Casinos in Las Vegas look different today than they used to. You may have noticed some changes on your last visit to Las Vegas. Frankly, the casino floors all around Las Vegas have evolved a lot in the past five years. Casinos are no longer exclusively gigantic rooms of slot machines and table games that they used to be.
You may notice that casinos are broken up into smaller areas. Many traditional gaming floors have specific gambling spaces dedicated to certain games. Some casinos like The Linq create “pods” that make this somewhat obvious to the naked eye.
A casinos like MGM Grand simply segments their main gaming floor by different table games and slot machines. This makes it a bit easier to navigate around the property. Some casino floors like Encore break things up by adding gaming lounges outside of the main gaming floor.
The casino floor at MGM Grand is so large (170,000 square feet according to their fact sheet) that the casino operator has taken the gaming space to another level. They’re combining all strategies in order to make a unique casino.
In addition to breaking up the gaming floor, they’ve added gaming lounges. Whiskey Down was one of the very first gaming lounges with a mix of bartop video poker and blackjack tables. Last year MGM Grand opened The Level Up gaming lounge. The new bar and gambling area offers traditional bar games with new and old casino gambling.
Planet Hollywood recently took a more loungy concept right to the middle of the gaming floor. They recently installed social and skill-based games from Gamblit Gaming in between the traditional table games and slot machines. This is currently a planned field trial for the new games. If successful, we can expect these games to appear in more casinos.
These skill-based games aren’t traditional casino table games or slot machines. The small area of three tables includes Gamblit Poker and Cannonbeard’s Treasure. Here’s a description of each game:
Gamblit Poker tests skill and speed while allowing players to win up to 240x their bet in a single hand. Each player starts with two cards, followed by a single deck of cards shown in rapid succession in the middle of the table. Players have to quickly virtually grab the cards they need in order to complete the best possible poker hand.
Cannonbeard’s Treasure engages players in a fast-paced game of cards, skill and naval warfare. This game is similar to blackjack but on a whole new level. Cannonbeard’s Treasure challenges players to fill their hand without winning or busting, initiating a burndown. During the burndown, a set of additional cards will be dealt. The player who gets closest to the objective, without going over, wins a chest of gold.
Between two and four players can compete against each other for a head-to-head gaming experience at these tables. Each gaming terminal offers a unique, multi-player – multi-game machine with access to a shared 42” touch screen, plus a USB charging port, purse hook and two cup holders for each player. I’ve played slot machines and bartop video poker simply because they have an outlet to charge my phone. This is a modern amenity that every game should have.
MGM Resorts has interactive tables which include some skill-based but non-gambling games at some of their casino bars and sports books. Almost every visit to The Mirage sports book takes me to these tables. I’ve wished that I could wager a few dollars on some of the games while relaxing with a drink and sports on TV. Gamblit Poker and Cannonbeard’s Treasure seem more appropriate for this kind setting than the middle of the gaming floor.
While Caesars Entertainment touts the new games as the first skill-based games in Las Vegas, they’re actually second. Earlier this year MGM Grand introduced a skill-based gambling version of Frogger at their Level Up lounge. If the field trial is a success, these games will be placed at The Linq and Caesars Palace.
Casinos aren’t what they used to be. There are new places to gamble and new games to gamble on. These skill-based games are still new to casinos but could become a new way to gamble. Like most new technology, the games are targeted to a younger customer. That said, I know plenty of older casino visitors that enjoy a relax, have a drink and throw a few bucks on a game of skill.
The Vegas Strip is the first place that comes to mind when most people think of Las Vegas. It’s understandable and in 2016 approximately three-quarters of all visitors to Las Vegas stayed in a hotel within the Strip Corridor. Much like all major cities that are vacation destinations, there’s more to Las Vegas than just the Vegas Strip.
According to the Las Vegas Visitors Profile by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, more people decided to explore beyond the Vegas Strip in 2016 than previous years. In fact, 21% of those survey said they visited somewhere else near Las Vegas. That’s an increase from 14% in 2012 and 16% in 2014 who explored beyond the Vegas Strip.
