One of the most appealing aspects of visiting Las Vegas is that it’s different every time you visit. Some of the changes might be subtle; like a new show or restaurant. Some of the changes are huge like the giant Ferris wheel being built in the middle of the Vegas Strip. Then there are cultural changes that regular visitors to Las Vegas may not notice because they happen slowly over a long period of time.
One such change has been the fact that people now spend more money on non-gaming parts of the casino then they do on gambling. This isn’t new but a slow 20 year trend that we’re seeing play out with a lot of the new construction in Las Vegas. Nightclubs have lead the way with this trend and now account for almost as much money for a casino as gambling does. If you’re wondering why casinos are changing this is your answer. The Las Vegas Sun has more details on the business end of things here..
So, you want to do Las Vegas on a budget but you’re okay spending some money – just not a lot of money. If it’s possible to experience Las Vegas in about $20 a day it’s more than possible to experience it with a little more money.
Start saving and exploring by staying off the Vegas Strip. One of the best deals available off the strip is Rio. Hotel room rates at Rio are in line with the other hotels in the area (Palms and Gold Coast). There are a few things that set Rio apart from the others but each room being a suite allows you to feel a little luxury while you’re travelling on a budget. One of the other things that sets Rio apart from the other off strip hotels is that it’s a Total Rewards hotel so you can earn and use comp points from Caesars Entertainment hotels all across the country. For the sake of this blog we’re concerned with the other 8 Total Rewards hotels in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas changes often. It keeps people on their toes. That’s almost always a good thing. A few years ago Flightlinez brought ziplining to the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Vegas. It was fun to zip (or at least watch people zip) across Fremont Street. During the day it was cool but at night when the Fremont Street Experience canopy was all lit up it was nothing short of magical. Well, ziplining down Fremont Street became so popular that the zipline game had to step up. The Flightlinez zipline closed earlier this year. Have no fear, ziplining across Fremont Street will return bigger and badder than ever.
Enter SlotZilla. SlotZilla will be a new zipline offering two very different zipline experiences when it opens later this year. SlotZilla will be an 11 story and 108 feet high slot machine with two different zipline rides. There will be a short ride that will be a traditional zipline that will cost $20 and there will be a longer ride that shoots you out of the giant slot machine at 35 Miles Per Hour. The latter ride will cost $30 and you can buy a combo pass for $40.
SlotZilla will operated just like it sounds – a giant slot machine with two different zipline rides. Once riders are prepared for launch the operator will press a button, the slot machine handle will come down, SlotZilla will light up and then you launch from behind different slots (literally). Traditional riders will be harnessed like a normal zipline barely clearing the Fremont Street Experience canopy by a couple of feet. High speed riders will be shot out of the slot machine laying flat as if they were Superman. SlotZilla is no joke but it sounds like fun.
SlotZilla is somewhere between awesome, WTH and obnoxious. That combination is what makes Las Vegas so great so this should make for a fun attraction. Las Vegas is famous for over the top entertainment and SlotZilla fits right in with some of the most famous Las Vegas attractions.
Ziplining has been around in the desert of Las Vegas but it’s now getting more touristy. Besides SlotZilla Rio is planning to open VooDoo Zipline. VooDoo is less of a zipline than a zip ride that will shoot you from Rio’s Masquerade Tower to the Ipenema Tower. VooDoo is almost 500 feet in the air and the ride goes over 30 Miles Per Hour.
Both SlotZilla and VooDoo Zip Line are scheduled to be open before 2013 ends. You can find the most information on SlotZilla by following Fremont Street Experience on twitter and you can find information on VooDoo Zip Line on their website.
If there’s one thing that’s great about Las Vegas is that it’s always changing. Shows come and shows go. While it’s sad when a show leaves it just opens the door for something awesome to appear. Goretorium announced it will be closing its doors this week. It’s a shame that a show fit for Halloween would close so close to the holiday. Fright Dome at Circus Circus is a great replacement for scary fun.
If you prefer to sit and relax for your Halloween experience you might prefer “Evil Dead”- The Musical. Tickets for the 4D musical range from $49.99 to $69.99. Yes, you’ll pay more to be splashed with blood but that sounds like fun.
The Mafia is a fixture in Las Vegas but it seems as if there may be too much mob for the masses. The Mob Attraction at Tropicana will be closing up shop on November 3rd. The Las Vegas Sun says they may be heading to an new Vegas Strip casino. I’m curious to see if that actually happens.
