Ahh Vegas, the city that never sleeps. Vegas is a place that always has so many things going on. It is a place that has something for anyone and everyone: people with lots of money, people who are broke as f@ck, young people, old people, everyone in between, adventurous adrenaline-seeking people, relaxation-seeking people, seriously everyone!
Obviously not everyone can see every show or do everything, due to age and money restrictions. But there are ways of getting around money restrictions in all areas of travel from transportation to accommodation to nightlife! I will break down my tips, tricks, and recommendations into categories. You know me and my categories by now. I love organization…even though my car and room don’t always represent that. To those of you in my family rolling their eyes and laughing…knock it off…my room is currently clean and tidy! 😛
-If you are flying in, book early and use Southwest to get to Vegas. Once you are there, use Uber and/or walk to get around. The Strip is walkable from either side, but might be easier to use Uber if you are in heels and are staying at one end of the strip rather than the in the center.
-If you are driving in, leave early to beat traffic and heat. For some reason, Las Vegas always seems to be ridiculously hot, and not just due to the heavily concentrated amount of people everywhere.
-Week days are better for multiple reasons. Flights are typically cheaper, there is usually less traffic for driving, and it is in general the “off season” if there is one in Vegas. During weekdays, it is easier to get in clubs for less monies, and some shows may have discounted ticket prices as well.
-My parents used to have a timeshare there so any family trips involved us staying at the Cancun Resort. It was pretty cool and Mayan themed! It is off the strip though so walking to the strip is not really an option. That’s where Uber comes in handy yet again!
-If you stay on strip, I recommend staying at one of the hotels right smack in the middle of everything. You don’t have to stay at the Mirage or Venetian. If you book early, you can find rooms at Harrah’s for around $40 per night. Circus Circus is on the far end of the strip and you can find rooms for $35, but you end up paying more due to Uber and cab fares. Staying at Harrah’s or the Flamingo means you get to save money on transportation as the strip is walkable from wherever you stay on the strip. However, it is definitely easier and more convenient to be staying in the middle of everything…especially when in heels!
Be wary though, when you book, they often don’t tell you about the incidental fee you pay at the time of booking. Most hotels have this so please plan ahead. The incidental fee can be between $50-100 per night, mainly for those who charge stuff to their rooms and order room service. It gets deducted from the incidental fee. If you don’t do any of that, you get the full incidental fee refunded to you at the end of your stay…so although it does not end up costing you anything in the long run, that is still a good chunk of money you cannot use during your stay. We ran into this issue last year at the Mirage for a friend’s bachelorette party, but most hotels on the strip have a similar policy. You will see the money again at the end of your trip so don’t worry about actually having to pay more than what you’re pay for your stay…you just can’t use it during your stay. Annoying? Yes. Inconvenient? Very much so. The end of the world? No. Tip: Harrah’s is only $50 per night, and that is totally doable. Everywhere else I called is $100 per night. Staying four nights means $400 extra that I can’t use during the trip? No thanks.
-There are nightclubs of course, and some hotels even have more than one nightclub inside. My favorites include: Light at Mandalay Bay, Jewel at the Aria, Chateau at the Paris (men get in free on Wednesdays), Hakkasan at the MGM Grand, and Marquee at the Cosmopolitan. For all of the above listed hotels, get on the guest list with No Cover Night Clubs. It is free and easy, you pretty much just have to type in when you are going and how many people you are with, show up to the club at 10:30pm, and enjoy! Check in with the various clubs about whether there are special guests and events because they may not have a guest list that day.
-Pool parties are nightclubs but during the day…and at a pool! Most pool parties are seasonal, beginning around March or April. The five pool parties I know are year round include: Bellagio Hotel pool, Boulevard pool at the Cosmopolitan, Breathe pool at the Hard Rock, MGM Grand Hotel pool, and the Palazzo pool at the Venetian’s Palazzo hotel. Get on the guest lists for these too. Being on the guest list often means no cover charge and sometimes free drink tickets.
-For me, a Cirque du Soleil show is always an absolute must see! There are so many options, but my favorite Vegas Cirque shows are Mystere and Ka. I have yet to see O in person (because Youtube is a thing), but I will consult with the boyfriend on his preferences, or lack thereof, before booking that.
-Another must see is a magic show. Again, there are so many options. My favorite is Penn and Teller, but book early as they can be expensive if they are not already sold out.
-Concerts are always going on in Vegas. Some are more permanent than others, so plan accordingly if you foresee multiple Vegas trips in one year. Britney Spears’ Piece of Me was only supposed to be for two years originally, but she keeps extending the run, YAY! Other concerts of note include Celine Dion, Elton John, Rock of Ages the musical (I RECOMMEND), Donny and Marie Osmond, Jennifer Lopez, and many more!
-Cravings buffet at the Mirage, $24 unless they changed it within the past week.
-Heart Attack Grille…they don’t call it this for nothing. Insane burgers! Finish your food or you’ll get paddled.
-CarneVino Italian Steakhouse…because Mario Batali
-Lago at the Bellagio…up close and personal with the Dancing Fountains
-Oyster Bar at Harrah’s
-California Pizza Kitchen
-Buffalo Wild Wings
–Minusfive ice bar…It’s sp cool! (pun intended)
-Mandarin Bar at the Oriental…try the Teatini!
-Commonwealth bar (and the Laundry Room speakeasy hidden inside the walls of the Commonwealth). Unfortunately, photos in the Laundry Room are prohibited.
Free Things I Recommend
-Fountains of Bellagio show
-Fall of Atlantis show at Caesar’s
-Welcome to Las Vegas sign
-Treasure Island pirate show
-M & M World!
-Hershey’s Chocolate World
-Window shopping at the Venetian
-Lucky Cat at the Cosmopolitan…it gives out free fortunes that may involve a free drink or room stay if you really are lucky!
Other Things (not free) that I Still Recommend
-Venetian wax museum
-Venetian Gondola-So romantic (*barf!*)…but really, it is pretty cool. The gondoliers are professional opera singers. Do it!
-Gold Nugget waterslide through a shark tank
Am I leaving anything out? Feel free to comment below! I am always looking for more tips and tricks to get the best and most well-rounded experience! 🙂