As usual, the majority of exploration away from Las Vegas took people to the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. The most common responses of places visited in the Visitor Profile were the Grand Canyon (65%), Hoover Dam (57%), Zion National Park (12%, down from 20% in 2014), and Lake Mead (11%, down from 21% in 2012). Eight percent each said Bryce Canyon (down from 15% in 2014), Mt. Charleston/ Lee Canyon (up from 2% in 2014), and Red Rock. Six percent (6%) said Death Valley (down from 13% in 2014), 5% each mentioned the Valley of Fire (down from 10% in 2014) and Laughlin (up from 3% in 2014), and 2% mentioned Primm, Nevada, (up from less than 1% in 2014).
Not nearly enough of the respondents visited the nearby National Parks. Even though Red Rock is a “National Conservation Area,” it’s not technically a park. There are more than 400 National Parks around the country and a handful of National Parks in and around the state of Nevada. Not only are these a great place to explore nature but for short periods throughout the year, entry to the National Parks will be free.
National Park Week takes place from April 15 to 23, 2017. This is this a celebration of National Parks and a great excuse to explore parts of Nevada away from the Vegas Strip. Death Valley, Great Basin, Lake Mead, and Tule Springs Fossil Beds are all a quick drive from Las Vegas. You can find information on each National Park here.
Each of these National Parks charges an entry fee that will be waived throughout the year. Here are the dates for free entry to National Parks around the state of Nevada.
- April 22-23 (Weekends of National Park Week)
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 30: National Public Lands Day
- November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend
While prices on the Vegas Strip continue to rise, visitors are looking for other places to supplement the fun during vacation. If you’re looking for some low rolling in the casinos you can head to downtown Las Vegas or casinos all over town. If you’re looking for fresh air and nature, you can head out to the national parks all over the state.
Downtown Las Vegas hotels are getting better every year. There was a time where some of the properties were run down and beat up. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case for a few years now. Many of the hotels have been renovated in the past 5 years or so. If you visit the California, you may find room renovations that were finished in the past few weeks.
The rooms and casinos aren’t the only improvements you’ll find in downtown Las Vegas casino-hotels. Many restaurants have been updated and upgraded. Unfortunately, there’s one important renovation for the summer that you won’t find at every hotel. There’s nothing like the pool scene on the Vegas Strip. There’s something for everyone whether you just want to relax or you want to enjoy music.
Well, when Downtown Grand opened in 2013, the property brought a new and improved pool experience. The pool was one of the nicest pools at a downtown Las Vegas hotel. Much like the casino as a whole, the pool area at Downtown Grand has already been improved. There’s new decor, outdoor gaming, food, and drink.
The pool area at Downtown Grand, known as Citrus, is now more than 35,000 square feet large. This pool deck has an infinity pool, restaurant and full bar, very affordable semi-private cabanas, a fire pit, backyard games like cornhole, foosball, and table tennis. There’s even a grassy seating area with umbrellas and outdoor day beds.
This year, Downtown Grand is adding, even more, fun to their pool scene beginning May 4. Take a look:
Thursday – Old School by the Pool
Enjoy “back-in-the-day” R&B hits poolside every Thursday night, presented by the valley’s own KOAS Old School 105.7. For the launch on May 4 at 8 p.m. catch Next Movement. Upcoming bands and performers include Phil Flowers, NA Fect, Sons of Soul, and Rhythm Nation.
Friday – Dance Party Kicking Off with Shakira Tribute Band featuring Lorena Peril
Poolside dance party every Friday night? Yes, please. Kicking off on May 5 – Cinco de Mayo – with a Shakira Tribute Band featuring Lorena Peril, hangout poolside every Friday night with KLUC’s Morning Zoo personality, Kayla, and watch local favorite on-air talent Davey The ShowKiller serving as DJ.
Saturday – Rock Nation
Summer Saturdays will rock at Citrus with 92.3 KOMP and 97.1 The Point alternating throughout the weeks. A combination of live bands and DJ-driven nights including a monthly Albumpalooza show – a concert that highlights classic and timeless albums played live – will turn the pool deck into a classic rock concert every Saturday night. The fun kicks off on Saturday, May 6 with Albumpalooza: A Tribute to “Zeppelin IV.”
Sunday – Noche de Ritmo
La Buena 101.9 presents a tequila-friendly combination of live bands and a DJ. Noche De Ritmo or Rhythm Night begins Sunday, May 7 with Banda Corazon Sinaloense taking the stage.
