September 2014 in Las Vegas may as well be known as Las Vegas Beer Month. We checked the google and there isn’t an official Las Vegas Beer Month so we’re starting it right here and right now. Not only are there are three beer festivals in Las Vegas this September but Oktoberfest begins in the middle of the month.

Everything in Las Vegas is a little bit different and Oktoberfest gets started here just a little earlier than the rest of the world. Hofbräuhaus begins Oktoberfest on September 13th while the actual Oktoberfest begins the following day in Germany. Oktoberfest will continue through October 5th. The festival of beer is celebrated with an almost month long celebration with a special brew and celebrity keg tappings every Friday & Saturday. Hofbräuhaus is Las Vegas’ only authentic German beer hall. You can visit Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas for a coupon to get a free beer in one of the most unique beer drinking environments in Las Vegas.

The same weekend as Oktoberfest begins at Hofbräuhaus is also Mandalay Bay’s first ever Beer Festival. Beer Weekend at Mandalay Bay takes place at multiple venues on the property between September 12 through 14. This isn’t your average beer festival where you just sample beer. Beer Weekend includes meals paired with beers, discussions with a beer expert and of course a full day for beer tasting from over 25 breweries. Craft beer from all over the country will be available at the tasting. You can find tickets and more information at MandalayBay.com.

The Downtown Brew Festival takes place on September 20th at the Clark County Amphitheater in Downtown Vegas. The Downtown Brew Fest is coordinated by Motley Brews who routinely have some of the most popular and crowded beer festivals in Las Vegas. This outdoor beer festival will give you a chance to try over 150 different beers from 40 breweries from around the country. In addition to the beer tasting there will be live music and a restaurant row where you can buy food to soak up some of the beer. Ticket prices range from $45 to $85 and can be found at MotleyBrews.com.

The final beer festival of the month is set for the following weekend, September 27. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has their 2nd (now) Annual Desert Hops International Beer Experience. This beer fest will be held outside at the Boulevard Pool, high above the Vegas Strip. The views from the Boulevard Pool are breathtaking and the addition of 150 different beers will only help make those views even better. Tickets will cost between $45 – $65 (plus fees) and are available at Ticketmaster.

Just a few years ago you had to search Las Vegas high and low for a rare or craft beer.

That’s changed as the craft beer trend has exploded in Las Vegas. You can now find large and expanded beer menu’s at just about every bar and restaurant today. During just about every weekend in September Las Vegas will be treated to even more beer. Beer festivals are a great way to learn about new and different beers you may never have heard of before. Viva Las Vegas and Viva Mas Cerveza!

 

The Best Food Courts In Las Vegas 2014

Monday, 11 August 2014 by Blog Category: Food.

Las Vegas hotels are try to create an environment so inviting that you’ll never leave. They offer shows, gaming, spas, pools and more to keep you on their property. One of the best varieties that the hotels in Las Vegas offer is in dining. There’s fine dining if you’re in the mood for the best meal of your life. There’s casual dining for those of us looking for a good sit down meal. Lastly many of the hotels have a food court for the event in which we want a quick and inexpensive bite to eat. Food courts offer the flexibility to eat on site or grab a bite and head to your hotel room. This flexibility is great but the low price point is even better.

Food courts will often have name brand restaurants restaurants that offer familiar food that won’t break the bank but you have to know where to go. In the same manner hotels are not created the same, all food courts aren’t created the same. You’d be hard pressed to find a meal under $15 at some while you’ll probably never exceed $10 at others. Here are some of the best food courts in Las Vegas based on selection, atmosphere and price.

 

Monaco Garden Food Court (Monte Carlo)

The food court at Monte Carlo is quite large but almost feels tucked away towards the back of the casino. It’s proximity to the hotel room elevators and large variety of familiar restaurants make the Monaco Garden Food Court one of your best inexpensive dining options on the Vegas Strip. Familiar chain restaurants like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Manchu Wok, Rubio’s, Sbarro’s, Subway make quick dining choices easy.

