Get ready for a great vacation. No where else can you see the world in a few hours. Themed casinos are steps away. In a short walk you can visit the treasures of Egypt at the Luxor, eat a hot dog Coney Island style at New York, New York, climb the Eiffel Tower at Paris, ride a gondola at the Venetian, and experience NASCAR racing at the Sahara. That’s not all, the MGM Grand has a lion habitat, pirates sink ships at the TI, the Mirage’s volcano erupts every 15 minutes, and Caesar still rules at his palace. Touch the statue for good luck.
There is plenty to see and do before we even consider world class dining and gambling.
If you are a first-time visitor, we suggest that you stay on the strip. We divide the strip into three areas, northern, middle and south.
The northern end is filled with names that you know such as Circus Circus and the Riviera. These are older properties and as such, do not have the attractions the newer mega resorts have. They compete on price and better gambling odds.
The middle strip area is our favorite. Within walking distance are the great mega resorts such as, the Wynn, Venetian, Mirage, Bellagio, and Paris. Interspersed are older properties such as Bally’s and the Imperial Palace. Price the middle resorts first. If they fit your budget, book it. The newer resorts Cosmopolitan and the City Center are located on the southern end of this section.
MGM Grand dominates the southern end of the strip. Also, within walking distance are New York New York, Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay Bay. Although they are all destination resorts, they don’t offer the same attractions as the middle strip resorts do, and they lack the middle strip shopping, dining and better gambling odds.
OK if you've never been to Vegas,.you'd be surprised how many people wear your same shoes. The first thing you should know is that it's not all about the gambling. Being nervous or excited by the opportunity to win or lose big money on a vacation is all part of the thrill—but if you wouldn't think of betting your tax refund, or if you don't understand what the nation's obsession with Texas Hold'em is all about—don't worry about it. Las Vegas is ready to show everyone a good time, whether you do or don't roll the bones.
Get used to tipping. A majority of workers in Vegas make their money off tips and that means not just your restaurant server. If you take a taxi/shuttle, have a bell cap carry your bag to your room, order room-service, get a FREE drink from a cocktail waitress, or wager a bit at the casino tables, then tip your servers. Tips, or tokens, are appreciated, no matter how standard. If you are on a winning streak at the tables, place a bet alongside yours as the dealer's tip.
Buffet Time! Whether you're dining out for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner, you have to try a buffet on your first visit. You can find a buffet at nearly every casino in Vegas, and know that there is a wide variance in quality. Popular buffets on the Strip include the Planet Hollywood's Spice Market Buffet, Le Village Buffet at Paris, and Buffet at Bellagio. Off Strip, go to the M Resort Studio B Buffet, now consider the best in the city, or the Golden Nugget Buffet downtown. Note that the cheaper the buffet, the more grease you'll find. Sundays usually mean unlimited champagne for a few extra bucks. More often than not, you get what you pay for. Follow the locals to the off strip casinos.
See a Show. Las Vegas considers itself the Entertainment Capitol of the World. Despite those that would argue for New York City or Hollywood, you can't deny that a great show is right around the corner in Vegas. Las Vegas has a history of headliners on its stages including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Barbara Streisand, Sammy Davis Jr., and oh so many more. Today, catch the big music acts at Mandalay Bay, the Hard Rock's Joynt, and MGM Grand. For big name comedians keep your eye on the Mirage and Caesars. If you want to see why everyone is raving about Cirque du Soleil, you'll have six shows to choose from. If you want to see an old school Vegas show with topless women in big headdresses, don't miss "Jubilee!" at Bally's, or the longest running topless show in Las Vegas “Crazy Girls" at the Riviera. Our insider guide includes tips on how to save money on your show tickets.
Go Downtown. The Fremont Experience is not to be missed. While the surrounding streets can be a little bit shady, grab a friend and stroll down Fremont Street starting from the newly renovated Plaza hotel on Main Street. Every hour after dark a light show occurs on the overhead canopy. You can also see a live band, eat a fried twinkie, check out the casinos old Vegas was built on, visit the neon light museum, buy some Sin City souvenirs and much, much more.
Cut corners. Try to save your time and money by any means you can. Both are better spent on having fun, fun, and more FUN. So, save time by dining at off peak hours. Try dining at 5:00 p.m. instead of between 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. to avoid the long dinner lines. Don’t ignore the fun books. Coupons that have two for one show tickets, discounts on attractions, and all-around deals for doing Vegas on the cheap can be found in the coupon books your hotel gives you, 24/7 found in the back of taxis, and magazines like What's On, Showbiz, and the Las Vegas Weekly.
Try Your Luck. The slot machines are obviously the easiest games to play. You put your money in and hit spin. If you insist on playing the one-armed bandits, be sure to read our insider guide to find where the loosest slots are found. Try your hand at real gambling. Blackjack is the easiest game to learn on the quick since all you have to do is count to 21. However, remember this is a game of rushes. Test the waters, see if you can get a streak going, but if the water is cold, find another table. Beginners should buy the little plastic card of Basic Strategy and bring it to the table with them. You can find it in most casino gift shops and the dealers accept it at the tables. That said, don't bring it to a high limit table...serious gamblers want a smooth and flowing game. If you like to play the lottery, try Keno. The cards and crayons can be found in nearly all casino cafes.
You will see men and women who stand on Las Vegas Boulevard trying to hand out fliers for strip clubs and escort services. They're canvassers. After much fighting with the City Council, the canvassers appear to have won the right to pass out information. Although most people complain that the fliers cause litter and the canvassers get in the way of pedestrians, we've noticed that if you just keep walking, they aren't aggressive at all. Of course, you could always take a brochure; we just won't take responsibility for anything that happens after that.
Las Vegas is in the desert. Yes, the temperature gets to be about 115 degrees in the summer. Nevertheless, if you happen to be visiting in the winter (usually from Halloween to Valentine's Day), don't be fooled. A jacket is definitely recommended, especially if the wind is blowing.
Comfy shoes: There are certain places where fashion is more important than comfort -- Tabú, Studio 54 or RA. However, when you're slumming around during daylight hours, casino hopping or standing in line for a buffet, wear your Hush Puppies or Chuck Taylors. After all, you don't want your fashionable shoes to rub blisters when you're vamping it up at Studio 54.
Drinking lots of booze at night plus walking around in 115 degree heat during the day equals dehydration. Unless you're one of those travelers who enjoy visiting local hospitals and getting strapped to an IV, we recommend you drink lots of water.
It's a dry heat. It's a dry cold. It's a dry wind. In Vegas, it's dry, dry, dry. To make up for this dryness, do carry with you at all times the following items: lip balm, sun screen and lotion. It is even a good idea to pick up some re-wetting drops, especially if you wear contacts.
Keeping in touch: Cell phones and walkie talkies are a great way to keep in touch with fellow travelers while in Vegas. Just keep in mind that most casinos frown upon their use on the casino floor (and they're strictly out of bounds in the race and sports books). Walkie talkie users actually say the signal is clearer than on cell phones, plus they're generally cheaper, but they do have a far more limited range.
Don’t make the mistake that many make on their first visit, acting like their feet are glued to the floor of the hotel they are staying at. Check out the inside of as many hotels as possible. The themed architecture is amazing. In fact, you don't have to be a guest to park in their parking garage or use the free hotel valet parking.
Finally, talk to us. We love to talk Las Vegas. Our agents are friendly, knowledgeable, and are eager to talk to you about your upcoming vacation.