Hollywood legends aside, the Flamingo was not actually the first casino hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard. But mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel did jump-start the modern Strip with this pink neon–bedecked jewel, which opened in 1946. Despite its slightly bedraggled feathers, the Flamingo’s casino is always jam-packed with slot jockeys, craps players, and women of ahem, loose morals on the prowl. All so apropos for this vintage Vegas slice of gangster Americana.
Shows by comedy headliners and musical icons are the entertainment staple here. Join the Parrotheads at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville casino, bar, and grill, where you can gape at blenders of margaritas overflowing like Polynesian volcanoes, or grab some fish tacos while you rock out to 1980s hair bands at campy Carlos ‘n’ Charlie’s Mexican cantina. Out behind the casino, breathe easy as you stroll through a free wildlife habitat (with real flamingos), ringed by tropical gardens and pools.
As for hotel rooms, it’s worth upgrading to a renovated GO room, but the newly redone FAB rooms aren’t very fabulous, to tell the truth. Still, the mid-Strip location can’t be beat.
The Flamingo has its own monorail station out back.