There are free attractions all around Las Vegas but there is only a handful that you must experience when you first visit. These aren’t the kind of attractions that you’ll only do once just to see. These are the kind of iconic attractions that you’ll never mind visiting because they never get old. Yes, they’re touristy but they represent all the kinds of things you’ll only see in Las Vegas.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bellagio Fountain Show
 
This is one of the most iconic attractions on the Las Vegas Strip. You may have seen the infamous Bellagio fountain show in movies or you may have seen it on a friend’s Instagram. The waters aren’t just shooting into the sky randomly. They’re carefully choreographed shows set to music from Elvis Presley to Bruno Mars. The fountain shows take place every 15 minutes at night and every 30 minutes during the day. The Bellagio fountains are beautiful at all times of the day but the lights at night make the evening shows even better.
 
Next level tip: Grab a pre-dinner cocktail at Hyde Lounge inside Bellagio and watch the show from a different angle.
 
Bellagio Conservatory
 
While you’re visiting Bellagio head inside the main entrance just past the lobby to the conservatory and botanical gardens. This isn’t just walking through a bunch of flowers. There is a constantly rotating themes at the Bellagio conservatory. Most but not all of the themes rotate around the seasonal changes. Regardless of the theme, you’re going to see nearly 100,000 flowers combined with spectacular design elements. This would be a beautiful experience anywhere but this attraction goes to another level when you remember that you’re inside of a casino.
 
Viva Vision at the Fremont Street Experience
 
The Viva Vision shows on the canopy at the Fremont Street Experience aren’t the only reason to visit downtown Las Vegas but they’re a good reason to visit. The massive video screen where you’ll see the 6-minute show is 1,500 feet long, 90 feet wide and 90 feet above the mall of casinos. This is an experience that exudes over-the-top Las Vegas entertainment. You can catch a show at the top of every hour after the sun goes down until 1am.
 
Next level tip: Try to time a ride on the SlotZilla zipline so that you zoom across Fremont Street with the music and lights.
 
Volcano At The Mirage
 
Much of the design aesthetic you’ll find in Las Vegas today is very modern and sleek. The newer properties on the Vegas Strip may be beautiful but they’re missing something that Las Vegas used to offer in the past. The volcano at The Mirage isn’t campy, per se, but it’s an attraction that brings you back to Las Vegas in the ‘90s. The volcano erupts outside of The Mirage on the Vegas Strip with lava and fireballs shooting into the sky nightly at 8pm and 9pm with an additional explosion on Friday and Saturday at 10pm. This is the kind of Las Vegas experience that seems to be going away so catch it while you can.
 
Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
 
This is probably the most popular attraction in Las Vegas – free or paid. There may never be a better memory (that you can share) in Las Vegas than a photo, video or snap in front of the Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas Sign. The sign and its design is so recognizable that you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t familiar with it.
 
Pro-Tip: There’s almost always a line to wait before you can grab a photo so make sure that you plan accordingly.
 

Big Fights In Vegas Have Moved From Boxing To UFC

Friday, 26 August 2016 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

Las Vegas was a mystery when I was growing up on the east coast. I was led to believe that fight night in Las Vegas was the best night of the year. This wasn’t only the best night in a singular city anywhere in the country. This was the best and glitziest night in a town of glitz and glamour.
 
I didn’t grow up as a boxing fan. My dad would watch some of the bigger fights but that was about it. We didn’t talk much about boxing. One of the bars I visited in college would show fights but this was a quiet time for boxing. There weren’t any really big names like Mike Tyson or Floyd Mayweather.
 
 
Fight Weekend In Las Vegas
 
I stayed at Mandalay Bay during a fight weekend and saw more people but it didn’t appear as extraordinary as expected. I wasn’t sold that first night was a big deal even though the fights looked like a spectacle on TV. Fast forward a few years later and I started to really get into boxing. I’d watch every fight on TV – big and small.
 
Manny Pacquiao was my favorite boxer. He was fighting Ricky Hatton at MGM Grand on May 2nd, 2009 and I had to be Las Vegas. Ricky Hatton was an action fighter with a big following in the UK. His followers traveled well and this was set up to be an action-packed fight.
 
I figured that this would be the time to visit Las Vegas during a legitimate big fight. Even if I didn’t make it to see the fight in person I needed to experience Las Vegas during the weekend with tourist from all over the world. I made the trip and it was even better than expected.
 