This is the perfect use of a pool area in Las Vegas. You can relax at the pool during the day with a book while you work on your tan. At night you can party outside with a beautiful summer breeze. In-between time at the pool you can grab a drink and snack during Happy Hour at Pizza Rock, play some blackjack in the casino, or walk down the street to see the Fremont Street Experience.
There are many people looking for places to stay in Las Vegas that are less expensive than the Vegas Strip. The great pool scene at Downtown Grand will help separate it from the other options in the area.
One of the very best free activities in Las Vegas is the free entertainment in downtown Las Vegas at the Fremont Street Experience. During most of the year, you’ll find local bands, tribute bands, DJ’s and other forms of entertainment on the three stages under the canopy of the Fremont Street Experience.
The quality of the entertainment gets even better during the summer when the Fremont Street Experience hosts a variety of well-known national touring bands. That tradition will continue this summer as the Fremont Street Experience presents The Downtown Rocks summer concert series.
The big-name free entertainment gets a boost this summer from a different venue. The Downtown Grand casino, just a block away from the Fremont Street Experience, offers their free Rock The Street concert(s).
Downtown Rocks will host performances by the Rock’n Road Trip Tour with Fuel, Tonic, and more (June 10), Rick Springfield (August 12), Seether (August 26), Collective Soul (September 1) and Chevelle (September 30). Rock The Street with Vince Neil will take place on Sunday, May 27, and will be headlined Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe. Todd Kerns & the Anti-Stars and open the show.
“This year we’re kicking things up a notch with our new summer concert series, Downtown Rocks,” says Patrick Hughes, CEO, and president of Fremont Street Experience. “The free concert series is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our tremendous, loyal fans. Their support and patronage allow us to show our appreciation in the best way we know how, by throwing parties and free concerts featuring top acts all summer long that deliver exciting, quality entertainment experiences for our fans.”
The Fremont Street Experience will be adding, even more, national touring bands as the summer gets closer. Keep an eye on this post as we’ll update the list of events. All concerts are free to enter but have different entry processes. The concerts at the Fremont Street Experience are ticket-free shows so just show and and have fun.
You should note that these free concerts are always crowded. Arrive early for the best spot. The best spot for these concerts will be different for everyone. Some people may want to stand close to the stage for the best view while others might want to stand near an exit for a quick run to the bar or restroom. It will take a few minutes to navigate from the front of the stage through the huge crowd if you don’t plan on watching the entire concert.
While “Rock The Street” is free, you need a ticket to enter. You can obtain tickets for the Vince Neil performance from the Downtown Grand website. Tickets are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Downtown Grand will have other events during the summer so keep an eye on this page of their website.
Here’s a current list of free concerts in downtown Las Vegas this summer (all shows at the Fremont Street Experience unless noted):
May 27: Rock The Street with Vince Neil (tickets here for Downtown Grand)
June 10: Rock’n Road Trip Tour with Fuel, Tonic, Marcy Playground, and Dishwalla
August 12: Rick Springfield
August 26: Seether
September 1: Collective Soul
September 30: Chevelle
The Linq promenade has come a long way from its days as an alley for Imperial Palace, O’Sheas, and Flamingo to leave their trash. Since opening in 2014 the reformed alley has become a destination on the Vegas Strip for indoor and outdoor drinking, dining, and shopping.
Many people seem to be familiar with The Linq as “the place with the big ferris wheel.” The High Roller, at the farthest point from the Vegas Strip at The Linq, is the world’s tallest observation wheel. This is an attraction in its own right. Even if you avoid heights, it’s still easy to see the awe of such a tall ride.
Over the years The Linq has changed tenants but some of these new restaurants seem destined to become a fixture on the Vegas Strip. In the past few months, The Linq has welcomed a nice variety of places to grab a bite including a new quick serve restaurant from Gordon Ramsay, the first Vegas Strip location of one of the most popular west coast burger joints, and an import from New York City.
Amorino is one of the most popular names in gelato in Europe. There are 24 regular gelato flavors as well as seasonal selections. In addition to desserts, the small restaurant also offers crepes, macaroons, and other breakfast pastries.
