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Mugshot of Famous Las Vegas Mobster Bugsy Siegel

Where to Get a Las Vegas Mob History Lesson

Attribute: – Benjamin Siegel

Mobsters were violent, greedy criminals who took what they wanted and it didn’t matter the cost. They lived luxurious lives, sneaking behind the backs of good cops and paying off bad ones. These mafia crime lords were brilliant and reckless, paving the way for illegal operations of gambling, prostitution, and smuggling prohibited goods. As corrupt as the mafia was, we owe it to some of the (in)famous Las Vegas mobsters for making the city of Las Vegas what it is today.

Famous Las Vegas Mobsters & The Flamingo

There is a reason they call Las Vegas “Sin City”, and that reason dates all the way back to when the mob was in charge of things. Two of the most notorious mobsters responsible for making Las Vegas what it is today were Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and Meyer Lansky. In 1946, Meyer Lansky began showing interest in investing in Las Vegas casinos. He chose his pal, Bugsy Siegel, to oversee the construction process of the Valley’s first casino, The Flamingo.

Siegel came to Vegas with high hopes and wanted The Flamingo to be the finest building money could buy, but unfortunately, he got a little too carried away. As costs soared, his checks began bouncing. The Flamingo opened in 1946, but only the casino, lounge, restaurant, and theater were finished. Between construction noise, unfinished rooms, and the desert’s first air conditioning frequently failing, The Flamingo was losing money quickly. Although people attended the opening, they were welcomed by loud construction noises and unsightly drop cloths hanging from the ceilings. Gambling tables were operating, but the luxury hotel rooms for people to stay in were unfinished, leaving guests wary to stay the night.

Original 1946 Flamingo Hotel in Las VegasAttribute:

After two weeks, The Flamingo had $275,000 in losses and the entire operation shut down in late January, 1947. While other mob bosses wanted to “off” Siegel for losing so much of their money, Lansky begged them to give his friend a second chance – and they obliged. The Flamingo reopened in March of 1947. Siegel cracked down and did everything possible to turn the Flamingo into a success. With a little assistance from Lansky, The Flamingo finally began to earn some money. However, the profit was not enough for the mob bosses who Siegel borrowed money from, and they were tired of waiting.

The investors had made the final decision that Siegel was finished. On June 20, 1947, Bugsy Siegel was shot and killed in his home in Beverly Hills, California. On that night, an unknown assailant fired at him through the window with a .30 caliber military M1 carbine hitting him several times, including twice in the head. Just twenty minutes after Siegel’s death, Lansky’s associates walked into The Flamingo and took control of the hotel. No one was charged with killing Siegel, and the crime remains officially unsolved.

Where to Learn More about Las Vegas Mob History

The Mob Museum Las Vegas

Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky weren’t the only mobsters running amuck around the streets of Las Vegas. Plenty of gangs from New York and Chicago came flooding in to Las Vegas to grab hold of the potential our city possessed. Today, if you’re looking to find more information on the mafia groups that ran Sin City, what better place than the three-story Mob Museum located in Downtown Las Vegas?

Exterior View of Mob Museum Las VegasAttribute:

Just minutes from Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, you can immerse yourself in the history of organized crime from vintage Las Vegas. The Mob Museum Las Vegas is a restored courthouse from 1933 with interactive exhibits and actual artifacts with real stories about Las Vegas mob history and the events that took place. It’s the truest mob experience you could ask for without having to sleep with one eye open when you get home!

A Mob Story

If a museum isn’t quite what you came to Vegas for, then how about a show? The Plaza Hotel and Casino is featuring an original production called “A Mob Story” that entertains audiences through stunning choreography and visual effects influenced by gangsters and mob mistresses of the past that illustrates how the mob made Las Vegas with.

A Mob Story was created and directed by legendary producer, Emmy and Golden Globe award winner, Jeff Kutash and is narrated by “The Prince of the Mafia”, Michael Franzese. There are also special appearances from former mayor and mob attorney, Oscar Goodman. You can purchase your tickets here, and even upgrade to the Godfather Dinner & Show Package that offers menu items like skirt steak and Italian desserts.