Big fight weekend and Las Vegas was electric. This weekend was unlike any other time I visited. Besides the big fight, the Kentucky Derby was taking place in the afternoon and Las Vegas was celebrating Cinco De Mayo all day. The build-up to the fight was great and hanging out with my new British friends was a blast. Even though the fight didn’t even last 2 rounds, it was great for this Pacquiao fan.
 
To this day I regard this as was one of the best trips I’ve ever had to Las Vegas. I reference this trip often and get chills every time. The last real “Big Fight” that included boxing took place 9 years later when Floyd Mayweather took on Manny Pacquiao. The snoozer of a “fight” brought all of the stars in the world to Las Vegas. However, the lack of action bored every kind of fight fan. This fight marked the end of boxing as the “Big Fight” sport.
 
MMA/UFC Takeover
 
Boxing fans, like myself, held on to it being the big fight game for a while. MMA, and particularly UFC, has been growing in popularity over the past 3 or 4 years. The popularity isn’t from out of nowhere. Big names like Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture were crossover movie stars. Today Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor are the big names in UFC.
 
The popularity of UFC started with fighting and it remains fighting because of the action inside of the octagon. The crossover of its athletes helps grow the sport beyond traditional fight fans but the core popularity is the fighting. The popularity of UFC now means that “Big Fight” weekends in Las Vegas are no longer tied to boxing matches. UFC cards have taken over.
 

There is more money wagered on every UFC card in the sports books with no end to the growth in sight. The live events have more people watching in person, on pay-per-view and at viewing parties. When there’s a big UFC card in Las Vegas, the town is as electric as it was for the big boxing matches 10 years ago. The UFC is so popular as a league of MMA that it was recently purchased for over $4 Billion by WME/IMG.

More recently Conor McGregor fought Nate Diaz and Las Vegas was electric. A local bar showing the fight said that they expected to triple the normal Saturday night revenue. In the past, viewing parties for big fights were reserved for a few venues at the property (or properties) of host casino. The McGregor fight had viewing parties up and down the Vegas Strip and all over the Las Vegas valley.

This old boxing fan finally realized that the days of big fights being saved for boxing matches were gone. Big boxing matches have dwindled to 1 or 2 per year at best. Meanwhile, UFC is growing at a rapid pace. Big fight weekends in Las Vegas will mostly surround UFC fights, regardless of their size, in the future. The better the fight card, the better big fight buzz in Las Vegas will be. The buzz that was reserved for boxing has moved onto UFC.

This is a lot of words to say that UFC cards will matter when you’re looking to visit Las Vegas. If you want a high energy trip to Las Vegas, you might want to build the trip around a UFC fight. If you want a more mellow trip to Las Vegas you might want to avoid the fights. Avoiding big fight weekends might help you save a few bucks on booking hotel rooms too.

Wynn Paradise Park

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

“Las Vegas Ain’t What It Used To Be.”
 
This is a true statement. Bad news, few things are what they used to be. Even as Las Vegas evolves there’s one thing that remains – extravagance. Even the statues in Las Vegas, like Bliss Dance at The Park, are over the top. The new expansion being planned for Wynn Las Vegas may be “new Vegas.” However, it’s as extravagant as any idea you may have seen in Las Vegas in the past 30 years.
 
Wynn Paradise Park is one of the most outrageous ideas from the brilliant mind of Steve Wynn. This is the man who brought us beautiful and groundbreaking casino resorts. The Mirage, Bellagio and, of course, Wynn Las Vegas are icons of Las Vegas.
 
The expansion of Wynn Las Vegas is farther out there than you’d ever imagine. The Mirage has a volcano right on the Vegas Strip. Bellagio has a massive lake and extravagant fountain show. None of this compares close to this plan for Wynn Las Vegas.
 
Earlier this year at an investor conference Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts discussed plans for expansion.This new entertainment destination would be built around a first-ever recreational lake concept on the Vegas Strip. The concept is tentatively called Wynn Paradise Park. It will cost somewhere around $1.5 billion and is subject to approval by the company’s Board of Directors.
 
