I heard a lot of chatter over the past year from people fed up with the changing Vegas Strip. There are still plenty of people who love the Vegas Strip, but we can discuss that another day. Today is about those who are looking for a new Las Vegas experience. It’s probably easiest to start by finding an experience similar to the Vegas Strip without the restrictive new policies and extra fees.
I want to be clear that there’s nothing compares to the Vegas Strip. Even the most mediocre room on the Vegas Strip is comparable or better than similar options in many other cities. Beyond the prices, all you have to do it walk outside and you’ll see 20 other casino-resorts nearby to visit. The Vegas Strip is remarkable.
Having said that, there are great casino-resorts located throughout the Las Vegas valley. Each of the properties provides a gateway to leaving the Vegas Strip. The experience won’t be quite the same, but they’re much nicer than others in the area.
Downtown Las Vegas
This area used to be known as “Old Vegas.” The buildings are older and that makes many of the hotels smaller than their counterparts on the Vegas Strip. Most of the properties on the Vegas Strip are casino-resorts. In downtown Las Vegas many are hotel-casinos. The difference between the two parts of Las Vegas is that many properties downtown don’t offer the amenities you’ll find in resorts on the Vegas Strip.
The Golden Nugget is the casino in Downtown Las Vegas that offers almost all of the amenities you’d find in a Vegas Strip resort. Looking beyond the large casino there are multiple hotel towers, a spa, wide variety of dining and more. There are many less expensive options in downtown Las Vegas, but few offer the amenities you’ll find on the Vegas Strip
West Las Vegas
Red Rock Casino & Resort is located about 20 minutes west of the Vegas Strip near the beautiful Red Rock Canyon. Some say that if this beautiful full-service casino-resort was on the Vegas Strip, that it would be one of the best. While the table area is smaller than many casinos on the Vegas Strip, you’ll find Strip-like pool complex, spa, dining options, and more. Since this is a locals casino you’ll also find a movie theater, bowling alley and children’s center. Red Rock has everything you’d want in a Las Vegas casino-resort without the neighboring casinos.
East Las Vegas
Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa (GVR) is about a 15-20 minute drive from the Vegas Strip. There is a unique feeling at this resort that you won’t find anywhere else in Las Vegas. It almost feels as though you’re in an exclusive estate when you walk the grounds at GVR. The property offers more bars and restaurants than many other casinos away from the Vegas Strip. This is also the only in-casino home to Pizza Rock which has one of the best Happy Hours that you’ll find anywhere in Las Vegas
South Las Vegas
M Resort is located about 15 minutes south of Mandalay Bay and shares a players club with the Tropicana. This connection actually gives you a way to shuttle to and from the Vegas Strip. However, if you’re staying in Las Vegas for a weekend you may never want or need to leave M Resort. Similar to Red Rock Casino, this resort offers all of the amenities you’ll find in a Vegas Strip casino-resort. Best of all, M Resort is one of the few remaining hotels in Las Vegas that doesn’t charge a resort fee.
North Las Vegas
Technically, downtown Las Vegas is north of the Vegas Strip but I’ll look to the far north. Aliante, a new Boyd Gaming casino, is located about 20 minutes north of the center of the Vegas Strip. This was originally built as a Station Casino and looks very similar to Red Rock Casino. Aliante has a modern design, dining options, and great pool this is a great option off the Vegas Strip. It’s tied to the 7 other Boyd Gaming properties around Las Vegas. Using the B-Connected players club is a great way to explore some new casinos off the Vegas Strip.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.
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