The Department of Music at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is delighted to host the 2014 conference of the North American British Music Studies Association. As a member of the faculty at UNLV and local arrangements liaison for the conference, I look forward to welcoming NABMSA’s members and friends to our campus this summer.
The information that follows may help you plan your visit and ensure that you enjoy your time in Las Vegas. In addition, you should also read UNLV’s very helpful Guest Arrival Information.
For attendees who elect to stay off-campus, three hotel options near campus are especially convenient and recommended.
4520 Paradise Road
Tel: +1 702-369-3366
Fax: +1 702-369-0009
A block of twenty rooms will be held for the nights of July 31 through August 2 for NABMSA attendees; reservations can be made at the special rate of $92 per night. Instructions for making reservations can be found here.
This hotel is on the west side of the UNLV campus, an approximately 25–30 minute walk to the Music building (HFA). A 25–30 minute walk across campus in summer is challenging; car transportation may be advisable. The hotel is a very standard mid-range hotel, frequently used by campus visitors. It is convenient not only to campus, but to several restaurants, including the facilities of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which are a block away.
375 E. Harmon Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Hotel Direct: 702-796-3300
This hotel is on the west side of the UNLV campus, approximately a 30–35 minute walk to the Music building. A 30–35 minute walk across campus in summer is very challenging; car transportation may be advisable. The hotel is apparently entirely non-smoking, which may be an important consideration for some attendees (smoking is prevalent in public, non-dining areas of many casino hotels in Las Vegas; higher-end hotels will have better ventilation systems that minimize the impact of smoking; non-smoking rooms are, of course, available everywhere). The hotel is a resort-style hotel, with buildings scattered over a large property and several pool areas. It is convenient not only to campus, but to several restaurants, including the facilities of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which are a block away.
(3) BlueGreen Club 36
372 East Tropicana Avenue
Las Vegas, NV89169
This hotel is to the west of the UNLV campus, and is quite a long distance away by foot. The hotel is adjacent to several shopping and food conveniences. It is an all-suites hotel, and rooms typically have a master bedroom, kitchen, laundry, living room, and other amenities. They are reportedly very comfortable, and easily shared. The hotel is very nearby to, and indeed faces McCarran Airport. Its location is somewhat isolated; car or taxi transportation is recommended.
- In the vicinity of Hyatt Place and Alexis Park is the enormous Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Some attendees who wish to have a more Vegas resort-style stay might be interested in this option (it will be filled with partying young people on a weekend). Rates here may be considerably higher than at the three recommended hotels; weekend rates especially may be very high (deals can be found, however, depending on the dates). It is the largest and best known of the casino properties near UNLV. The hotel has several restaurants and other amenities that may be of interest to attendees.
Las Vegas has hundreds of hotels and motels from which to choose, and the scope of the options lies beyond this document. Attendees may consult travel Web sites and guide books for information about hotels, which offer experiences and prices that range from the most frugal to the most extravagant.
Attendees staying on-campus will check in at the Conference Housing Desk located in Tonopah Hall. The Conference Housing staff will then direct you to your lodging in nearby Boyd Hall. (Boyd Hall is an approximately five-minute walk from Tonopah Hall.) The Conference Housing desk is open from 8:00 AM until 11:00 OM.
If you arrive at Tonopah Hall after 11:00 PM, call the desk phone number posted at the entrance door to ask a staff member to let you in. The Conference Housing Desk is staffed twenty-four hours.
Guests are not required to stop at the Conference Housing Desk or perform any other action to check out; check-out is automatic upon the expiration of your stay.
Visiting Las Vegas in Summer
Visitors from warm, humid regions may find the hot, dry conditions of Las Vegas less oppressive than the summer weather they normally experience. All visitors, especially those from cooler regions, may be surprised by the extreme heat, however. You should take sensible precautions to ensure your comfort and safety.
Summer temperatures typically range from 100 to 115°F in July and August throughout the desert Southwest. Stay comfortable by taking certain steps:
- Dress lightly and comfortably
- Wear sunscreen, and, if you are very sensitive or unaccustomed to desert sun, carry an umbrella for shade while walking outdoors.
- Do not attempt long walks or exertions if you are not accustomed to desert conditions. Hiking in the surrounding desert, while tempting, is not recommended in summer. (There are comfortable ways to visit nature sites by auto.)
- Always stay hydrated; carry a bottle of water if walking any long distance, and drink frequently. The desert is arid, and visitors are often unaware how quickly dehydration occurs. You might not seem to perspire because of rapid evaporation, and will not notice dehydration until discomfort sets in.