The plan for Wynn Paradise Park calls for a 38-acre lagoon, surrounded by meetings and convention space, a 1,000 room hotel tower, a small casino and extensive dining and nightlife. The expansion will be constructed on approximately 130 acres of real estate that is currently home to the Wynn Golf Club.
 
You might be wrong if you’re thinking that a 38-acre lagoon in the desert is an abuse of the limited water in the area. The manufacturers of the lagoon say that it will use less water than an 18 hole golf course. The proposed lagoon will be surrounded by a white sand beach and boardwalk. The lagoon will feature an array of daytime activities including water skiing, paddle boarding and parasailing.
 
The lagoon is rumored to have an island. The Island will feature an eight-story-tall King Kong-like creature. There’s more, he’ll make an appearance every day before water shows.
 
“We have a chance to reinvent Las Vegas and make the whole venue an entertainment attraction…an idyllic beach paradise surrounded by white sand beaches,” said Steve Wynn chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts. “People come to Las Vegas from all over the world to live large and have a good time and we can dish up an irresistible entertainment attraction.”
 
Yes, this would certainly reinvent part of Las Vegas. The ideas being floated are a little off the beaten path but interesting to think about. Wynn Paradise Park is tentatively scheduled to open sometime in 2020. If plans are approved you will be able to water ski on the Vegas Strip and see an eight-story tall gorilla on the Vegas Strip.
 

Monte Carlo Renovations Begin October 3

Friday, 19 August 2016 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

Back in July, we told you that Monte Carlo would be renovated and become Park MGM. The renovations would take place throughout the next couple of years and be finished in 2018. MGM Resorts doesn’t have plans to close the property during the renovations so you’ll see much of the facelift happening when you visit. The plan is to close certain parts of the casino and hotels to renovate while the rest of the property remains fully operational. A complete timeline of construction hasn’t been released.
 
However, the first batch of closures has been announced. You may not notice these renovations unless you’re looking to take a swim this fall. The pool area, the shopping area and The Pub will all be closing for good on October 3rd, 2016. The shopping area, known as Street of Dreams, is also the walkway to from Monte Carlo to Aria and vice versa. This path will be open during construction. The pool at Aria will likely be the best and closest pool if you’re staying at Monte Carlo.
 
If you’d like to use a pool after October 3 you’ll have to check with the front desk for options. According to MGM Resorts, all guests will be given access to pools at other MGM Resorts properties. The different options will be provided when you check-in to Monte Carlo. If you’re a beer drinker, who loved The Pub you can still grab a good beer at Beerhaus, across the street at The Park.
 
Renovations at Monte Carlo will continue for the next couple of years. Expect to see the hotel closing one floors at a time for the long overdue room renovations. You won’t have to wait for the entire renovation to see the new rooms at Monte Carlo/Park MGM. Upon completion, the rooms should be beautiful. MGM Resorts has stated that they intend to make Park MGM a high-end resort.
 
In addition to renovating Monte Carlo, they’re also bringing in a couple of partners that will give the property an entirely new feel. The plans include a renovation and rebrand of the property that will cost approximately $450 million. The renovations will include just about every element of the property and will offer two distinct hotel experiences. Hotel 32 will close and NoMad Las Vegas will open 292 rooms at Park MGM.
 
In addition to the hotel, NoMad will have a restaurant by chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara, a NoMad casino, a pool and its own entrance. There will be an air of exclusivity and privacy at NoMad Las Vegas.
 
MGM Resorts is also bringing Eataly to Park MGM. Eataly is the largest Italian marketplace in the world. They already have locations all over the world including New York and Chicago. Specific details on Eataly Las Vegas haven’t been released yet. This will certainly be a new concept for the Vegas Strip.
 
Technically, work is already underway at Monte Carlo. The Park Theater was the first venue to get a makeover. This will be an integral part of what Park MGM is when it opens. If you are a fan of the Monte Carlo, you might want to grab a casino chip or another souvenir the next time you visit.
 

Las Vegas On $40 A Day

Tuesday, 16 August 2016 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

Remember the TV show $40 A Day? The show premiered on April 1, 2002, so it’s possible anyone under 25 never saw this popular show. Host Rachael Ray travelled around the world and plotted a full day of dining on just $40 a day. The caveat was that in order to make each city unique, she avoided national chain restaurants.
 