 

Castle Walk Food Court (Excalibur)

The Castle Walk food court was renovated at the end of 2012. That renovation brought new design and new restaurants. Unlike many food court’s in Las Vegas you can choose between booth and table dining. What makes Castle Walk stand out from other food courts is the amount of on-the-go snack options. You can grab a smoothie, a pretzel, cup of coffee, a doughnut or a hot dog on a stick. If you’re looking for a full meal you can choose from pizza, chicken, burgers and sandwiches.

 

The District (MGM Grand)

MGM Grand is a huge hotel. There are plenty of dining options if you’re looking for a good meal. One of the best kept secrets is actually hidden in plain view but away from most of the action. It’s easy to get lost when navigating the casino floor but if you head off the floor near the MGM Grand Garden Arena you’ll find The District. This is a relatively small food court but has a lot of good and inexpensive dining options from restaurants you may or may not be familiar with. The anchor restaurant of The District is McDonalds but there is much more to choose from. Bonanno’s New York Pizzeria, Nathans Famous Hot Dogs and Pan Asian Express offer the kind of comfort dining you probably expect at a food court while Tacos N ‘Ritas offer “House Made” Tortillas and Frozen Margaritas you won’t find in most food courts.

Not all Vegas Strip casinos have such inexpensive dining options available. If you’re concerned with being able to find a quick, inexpensive or late night meal check your hotel’s website to see if they have a food court.

Photo credit - VitalVegas.com

 

Cool Down at a Las Vegas Water Park

Wednesday, 06 August 2014 by Blog Category: Entertainment.

One of the many reasons people visit Las Vegas is to enjoy the heat. It gets hot in Las Vegas but generally people don’t want to “beat the heat”. Rather visitors in Las Vegas are looking for something to best experience the heat when it’s 115 in the shade. In the past two water parks have opened to the delight of tourists and locals alike.

Both Wet ‘n’ Wild and Cowabunga Bay offer a fun time in the sun and an escape from the Vegas Strip. Both water parks are similar concepts and open to children of most ages but both are different. Just like the casinos and cacti in Las Vegas no two are exactly alike. Let’s take a look at what Wet ‘n’ Wild and Cowabunga Bay offer.

 

Wet ‘n’ Wild

When many people think about water parks they simply think pools and water slides. That might be the case with some water parks but Wet ‘n’ Wild is more like a water-based amusement park. Wet ‘n’ Wild offers more than 25 slides, pools and attractions spread out over 33.5 acres of land.

Some of the more popular attractions at Wet ‘n’ Wild include the first of its kind waterslide, The Rattler, Red Rock Bay, Paradise Falls and the newest addition at Wet ‘n’ Wild – Tornado. Tornado is meant to simulate being in the natural disaster, but in a fun way. You start your Tornado journey being catapulted from 36 feet in the air through a 110-foot tunnel before plummeting into the eye of the storm. You’ll spin around the Tornado’s funnel in a four person raft where you’ll experience weightlessness before splashing back and forth through the menacing, swirling water before being released into the calm shallows below.

If you’re looking for a more serene experience at Wet ‘n’ Wild you might want to head over to Colorado Cooler. At the Colorado Cooler you’ll find an 1,100 foot long lazy river to relax, cool down and enjoy the sun. Although the lazy river is relaxing it isn’t without surprises that will cool you down. Leave the iPad in the room and relax with your friends.

Being at a water park in the desert may seem daunting because of spending the day in the direct sunlight but Wet ‘n’ Wild offers a lot of shaded areas. There are even private cabanas that you can rent if you want a home base while everyone goes off and has their own good time. Wet ‘n’ Wild is located about 20-25 minutes (depending how fast you drive) from the Vegas Strip in the Summerlin area so you’ll probably want to rent a car if you’re staying on the Vegas Strip.

 

Cowabunga Bay

Cowabunga Bay opened earlier this year in the Henderson suburb of Las Vegas. Like Wet ‘n’ Wild it will take you about 20-25 minutes to get to Cowabunga Bay from the Vegas Strip. Cowabunga Bay on a smaller parcel of land than Wet ‘n’ Wild at 22 acres. Despite its smaller size Cowabunga Bay still 25 slides and other attractions like Wet ‘n’ Wild. One major differentiation between the two water parks is that Cowabunga Bay is a 50’s surf themed water park.