Most visitors to Las Vegas prefer to get their rush of excitement from high stakes gambling, but that’s not the only way to get your heart racing while visiting the city. For those who like their adrenaline rushes a little more super-sized, there are plenty of things to do that will fulfill the desires of even the most adventurous spirits. Try out one or more of these activities, either in the city, or just outside of it, if you dare.
Skydiving Over the City
Jumping out of an airplane is certainly not for the faint of heart, but lots of the bravest Vegas tourists do it every day. Vegas Extreme Skydiving is one of the most popular skydiving companies providing transportation, equipment, and personal training from pros that will allay the fears of even the most reluctant jumper. You’ll get amazing bird’s eye views of the Vegas Strip and Red Rock National Park from 15,000 feet as you fall, then peacefully float to a controlled landing with your trusty parachute. More experienced skydivers can join in on one of the group formation dives, or receive coaching up to the national competition level. Want to take a more serious plunge? Plan a skydiving wedding with one of the many packages available.
Jumping From the Stratosphere
If you’ve been in Vegas for even a short while, you’ve noticed the Stratosphere. At 1,149 feet tall, the casino and hotel’s tower dominates the city skyline. If you’re the brave type, it’s not enough to just take in the view from the top: you’ve got to jump off of it. SkyJump operates at the top of the Stratosphere and lets daring souls perform a controlled fall while in a harness. The effect is a cross between freefalling and bungee jumping while in an upright position. Those who have taken the leap say the first step off the building is the hardest part, and after that, the experience is thrilling. Try jumping at night when the city is lit up to maximize your experience. Pay a little extra and you can take home professional photos to prove your insanity.
Hiking in the Desert
It’s one thing to go for a walk in the cool, tree-lined mountains. It’s quite another to hike in the middle of the blazing hot desert. In fact, it’s considered difficult and dangerous enough that no one should attempt it without taking several precautions and first consulting safety guidelines. Many have passed out, or worse, from heat exhaustion, so stay hydrated, don’t overdo it, and make sure someone knows where you are and where you’re headed. If you’re still determined to experience some extreme hiking, there are places around Las Vegas that definitely fit the bill. With names like Death Valley and the Valley of Fire, you can be sure the hikes aren’t for wimps. Did we mention water? Seriously, take plenty.
Bootleg Canyon is about a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas, and it’s well worth the side trip from the city, especially if you have a strong desire to go careening across a deep, rocky ravine on a zipline. Even if you’ve ziplined before, you should try it in a canyon at least once. Flightlinez operates four separate ziplines at Bootleg Canyon, and offers an hourly pickup outside the Excalibur if you schedule a tour. After a necessary safety class, you’ll ride up the scenic mountain, then take a short hike to the spot where you’ll bite the bullet. Be prepared to do some screaming as you glide at 60mph across the canyon from 3800 feet above sea level. Keep your eyes open: the view takes in Eldorado Valley, Lake Meade, and much of the Vegas Strip.
If you want some relaxation, you can always opt for a leisurely float down the river, but for true thrill-seekers, there are several whitewater rafting expeditions that let you shoot some serious class 3 and 4 rapids. Some trips will even take you through some furious class 5 rapids if you have the experience. The powerful Colorado River contains waterfalls and dramatic twists and turns, so no matter which tour you pick, you’ll reap plenty of adventure. Various companies offer packages of differing prices for different tours and skill levels. Some of the higher-priced packages are worth the price for the helicopter lift out of the canyon.
Indy Race Car Driving
Have you ever envied the drivers of NASCAR vehicles as they zip around the track? At the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, you can do the driving behind the wheel of an actual 600HP race car. Reach speeds of up to 155 miles per hour without a traffic cop in sight, and feel your pulse pound with every quick turn. After a safety and instruction course, you’re in control of the car, and you can choose your package depending on how many laps you’d like to take. Be warned: they’ll go by faster than you can believe. Beginners can opt to do a ride-along, and experience the rush of speeding around the track while letting a professional do the driving. The Rookie Tour lets you drive yourself with a pro riding shotgun, to make sure you leave in one piece. Add on the in-car video package to commemorate the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
It’s not often that you can get something for nothing in Las Vegas but it is possible. For example, some of the off-strip hotels offer free shuttle services for you to explore their properties. On face value you’re getting a free ride to a different hotel with no strings attached. The ultimate goal for the hotel is to entice you to visit or stay at the property. Sounds like a fair exchange and a potential win-win for the customer and hotel.