- Bring moisturizing lip gloss and other moisturizers, as needed. Lips especially may become parched and cracked.
- Interior air-conditioned spaces can seem very cold in contrast to the outdoors. If you are sensitive to cold temperatures or temperature variations, you might wish to carry an extra garment.
- In late July and August, Las Vegas experiences a monsoon season. You may wish to bring an umbrella in case of rain storms, which may be sudden and surprisingly powerful.
UNLV is an urban campus, and visitors should exercise the vigilance and caution appropriate in any large city. Walking at night is best done in groups and in well-lit areas. Always be aware of your surroundings and plan your travel—whether by taxi, bus, or foot—with safety in mind. Be especially alert when crossing wide streets such as Maryland Parkway: Las Vegas is not an especially pedestrian-friendly city, and some drivers can be insensitive, unaware, or aggressive.
Flying to Las Vegas
Attendees arriving by air are advised to consult up-to-date information about security or immigration policies and procedures at: www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/.
Maccarran Airport is in the center of the city, and convenient to UNLV. Walking from the airport to UNLV, however, is not recommended. For some visitors, taking a public bus after a long flight is neither appealing nor convenient. A taxi from the airport to the residence hall area of the campus will cost between $14 and $17 on average, and the trip should take 8–12 minutes. Taxi stands are located outside the arrival areas of Maccarran terminals and clearly marked. If you are going to the residence hall, you may tell your driver to enter the campus from Maryland Parkway onto University Road (normally a left turn if coming from the airport); Tonopah Hall is to the right of the second intersection.
As in most cities in the Southwest and on the West Coast, it is most efficient to get around by car. There is, however, a large and well-run public bus system that can be used to travel between McCarran Airport and UNLV, and between UNLV and Las Vegas Boulevard (the ‘Strip’).
Public Bus Transportation
Bus routes: two public bus routes may be of particular use to attendees (see http://www.rtcsnv.com/transit/routes-maps-schedules/transit-guide/).
Bus no. 109: transportation between McCarran Airport and UNLV
Bus no. 202: transportation along Flamingo Boulevard to and from Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Rd/Maryland Parkway intersection (near the UNLV Music building).
For other purposes buses may be inconvenient. Attendees staying off campus are strongly advised to rent cars or to plan to use taxis for transportation; walking long distances during summer is not advised. Shuttle buses provide convenient transportation between McCarran Airport and the convenient McCarran Rent-A-Car Center.
Parking on the UNLV campus is inexpensive. If you are using a car during the conference, it is best to purchase a weekly student parking pass for $7 (see http://www.unlv.edu/parking for more information). Parking at all major hotels on the Strip and in most other locations is, to the amazement of many visitors, free.
Distances between the large hotels on the Strip are visually deceptive; the properties are very large, and crossing from one hotel to the next can be a fifteen-minute or even longer hike. If you visit the Strip, be prepared for some exertion.
Calling Taxis from Campus Locations
If you are staying on campus, you may give a taxi dispatcher the specific address of the building you are in or the cross streets at which you are located. However, some cab companies will only pick up passengers at the Student Union because their drivers cannot reliably find other locations. Staff at the Student Union Information Desk can also assist you when you require a taxi.
Returning to McCarran International Airport by Taxi
If you are returning to McCarran by taxi for an early morning flight, you should call a taxi company the evening before departure to schedule your morning pickup. You should in any event reserve a taxi several hours before a scheduled airport departure, unless you are staying at a major hotel where taxis are plentiful. It is not possible to hail a taxi on the street in Las Vegas, and calling for a taxi with short notice is risky. In the case of an early morning reservation, taxi companies generally call you about thirty minutes before your scheduled pickup to make sure you are ready.
In general, you should arrive at McCarran at least seventy minutes prior to a domestic departure (earlier for international departures); consult your airline or McCarran International Airport for more information. It will take a taxi between eight and twelve minutes for the door-to-door trip from campus (times from hotels will vary). (A taxi company I use frequently is Desert Cab (https://desertcabinc.com/), but there are many others from which to choose.)
Security lines in McCarran’s Terminal 1 seem to move more efficiently than those in the newer Terminal 3. If your flight departs from Terminal 3, you are likely to have a longer security wait and a longer distance to walk to get to your departure gate. If you are leaving from Terminal 3, then, it is wise to budget extra time. (I have almost no experience of the wait times in Terminal 2.)