Attractions at Cowabunga Bay include water slides, such as the spine tingling Zooma Zooma (which drops guests 73 feet in the air at high speeds) and Point Panic, an enclosed pitch dark water slide with unique lighting features as you increase speed). There’s giant wave pool and the largest lazy river in the state of Nevada). Because everyone in Las Vegas wants to be a VIP you can rent cabanas or pay to be in the VIP area which includes a private pool.

The Las Vegas outpost of Cowabunga Bay is similar to its sister location in Draper, Utah where Cowabunga Bay makes safety and customers such a priority that it’s one of the best selling points of the water park. All staff focus on guest safety, quality entertainment and friendly customer service. Cowabunga Bay provides free and easily accessible life jackets and tubes, abundance of parking, shade structures, over 240 certified lifeguards, and heated pools, each guest is ensured to have the time of their life.

The majority of reviews on both Wet ‘n’ Wild and Cowabunga Bay have been positive. Don’t forget your sun tan lotion if head out to either water park. You can burn in less than 30 minutes without it! *Ouch*

 

The Westgate Las Vegas (Formerly Known As LVH)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

It’s an exciting time for Las Vegas. Downtown Vegas is adding new restaurants and bars almost every week. The Vegas Strip is renovating just about every casino that hasn’t been touched in the past 10 years. The locals casinos are even getting into the action with Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch casinos getting renovations and new restaurants.

LVH is the most recent casino-hotel to reveal plans for a major renovation. The first thing to go at LVH (formerly Hilton Las Vegas and The International) will be its name. LVH was purchased by timeshare company Westgate. The new name of the hotel-casino will be Westgate Las Vegas.

The Westgate Las Vegas will become part timeshare with between 100 and 200 rooms being converted into timeshare units. The rest of the 3,000 rooms will remain hotel units. The casino and restaurants will remain but everything will get freshened up. Future plans call for a separate timeshare building to be built but the property will be renovated first. Elvis fans and fans The International might remember Elvis’ Penthouse Villa. That villa will also remain but may become more of a historical room.

The main restaurant coming to Westgate Las Vegas will be Edge Steakhouse. The owners of the Westgate are very excited about this award winning steakhouse from Park City, Utah. The worlds largest Benihana restaurant should remain. Vince Neil’s Tatuado Restaurant & Cantina will remain and be expanded while the coffee shop will be renovated and be named Sid’s. Westgate will also be adding a yet to be named Italian restaurant.

Sports fans will be excited to know that the legendary Las Vegas SuperBook (aka sportsbook) will be getting a major facelift when Westgate takes over. All television screens will be replaced while other comforts and amenities are updated. Besides a new high limits room and new slot machines there won’t be much happening to the casino.

The 80,000 square foot space that used to house the Star Trek Experience will be turned into a nightclub. The pool will get a facelift with cabanas being added. The ultimate goal is that the pool area will double as a day club on the weekends. If you want a relaxing weekend at the pool then Westgate Las Vegas might not be the right place for you. We’ll see how this turns out after the area is renovated.

Westgate wants to make staying at the hotel more convenient for convention goers that are next door at the Las Vegas Convention Center. They will be offering guests golf cart shuttles over to the convention center. This can come in handy if you’re in for major conferences like CES or SEMA.

Most of the changes from LVH to Westgate Las Vegas will take about a year. They are planning for some of the changes to take longer so don’t be disappointed if not everything is done right away. If I had to bank on anything being finished quickly it would be the SuperBook renovations. Football season is less than two months away and that’s the busiest time of year for any sportsbook in Las Vegas.

 

Top 29 Free Things to Do in Las Vegas

Tuesday, 29 July 2014 by Blog Category: Entertainment.

1. Art – Check out free art at Aria, Cosmopolitan and the Downtown Arts District.

2. Bellagio Conservatory – The conservatory changes its flowery display with each season. Year to year it’s similar but a little different.