The concept wasn’t too difficult 14 years ago. It’s not as easy today thanks to inflation. The idea is even more difficult in Las Vegas where some restaurants mark up prices 10%-25% from what you might normally pay.
 
I saw a twitter conversation about doing Las Vegas on $40 a day and thought I’d take a stab at offering some ideas. To make this difficult, we’ll keep the idea to the Vegas Strip area and downtown Las Vegas. It’s fairly easy to find great prices on food when you leave the touristy areas of Las Vegas. Making this even more difficult, I’ll also avoid Happy Hour meals which can be some of the best dining deals in Las Vegas.
 
Vegas Strip ($41.90)
 
Eating in the heart of the Vegas Strip can be boring and expensive. Many of the affordable dining options on the Vegas Strip are chain restaurants that you can find in many cities around the country. I went $1.90 over the budget but I have a reason for that. I’m going to bring you to the hottest breakfast joint in Las Vegas, the most iconic diner in the state of Nevada and we’ll go ½ a block away from the action for a hole in the wall that you may not remember the next day.
 
Eggslut (Cosmopolitan)
The original location of this restaurant in Los Angeles has lines that can last as long as 2-3 hours. The new location at the Cosmopolitan just opened and has similarly long lines. If you’re patient this $8 Bacon, Egg and Cheese sandwich might be the best in Las Vegas.
 
Peppermill (2985 S Las Vegas Blvd.)
This should be on the “must visit” list for any new visitor to Las Vegas. There’s no other restaurant like this in the area. My go to for lunch at the neon-studded Peppermill Diner is the half sandwich and salad. This might be the most filling meal on the Vegas Strip for under $11 (actual cost $10.95).
 
Battista’s Hole In The Wall (4041 Linq Lane)
They serve heaping portions of traditional Italian food at relative bargain prices for Las Vegas. The order of Ziti & Meatballs is $22.95 and comes with soup or salad, garlic bread, cappuccino and all the wine you can drink.
 
Downtown Las Vegas ($34.70)
 
It’s much easier to find quality food in downtown Las Vegas for under $40 then it is on the Vegas Strip. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that you can eat for under $20 a day in downtown Las Vegas. Finding great food for the day under $40 was almost difficult because there are so many options. Here’s a great lineup of dining in downtown Las Vegas for under $40
 
DuPar’s (Golden Gate)
In my eyes, there is no other place to eat breakfast in downtown Las Vegas than DuPar’s. The short stack of pancakes for $7.75 isn’t the cheapest breakfast in the area but it’s easily the best. Any more than the short stack of pancakes (you can order up to 5 per order) and you may get a morning food coma. That’s not a good way to start the day.
 
Therapy (518 Fremont Street)
This is a relatively new restaurant in the Fremont East area of downtown Las Vegas. The Chicken Fried Club is $12 and one of the best chicken sandwiches you’ll find in Las Vegas. The chicken breast can be so large that you won’t finish lunch. There are more lunch options under $15 so feel free to try something different. We have a few bucks to spare.
 
Triple George (201 N 3rd Street)
The chicken parmesan dinner stands out among the menu of high quality and affordable dishes. Triple George sticks to the basics of classic American dining and they do it well. This delicious dinner is $14.95 and includes a side of pasta.
 

Tips For Quick & Effective Packing For Las Vegas

Friday, 12 August 2016 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

Packing for Las Vegas isn’t like packing for anywhere else. The hot air and cold casinos can make it a challenge. The dry air outside means more skin products will be needed. With so many things to remember, inevitably something is forgotten when packing for Las Vegas. I found a workaround for packing that makes the process so simple that only takes about 5 minutes to actually pack.
 
If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’m a neurotic planner. Everything that can be planned for is planned for. Packing is no different.
 
 
 
 
 
1. Create A Packing List The Week Before Traveling
 
More than any other tip, this is the key to packing quickly and accurately.
 
The packing list will help ensure that you don’t forget anything when packing. I break this list into two sections – clothes and everything else. Clothes are broken down by day and time. Shorts and a t-shirt might make sense during the day but you might want slacks and a button down shirt for that dinner and a show. I don’t plan outfits but thinking about the day like this prepares for every occasion. You can pare down from the big list if you want/need.
 