Breakfast and Lunch During the Conference
Breakfast and lunch options near the UNLV campus will be described in a separate document.
Enjoying the Vegas Strip
You may want to spend some of your free time visiting the attractions on Las Vegas Boulevard, where you will find a vast range of entertainments, both adult- and family-oriented. Consult tourist Web sites and guide books for detailed information about the Strip and other Las Vegas tourist attractions, but I will offer a few recommendations based on personal experience that you may find helpful. Some of these can, for example, be visited on Sunday morning after the conference if you have time prior to your departure.
Entertainment, Museums, and Other Attractions
- Las Vegas’s new Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a neo Art Deco complex near the downtown (north) part of the city, hosts classical, Broadway, jazz, and other musical performances throughout the year. Check their Web site for events taking place during your visit.
- Las Vegas is home to several Cirque du Soleil productions; if you have never seen one, you might consider productions such as Love (based on the music of The Beatles), O (a water-themed show that is a classic of the genre), Mystère, or Zumanity (which leans toward more erotic themes). These, and many other shows on the Strip, often have two performances in the course of an evening. You may be able to attend a later show following conference events or dinners.
- The marketing office of the popular show Blue Man Group has kindly arranged special pricing for NABMSA attendees. See a preview on YouTube!. Click here to book discounted tickets.
- The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art hosts small, well-curated art exhibits.
- The new, so-called “Mob Museum” in downtown Las Vegas has excellent historical displays and resources related to organized crime in the history of Las Vegas.
- The National Atomic Testing Museum, conveniently located at the edge of the UNLV campus, has fine exhibits and documents about the history of atomic testing in Nevada.
- The Neon Museum, which can be toured by appointment, preserves some of the extraordinary neon signage from Las Vegas’s famous, but now departed hotels and other businesses.
- The aquarium at Mandalay Bay is a moderately-sized, but well-designed attraction.
- The most recent addition to Las Vegas’s attractions is the High Roller, a London Eye-style Ferris wheel that offers great views of the city.
- Las Vegas has numerous traditional and outlet malls; some are attractions in and of themselves, such as the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, which hilariously creates an ancient world populated by over 150 retail shops.
- Organized visits to surrounding nature sites such as the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area can be arranged; consult relevant Web sites for further information.
- Attendees who extend their visits some days before or after the conference may consider visits to the Grand Canyon or to national parks such as Zion or Bryce in southern Utah. Inform yourself about summer conditions, distances, and lodging in these locations before visiting.
Dining and Cocktails on and off the Strip
On evenings when no conference events are planned, you may want to sample Las Vegas’s excellent restaurants and lounges. Of the hundreds of options available, a few to consider are:
- Modern cocktails and people watching at Chandelier Bar (in the Cosmopolitan)
- Cocktails at the roof-top bars of Mandalay Bay, The Hotel, The Palms, or the Rio.
- Classic Prohibition-era cocktails and very good food at Herbs & Rye (on West Sahara Avenue)
- Thai cuisine at Lotus of Siam restaurant (in the Commercial Center at East Sahara Avenue)
- Very high-end hamburgers, fries, and shakes at Gordon Ramsay’s Burgr (at Planet Hollywood)
- Mexican food at the very lively Lindo Michoacan (East Desert Inn Blvd)
- Brunch, lunch, or dinner buffets at the Cosmopolitan, Caesar’s Palace, or Paris hotel
- A wide variety of Asian cuisines in Las Vegas’s Chinatown, an area located east of the Strip on Spring Mountain Road
Locations on the Strip can be reached by car, bus, and monorail; locations off the Strip are best reached by taxi or rental car.
Every major hotel in Las Vegas houses one or more world-class restaurants—consult individual hotel Web sites for further information. Note that dining on the Strip can be quite expensive; excellent inexpensive options abound off the Strip. Good ethnic cuisines of almost any kind can be found in Las Vegas.
There is no smoking permitted in UNLV facilities.
Smoking remains permitted in casinos and bars in Las Vegas, but not in spaces where food is served. Most restaurants are therefore smoke-free. When visiting casino hotels, visitors may need to walk through smoking areas for registration or other purposes. Smoke-free hotel rooms are available everywhere, and indeed smoke-free hotels can be found.
Groceries and Pharmaceuticals
There is a grocery store and a pharmacy within walking distance of UNLV; these and most other grocery stores and many pharmacies throughout Las Vegas are open 24 hours. There are numerous convenience stores (Seven Eleven, etc.) near UNLV where you can purchase sundries.