3. Bellagio Fountains – This is one of the most traditional tourist spots in Las Vegas and there’s a reason for that. The show never gets old and is a must see.

4. CBS Research – CBS Research at MGM Grand puts you in charge of the future of television by previewing shows that may be seen on CBS, MTV, BET, CMT, Showtime or one of their other channels.

5. Celebrate your birthday in Vegas – You might be surprised at how many restaurants in Las Vegas offer freebies on your birthday. Free pizza from Grimaldi’s sure sounds good right about now.

6. Circus Acts At Circus Circus – Step right up to the greatest free circus in Las Vegas.

7. Ethel M Chocolate Tour - This botanical cactus garden is a unique day time experience all times of the year. If you’re in Las Vegas during the holidays the gardens are open at night for a holiday light experience.

8. Fall Of Atlantis at Caesars Palace Forum Shops – This 10 minute free show inside one of the busiest malls in America breaks up the monotony of walking through the mall.

9. First Friday – The first Friday of every month is an arts festival in Downtown Vegas and there is free entertainment for people of all ages

10. Freebies when you sign up for casino players clubs – Casinos want your information and some of them offer nifty freebies just for your name and other information.

11. Free concerts at the Fremont Street Experience – Every night you’ll see free concerts on at least one of the stages at the FSE. If you visit during the summer you’ll be treated to national touring bands on those stages.

12. Gaming lessons – Many casinos offer free gaming lessons. Learn how to play craps, three card poker and other casino games for free.

13. Go Around The World – Go to Egypt > New York > Paris > Italy all in Las Vegas

14. Get money - Free ATM’s might be the best slot machine in Las Vegas. There aren’t many fee free ATM’s in Las Vegas so check out this link so you know where to get your money at no charge.

15. Go to a sportsbook – Sportsbooks are giant rooms with multiple televisions showing sports all day and night. This is a great space to sit back and enjoy some air conditioning on a hot summer day.

16. Hourly light shows on canopy at the Fremont Street Experience – Each hour you’ll see a free video concert on the canopy. You’ll see classic rock bands like The Who and The Doors.

17. Lake of Dreams at Wynn – This trippy show made up of puppets, holograms and over 4,000 lights is free to all.

18. Mystic Falls Park – Stroll this cool indoor park at Sam’s Town.

19. Pinball Hall Of Fame – This interactive pinball museum is both historical and fun. The interactivity might cost you a quarter or two but the fun is free.

20. See a movie - Head to Container Park in Downtown Vegas for totally free movies outside this summer.

21. Silverton Aquarium – This small aquarium is located right in the Silverton casino. Its location is unique and so is the aquarium where you might see Santa Claus or Mermaids just hanging around.

22. Take a hike – Head out to Red Rock Canyon and Calico Basin and go for a hike in the mountains surrounding Las Vegas.

23. Use coupons - Go old school and use coupons to get freebies ranging from free bets in the casino to free meals.

24. Using MyVegas Rewards – There are ample free prizes you can get from MyVegas at a variety of different MGM Resorts in Las Vegas.

25. Volcano At The Mirage – It’s just a volcano. On the Vegas Strip. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

26. Window Shopping – There is so much shopping on the Vegas Strip from the Fashion Show Mall to The Linq to Crystals Mall that you can spend a whole day window shopping.

27. Worlds largest Golden Nugget at Golden Nugget - It’s the largest piece of gold in the world. Nuff said.

28. Welcome To Vegas Sign – Get a picture at the sign to prove that you were in the greatest place on earth.

29. Wildlife Habitat at Flamingo – You can roam the lush grounds at the Flamingo and check out waterfalls, swans, ducks, giant koi and of course pink flamingo’s and more. It almost feels as if you’re not on the Vegas Strip. Almost.

The Palms Keeping Free Entertainment Alive

Thursday, 10 July 2014 by Blog Category: Entertainment.