Gordon Ramsay Fish n Chips
This is chefGordon Ramsay’s fourth Las Vegas restaurant in Las Vegas. GRFC is a quick-serve restaurant intended with dishes intended to eat on the go. The reason you’re visiting this restaurant is for fresh fish and chips like you might find in England and that’s about all you’ll find on the menu. The small restaurant has seating for fewer than 20 people.
In N Out Burger
There is no longer a need to leave the Vegas Strip for one of the most popular fast food burgers in the country. This In N Out burger location serves up the same fresh food that many have come to love. As you’d expect the prices here are a little higher than they are away from the Vegas Strip. Don’t worry the prices aren’t insane, just enough to cover the higher rent and probably close to what you’d spend on a taxi to the nearby locations.
Jabburito brings one of the hottest trends in dining to the Vegas Strip. Sushi served in burrito form has been growing in popularity on the west coast for the past year. This is the only place on the Vegas Strip where you’ll find this unique combination.
Virgil’s Real BBQ
This import from New York City is the largest of the new restaurants at The Linq. The 14,000 square foot restaurant occupies two floors and has enough room for bands to perform every night with plenty of room for dining. The BBQ served at Virgil’s is from a variety of regions so you’ll have more than just one flavor profile.
Urban Turban Express
This quick-serve Indian food stand isn’t a restaurant but does offer food to eat on the go. Actually, you’ll probably want to grab a seat at the nearby fountains for most dishes. The Linq is probably the only place on the Vegas Strip where you’ll be able to find Indian favorites such as curry bowls.
It’s been less than a year since MGM Resorts International became the first Vegas Strip casino operator to charge parking fees at their various casinos. Well, those prices are old news. Effective April 12, both self-parking and valet fees at MGM Resorts International casinos will increase. Here are the new rates:
Excalibur, Circus Circus, Luxor, Monte Carlo – $10
Mandalay Bay & Delano, MGM Grand, The Mirage, New York-New York – $15
Aria, Bellagio, Vdara – $20
Excalibur, Circus Circus, Luxor, Monte Carlo – $15
Mandalay Bay & Delano, MGM Grand, The Mirage, New York-New York – $20
Aria, Bellagio, Vdara – $25
0-1 hour: Free
1-2 hours (Shorter):
Excalibur, Circus Circus, Luxor, Monte Carlo – $5
Mandalay Bay & Delano, MGM Grand, The Mirage, New York-New York – $8
Aria, Bellagio, Vdara – $10
2-4 hours (New):
Excalibur, Circus Circus, Luxor, Monte Carlo – $7
Mandalay Bay & Delano, MGM Grand, The Mirage, New York-New York – $10
Aria, Bellagio, Vdara – $12
Excalibur, Circus Circus, Luxor, Monte Carlo – $7
Mandalay Bay & Delano, MGM Grand, The Mirage, New York-New York – $12
Aria, Bellagio, Vdara – $15
The new parking fee increases may only be a few dollars for some parking segments but, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes, that could be as much as a 39% increase. You can see the initial parking fees at MGM Resorts properties here.
There’s still no charge to self-park at Circus Circus. It should be pointed out that if you’re visiting T-Mobile Arena, The Park or The Park Theater it’s less expensive to park at Monte Carlo than New York-New York. Expect that to change when Monte Carlo renovations are complete and Park MGM opens.
Since MGM Resorts International started charging parking Caesars Entertainment and the Cosmopolitan have announced self-parking and valet fees. Caesars Entertainment has just started charging for parking at some of their properties. The fees will roll out to all Vegas Strip casinos. Rio will be excluded as it’s not on the Vegas Strip. The Cosmopolitan fees should begin shortly. Wynn and Encore are now charging for valet, but not self-parking.
Avoid MGM Resorts International Parking Fees
Not everyone has to pay self-parking or valet fees at MGM Resorts International properties. M Life Rewards players club members that are Pearl, Gold, Platinum and Noir will receive free self-parking. M Life Rewards members that are Gold, Platinum and Noir receive free valet.
If you’re not a big spender you can upgrade to M Life Rewards Pearl and receive free self-parking just by signing up for the M Life Rewards credit card. You can find information on the M Life Rewards players club here and the M Life Rewards credit card here.
The M Life Rewards players club upgrade process takes 7-10 days after approval for the credit card. There is no annual fee for the credit card. Make sure you read the current terms and conditions before signing up for the credit card as those may have changed.
