino hosts the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP). Fight nights are loved by boxing spectators and usually occur at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. During weekends where a fight, airplane flights and hotel prices increase but sidewalks still overflow with people. For boxing with fierce energy catch a UFC match; for a drama-filled match then go to the WWE Monday Night Raw.
You can watch either the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) or National Finals Rodeo (NFR) finals at the Thomas and Mack Center. These separate events mark the end of the season and a world champion is named. You can also find plenty of fast action on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There’s even female roller-derby, see what sports events are happening in Vegas. Test your speed diving a go-kart with hand-controls on a course designed by a professional at the Pole Position Raceway. Check out all the local sports happening in Las Vegas.
Additional indulgences in Las Vegas include spa treatments and shopping. Spa facilities are offered at the nicer casino/hotels, like the Bellagio, Mirage, Wynn, Caesars, Venetian, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Hard Rock, Cosmopolitan, and Rio. When booking an appointment, be sure to inquire if there is a table that automatically lowers and is working for the easiest transfer.
If you love shopping then Las Vegas is your dream mall. The premium shops at Caesars Palace and the Bellagio are very popular. More great shopping can be found at the Venetian and Paris. There’s even a mall and yes, more places to shop in Vegas. The outlets to the north and the south of the ship are nice too. The outlet to the north is more high-end. By the way, near the south outlet is a restaurant called Bootlegger’s Bistro where there’s a tasty menu and live music every night.
My personal favorite Las Vegas activity is lounging by the pool. There is yet to be a hotel I have found that doesn’t have have a pool. Each is very unique in design with lounge chairs and cabanas to hang out in. No modifications are made to the lounge chairs and cabanas. The lounge chairs are first-come-first-served; they usually fill up quickly after noon, so claim your spot early as possible. The cabanas and other VIP areas come with a pricy food and beverage minimum–$1,000 or more! Hotel pool areas do not allow outside food or beverages for “safety control” but real reason is so they can make money. Look for the gals in matching bikinis or guys in matching polo’s with nametags to take orders for food and beverages. As a paying guest of a hotel you can access the pool for free. You can pool-hop, but a visitor fee is likely required, especially on certain days or during a promotional event.
Hotels with a wheelchair accessible pool lift as of Spring 2012
- Aria: portable hydraulic lift with hard plastic chair with armrests
- Bally’s: stationary lift with hard plastic seat and armrests
- Bellagio: hammock-style seat at main pool and a ramp into the pool
- Cosmopolitan: a portable lift at each pool, battery-operated with remote. There is a hard plastic chair without armrests but a seat-belt can be added
- Excalibur: portable lift with a hard plastic chair
- Luxor: 1 portable and 1 stationary hydraulic lift with hard plastic chair and no armrests
- Monte Carlo: stationary hydraulic lift in first pool (the lagoon) with a hard plastic chair and footrests, no armrests
- Mandalay Bay: stationary hydraulic and portable with a hard plastic chair and armrests
- MGM Grand: a portable hydraulic lift with a soft plastic chair, no armrests
- Mirage: 2 stationary hydraulic lifts on either side of the pool with a hard plastic chair
- New York New York: new manual lift with plastic chair
- Paris: stationary, hydraulic powered lift with a hard plastic chair equipped with seat-belt, no armrests or footrest
- Plazzo: Portable, hydraulic lift with hard plastic chair, arm rests and a removal footrest
- Rio: portable lift with hard plastic chair
- Treasure Island: stationary hydraulic with hard plastic chair and armrests
- Venetian: 2 portable hydraulic lifts with hard plastic chairs (one has armrests)
- Wynn: portable, manual lift with a hammock-style seat
Hotels without wheelchair accessible pool lift as of Spring 2012
Palms Hotel — Hard Rock Hotel — Caesar’s Palace — Trump Towers — Circus Circus
Transportation in and around Las Vegas: Shuttles, Taxis and Wheeling
An accessible taxi may be the most convenient option for getting around and there are many to choose among. The Las Vegas Monorail is completely ADA compliant and operates between Sahara Avenue and the MGM Grand. The Airport Shuttle is an economical solution to get you to your hotel. When making a reservation, you MUST tell them if you are in wheelchair and require the vehicle with the lift. Tours around Vegas and to the Hoover Dam are also available through Airport Shuttle. Paratransit Service is also available in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Las Vegas Strip is where many of the most popular hotels are located. If staying somewhere on the strip, the most common way to travel is by wheeling yourself. The strip is completely flat. The sidewalk is well-maintained and is overall a smooth ride, except for a few small sections of cobblestones, such as near Caesar’s Palace. The walkways are often crowded in the evenings when the sun’s blaring rays have vanished, especially on weekends and national holidays. Some crosswalk intersections have curb cutouts that do not line up well.
You’ll also find elevated walkways, accessed via elevators, on the Las Vegas Strip between the New York-New York, the MGM Grand, the Excalibur and the Tropicana at Las Vegas Blvd. and Tropicana Avenue — and also between the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon and Bally’s at Las Vegas Blvd. and Flamingo Road. There are more elevated walkways from TI to Fashion Show, from Fashion Show to Wynn, from Wynn to Venetian, and from Venetian to TI. An elevated walkway is being installed between City Center and Planet Hollywood.
Wheelchair Rentals and Equipment
· Ability Center: (702) 434-3030
· Active Mobility: (702) 736-4399
· Better Life Mobility Center: (702) 876-9606
· Desert Medical Equipment: (702) 876-9171
· Las Vegas Wheelchairs: (888) 678-6267
· Medical N Mobility: (702) 233-3770
· Mesa Medical: (702) 263-8511
· Scootaround: (888) 441-7575
· Scooters4Less Inc.: (877) 524-5308
· Universal Mobility Equipment: (800) 852-3006
Non-Hotel Overnight Option:
Barrysvegascondo.com is just off the strip. Two bedrooms, hoyer lift, kitchen, private pool, etc. $90 per night. Berry rents out an adapted van for $30/day.
Accessible Restaurant Reviews:
Reviews of Las Vegas wheelchair accessible restaurants by local resident Fred McKay
RELATED READS: Las Vegas: A Local Perspective — Wheelchair Accessible Taxis in Las Vegas — Accessible Arizona Ranch and Riding — Go-Karts with Hand-Controls in LV — Visit the Hoover Dam — Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall