The following is a list of five Vegas film locations as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the movies that made them famous.
And, once you’ve checked out famous movie locations, head to the grand theaters of Vegas, where you can see the famous on stage, from Jerry Seinfeld to the one and only Cher.
The Las Vegas Strip
Film: Leaving Las Vegas
While numerous movies have been filmed on the Las Vegas Boulevard, the 1995 romantic drama Leaving Las Vegas gets bonus points for authenticity, in that all of the scenes that took place on Las Vegas Boulevard were filmed as cars honked and crowds of real pedestrians wandered through. Because the film was on a tight budget, the production team reportedly couldn’t afford the permit fees to film on the Strip, and thus had to resort to hurriedly filming scenes in one take, so as to avoid getting stopped by the police.
Other filming locations included Bally’s, Circus Circus, Flamingo and Excalibur.
Best Photo Op: The Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris Hotel and Casino.
For one of the best views of the Las Vegas Strip, reserve a window-facing table 100-feet in the sky at The Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris Hotel and Casino. You’ll get to watch the bustle of the Strip from the elegant, white-linen table clothed comfort of one of Vegas’s most revered French restaurants.
Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino
Film: The Hangover
Although this 2009 screwball comedy The Hangover was filmed in multiple locations around the Vegas Valley, including the popular downtown watering hole Atomic Liquors, the attraction that took up the most screen time in the film was Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino, where the bachelor party buddies stay and lose (and then eventually find) their party’s groom.
Filming locations at Caesars include the main entrance, the lobby, the pools, the hallways, the elevators and the roof (though that last one may require special permission to access). Unfortunately, “The Villa” where the guys stayed doesn’t exist in real life – it was created on a sound stage at Warner Brothers Studios –but it was modeled after The Forum Tower Emperor’s Suite, which appeared in another famous Vegas-filmed movie, Rain Man. The hallway and elevator scenes, however, were filmed in Caesars Palace, on the 24th floor of the Augustus Tower.
Best Photo Op: The Caesars Palace lobby hotel registration desk.
One of the funniest early scenes in the film takes place when Phil asks the hotel receptionist “You probably get this a lot. This isn’t the real Caesar’s Palace, is it?” Though we don’t recommend asking the receptionist that (because, thanks to the popularity of the film, it’s likely they do get asked that a lot), but we do recommend snapping a selfie in the hotel’s gorgeous gold and marble lobby. Afterward, you can head over to Madame Tussaud’s at the Venetian Resort, where you can pose for photos with life-like wax recreations of all your favorite characters from the film franchise (even the tiger!) as well as replicas of the guy’s trashed hotel suite and the wedding chapel.
The Mirage Hotel and Casino
Film: Vegas Vacation
The classic 1996 family film Vegas Vacation was filmed in the height of the summer heat at several attractions at The Mirage Resort, including Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. As he would later do with Oceans 11, Producer Jerry Weintraub cashed in on his close relationship with Steve Wynn, the owner of The Mirage, and was granted special access to the casino floor, where actor Chevy Chases’s character Clark Griswold spent much of his time gambling away his life savings at the card tables.
Other filming locations included The Hoover Dam and Wayne Newton’s house, Casa De Shenandoah.
The Bellagio Hotel and Casino
Film: Oceans 11
The majority of the 2001 film Oceans 11 was shot on location at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, thanks to a special agreement struck between Producer Jerry Weintraub and hotel mogul Steve Wynn, who was Bellagio’s owner at the time. Because Steve and Jerry had been good friends, Steve granted the film’s cast and crew unprecedented, 24-access to the hotel’s amenities and grounds, and even allowed the crew to close the valet parking for several days and turn off the Bellagio Fountains.
Best place for a photo op: The Bellagio Fountains at sun set.
After Danny Ocean and his gang of thieves robbed the Bellagio’s vault, they stood together on Las Vegas Boulevard and admired the Bellagio Fountain Show, which is a scene that is largely credited with making the Bellagio Fountains the popular attraction it is today. The Fountains make for a relaxing pit-stop after a long day of adventurous shenanigans, though we recommend you leave the casino heists to the Oceans crew and tempt Lady Luck in the world-famous Bellagio Poker Room instead.
Best Photo Op: Casa de Shenandoah
In the film, Ellen Griswold visits Casa De Shenandoah, which is the real-life home of singer Wayne Newton. Visitors can take a tour of Mr. Newton’s mansion and grounds, which includes a horse stable, a luxury car collection and several wild roaming peacocks. Though it’s best to visit in the spring or fall, if you go in the summer, make sure to bring plenty of water, as Las Vegas temps can climb into the triple digits. It may not be hot enough to fry chicken on a rock in your backyard, like Cousin Eddie does in the movie, but it can certainly feel that way!
Red Rock Canyon
Film: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
For an authentic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas experience, make like Johnny Depp’s character Raoul Duke and take a drive in a 1971 Cadillac Eldorado convertible through Red Rock Canyon – the spot where many of the movie’s desert driving scenes took place. You won’t have to be on hallucinogens to appreciate the dramatic sandstone cliffs, vivid, fire-red rocks and rolling yellow and green hills of the Mojave Desert, as the valley’s scenery is as techno-color gorgeous in real life as it is in the film. For those who want to upgrade their road trip mobiles from 70s vintage to modern-day speeders, World Class Driving offers tours of Red Rock that include a 30-mile drive in three exotic cars, including a Ferrari or Lamborghini.
Best Photo Op: The Pioneer Saloon in Jean, Nevada.
After your tour of Red Rock, you can cool off with a drink at the oldest bar in Southern Nevada, The Pioneer Saloon. This 100+ year saloon is where the film’s hardware bar scene was shot.
Las Vegas, NV – 6/23/17
By: Reannon Muth