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The other side of the "welcome" sign offers a message to tourists on the way out of town.

The other side of the "welcome" sign offers a message to tourists on the way out of town. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The other side of the "welcome" sign offers a message to tourists on the way out of town.

The other side of the "welcome" sign offers a message to tourists on the way out of town. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

At the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

At the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

At the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

At the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A tourist reacts to a hula-hoop dancer at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

A tourist reacts to a hula-hoop dancer at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A hula-hoop dancer at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas

A hula-hoop dancer at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Japanese tourists take in the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

Japanese tourists take in the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

An Elvis impersonator performs at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas

An Elvis impersonator performs at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A bartender at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

A bartender at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Tourists dance to the music at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

Tourists dance to the music at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

The Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Viva Vision show at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

The Viva Vision show at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Viva Vision show at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

The Viva Vision show at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Viva Vision show at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

The Viva Vision show at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

An Elvis impersonator performs at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

An Elvis impersonator performs at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas (a few miles north of the Strip) offers video and sound shows on a 1500-foot roof over the pedestrian walkway.

The Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas (a few miles north of the Strip) offers video and sound shows on a 1500-foot roof over the pedestrian walkway. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

On the Las Vegas Strip: a familiar name.

On the Las Vegas Strip: a familiar name. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

An encounter with fame (sort of), on the Las Vegas Strip.

An encounter with fame (sort of), on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

On the Las Vegas Strip.

On the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

On the Las Vegas Strip.

On the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Shrine of the Four-Faced Brahma at Caesars Palace, on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Shrine of the Four-Faced Brahma at Caesars Palace, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Entertainment billboard at Caesars Palace, on the Las Vegas Strip.

Entertainment billboard at Caesars Palace, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Caesars Palace, on the Las Vegas Strip.

Caesars Palace, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Caesars Palace, on the Las Vegas Strip.

Caesars Palace, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Caesars Palace, on the Las Vegas Strip.

Caesars Palace, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Paris Las Vegas, on the Strip.

Paris Las Vegas, on the Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

At the Flamingo, on the Las Vegas Strip.

At the Flamingo, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Diverse forms of entertainment -- Donny Osmond and Burlesque -- under the same roof at the Flamingo, on the Las Vegas Strip.

Diverse forms of entertainment -- Donny Osmond and Burlesque -- under the same roof at the Flamingo, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Flamingo, on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Flamingo, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Flamingo, on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Flamingo, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A monument at the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip recognizes the hotel's founder, "Bugsy" Siegel.

A monument at the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip recognizes the hotel's founder, "Bugsy" Siegel. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

An artificial waterfall at the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip.

An artificial waterfall at the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Tourists outside the Hard Rock Cafe on the Las Vegas Strip pose with a Gene Simmons (Kiss) impersonator.

Tourists outside the Hard Rock Cafe on the Las Vegas Strip pose with a Gene Simmons (Kiss) impersonator. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A recent addition to the famed Strip in the gambling capital of the world.

A recent addition to the famed Strip in the gambling capital of the world. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

City Center, on the Las Vegas Strip.

City Center, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The roller coaster at New York New York, on the Las Vegas Strip.

The roller coaster at New York New York, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

New York New York, on the Las Vegas Strip.

New York New York, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Excalibur, on the Las Vegas Strip.

Excalibur, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Acquired-taste entertainment at the Luxor, on the Las Vegas Strip.

Acquired-taste entertainment at the Luxor, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Luxor, on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Luxor, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Luxor, on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Luxor, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The famous "welcome" sign on the Las Vegas Strip draws lines of people waiting to take photos.

The famous "welcome" sign on the Las Vegas Strip draws lines of people waiting to take photos. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

One of the many Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas lurks near the famous "welcome" sign at the edge of the Vegas Strip.

One of the many Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas lurks near the famous "welcome" sign at the edge of the Vegas Strip. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Where else but Las Vegas could you find Donny and Marie Osmond performing under the same roof that shelters burlesque shows, thousands of slot machines, clouds of cigarette smoke and the legacy of notorious mobster Bugsy Siegel?

Nothing seems to be too extravagant on the Las Vegas strip. The Eiffel Tower is there, as are the Empire State Building and the Sphinx. This Caesars Palace would impress the Roman emperor. Julius' palace may have housed Cleopatra, but this one has Celine Dion — and is said to be paying her $476,000 per show.

Bigger is always better in Vegas. Don't believe it? Check out the videos of hotel demolitions on YouTube. The Desert Inn, The Dunes, The Sands, Bugsy's original Flamingo and many other 1950s playgrounds of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack have given way to the mega-facilities of the 21st century.

Here's a look at the Vegas Strip, and the city's slightly quieter downtown area.

gromelski.joe@stripes.com

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