I have been traveling to Las Vegas from my home in Colorado for over 40 years and have loved almost every minute of every trip. I have given myself the benefit of the doubt when determining how much I know of the hotels, the restaurants, the attractions and even the history of this one-of-a-kind city, and after reading Mr. Sehlinger’s book, The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas 2015, I have to say I really don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did (Or maybe things change so frequently in Vegas, I just have to make more trips so I stay in the loop better).
There is much to like about this book, and quite a bit that seems redundant, but overall I am glad I have it in my bookcase…. I might not take it on my trip with me because it is over 500 pages, but as a research tool it is a great “buy” for the right person.
My familiarity with the “Unofficial Guide” series of books is limited so I don’t have much to compare to vs. other editions of this title (or their Disney series either), but if they are all comparable to this one I would have to say that while readers may sometimes be overwhelmed by the amount of information contained within the covers, the contributors must surely be overwhelmed by the amount of research they have done. This book has so much information in it as to sometimes be intimidating, and updated versions may be a valued purchase if for no other reason than Las Vegas, in particular, seems to change substantially from year to year and the in-depth information contained in the book must change as well.
The typeface is small, there are dozens of charts and maps (some saying the same things in several different ways), and so many details that I was sometimes wondering if the author is more interested in showing off his word craft (or count), maybe just has ADHD, or is truly so excited about this destination that he (and his editors?) just don’t know when to stop. One thing in particular that I find might be helpful should I live in Vegas, as opposed to just visiting there, is the multiple paragraphs on how to manage traffic; so in depth that unless you are VERY familiar with the area you are more likely to be more confused after reading those descriptions than you would be frustrated by just paying your taxi bill to get you where you need to go.
Sections on entertainment have many options for finding the best “deals” on shows as well as how to dress and even answer the conundrums regarding maître d’ seating and valet parking. There are in-depth descriptions of almost every show playing at any given time but unless you want to read through the eighty (yes 80!) pages of show information it might be a good idea for you to check the internet FIRST to see who is playing on the nights you will be available so as to narrow down your research – no need to spend your time reading about what shows to see when there are so many other ways to be entertained.
There are sections on gambling, including “how-to” guides; golf; shopping; spas; outdoor recreation; and attractions sure to please everyone in your party. The dining guide is over 70 pages with descriptions, rankings, even suggestions on where to eat with a “view”.
Bottom line for me with this book is that it has a LOT of great information that I will likely never read. I love that it looks like it is impeccably researched, and is conveniently located all in one place unlike the myriad places on the internet. But, honestly, more than half the fun of visiting Las Vegas is exploring and taking full advantage of the “gamble” of finding great things to enjoy on your own. If you have never been, are on a limited budget or time frame, or just feel more comfortable knowing everything about a destination before you experience it, then buy the book. If you would rather spend your time living than reading about it… buy a ticket!
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was given to Carrie with the expectation that a fair and honest review would be written of it.