The same can be said when you sign up for a casino players club. The casino uses the players club to offers discounts and complimentary items in exchange for adding your name for their marketing database and for the ability to track how and where you spend your money. This is very valuable information for the casinos. Some casino players clubs will lure you with deep discounts on hotel rooms meanwhile other properties have to add freebies to entice you to share your information.
Downtown Vegas is in the middle of a renaissance with new bars and restaurants opening regularly. That’s all been great to experience but possibly the biggest opening will be happening later this month. Downtown Grand is a new hotel-casino that is being built in the former Lady Luck space and then some. The Downtown Grand will be one of the biggest hotels downtown with over 600 rooms and will certainly be the largest casino complex occupying over 6 acres with multiple levels of indoor and outdoor entertainment. The casino itself is 35,000 square feet.
One tower (Casino Tower) will be closer to the gaming areas while the other tower (Downtown Tower) will be closer to, and include, more hospitality and dining areas. The Casino tower will be have a the casino (duh), sportsbook and hotel lobby nearby while the Downtown tower will be where you’ll find most of the dining options. One of the coolest parts of Downtown Grand is that since the owners own property across the street they will be allowed to have gaming outside – on the street! Besides a walk up sports betting window there will be blackjack tables and a cee lo style dice game. You’ll never even have to walk into the casino to gamble! This sounds awesome for a warm summer night.
Last week the big news in Las Vegas was Britney Spears announcing that she will begin a two year residency at Planet Hollywood at the end of the year. Big news in Las Vegas isn’t always big news across the country but this may actually be a real big deal. TMZ is reporting that ticket sales for Britney Spears are on fire! Of the 73,000 tickets made available only a few thousand remain and most of them are the seats that are farthest away from the stage. I was just listening to a little Britney since she’s on my mind. Enjoy.
Residencies aren’t what they used to be. Now they’re just extended and pre-planned concerts. Bruno Mars will be the next musician to play a residency in Las Vegas. Bruno Mars’ residency at the Cosmopolitan is merely a few pre-planned weekends in Las Vegas. He’ll begin with New Years Eve shows on December 29 and 31 that will cost $150 per ticket. Next year his shows at the Cosmo will cost $95. Bruno Mars will be in Las Vegas in 2014 on the following dates; Feb 15 & 26, May 23 & 24 and August 22 & 23.
In the 70’s, 80’s and even part of the 90’s it was very easy to have a great time in Las Vegas on $20 a day. It became a tradition and it still is even though Las Vegas on $20 a day isn’t as easy to achieve. Still, it’s possible. You may have to bend the rules a little now; you’ll need some travel time and you’ll need to be creative.
Planning a low budget trip to Las Vegas can be awesome in part because it takes a lot of planning. That planning allows for you to think about your next vacation in Las Vegas. Seriously, what’s better than thinking about Las Vegas?
First you’ll have to remember that the Vegas Strip is your friend and your enemy. The Vegas Strip offers the glitz and glamour that makes everyone think of Vegas. Unfortunately there’s a price for that beauty. Hotels and dining is more expensive on the Vegas Strip than off the Vegas Strip. We’ll let you budget where you stay separate from your $20 a day budget. However, you’ll need to know about shuttles. Who can be your best friend.
Downtown Vegas has been revitalized, renovated and had a lot of additions over the past couple of years. Downtown Vegas is no longer “Old Vegas”and it’s no longer the place to go just to see what Las Vegas used to be like. The saying says “what’s old is new again” and Downtown Vegas reflects that remark. There are a lot of new bars, restaurants and even casinos popping up regularly.
A major catalyst of the changes to Downtown Vegas have been because of Zappos and the Downtown Project. Downtown Project was started by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh to help change Downtown Vegas. Their altruistic mission is to transform Downtown Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world. You can read specifics on their site but they’re bringing a new attitude and new ideas to Downtown Vegas. Zappos even moved its headquarters to Downtown Vegas bringing hundreds of people every day.
When I visited Bellagio for
We say this pretty often,
Hopefully, everyone who gambles when
Las Vegas continues to return
Las Vegas casinos and attractions