07/22/2014 08:02 am ET Updated Jan 15, 2015

Travel Expert Andrew McCarthy Bets On The Best Spots In Las Vegas

With its bright lights, glamour and glitz, there's no better person to hit Las Vegas with than Andrew McCarthy. The award-winning travel writer was right at home when he recently visited Sin City, soaking up every high-stakes experience imaginable.

His first stop was Dream Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "There are plenty of ways to get a thrill in this town, many of them legal," he said. "But today I feel the urge to indulge my need, my need for speed." And that he did. McCarthy got behind the wheel of a Ferrari F430 GT, which tops out at 200 MPH, shifting around the track like a seasoned pro.

Next the actor/director got a bird's eye view of The Strip when he rode The High Roller, a 550-foot tall Ferris wheel that, in effect, divides Las Vegas into two cities -- old and new. From there he learned about the rise of town and listened to stories about the Rat Pack, who had their Vegas heyday in the early '60s.

One of McCarthy's most magical experiences, however, took place behind the control board of the Fountains of Bellagio, where he got to launch the spectacular water show. The man-made lake covers 9 acres, and with 22 million gallons of water, it's one of the largest fountains in the world.

In Vegas, $60 and an ID will get you a marriage license, so it's no wonder why so many couples get hitched in the city. At Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapels, McCarthy got to witness to the union of a young bride and groom -- alongside Elvis, of course.

Finally, the author wound up on Fremont Street to experience "old-school Vegas." In this town, anything goes, but it's on Freemont where one can take in a full spectrum of eye-opening excitement. From the Golden Nugget to the Pioneer, no matter what you're looking for, odds are you’ll find it here.

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