Last summer the news about renovation at Palace Station started to leak. Eater was first with the news and I was able to confirm that something was being planned with Station Casinos, owner of the Palace Station. At the time, Station Casinos wasn’t ready to reveal all details of the renovations.
Despite its proximity to the Vegas Strip, Palace Station goes mostly unnoticed by tourists. The casino is located on Sahara Avenue just west of the I-15. Lucky Dragon, SLS Las Vegas and the Stratosphere are the closest casinos. However, they’re towards the less busy north end of the Vegas Strip.
Palace Station has been undergoing subtle upgrades in the past couple of years with new carpeting, new restaurants (Charcoal Grill, Little Tony’s) and a recent sports book upgrade. However, renovations and upgrades are going into high gear now as Palace Station returns to its roots.
Shortly after the casino opened in 1976, it was renamed Bingo Palace. The first major part of the renovations at Palace Station is to add a new, larger bingo room to the casino. While Bingo isn’t the most popular game with tourists, this is still popular with Las Vegas locals. Besides the Gold Coast, Palace Station has the closest Bingo Hall to the Vegas Strip.
Coming in at more than 9,000 square feet, the new Bingo Hall will be an improvement for current Bingo players. Station Casinos will also reach out to potentially new Bingo players. A couple of years ago Red Rock Casino (another Station Casino) debuted a nighttime version of bingo. The room is dimly lit and players are given neon necklaces. There’s a DJ bumping the jams and winners are doing shots. This is not your granny’s Bingo.
The concept may sound a bit out there but it’s become a very popular way for younger people to kick off the night. Approximately $20 gives a player an hour of gambling fun and booze. The game brings potential for winning a few bucks and more booze. The older players just avoid these games if they’re not in the mood for loud music and good times.
Back to the renovations. The upgrades to Palace Station will be done in phases over a couple of years. This first phase of renovations should conclude by summer. Upgrades will include a new valet area at the casino entrance facing Sahara Ave., the exterior facade will receive a facelift, the parking lot will be repaved, and some fixtures on the casino floor will be changed out. (semi-related, Chick-Fil-A is opening nearby)
The next phase of renovations will move the Feast Buffet from the second floor to the casino level. Station casinos will add two new restaurants which remain unnamed. The renovations for Palace Station may or may not end here. Station Casinos didn’t confirm or deny that there would be a new hotel tower added while the courtyard rooms are removed. They also didn’t confirm that future renovations would include a movie theater, bowling alley, or rooftop pool.
Prices to eat, drink and sleep in a casino on the Vegas Strip continue to rise so there’s reason to look elsewhere to balance your travel budget. Before the upgrades, Palace Station is already a viable option for anyone looking to save some money while still being near the Vegas Strip. The renovations will only give more reason to consider the near-Strip property.
I’ve stayed at Palace Station during conventions. They offer a solid value for the price. Palace Station is a few minutes away from the Las Vegas Convention Center. Rideshare companies make the trip back and forth to Sands or the LVCC quick and inexpensive.
Going to a museum might not be the first thing that crosses your mind when planning a trip to Las Vegas. However, there are a couple of museums in Las Vegas receiving upgrades that might be worth your time.
The Neon Museum and Boneyard is a must see for anyone looking to see what Las Vegas used to look like. The Mob Museum gives a look into the mafia and their place in Las Vegas history. Coincidentally, both museums are located in downtown Las Vegas.
Neon Museum and Boneyard
This nearly two-acre campus is a bit more than a typical museum. The Neon Museum is where you go to physically see the history of what makes Las Vegas unique. This isn’t a museum for by the book education. There aren’t many museums that are popular because they have a bunch of signs. However, the vintage neon signs allow tour guides to educate guests on casinos and other businesses throughout Las Vegas history. These signs are why the majority of people visit the neon museum.
The majority of education and activity at the Neon Museum takes place outside in the Neon Boneyard and Boneyard Park. You’ll find more than 250 historic signs at the Neon Museum including signs from the Sahara, Stardust, New-New York, Lady Luck and O’Shea’s. The new expansion will bring about 30 to 40 new signs out to the Boneyard. Early additions include signs from the recently imploded Riviera, recently closed Las Vegas Club and world famous Spearmint Rhino gentlemen’s club.
