Visiting Las Vegas – What You Need to Know
If you were ever looking for the best casinos, a modern equivalent of a mythical, magical town, Las Vegas would be the first city to materialize. Literally carved out of a desert, this wild town has a lot to offer. After all, the city’s motto is “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” This is a place that is notorious for naughty behavior of all kinds. Before you visit Las Vegas, however, you should definitely research its history, which is fascinating. You should also take a look at ways you can save money while you’re in Vegas in addition to the resorts and attractions that you absolutely can’t miss.
For first-time Vegas visitors, you will definitely want to explore the rich history of this city, and you will want to start downtown at the Fremont Street Experience. Under a canopy of video screens and amidst classic American classic rock soundtracks, you can marvel at the daring zipliners speeding above you. Then there’s the historic Binion’s Casino, which is rumored to be haunted due to the untimely death of casino icon Teddy Binion. Because the rooms are currently being remodeled, you can’t actually stay at the Binion’s hotel right now. However, you can gamble and buy cigars.
Binion’s boasts one of the top cigar shops in Las Vegas—Vato Cigars—with proprietor Paul Vato at the helm and often in the store. Whether you’re a novice cigar smoker or an aficionado, Vato and his associates will make sure that you get the right sticks for your Las Vegas trip. Another must-see attraction at Binion’s is the steakhouse upstairs, where you can take in a gorgeous view of the city. If you walk across the street to the Binion’s sister casino—Four Queens—you can score a fabulous meal downstairs at Hugo’s Cellar. This extremely upscale restaurant boasts a sommelier and some of the finest cuisine in the city.
If you’re on a budget, you may even want to stay at the Four Queens. Although it’s certainly not the most luxurious hotel in Las Vegas, it’s always clean and affordable. The Strip is just a short bus ride away from Fremont Street, so you can save dollars off by simply by staying in more simple accommodations. Although the Fremont Street hotels once had a less-than-perfect reputation, the downtown Las Vegas revitalization and casinos such as the D have changed all of that. The upscale experience at the D—complete with dancers and magnificent music—rivals anything that the casinos on the Strip have to offer.
A walk up the street will take you to El Cortez, one of the most classic casinos in all of Las Vegas. While you’re playing video poker at the bar, the bartender will regale you with classic Vegas tales of Bugsy Siegel and friends. If you chat with a downtown Las Vegas resident for awhile, you’re also bound to run across tales about The Rat Pack and when Frank, Sammy and Dean lit up the city with their amazing act. Those who are intrigued by Sinatra’s possible mafia ties will definitely be interested in The Mob Museum, another downtown attraction that always impresses travelers.
You can check out the museum online, as well as many other Vegas attractions. As part of your trip planning, you’ll also want to figure out what your budget will be. This is where a lot of people can get into trouble in Las Vegas, so definitely spend some time figuring out how much money you’d like to spend on your trip. Set aside some money for gambling and resolve not to exceed that amount. Bring the cash with you and don’t pull money out of your bank account from the casino ATM. You know yourself better than anyone, so if you’re the type who is liable to gamble away your savings, then you’ll want to be extremely vigilant while you’re in Vegas. Many casinos offer free alcoholic drinks while you gamble, so you don’t want your judgment to be clouded while you are playing the various games. Remember, your trip to Vegas is supposed to be fun. Plan your spending and don’t ruin your vacation with excessive gambling.
Another idea to explore ahead of time is which shows you will want to see. Las Vegas boasts a rich history of exciting, hilarious shows with some of the best entertainers in the world. However, many of these shows require advance reservations, so plan ahead if you want to see a big musical act. These can also become somewhat pricey, so keep that in mind when budgeting your trip.
One way to score some sweet extra perks is to sign up for the player’s club at each casino. Usually, there will be a registration desk where you can go and sign an application. These are usually completely free; a player’s card will be printed up for you on the spot. Sometimes a casino will even pre-load some free gambling money onto your card or offer a free buffet. Every time you hit the slot machines, you’ll want to put your card in so that your bets are being registered. Based upon your spending style, you may even find that the casino will offer you free hotel stays throughout the year—or perhaps deeply discounted suites with buffets. It pays to join as many of these clubs as you can so that you can receive special offers the next time you’re in Las Vegas.
Speaking of buffets, Las Vegas is probably the buffet capital of the world. Before you leave Las Vegas, you’ll definitely want to try at least one. Many of the restaurants in Vegas however, are world-renowned. Once you get down to the Strip, you’ll see them alongside boutiques in casinos like Caesar’s Palace. The world-famous Spago is at Caesar’s, and it does not disappoint.
The club scene in Vegas is huge, with EDM (electronic dance music) ruling the scene. Some of the biggest DJs in the world light up the stages of Las Vegas for some spellbinding shows. If you’re into this type of music, then you’ll definitely want to see which DJs are playing while you’re in town.
If the point of your trip is to do some shopping, though, then you’ve definitely hit the jackpot with Las Vegas. Casinos such as the Bellagio, Venetian and Caesars Palace are all home to some of the finest stores in the world. If you’re looking for designer, luxury clothing and money is no object, then you’ll find lots of fun shopping to do on the Strip. There’s even the Fashion Show mall for those who crave the mall shopping experience with affordable prices.
However, that’s certainly not all you’ll find on the Strip. This amazing part of town, starting with the fountain show at Bellagio, has been perfectly constructed to delight visitors from all around the world. If you want to splash out and splurge on a fun excursion, you can even take a helicopter ride and tour the area. Indeed, there truly is something for everyone in Las Vegas.
Thrillseekers will get a kick out of the High Roller, a huge wheel that offers up an incredible view of the Las Vegas skyline. Like the helicopter trips, however, this excursion is not for the faint of heart. Those who are afraid of heights should definitely not get on this attraction. Similarly, the X-Scream roller coaster at the Stratosphere Hotel propels riders over the edge of the building and then back again. It’s certainly an experience unlike any other.
If you’ve rented a car and feel like taking in the sights a little bit off the beaten path, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. These attractions will remind you that there’s so much more to Nevada than just gambling. After you’ve taken in these sights, however, then you may be interested in getting back into the gambling game. In that case, there are several casinos in the Primm area that will suit your fancy. Buffalo Bill’s in particular is a popular stop, featuring a wooden roller coaster for those who like to get their adrenaline pumping.
In summary, there’s a lot to do in Las Vegas. Whatever you enjoy doing, you can find fun activities to fill up your days. Although sometimes people can forget that Las Vegas is literally in the desert, this will become overwhelmingly apparent to you during different times of the year. If you come to Vegas in the summer, be prepared for intense heat and pack accordingly. If you come during the winter, remember that the nights can become very chilly.
The success of your trip to Las Vegas is going to depend upon how well you’ve planned and packed, in addition to how flexible you can be. With traveling, there are always going to be some last-minute changes. Your best bet is to roll with the punches—and roll the dice to see if you will become the next big Las Vegas winner!