Next time you are visiting Las Vegas, make some time for a history lesson. With perks such as a speakeasy and a steak dinner, it’s hard not to enjoy learning all about the Las Vegas mob history that shaped Sin City. We promise this will be a lesson worth taking!

Traditional Thanksgiving Feast with Fall Harvest

How to Plan a Las Vegas Thanksgiving Weekend

The wonderful thing about Thanksgiving is you don’t have to spend the holiday the exact way it’s glamorized on television shows and in movies. Thanksgiving is about celebrating the things you’re thankful for in life – and that doesn’t always need to include a cornucopian spread of multicolored gourds and fruit pies every year. Whether you have a large family, it’s just two of you, or you prefer a feast with your closest friends, Las Vegas is a great place to commemorate this wonderful “Fall-iday”!

Family Time

If you’ve chosen Vegas for your family Thanksgiving get-away, you can cross “cooking up a huge meal” off your list! Las Vegas might be the city of entertainment, but it takes a close second for great places to eat, and that doesn’t exclude Thanksgiving meals. Vegas hotels and casinos offer a plethora of buffets and gourmet restaurants that will leave you in a food coma and loosening your belt afterwards.

At Carmine’s, located at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, you can order a Las Vegas Thanksgiving feast for the whole family that includes an 18-pound roasted turkey, sausage and sage stuffing, cranberry sauce, a variety of vegetables, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and maple syrup, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a choice of pumpkin, pecan, or apple pie for dessert. This option is perfect for families of six to eight. The best part is, you can sightsee the Strip while burning off the Thanksgiving Day carbs!

Couple Taking Thanksgiving Hike on Mt. Charleston

Just the Two of Us

Just because you came to the desert for Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to miss out on some beautiful fall scenery. Just 20 minutes north of Las Vegas, Mt. Charleston has colorful forests, plentiful wildlife, and cozy lodges to make your get-away holiday as charming as ever. What better way to embrace thankfulness for your loved one than to walk side by side on beautiful trails lined with scenic views and cascading waterfalls?

You can stop and enjoy a Thanksgiving picnic or even explore the terrain by horseback. Perhaps even spend your Thanksgiving evening warm and toasty in a cozy cabin. Once you visit Mt. Charleston, you’ll have one more item to add to your list of things you’re thankful for.


If you and a group of your closest pals opted for a “Friendsgiving” in Vegas this year, then why not go big? Big entertainment, big drinks, big city lights, big fun – you can find all this in classic Downtown Las Vegas! Book a room at Golden Gate and you’ll be close to all the action for your Friendsgiving celebration. Golden Gate’s penthouses are perfect for group get-togethers, equipped with a kitchen to snack on your Thanksgiving fixings and three giant flat-screen TV’s so there’s no arguing between watching the parade or the football game.

Golden Gate’s penthouses also include a large outdoor patio with lounge seating, a gas grill, a full wet bar, and a 50-inch flat-screen TV. When you’re not celebrating in your brag-worthy penthouse, you can take a zipline ride on Slotzilla or stroll under the massive Fremont St. LED canopy. A Friendsgiving like this would definitely be one-of-a-kind!

Friends Black Friday Shopping at Vegas Outlet Mall

Black Friday Shopping

Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without a little competitive shopping the next day, which is why Vegas is the perfect place to visit during this holiday. Once your food has digested and you’re well rested from all the excitement, Sin City offers several places to score some shopping deals. With one location near Downtown and another just south of the Strip, Las Vegas’ Premium Outlets are your one-stop-shops to fulfill all your gift ideas without emptying your wallet.

With stores like Michael Kors, Converse, Lucky, Perfumania, and Saks Fifth Avenue, you’ll be able to find something for everyone on your list at not only Black Friday prices, but outlet Black Friday prices. Make sure to bring an extra suitcase to take home all your goodies!

A traditional Thanksgiving is lovely, but it’s completely okay to deviate from the norm from time to time. Because of the endless entertainment, beautiful weather, and delectable restaurants, Las Vegas is a fantastic place to visit year-round. With a little creativity, you can make your Las Vegas Thanksgiving weekend an exciting, stress-free Thanksgiving tradition!