The non-clothes list is even more important. In the summer it’s especially important to have extra lotion and lip balm to avoid dry skin. Casino products usually aren’t the best quality. This is a good reminder if you take medication, shave or have special personal needs. The list helps remember minor things like a pack of gum or mobile phone chargers that are easily forgettable. If you can save a few bucks by not forgetting things, you can spend it on a better cocktail or in a slot machine.
 
2. Dry Clean or Launder Whatever You Can A Few Days Before Leaving
 
Having the majority of your clothes on a hanger makes packing go very quickly. When everything is on a hanger you can go from closet to suitcase in seconds with just one fold of the clothes.
 
3. Do Laundry The Night Before You Leave
 
Doing a final load of laundry right before leaving allows for hanging, folding or rolling whatever shirts and pants are needed. If you don’t do this the night before the clothes can be packed quickly. Roll your clothes not on hangers to save space and possibly avoid wrinkles.
 
4. Prepare Toiletries and Non-Clothes In Advance
 
Create an area to keep your additional toiletries and another for non-clothing (chargers, snacks, etc.) so that you can quickly transfer everything when you’re packing. Having the packing list makes this easy so you don’t forget anything. I keep a corner in my bathroom and another on my kitchen counter so I don’t forget anything.
 
By doing all of this packing preparation you can do your final pack in just a few minutes. Packing stinks and so does spending money when you forget something. These tips should allow for a quick and accurate final pack of your bags before hitting Las Vegas!
 

Absinthe Moving to Cosmopolitan

Wednesday, 10 August 2016 by Blog Category: Entertainment.

A few weeks ago rumors began to surface that the widely popular show at Caesars Palace, Absinthe, would be moving to a new home soon. Those rumors were confirmed today when the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas announced that the Gazillionaire will open his new production of the long-running hit show Absinthe later this year.
 
Since opening 5 years ago in a tent outside of Caesars Palace Absinthe has become one of the most popular shows in Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Johnny Kats, the show sells out almost nightly. Absinthe has 10 shows in a 550 capacity venue and sells approximately 5,000 tickets each week.
 
Working with The Cosmopolitan, Spiegelworld (co-production company along with Base Entertainment) will take over and re-imagine the former ballroom space in Rose.Rabbit.Lie. Together they plan on creating a distinct, all-new venue for Absinthe. As it’s currently constructed, Rose.Rabbit.Lie. may not have headroom for some of the highwire acts from the original show. Additionally, the venue only has a capacity of only 500 people. Rose. Rabbit. Lie. will continue to operate as a modern supper club offering dining and live entertainment.
 
The addition of Absinthe continues the evolution of the Cosmopolitan under new owners, Blackstone Group. New restaurants, new gaming areas and new rooms were only the beginning of the changes. “Absinthe is a truly unique experience and we look forward to collaborating with Spiegelworld on its new home here at The Cosmopolitan next door to Rose. Rabbit. Lie.,” remarked Bill McBeath, president and chief executive officer of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
 
Ross Mollison, Spiegelworld founder, said “we have had the best five years of our lives here in Las Vegas. We could not be more excited to now be working with Bill McBeath and his team, playing in the most compelling new resort to open in Las Vegas in the last decade.”
 
Absinthe will play its final performance at its current location at Caesars Palace on Friday, October 21. The Absinthe website says the show will move to the Cosmopolitan on November 1. It’s unclear if that will be the night of the first show.
 
Get $20 Off Tickets to see the show at Caesars Palace here: $20 Off Absinthe Tickets
 

Resort Fees Are Fun

Friday, 05 August 2016 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

Las Vegas resort fees are in the news again. Once again, MGM Resorts raised their resort fees. Resort fees are that additional fee added to your nightly hotel room price. Depending which MGM Resorts hotel you stay, you’ll pay an additional $23-$36 per night on top of the base price you see advertised.
 
Hotel resort fees have become the scourge of visitors to Las Vegas. There are multiple reasons hotels charge resort fees. The most glaring reason is that Resort Fees are listed as “additional fees.” This allows the hotel room rates to appear low. Sometimes much lower. A random midweek night in August at has a base fee of $39. The current resort fee is $25. The resort fee is about 65% of the base room cost. Seems legit. Not deceitful at all.
 
