Selecting a Show: What to See in Las Vegas

Even when the lure of the jackpot grows dim, travelers to Las Vegas flock to the Strip to take in world-class shows by a variety of entertainers. When planning a trip to Las Vegas, you’ll find plenty of options for nightly entertainment. Here’s a quick breakdown of the kinds of shows on offer in Vegas, and tips for deciding which show is the best for you.



Most travelers go to Vegas for laughs of one kind or another, right? So why not get tickets to see some of the city’s world-class comedians?

Many of the casino hotels in Las Vegas have their own performers who headline at nightly or weekly comedy performances. For example, you can go to Improv at Harrah’s for some amazing improvisational riffs, see puppetry and impersonations by Terry Fator at the Mirage, visit Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand for up-and-coming acts as well as famous comedians, enjoy some not-for-children’s-ears entertainment with Eddie Griffin at the Rio or Andrew Dice Clay at the Hard Rock Hotel, or watch Carrot Top bring out his bag of tricks for prop-based comedy at the Luxor.

Before you buy tickets to a comedy show, consider what kind of humor you most enjoy. If you have kids with you, you’ll need to double-check which shows are appropriate for minors. The good news is there’s bound to be a show that tickles your funny bone.

Star Performers

If you’re more concerned about who you see than what you see, you’ll probably be looking to check out a few big-name celebrity performances. Though schedules sometimes change, at the time of writing, celebrity headliners in Las Vegas include Boyz II Men, Elton John, Santana, former American Idol Taylor Hicks and Celine Dion.

Check an events website or with your hotel concierge to see which celebrities will headline during your visit to Las Vegas.

Musical Theater

Though Las Vegas’s Strip doesn’t get the name recognition for musical theater that New York City’s Broadway does, many popular musicals are performed here regularly. Most of the performances that take place in Las Vegas are part of a nationwide tour; check with your concierge or an events website to see which ones will be in town during your trip. Recent musicals on offer in Las Vegas include “Rock of Ages,” “Jersey Boys,” “Tony and Tina’s Wedding” and “Evil Dead: The Musical.”


David Copperfield

Las Vegas is one of the best places in the country to see magicians and illusionists perform. But before you buy tickets, you’ll need to be able to tell the different acts apart. Some of the shows on offer in Las Vegas blend magic and comedy, illusion and music, and even magic and dance.

For awe-inspiring stunts and how’d-they-do-that gasps from the audience, take in a performance of legendary illusionist David Copperfield at the MGM Grand. Former street magician Criss Angel, widely known from his TV show “Criss Angel Mindfreak,” now performs in collaboration with the Cirque du Soleil in “Believe” at the Luxor.

For family-friendly comedy and magic in the afternoons, check out “Laughternoon Starring Adam London,” at The D Las Vegas, Nathan Burton’s “Comedy Magic Show” at Planet Hollywood or the “Mac King Comedy Magic Show” at Harrah’s.

And of course, after the show you can visit one of Las Vegas’ well-stocked magic shops to find tricks you can take home.

Dance Hall Performances

Some of the first shows to draw big audiences in Las Vegas were the dance hall shows and cabaret and burlesque performances put on in the city’s first casinos. These shows are part of the city’s history and remain one of the traditions of visiting Las Vegas. Many of the casino hotels on the strip hold small performances throughout the day, so seeing a showgirl in full feather headdress while walking from the buffet to the gameroom floor is normal.

There are numerous shows of this kind in Las Vegas and your choice of which to attend will depend on how tasteful you want the performance to be. “Jubilee!” at Bally’s has elaborate sets and costumes, “X Rocks” at the Rio features semi-nude dancers, and the Australian all-male troupe Thunder from Down Under at the Excalibur offers something different for audiences.

Andrew Dice Clay image By LOL Comedy from Hollywood [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

David Copperfield Homer Liwag [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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