Kids playing in an indoor playground

Fun Things to Do in Las Vegas with Kids

To an outsider, Las Vegas might seem like an “adults only” playground. What we see from movies and TV doesn’t really give off a sense of family living. However, Vegas has no shortage of entertainment, and that goes for the kiddos too! The Valley is actually chock-full of activities for families with children.

With farm animals and mermaids and everything in between, this list of kid-friendly fun guarantees a good time without hurting your budget!

Play Inside

When temperatures are at their peak here in Vegas, it’s not much fun going to a park where playground surfaces are too hot to touch, let alone slide down or swing on. Fortunately, some desert geniuses developed indoor playgrounds and there are several to choose from! A local favorite is Adventure Indoor Playground because it has everything! Giant spinning octopus to climb on? Check! Interactive light-up floor games? Check! Slides, jungle gyms, swings, and face painters? Check, check, check, check! The staff is always friendly, they offer space for birthday parties, and it’s only $10 per child! You can even leave and come back later that same day. Just make sure you and your kids have socks and prepare yourself for hours of air-conditioned entertainment.

Young kids enjoying aquarium in Las Vegas

How about taking your kids somewhere that almost no other place in the nation offers? Imagine seeing their faces light up when they look in a huge tank full of beautiful fish and stingrays and see … a mermaid! As unbelievable as it sounds, it’s totally true and you can find it at The Silverton Hotel and Casino. Start your under-the-sea adventure by walking through the Bass Pro Shop that is attached to the casino. They have several water features and fish tanks to check out. When you reach the casino, you can’t miss the huge 117,000-gallon reef aquarium tank and all its glory. It houses more than 4,000 tropical fish and several different species of stingrays and sharks. To catch the mermaid show, head to the aquarium during these times:

Thursday: 12:00 – 1:15 pm; 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm; 5:00 pm – 8:15 pm
Friday: 12:00 – 1:15 pm; 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm; 5:00 pm – 8:15 pm
Saturday: 12:00 – 1:15 pm; 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm; 5:00 pm – 8:15 pm
Sunday: 10:30 am – 12:45 pm; 2:00 pm – 3:45 pm; 5:00 pm – 6:45 pm

Your kids will be in awe as they watch a beautiful, real-life mermaid wave at them, blow bubble kisses, and interact with their sea friends!

Explore Outside

The heat is still on right now but with fall right around the corner, there are some great outdoor options for you and your family to consider. What about a trip to a fruit-filled orchard without having to sit in the car for too long? Vegas has it! The Gilcrease Orchard is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday from 7:00 am until 12:00 pm. Grab some comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty and get to pickin’! The available produce depends on the time of year, but there is always a good variety to choose from. You can’t beat the memories you’ll make with your kids as you lift them up to pick fresh apples from a tree or watch them giggle as they pull carrots right out of the ground. Be sure to visit Gilcrease during the Halloween season, too! You can bring your own wagon or use one of the wheelbarrows provided to try to fit as many pumpkins, in all sorts of fun shapes, sizes, and colors, as you can inside. Afterwards, grab a jug of their famous hot apple cider and homemade donuts. This is a tradition you’ll be taking your family to again and again, and it’s right in our backyard!

Little boy picking apples in an orchard

If you enjoy getting outdoors and discovering the surprises the Valley has to offer, you’ll be happy to know that you can also take your kids to a local ranch! The McKee Ranch Foundation has a little bit of everything, including two playgrounds, a teepee, hayrides, a hay pyramid for climbing, tons of antique decorations to look at and, of course, farm animals! You and your kiddos can walk along and pet the free-roaming goats, chickens and rabbits or bring a bag of carrots and leafy greens to feed the horses and Duncan the Donkey! If there isn’t a special event happening, it’s free to get in, but they do accept donations that go directly toward the care of the animals. The McKee Ranch is an amazing opportunity to be around animals and show your children how you can help your local community.

