Best bets from your local chairmen

By: Michael Thomas, MD, and Michael Bradford, MD

By Michael Thomas, MD, and Michael Bradford, MD

It’s been 20 years since the Academy meeting was held in Las Vegas—and much has changed! To enhance your Las Vegas experience, we share our “best bets” for dining, sightseeing, shows, and show-stoppers. Enjoy fabulous Las Vegas!

Michael Thomas, MD

Michael Bradford, MD

Sights not to miss

Bellagio Fountains and Conservatory—Our personal Strip favorite; refreshing and free.

Sirens of Treasure Island—Also free; music, dance, excitement, and seduction with four shows nightly. May be cancelled if too windy.

For more free shows, tours, attractions, and exhibits, visit

The Bellagio Fountains

Places to eat

You can find anything you want—at any price. Here are a few of our favorites: Dos Caminos at the Palazzo (good, affordable Mexican food); Spago at Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops; the buffet at the Wynn; Emeril’s at the MGM Grand; Nobu at the Hard Rock (sushi); Red Square at Mandalay Bay where you can sit at an icebar and borrow a Russian fur to wear while sipping your vodka; and Samosa Factory, off the Strip at 4604 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 6 (702-258-9196), a mom-and-pop Indian eatery.

Family fun

Pole Position Raceway is a great indoor go-kart experience; shuttles are available from some hotels. The Flamingo Hotel Wildlife Habitat features live flamingoes and other fowl, fish, and turtles. The Adventuredome Theme Park at Circus Circus is America’s largest indoor theme park. Get out to Springs Preserve to enjoy gardens, trails, and desert history (admission fee charged).

It’s showtime!

Las Vegas is famous for its shows, including Jersey Boys at the Palazzo (the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons with great music); Cher at the Colosseum—Caesar’s Palace; illusionist Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo; and the Cirque du Soleil shows—O with its multimillion dollar stage, Ka with a stage that goes vertical, and our favorite, Love, with songs of John, Paul, George, and Ringo that starts slow but finishes strong.


The Tao at the Venetian is not for those who want a low-decibel, low-cost dance experience. But the hip and wanna-be hipsters with deep pockets will enjoy it.


Most hotels on the Strip offer excellent spa facilities including the well-regarded Canyon Ranch Spa Club at the Venetian, host hotel for the Academy meeting. A noteworthy spa off the strip is the Imperial Spa on East Sahara Avenue (not to be confused with The Spa at Imperial Palace). It’s a beautiful Asian/Korean spa with a wide variety of moderately priced services and separate areas for men and women.

What the locals know

  • Valet parking is free just about everywhere, but tips are de rigueur.
  • It’s a desert, so drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
  • Just a short taxi ride from the Strip is Chinatown, with plenty of good Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Malaysian food.
  • Gambling is entertainment. Pick a game that’s fun for you, set a limit, and walk away amused.
  • Ask about discounts or VIP packages (which may include drinks and a peek behind the scenes) for shows.