All tours are guided and many sell out in advance. Visit neonmuseum.org to learn more and reserve a time to visit. The tours last about an hour and can be exhausting during the day in the summer when temperatures reach over 110 degrees in the shade. Keep that in mind when scheduling a tour.
This is a more traditional, but modern, museum. At the Mob Museum you will take an interactive tour throughout the history of the mob. You’ll learn about the mob’s impact on Las Vegas history and the mark it’s made in the world. The Mob Museum isn’t just a place to walk around and read plaques. The museum has high-tech theater presentations, one-of-a-kind artifacts and interactive, themed environments.
You’ll learn about such historical mob figures like Al Capone, Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Ben Siegel, Sam Giancana, Frank Rosenthal, Whitey Bulger, John Gotti and much more. The Mob Museum also looks at law enforcement and the mob. There are items and artifacts like different guns that relate to law enforcement’s role in helping to defeat the mob.
New exhibits this year at the Mob Museum include “Organized Crime Today,” “The Crime Lab” and “Firearms Training Simulator.” The exhibits feature wall-sized touchscreens and hands-on learning. This unique museum offers a lot of education about Las Vegas and cities around the country.
The Mob Museum is a great summer activity as it brings you inside for at least two hours of air conditioning and education. Visit themobmuseum.org for more information.
You may have heard by now that the Oakland Raiders received permission from the NFL to relocate to Las Vegas. The football team won’t become the Las Vegas Raiders until construction a new stadium is completed. The stadium isn’t expected to open until 2020. Yay?
Las Vegas is stoked to become a major league city. The Raiders will not only change how Las Vegas feels about itself but how others feel about the city. The team will play at least eight home games per season in Las Vegas. Additionally, the new stadium is expected to draw 50-100 events per year.
Arena And Stadium Will Bring More Major Events Than Ever To Las Vegas
Many of these events like dirt bike racing and monster trucks will move from Boyd Stadium and won’t be considered major events. Even though people go to those events, they’re nothing like when Beyonce comes to town.
However, even smaller events near the Vegas Strip will have an effect on the Las Vegas experience. Hotel room prices will fluctuate more than ever. I spent most of my life in New York and New Jersey and could see hotel room prices fluctuate as events were near the various stadiums, arenas, and theaters. This new 65,000 seat football stadium, T-Mobile Arena and all of the increased convention space in Las Vegas will have a similar effect in Las Vegas.
Hotel room prices are always higher when there’s a big event in Las Vegas and this won’t be any different. In 2020 and beyond we should see more major events than ever in Las Vegas and especially on the Vegas Strip. Heck, we’ll see more big events starting later this year when the Vegas Golden Knights begin play. Every home game against a team from major cities will be an event that people plan vacations around.
Look for the other arenas and venues to take advantage of the eight Raiders home games and 41 Vegas Golden Knights hockey games. The other venues will be stacked with major talent beyond just the games. This is how to best maximize hotel room rates. We’re already seeing it on a smaller scale. Busy weekends in Las Vegas will be explosive by today’s standards.
Hotel Prices And Fees In Las Vegas May Explode
Hotel room prices won’t only increase on the Vegas Strip, but all around town. When prices are too expensive in the high demand hotels near the action many visitors will look elsewhere. Luxury hotel rooms during major events like Super Bowl weekend and the first weekend of March Madness can reach near the $1,000 mark. Lower end casino-hotel rooms may be double or triple their normal rate. Hotel rooms at the low-end Circus-Circus were near $300 the night of the Floyd Mayweather fight against Manny Pacquiao. Off strip hotel that might normally charge $100 for a room might be able to charge $150 for that room.
If resort fees are still around in 2020 we may see a sliding scale. For (extreme) example it wouldn’t be surprising to keep resort fees at $45 per night during weekdays and slide all the way to $100 per night during major event weekends. During normal busy weekends, the resort fee might be somewhere in the middle. We may see this sooner than later as regular resort fees can’t go much higher.
Since more people will be visiting Las Vegas we could see more hotel operators begin plans similar to MGM Resorts Profit Growth Plan (PGP). That’s the plan that seeks to maximize revenue while minimizing expenses. You may know this today as parking fees and drink monitoring. If there’s a fee that can be charged it will be charged by 2020. If there’s a perk that can be cut, it will be cut.