Don’t let the media fool you. Vegas may be known for its adult nightlife, but locals will tell you that our amazing city is perfect for families! A little creativity goes a long way for children, but remember that no matter what you’re doing as a family, your kids will appreciate the memories you make together for years to come.

Woman Taking in View of Mt. Charleston on Way to Vegas

Road Trip to Vegas: Mt. Charleston to Las Vegas

Road Trip Series

Not far from the shining lights of Las Vegas is the serene nature of Mt. Charleston. Elevated 7500 feet in the Spring Mountains is one of Nevada’s beautiful natural spots filled with hiking trails, skiing (in the right season), lower temperatures, and more. Mount Charleston is the highest point in Clark County, and is a great place to start or continue your road trip to Las Vegas if you are traveling from the north. This short and sweet road trip would even be nice in reverse if you have a day to spare while visiting Vegas!

Pack your bags, rally the troops, and fill the tank, because we have all the recommendations to have the best Mount Charleston to Las Vegas road trip.

The Logistics: Route, Drive Time & Traffic

The drive to Las Vegas from Mount Charleston is short, sweet, and scenic. You will mainly drive on the NV-157 E and US-95 S to get to Sin City from the mountains. The drive is 40 miles and takes approximately 45 minutes, depending on factors like traffic, weather, and which area of the Spring Mountains you start in. This route is fairly direct, giving you plenty of time to stop and take in the beautiful views while relaxing at some pit stops on your road trip to Las Vegas. Because Mt. Charleston is in the mountainous region, pay close attention to your weather forecast before hitting the road, and make sure there are no natural happenings that may cause road blockages or unsafe driving conditions.

Because weekends are the most popular for road trips, factor in extra drive time for situations such as traffic jams. Allow for longer drive times if you plan on traveling during the holidays or when there are big Las Vegas events. If possible, leave on a less-popular day like Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday to avoid heavy traffic getting in to Las Vegas – no matter where you’re driving from, the traffic is sure to pick up closer to the city.

Mt. Charleston to Las Vegas stops in a gif.

Mt. Charleston to Las Vegas Road Trip Stops

Mary Jane Falls | 40 Miles to Vegas

A little hike from the peak of Mt. Charleston is Mary Jane Falls, where beautiful year-round water from two springs flows down the cliffs. The trail is approximately 2.5 miles there and back, so bring your hiking gear and get some fresh air!

Cathedral Rock | 40 Miles to Vegas

Another trail to consider before continuing your road trip to Vegas is the Cathedral Rock trailhead. Take a 2.7-mile hike through the white fir, ponderosa, and aspen while taking in sights of the waterfall and the beautiful Cathedral Rock.

Mt. Charleston Lodge | 40 Miles to Vegas

One last stop while still atop Mount Charleston is the Mt. Charleston Lodge. Grab a bite to eat from one of their expansive menus, listen to some live music on the weekends, and explore the nearby nature with seasonal activities.

Silent Heroes of the Cold War National Memorial | 35 Miles to Vegas

When heading toward Las Vegas from Mount Charleston, make a stop to the Silent Heroes of the Cold War National Memorial to pay your respects to fallen heroes who fought in secrecy against the backdrop of the Nevada mountains.

Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway | 35 Miles to Vegas

A visitor center might not seem like the most exciting Vegas road trip stop, but the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway is an exception. Have a picnic and visit the Seven Stones Plaza that celebrates the seven indigenous Southern Paiute tribes.

The Slots of Lower Kyle Canyon | 31 Miles to Vegas

Once again, lace up your hiking boots for another trail! The Slots is a trail located off of the 157-E and leads you through unusual rock formations in the Nevada desert. A round trip is approximately 4.5 miles, so remember to stay hydrated.

Big Dog’s Brewing Company | 12 Miles to Vegas

Speaking of staying hydrated, grab a drink at Big Dog’s Brewing Company. This brewery is located just outside of Vegas and is a great place to stop before hitting the Vegas crowds. Don’t drink and drive, and enjoy that brew responsibly!