About a decade ago The Palms was the place in Las Vegas to see the famous people and the place to be seen. The first installment of Real World Las Vegas helped make Palms a huge success shortly after the casino opened in 2001. Since then there have been ownership changes and property renovations. While the layout of Palms remains similar you may not recognize some of the names inside. The Towers have new names as do some of the bars, clubs and restaurants.

Even though it’s not the same hotspot it once was Palms is still a fun casino hotel to visit and stay. Gamblers will be happy to know that Palms still has some of the best returns for video poker games anywhere in Las Vegas. New restaurants like Back Room Burger and renovated classics like N9NE Steakhouse give Palms a breath of fresh air.

Being off the Vegas Strip gives Palms freedom to be a little different. Recently they’ve experimented with 24 hour check in/checkout and a drink butler while you wait in line at check in. They’ve also continued to refine their casino players club to offer their best customers more benefits.

The changes aren’t restricted to the casino floor. Palms also renovated many of their hotel rooms recently. While newly renovated hotel rooms on the Vegas Strip typically come with higher room rates you’ll often find Palms rates to be below the average.

Free entertainment in Las Vegas is a dying breed. It used to be that every casino had a lounge where you could watch free musicians perform. That’s not the case any longer. If you want free lounge acts you’ll have to search around. Luckily, one thing that remains constant at Palms is that The Lounge continues to offer free entertainment on a regular basis.

  • 7/10 – Speed at The Lounge inside Palms Casino Resort
  • 7/16 – Jordan Kate Mitchell at Social at Palms Casino Resort
  • 7/17 – Monroy at The Lounge inside Palms Casino Resort
  • 7/23 – Paul Charles Band at Social inside Palms Casino Resort
  • 7/24 – LoveSick Radio at The Lounge inside Palms Casino Resort
  • 7/30 – Barry Black at Social inside Palms Casino Resort
  • 7/31 – Sin City Sinners at The Lounge inside Palms Casino Resort

Palms has put a lot of work into the casino, its restaurants, clubs and lounges to remain relevant in the ever changing Las Vegas market. Palms customers today aren’t the same people that used to visit in its heyday. While some customers may have moved on to other properties in Las Vegas you may want to dip your toes back into an “old” favorite.

The recent changes at Palms make it a formidable option for someone looking for a good value on a clean and renovated hotel room. Not all of the acts at The Lounge are free but the freebies are a great excuse to head out to a casino you may not have visited in a while.

The Quad to Become The LINQ Hotel

Monday, 07 July 2014 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

It has been rumored for a while now but The Quad will be changing it’s name to The LINQ Hotel & Casino. It seems like just yesterday when we were discussing the completion of the facelift of this hotel from Imperial Palace to The Quad. Those renovations have officially been expanded and will be completed by October 30. Expanding The Linq name into the casino really makes this one massive property. It will be much easier to explain to people where you are now.

The renovations of The Linq Hotel will feature 2,256 brand new rooms and suites, a completely renovated welcome experience built around a signature lobby bar, all new retail and spa amenities and a new pool deck to deliver an entirely new experience. When combined with the mall and world’s largest observation wheel, the High Roller, and The Linq, dining and entertainment promenade, The LINQ Hotel & Casino plans to become the new center of the Vegas Strip.

The Linq Hotel & Casino will feature design details and elements with an eye towards social interaction and catering to the “connected” consumer. Connected consumers are those that are always digitally connected with mobile phones and wifi devices. The Linq promenade area currently offers complimentary wifi and that will make its way into the casino-hotel. High speed Wi-Fi will be available throughout the resort in all common areas, hotel rooms and on the gaming floor with guests able to stay connected seamlessly between The Linq Hotel & Casino and the Linq promenade.

The Linq hotel will boast 2,256 rooms including 204 suites along with 29 cabana suites with private access to the all-new pool area. The standard room features a fresh, modern design with floor to ceiling windows, boasting views of the iconic Las Vegas Strip or the High Roller. The centerpiece of the room design will be three distinct accent wall murals featuring stylized interpretations of vintage Las Vegas glamour.