All of the price increases could lead to another construction boom. If Resorts World wants to cash in on the great stadium effect they might want to speed up construction. They could be the shiny new casino-resort in Las Vegas that opens just in time for the kickoff of the 2020 NFL season.
The Las Vegas Raiders and new stadium isn’t the end of days and we should continue to see record visitation to Las Vegas. Not that they need it, but this new stadium gives an excuse to casino operators to tighten up their business.
I recently visited downtown Las Vegas at night for the first time this year and was, once again, reminded how much fun it can be. Downtown Las Vegas offers a very different kind of fun than the Vegas Strip. I’ve come to enjoy both equally for their differences since my first trip downtown.
The Vegas Strip is the Las Vegas that everyone knows from TV, movies, and the majority of visitors. Downtown Las Vegas isn’t as famous and that suits the area fine. “Old Vegas” has always offered a different experience from the Vegas Strip and that’s what has always made it special.
While the Vegas Strip continues to offer the “latest and greatest” of everything, Downtown Las Vegas offers a less flashy experience. A visit to downtown Las Vegas is closer to what visitors may remember from the 1990’s on the Vegas Strip. The gambling is good, even the nicest hotel rooms are affordable, there are plenty of good restaurants and there’s free entertainment everywhere you look at the Fremont Street Experience.
Increasing resort fees, parking fees, etc. on the Vegas Strip don’t bother me. I can budget for that stuff so Las Vegas is always fun for me. However, if you’re tired of all that (I know many of you are!) and looking for a different Las Vegas experience you might want to look downtown. Here are 5 reasons to visit downtown Las Vegas.
Fremont Street Experience Is Kind Of Amazing
There’s nothing like this mall of casinos at night anywhere in the world. There are three stages with, often free, entertainment and a light show on the canopy above that covers the mall. You’re free to wander without concern for vehicular traffic. There are street performers that are equally as entertaining as they are annoying. Just about every casino has access to a bar from the street. The alcohol helps fuel the chaos in the area. You’ll hear people riding the giant Slotzilla zipline screaming above you all night. A night out at the Fremont Street Experience is sensory overload in the best way.
The Gambling Is Great
If you’re the kind of person that enjoys a fun atmosphere, low limits, and good odds when you gamble then you’ll have a great time in the downtown Las Vegas casinos. The atmosphere is loose and not stuffy at all. You’ll find $3 and $5 minimum wagers for craps and blackjack at just about every casino. El Cortez even has quarter roulette. The casinos in downtown Las Vegas tout that they offer looser slots than the Vegas Strip.
For what it’s worth, I probably gamble more frequently in downtown Las Vegas than any other part of town. There seems to be more bang for the buck.
Great Drinking Options
My friends and I never hung out to eat or drink when I first started visiting downtown Las Vegas. That’s changed and there’s a great variety of restaurants and bars. The Vue Bar at The D has good video poker games and the bartenders are quick with a drink. If you prefer a non-gaming bar you can head to Downtown Cocktail Room, The Griffin or The Commonwealth. Beer drinkers can enjoy local brewery Banger Brewing or visit Pizza Rock for a great beer selection at fair prices. Beer prices (and food) are even better during Happy Hour at Pizza Rock.
Surprisingly Good Variety Of Dining
Downtown Las Vegas has grown beyond the mall of casinos at the Fremont Street Experience. Just walking a block or two outside of the canopy can bring more restaurants that may not be on the radar of most people visiting downtown Las Vegas. While the casinos boast some good high-end, but affordable, steakhouses like Andiamo’s at The D and Oscar’s at the Plaza you’ll find some great food options just a few steps away. Therapy, Eat, Carson Kitchen, and Pizza Rock are just a few good non-casino restaurants.
The Vegas Strip is great but it can feel a bit fancy at times with the newest of everything. It’s the hotspot of Las Vegas. There’s a time to dress nicely, have a great meal, and see a hundred dollar per ticket show. There’s also a time where a t-shirt, shorts, and a football of beer feel more appropriate. Las Vegas is great because you can enjoy both of those feelings in the same day. There’s just a more relaxed vibe in downtown Las Vegas than the Vegas Strip.