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Reserved-Seat Ticketing

Most hotels offer reserved-seat show tickets, and nearly all the Las Vegas shows are available through corporate ticketing networks such as Ticketmaster or Vegas.com. If you don't buy in advance, an old-fashioned visit to the show's box office is still your best bet for minimizing add-on charges. It's advisable to purchase tickets to concerts or the hotter shows, such as the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace headliners, ahead of a visit. For smaller shows or spontaneous decisions, visit the various discount kiosks along the Strip; most producers "mark ’em up to mark ’em down" at these outlets anyway. Only pay full face value for a headliner name or a show you really want to see. Remember, too, that for the popular titles, casinos control their inventory and make sure their big players are always taken care of. If advance tickets are no longer available, check for last-minute cancellations. Your chances of getting a seat are usually better when you're staying—and gambling—at the hotel.

If you plan on spending a fair amount of time at the tables or slots, call VIP Services or a slot host to find out what their requirements are for getting a comp, paid tickets that have been withheld for last-minute release, or perks such as premium seating or a line pass (it allows you to go straight to the VIP entrance without having to wait in line with the hoi polloi).

Find Out What's Going On

Information on shows, including their reservation and seating policies, prices and suitability for children (or age restrictions), is available by calling or visiting box offices. It's also listed in several local publications or websites.

The Las Vegas Advisor (3665 S. Procyon Ave., West Side 800/244–2224 www.lasvegasadvisor.com) is available as a monthly printed newsletter at its office for $5 per issue or $50 per year. An online membership is $37 and the website has become a font of free news and coupons. It's a bargain-focused consumer's guide to Las Vegas dining, entertainment, gambling promotions, comps, and news.

The stories tend to be of the fawning press-release variety, but two free visitor publications are filled with show listings and discount coupons: Today in Las Vegas (www.todayinlv.com) and What's On, the Las Vegas Guide (www.whats-on.com) are available at hotels and gift shops.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the city's morning daily newspaper, publishes a pullout section each Friday called Neon, with free distribution separately. It provides entertainment features and reviews, and showroom and lounge listings with complete time and price information. In the tourist corridor, the daily Review-Journal is wrapped inside a Daily Visitor's Guide that includes show listings. The newspaper also maintains a website (www.lvrj.com), and entertainment reporters blog about the latest developments. The Las Vegas Sun, a competing daily that once had separate distribution, is now a section inside the Review-Journal but maintains its own editorial staff and website, www.lasvegassun.com.

Two weekly newspapers are distributed at retail stores and coffee shops around town and maintain comprehensive websites. They tend to be the best source for coverage of the nightclub scene and music beyond the realm of the casinos: Vegas Seven (www.vegasseven.com), and Las Vegas Weekly (www.lasvegasweekly.com).

What's New?

Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson tribute Michael Jackson ONE landed at Mandalay Bay in 2013 as Cirque’s eighth resident Vegas title. That magic number finally seemed to level off the company’s local ambitions. The Cosmopolitan attempted to fuse traditional shows and nightclubs with a themed "social club" called Rose.Rabbit.Lie., which offers both roving entertainers for diners and a ticketed show, "Vegas Nocturne."

Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Elton John, and Shania Twain continued to rotate dates in the 4,300-seat Colosseum at Caesars Palace, which pointed the way to a tier of venues seating 3,000 to 5,000 people. Planet Hollywood remodeled its theater to host Britney Spears, who kept her dance-oriented Piece of Me off the road to play exclusively at Planet Hollywood for two years. Limited runs by the likes of Def Leppard at the Hard Rock Hotel continued to promote that venue as a place to see customized, only-in-Vegas showcases as well as major tours. And the Cosmopolitan also opened a 4,000-capacity venue called the Chelsea at the end of 2013 to host concert acts including eight shows by Bruno Mars. In mid-2014 these new venues were joined by a Las Vegas branch of the Brooklyn Bowl at the new retail complex the LINQ.

The LINQ aims to unify in one location the nightclubs, restaurants, and shops that relegated the Las Vegas show to near obscurity. But depending on how you count comedy clubs and short-haul headliners such as Spears or Olivia Newton-John, who also decided to test the waters in 2014, the number of shows can still top 100. It seems the city isn't ready to surrender its self-appointed status of "The Entertainment Capital of the World" just yet.