The Linq hotel is boasting a digitally curated resort experience. This means that the guest arrival experience will be centered around an automated check-in process, and a concierge touchscreen option for immediate bookings of favorite dining and entertainment offerings. At the heart of The Linq Hotel & Casino, the all new lobby bar experience will feature a unique beverage program with wines on tap, and table games.

If you’ve been to The Quad in the past year you’ve seen many of the changes that are being described. The Linq Hotel will continue to be a mid-range property on the Vegas Strip. It will be upper mid-range but it will still be priced in the middle of the market. When the room renovations are complete you’ll find base rates (before Travel Vegas or Total Rewards discounts) for the The Linq Hotel around $80-$100. You can currently stay at The Quad for under $50 on most weeknights.

Around The World in One Vegas Day

Monday, 30 June 2014 by Blog Category: Entertainment.

In the 80’s and 90’s Las Vegas was known for its themed hotels. You know hotels like Luxor, Excalibur, Treasure Island and The Venetian. In the past 20 years or so designers have decided to “de-theme” some older hotels while creating new luxury hotels, like Aria and Cosmopolitan, without an overt theme. There’s a time and a place for both types of atmosphere when visiting Las Vegas.

The themed hotels offer the ability to make games that you can’t play at unthemed hotels. Many of the themed hotel games are free or cheap to play and make for a fun activity while in Las Vegas. Many of the themes offer you an excuse to go “Around The World”. When you go around the world on the Vegas Strip you can just stop in a casino for a picture, grab a souvenir, have a drink or bite to eat or even hit the tables. The options of the game are endless really but let’s look at the least expensive idea and go over great places around the world (in Vegas) to grab a picture.

 

Luxor – The interior at Luxor has been renovated a few times since opening. If you want to grab the most iconic picture you should head outside to the Vegas Strip and stand in front of the huge pyramid.

 

New York – New York – You can head inside and grab a picture with some of the famous signage from New York City. Two of the best picture locations are outside where you’ll find both the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.

 

Guide to 4th of July Las Vegas Fireworks 2014

Friday, 27 June 2014 by Blog Category: Entertainment.

July 4th is one of the busiest vacation times of the year for families. Watching fireworks often caps a day of family fun. This hasn’t been lost on Las Vegas hotels where both locals and tourists can find great fireworks shows in all parts of town. Here’s a breakdown of where and when you can watch the July 4th fireworks in Las Vegas

 

South Strip

Mandalay Bay - Fireworks are go off from Mandalay Beach. You have two options to watch. If you want to be close to the fireworks you can buy concert tickets for $20. Doors will open at 8pm for the concert and fireworks will go off later in the evening. If you don’t want to spend the money you should be able to watch the fireworks anywhere outside on the south end of the Vegas Strip.

 

Las Vegas Outdoor Summer Activities

Saturday, 21 June 2014 by Blog Category: Entertainment.

Everyone loves spending time outside in Las Vegas during the summer. There’s just something invigorating about the hot weather. Unfortunately that hot weather can get in the way of some outdoor activities. One of my first visits to Las Vegas was for a bachelor party. We didn’t plan much besides a big dinner for the bachelor and to spend an afternoon riding dune buggies in the desert. The day we had dune buggies planned for happened to be one of those days where it was 100 degrees before we woke up. We were skeptical about spending peak afternoon hours in dune buggies in the blazing sun and luckily (or unluckily) we didn’t have to. The friend that coordinated the dune buggy plans received a call that our outing was cancelled. We were both happy and sad about this so we just spent the day in and out of air conditioned casinos.

There are many fun outdoor activities in Las Vegas but you might want to make plans for an early arrival. Sometimes the sun makes these activities unbearable and, even worse, unhealthy. By planning your outings in the early morning hours you’ll miss the bulk of the extreme summer heat. Here are some tips on how to enjoy some of the different outdoor activities.

 

Dune buggies and off road ATV riding – Your best bet with these activities is to plan for the earliest time slot. Both are fun but can be physically exhausting and unsafe on the hottest summer days. It’s not very easy to stay hydrated while you’re driving through the desert sands.

 

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