In an effort to make resort fees appear as if they offer something in exchange for your money they offer meaningless amenities like wifi, local phone calls and more. Most casinos in Las Vegas already offer free wifi in the casino and nobody has used a hotel room phone to call a local business in 20 years. These fees can range anywhere from $8.95 at the El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas to more than $30 per night at various Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts properties on the Vegas Strip. To add insult, you also pay taxes on these additional fees.
 
Besides being an extra cost, resort fees are hated because they often feel hidden when you book a room. They’re not included in the advertised price. Resort Fees may not even be noticeable when you search for hotel room prices. You may not see the extra fee until you go to place your final order for the room. Despite the shady practice, the government has done little to legislate these fees.
 
In order to find the actual cost you’ll be paying for a hotel room each night you’ll need to use this formula:

Base hotel room fee + Resort fee + Taxes and additional fees = Total hotel room price per night

When all the math is done a $100 per night hotel room may actually cost a different amount depending on the hotel. That $39 room at Luxor actually costs $64 plus tax after including the resort fee. $64 for a night in Las Vegas isn’t horrible but the work that was done to actually find that price is just annoying.
 
Surprisingly, it’s still possible to avoid resorts fees in Las Vegas. While the majority of hotels and casino-hotels in Las Vegas will charge a resort fee, there are still a handful of hotels where you won’t be charged more than the base rate.
 
The only casino-hotel on the Vegas Strip that doesn’t charge a resort fee is the Best Western at Casino Royale. This isn’t the fanciest property but this is a very affordable option if you’d like to stay on the Vegas Strip. You’ll find more options if you stretch down the Vegas Strip. Some of the seedy motels don’t include resort fee. What you find in those motels and hotels is largely a mystery that you probably don’t want to find.
 
When you stay at a downtown Las Vegas casino-hotel you can avoid paying resort fees at four different properties. The three Boyd Gaming properties (California, Fremont and Main Street Station) and the Four Queens don’t have resort fees. These hotels don’t offer free wifi so that fee could balance out the overall price with a neighboring hotel that might charge a resort fee.
 
Lastly, there are a handful of local suburban casino-hotels who don’t charge a resort fee either. M Resort, both Arizona Charlie’s and both Cannery Casinos are resort fee free. Cannery Casinos will become Boyd Gaming properties later this year. Unlike their downtown Las Vegas properties, the locals Boyd Gaming casino-hotels in Las Vegas have a resort fee. That’s something to keep an eye on later this year.
 
Staying at a hotel that doesn’t charge a resort fee might sound like it will save money but it doesn’t always work that way. The hotels often keep all-in rates in line with the other properties in the area. However, staying at the property that doesn’t charge a resort fee may offer something that is personally more valuable than money.
 
You may want to use a spreadsheet when budgeting hotel room rates for your next trip to Las Vegas.
 

Million Dollar Quartet VIP Ticket Giveaway

Wednesday, 03 August 2016 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

Drug Stores Everywhere in Vegas

Wednesday, 27 July 2016 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

They’re called drugstores even though they’re more like convenience stores in Las Vegas. Walgreens and CVS aren’t new companies and they’re actually not even new to the Vegas Strip. However, it seems as if they’re taking over. Just a handful of years ago there were only a couple drugstores on the hotel corridor of the Vegas Strip at The Venetian and one near Monte Carlo and Aria.
 
Drug stores are changing the look of Vegas Strip and, while many of you hate this, you can’t seem to get enough of it. When you walk down the Vegas Strip today you’ll see either a CVS or Walgreens on almost every block. One of the newest drugstores to open on the Vegas Strip is at Treasure Island. This store is across the street from a drugstore at The Venetian, across the street from a mall and a half a block from a drugstore at Casino Royale. Talk about overload.
 
This is not the Vegas Strip that you grew up with. This is today’s Vegas Strip where casino operators will open a similar business that’s successful elsewhere in the area if it can make a buck. Casino operators in Las Vegas are almost acting more like landlords than creators of unique experiences. Let’s save this discussion for another day. Back to drugstores.
 
Even though they take away from the unique Vegas Strip experience, these drugstores are in high demand because they’re a great opportunity to save money. They offer everything that you’d expect from a modern day drugstore. Best of all is that these convenience/drug stores offer similar goods that you can buy in a casino gift shop at a lower price.
 
