St. Louis, Mo.
When you think "St. Louis," gambling is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Standing exactly where Lewis and Clark started their journey? Sure. A ride to the top of Gateway Arch for a view of the city at 630 feet (190 meters) [source: ESL]? Why not. Tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, with samples? Obviously.
But high-stakes gaming?
Yep. St. Louis has three casinos, and another three live right nearby [source: SLA]. They're all "Vegas-style" joints with hotels, restaurants, entertainment, spas and shopping on-site [source: ESL]. There's one right across from Gateway Arch, so a quick (or not-so-quick) game of poker isn't out of your way at all.
If you bring the kids (or even if you don't), don't miss the city's interactive children's museum, the Magic House. The Oval Office replica alone is worth a visit.
Author's Note: 10 Alternatives to the Las Vegas Vacation
Lest you think I've never even been to the place: At first thought, I wasn't sure how to define "Vegas alternatives." Are we talking gambling? Cirque de Soleil-caliber shows? Celine Dion? Fine dining? An endless supply of tacky?
Focus was necessary, and so I picked gambling. My reasoning was this: Lots of people go to Vegas and don't see a show. How many go and don't drop some cash in a casino?
And so, what I've compiled is a list of gambling destinations that aren't Vegas, though Macau, for one, is coming into its own in the tacky zone (and Cirque du Soleil actually opened there in 2012 -- though it quit the region after low ticket sales) [source: CNN Travel]. For fine dining, check Zagat. For Celine Dion, you're on your own.
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