Lorenzi Park | 5 Miles to Vegas

Opened in 1926, Lorenzi Park is one of the oldest parks in Las Vegas. With only 5 miles left to Golden Gate, take a break and enjoy one of the many park amenities, from tennis courts to picnic areas to children’s water play areas.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum | 1 Mile to Vegas

Before you make history in Vegas, see some natural history at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. The only thing wilder than you in Vegas are the exhibits on prehistoric life, Ancient Egypt, the African Savanna, aquatic life, and more!

The Mob Museum | 0.5 Miles to Vegas

Some history lessons are much more recent than the prehistoric times. Make a stop at the Mob Museum to learn about the not-so-distant past of Las Vegas, and grab yourself a drink at the distillery or speakeasy while you’re at it.

Some say life isn’t only about the destination, it’s about the journey. If you’re planning your next trip to Las Vegas, consider hitting the road and making an adventure out of it.

Newly engaged couple kissing and announcing their engagement through photos.

The 7 Best Places to Take Engagement Photos Throughout Las Vegas

If you and your loved one have officially decided to tie the knot, congrats! Getting married is an exciting event for both of you and your family and friends would love nothing more than to see photos of the happy, soon-to-be-married couple.

Taking engagement photos is a great way to announce the news to the world and capture lasting memories. If you’re lucky enough to be in the Las Vegas area when taking your engagement photos, there are plenty of places that provide perfect backdrops for you and your loved one to show off your new status.

Read on for a few of the best places to capture your engagement pictures in Las Vegas:

Red Rock Canyon

Las Vegas is located in the middle of the gorgeous desert, so take advantage of this backdrop at Red Rock Canyon. The rocks are gorgeous all day long. The sunset brings the sun’s rays closer, allowing them to play with the hues of the rocks and reflect brilliant colors, while the daytime hours elicit expansive views of soft pastels.

Seven Magic Mountains

In May of 2016, Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone opened Seven Magic Mountains, one of the most adored large-scale art exhibits near Las Vegas. The exhibit consists of seven rock formations, all featuring an array of colors from bright blues to eye-catching oranges. The formations make the perfect photo backdrop for newly-engaged couples. Make sure to wear basic, neutral colors so the colors of the art installation can pop.

The Seven Magic Mountains art installation in Las vegas in front of a mountain view. attribute: Seven Magic Mountains

Neon Museum

The Neon Museum is perfect if you want to celebrate Las Vegas’ past while you look forward to your future. The Museum is packed with vintage neon signs that create a charming setting for your engagement photos. The best part about having your engagement shoot in the Neon Museum is that every angle features different colors and views, so every photo will be unique.

Mt. Charleston

A visit to Mt. Charleston will leave you breathless, which is why it comes highly recommended for wedding and engagement photos. No matter which season you take your photos, Mt. Charleston is sure to present a gorgeous backdrop of bright white snow, picturesque grasses, and brilliant desert foliage.

An expansive view of Mount Charleston with clouds. attribute:

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign

Since its placement in 1959, the Welcome to Las Vegas sign has been a staple for visitors and residents alike to show off our famous city. Take a few photos under the iconic sign to show that your marriage will stand the test of time, just like this landmark.

Container Park

The downtown Container Park features converted shipping containers that now house retail spaces, restaurants, and music venues. The space has a quirky, unique feel, perfect for fresh engagement photo ideas. Your photos will be unlike those of anyone else in this vibrant, creative space. Plus, you can indulge in some locally renowned cuisine once you’ve built up an appetite.

A view of the downtown Container Park in Las Vegas from above. attribute: Downtown Container Park

Cleveland Clinic

Although the Cleveland Clinic is a medical institution, the exterior of the building is a breathtaking work of art. As an architectural marvel, The Cleveland Clinic is sure to spark many creative engagement shoot ideas and result in some awe-striking shots. The dramatic silhouettes and sharp contrasts of the building add drama and quirkiness to the photos.

Las Vegas is full of amazing photo opportunities that will help capture memorable photos of you and your loved one. Whether you want to be surrounded by nature or engulfed in famous works of art, Las Vegas has the shot you’re looking for.