That bottle of water you need before bed may cost half the price in a drugstore as it does in a casino. You may pay the same price for a family sized bag of pretzels in a drugstore as you would in the casino. A 12 pack of beer might cost the same as two beers at a casino bar. The savings at a drugstore today is greater than ever before – especially if you’re a drinker.
 
I know more than a few people who will stop by the nearest drug store for booze, snacks and water before doing anything else after they check into their hotel. As prices rise at bars and restaurants on the Vegas Strip, demand is exploding for cheaper places to find convenient food and beverages.
 
You really have to weigh your options when a bar or lounge is charging the same price for one mixed drink as you would pay for an entire bottle at a drugstore. Not everyone wants to make a drink in the room and bring it down to the casino, but as drinks approach $15-$20 on the Vegas Strip you might want to consider making your own.
 
Drugstores are almost becoming as important to the Vegas Strip as attractions like the Bellagio fountains (GASP!). Rising prices and upscaling of casinos is driving the need for a few budget items during the trip. Saving $20-$30 per person on drinks and snacks can allow you another round at the slot machine or a nicer dinner. We all have different priorities in Las Vegas and no matter how ugly they are drugstores can help make a trip better
 
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Look at it this way. Buying snacks and drinks at a drug store just outside of the casino (and soon inside the casino) will save you enough money for your next session of video poker. If you’re a drinker you’re in for more savings. The drug stores have ample amounts of booze available (the Walgreens near Planet Hollywood even has a walk-in refrigerator) for you to make your own drinks before heading out for a night on the town. That can turn into a huge savings.
 
Drug stores aren’t cool. They don’t belong on the Vegas Strip that I grew up with. I didn’t want to like them but you know what? I’ve become okay with drug stores. We don’t have a choice who the casinos choose to rent their space to so we might as well make the best of it. It’s difficult to totally dislike drug stores if they can help save enough money to spend more on the things we like on the Vegas Strip.
 
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Drug stores are popping up all over the Vegas Strip and they’re a great opportunity to save money. Just a couple years ago there were only a couple drug stores on the Vegas strip – one at The Venetian and one near Monte Carlo and Aria. Now you’ll find a two floor Walgreens just outside of Planet Hollywood and across the street from the Cosmopolitan. Drug stores will be opening when the current renovations are finished at both Treasure Island and the Tropicana. So, what’s the big deal? Saving money is kind of a big deal.
 
Casinos were once designed to keep you lost and confused so you never went outside. There were no clocks (still aren’t any), dizzying carpeting and few signs. Casinos were designed to house everything that you could ever need on your Vegas vacation so there was no point to leaving. Confusion is no longer the focus of casino design. The idea is still to keep you on the property but necessarily inside and definitely not to confuse you. Signage has improved and most things that you’ll want outside of the slot machines and gaming tables are easy to find.
 
Digging a little deeper into the casino business you may have noticed that casino operators are now treating these hotels differently than they used to. Casino owners are looking at themselves as casino operators and landlords. Penn National (Owners of M Resort in Las Vegas) even put some of their holdings into a Real Estate Trust. Many restaurants, bars, clubs and shops aren’t owned by the casino operators. Rather, the spaces are being leased out to franchises to operate and the casino collects rent.
 
Some places like restaurants with celebrity chef’s name attached may charge more for a meal. However, some other places that are rented out will actually allow you to save money while on the Vegas Strip. If you want a bottle of water before heading back to your room you used to have to pay the jacked up rates in the vending machines on each floor or at the casino general store. Now you can stock up on water from a drug store for a savings of almost 50% in some cases. The same can be said for snacks, gum and even toiletries.
 
Look at it this way. Buying snacks and drinks at a drug store just outside of the casino (and soon inside the casino) will save you enough money for your next session of video poker. If you’re a drinker you’re in for more savings. The drug stores have ample amounts of booze available (the Walgreens near Planet Hollywood even has a walk-in refrigerator) for you to make your own drinks before heading out for a night on the town. That can turn into a huge savings.
 
Drug stores aren’t cool. They don’t belong on the Vegas Strip that I grew up with. I didn’t want to like them but you know what? I’ve become okay with drug stores. We don’t have a choice who the casinos choose to rent their space to so we might as well make the best of it. It’s difficult to totally dislike drug stores if they can help save enough money to spend more on the things we like on the Vegas Strip.

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