25 years of aging sure has changed Las Vegas. Well after 25 years away, we decided to go back to our old stomping grounds for our 30th anniversary. We got in around 2pm on 3/17 and left about 330pm on 3/22. Stayed at mgm, had the celebrity suite for 1st night and the marquee suite for the rest of the stay.(long story about how we go the marquee, but bottom line is it was due to an mgm error and the way the world is today) Marquee had more square footage than our house but in Las Vegas all I care about is a nice clean room with a bed and shower. Weather was great 75-80 during day, mid 50's at night. Ok Now I'l compare to the old days to the current times. Transportation The old days we just rented a car and cruised up and down the strip without a problem usually, if we ran into traffic we cut over to paradise and sailed along. Always used valet except at Stardust because parking was closer to the sports book than valet. Now we went on the monorail for a day. It was ok to go to the Hilton, the other stops we used we quite a hike to the casinos. Monorail was clean and not crowded. Saw the double decker buses on the strip and realized that wasn't my cup of tea. They looked crowded and seemed to sit at stops for long periods of time. Streets were busy and congested, alot of the pedestrian crowding was due to construction that took up sidewalk space. Also at these construction sites the groups of the card slapping pimps was a major turn off. Cobble stone sidewalks by some hotels are very cute but hard on the legs. We had to use the overhead walkways which I understand are a necessity due to traffic but add a ton of wasted steps. Broken escalators seemed to be to prevalent also. We rented a car for 2days, traffic was bad on the strip but if you get to the highways they were great compared to what I'm used to here in Chicago. Sports Books I play the horses and will bet on sports so this is very important to me. Back in our 1st trips there were no race books in casinos. There were a couple stand alone books, Churchill downs and the Rose bowl were the ones I would go to. No video, all you got was the made up call of the race by the announcer at the book. Wagers were not parimutuel and maximum payouts were set so you had to be careful not to bet too long of a shot in the gimmicks or you'd get screwed. Then the stardust race and sports book opened, it was great. Huge board, cushioned seats and cocktail service. Soon after other followed the stardusts lead and we then got to like the Union Plaza downtown to play the horses. Now they are in every house, some bigger and better than others. I played at the Hilton one day it was big but kinda dirty. We went Red Rock, Green Valley which were both very nice. But my favorite was the Orleans. Not that crowded and I was there on friday, great drink service and a nice hot dog cart with vienna dogs for a buck. Definitely my favorite book. The worst book was Mgm, so small for the size of the hotel, it appears by its location that it was an after thought. At 8am on thurs and fri there was a line from the book to the escalators by the lion habitat for making bets on the ncaa games. Not a good place to stay if you are into horses or sports. Hotels Back in the day the hotels were more spread apart, the signs stood out, the driveways were long, the entrances with usually carpeted with personnel there to open the door for you. One used to be in awe of the view coming up to Caesars from blocks away. Most of the hotels were set back. Now they are all jammed close together, some are very beautiful but being so close together takes away the awe aspect. Driveways on the side of the hotel takes something away from making a grand entrance. No door men opening doors makes it feel like going to shopping center rather than a grand hotel. Casinos In the olden times the "real" Mgm was the 1st to have the gigantic casino. The crystal chandeliers were my wifes favorite. I remember once I was in the casino at 5am and they were washing the chandeliers, a tarp was strung under the chandeliers to catch the water while a jet spray cleaned them, it was cool. But most casinos were small and not so impersonal. You could walk into the Sands and see all the tables. See all the change girls scurry around the machines, hear the cigarette girls selling smokes, hears the roulette ball spinning and the number being called, hear the clanking of coins, the only music you heard was if the a lounge show was by the casino, the dealers were dressed well except in the Hilton where my comment was "Damn, they are wearing gas station shirts." All dealers were extremely well groomed also. Now most casinos are huge and are laid out to get you lost. Some are very elegant eg: Wynn but the the one that stood out for me was Paris. The ceiling was spectacular and made it different from the rest. Canned music in a casino I guess now is the norm as it is in sporting events. Thats not for me. I greatly miss the sounds of coins from the machines and hearing the other casino sounds that I recognize from the past. I don't play the tables often but my wife plays blackjack. She was extremely annoyed how they changed the rules of the game to benefit the casino more. We did not see any casino that had 3/2 BJ and stick on soft 17. I do understand that the MIT card counting boys have hit the casinos but damn that could eliminated just by lowering a max bet at the lower limit tables. I was intrigued by the ONE horse racing game I saw which was at the mgm. But it was always filled with college kids. Eats We never were into the fancy eating places in Vegas because if we want to do that there are tons of them here at home. We used to just get a buffet or two, coffee shops, Tower Of Pizza, a shrimp cocktail at the Alladin, 99 cent breakfast late night at Holiday Inn next to IP. Now the coffee shops are 13 bucks for a hamburger, no cheap shrimp cocktails or cheap breakfasts on the strip, buffets are mostly high line foods and kinda pricey, no good pizza places (Chicagoans are very picky about their pizza). So this what we did. We had the steak special at Ellis for lunch one day, had a lunch buffet at Green Valley for $8 after 2-1 coupon, breakfast buffet at Orleans for $6 2-1 coupon, ate one night at Don Vitos at South Point (decent reasonably priced and large portions), went In N Out burger, ok but doesn't compare with Steak n Shake. Ate in mgm "coffee" shop, I got an $25 entertainment coupon with room. A blt and hamburger for $30, no drinks. A couple $1 vienna dogs from cart at Orleans. We had fish and chips at Fulton Street Market in New York for $7 each, large portion and good quality. Vegas Clientele Way back when you never saw children in vegas. Everyone dressed up at night but didn't wear shorts and jeans during day. Now I see young kids 1-6 years of age in strollers, 6-16 year olds looking like "What can I do here?" I don't get bringing kids there, it might be ok in summer but I can't see kids hanging around the pool for 10 hours in 110 heat. Maybe there are things for kids there that I didn't see, all I saw was the lion habitant (any local zoo would be better than that) and gameworks (which is in a suburban shopping ceter here). Clubs. I notice alot of clubs for the younger people. It is nice to see young people dressed up. Once on the trip my wife was at a table and I was just walking around. I saw a long line of young people waiting in line to get into a club. Then I see a guy from the club walk the line and pull out selected girls and bring them to the front of the line. I watch the girls faces that were not pulled out, it was really sad. That really sucks, I felt like walking up to them and telling them how cute they were but having a 54 year old man come up to them and saying that would be more depressing than not getting picked. Final Thoughts I am glad I saw the Las Vegas of today. Will We ever return? I don't know. But if we do return it would be to Green Valley, Red Rock, South Point, or Orleans. We will rent a car for the whole trip. Finally, I have to thank this message board and all the wonderful helpful people that answered all my questions. Thank you so much. One more thing I forgot, The 2 days we had a car, I stopped at Sonic across from the Palms for a cherry limeaid as a traveler, Those are outstanding.