Named after Egypt's splendid ancient city on the east bank of the Nile, the landmark Luxor once had the biggest wow factor on the south Strip. While the theme easily could have produced a pyramid of gaudiness, instead it resulted in a relatively refined shrine to Egyptian art, architecture and antiquities. Luxor's casino floor has a slightly frenetic feel and confusing layout, with a few thousand slots, more than 100 gaming tables, and a race and sports book.

Built in 1993, the 30-story pyramid, housing an enormous atrium and cloaked in black glass, is the main focus. The atrium – the world's largest when it opened – is so voluminous it could accommodate nine Boeing 747s stacked on top of one another. At the apex of the pyramid, a 40-billion-candlepower beacon, the world's most powerful, sends a shaft of bluish-white light 10 miles into the sky, where it's said to be visible to astronauts...and whomever/whatever else hovers about above the great beacon of Las Vegas.

Out in front of the pyramid is a 10-story crouching sphinx and a sandstone obelisk etched with hieroglyphics. The pyramid's interior is adorned with huge Egyptian statues of guards, lions and rams; sandstone walls with hieroglyphic-inscribed tapestries and grand columns; a towering replica of the Great Temple of Ramses II; and a pharaoh's treasure of polished marble.

The King Tut Museum and many of the faux-Egyptian novelties are gone now that MGM Resorts has made over the Luxor with a sleeker, more updated image. Slick-looking restaurants such as T&T (Tacos & Tequila) and Rice & Company, and rowdy comedian Carrot Top bring in a younger crowd.