There’s a lot more to Las Vegas than what most people normally see. Earlier this week discussed exploring Las Vegas beyond the Vegas Strip and Downtown Vegas. There’s Red Rock Canyon, Boulder City, Henderson, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, horseback riding, golf and so much more. Just hop in a car and you’ll find a lot more in Las Vegas than you would ever think about. That’s part of what makes Las Vegas great. Venturing off the beaten path isn’t only a great way to find new things but it’s also a great way to save money. In this manner Las Vegas is no different than any other city you might visit.
Tourist areas in every city are always more expensive than where the locals hang out. If you’re in New York City you’ll pay more money for a slice of pizza in Times Square then you will when you head downtown for a slice. Las Vegas isn’t very different. You’ll save up to $1 on a cup of coffee just by visiting a Starbucks away from the tourists spots. In fact, most places you eat and drink away from the Vegas Strip will be cost less. Not only will you save 50% on a steak at Herbs & Rye during happy hour but you’ll find that dining at many restaurants away from the Vegas Strip or Downtown Vegas will cost less for similar or better quality dishes.
Resort fees stink. The only people that like resort fees are the hotels that are charging them. Resort fees are unadvertised fees for Las Vegas hotel rooms that are added to your nightly bill. The $100 hotel room you booked may actually cost you an extra 25% more per night after the fees are added to your bill. No bueno.
Most hotels in Las Vegas charge a resort fee so there’s very little you can do to avoid them. Rather than sit and complain about Las Vegas hotel resort fees it’s more useful to break down the resort fees and see what we can and can’t use. See, the resort fees include amenities that may or may not be useful. We might as make the best of the hand dealt to us so let’s look at ways to make the best of things.
Last week we decided to look back at some of the best hotels in Las Vegas from the 50’s and 60’s. It’s not always easy to let go of the past but as we head into the future of the Vegas Strip it’s nice to remember what once was. One of the hotels we highlighted was the Sahara. The Sahara closed a couple years ago and will become the home of the new SLS Las Vegas when it opens later this year. All of the extinct hotels from the 50′s and 60′s have been destroyed but that won’t be the case with the Sahara. While the Sahara was completely gutted many of the bones remain in tact and will be the foundation for the new hotel, resort and casino.
Since you can gamble in just about every state in America today the focus of many Las Vegas hotel-casinos has been on making your vacation in Las Vegas a little different than in the past. No longer is the casino the only focus of the typical Vegas vacation. SLS Las Vegas understands this and will be expand on that new concept of hotel first.
Getting to Las Vegas is probably your first concern when planning a trip to Las Vegas. Experienced budget vacationers know that early Wednesday morning is when you’ll find the cheapest airline tickets. This is when all of the unsold discount tickets are released for you to purchase. Not all airlines are located in the same city so the release time to get these tickets aren’t all the same. Peter Greenberg compiled a list of when you can snag the cheapest airline tickets in any given week for each major airline. There aren’t many of these tickets available so you’ll have to act quickly.
As we discussed last week timing is everything when planning a vacation to Las Vegas. Picking the right days to visit Las Vegas is a great way to save money on your vacation. When you’re finally in Las Vegas time still matters for getting the most out of your money in Las Vegas. This isn’t the same as when you visit Las Vegas. I’m talking timing, it’s time. Let me explain.
The Vegas Strip has been undergoing a major transformation for the past year or so and the changes will continue through the next couple years. There are new hotels and shopping projects under construction right now with more still being planned.
You can’t go forward without knowing your history. While most of our focus is on what the future of what the Vegas Strip will look like it’s always fun to look back at some of the great hotels that occupied the Strip.
Dunes – Dunes famously stood where Bellagio currently resides. Dunes initially opened in 1955 as a low rise hotel then added a tower 6 years later and another in 1979. You can read all about their alleged mob ties at wikipedia. The most memorable visual of Dunes was probably its 35 foot tall sultan. Dunes was sold to Steve Wynn in November of 1992 and closed in January 1993. Later that year Dunes was imploded in grand Vegas fashion to make way for Bellagio which opened in 1998 and remains one of the most beautiful hotels on the Vegas Strip.
Sands – Sands is one of the most famous hotels in Las Vegas history. When looking back it’s impossible to think Vegas would be the same without the Sands. This is where the Rat Pack performed and nothing says vintage Vegas like the marquee when Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and company performed. Sands had a great run but closed and was closed and imploded in 1996 in order to make room for the Venetian and Palazzo. The small hotel and casino just couldn’t keep up with the mega resorts that they Vegas Strip was becoming famous for.
Desert Inn – The Desert Inn was around for 50 years from 1950 through 2000. 50 years in Las Vegas is like 1,000 years in the real world. Even though the Desert Inn was remodeled in 1997 it was closed and imploded in 2000 to make way for an ambitious luxury hotel. Steve Wynn created one of the first mega resorts with the Bellagio and wanted to create something bigger and better after he sold Bellagio to MGM Resorts. He also wanted a hotel with his own name as Wynn Las Vegas opened in 2005 . Shortly after Wynn opened the property expanded with Encore. Not all was lost from the Desert Inn. The golf course was kept saved and renovated by Tom Fazio and renamed Wynn Golf Course.
Sahara – The most recent vintage Vegas closure was the Sahara. Like Sands, Sahara often hosted the Rat Pack and was one of the big celebrity hangouts in Vegas through the 50’s and 60’s. Sahara was the last hotel from the 50’s that remained open but by the time it closed in 2011 it was in great disrepair. Unlike many of the older casinos Sahara wasn’t imploded. Sahara is currently being taken apart and will receive a top down renovation into SLS Las Vegas which will open later this year.
Las Vegas is a place to have fun and indulge in so many exciting things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit, and healthy on your vacation. Many people assume that while at Vegas, it is impossible to get a workout in, or stay on a diet (healthy eating plan). It is easily possible, and very do-able. You just need to do a little planning, and know what to do.
Sticking to a Healthy Eating Plan
Just because you’re in Vegas, doesn’t mean that you should give up on eating healthy. Sure, you are on vacation, so indulge a little, but a little doesn’t mean a lot. One of the first things you will notice when you get to Vegas, are the many buffets. They are everywhere, and are very tantalizing with so many different themes, entrées, and desserts. One technique would simply be to avoid them. People in general tend to over-eat at buffets so avoiding them would be best. There are plenty of other great restaurants for you to try in Vegas as well. But again, if you are like most people, you won’t be able to make it through your Vegas vacation without visiting a buffet at least once.
One of the best ways to save money on vacation to Las Vegas is to know when to go. Some days and times are less expensive than others. There are specific times of year and even specific days in Las Vegas where you’ll find prices to be less expensive than others.
Las Vegas is run by tourists so it should be no surprise that it’s a city run by supply and demand. The more demand there is for hotel rooms, restaurants and shows the more they will charge. Likewise, the less the demand for those things the lower the prices will be.
Don’t forget – Las Vegas is always fun! It may be more fun for you when it’s crazy busy but you can save a lot of money on hotel rooms when you visit Las Vegas during a less busy time of year. For example; the hotel room that may cost $200 per night on Memorial Day weekend may only cost you $50 in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I’ve made the week before Christmas an annual vacation in Las Vegas for years. The first time I visited before Christmas a dealer told me that his hotel was only booked at 25% capacity and that’s why our rooms were so inexpensive. That notion was confirmed by taxi drivers and employees at other casinos throughout the trip. You’ll find this is still the case when you check hotel room prices. I still use this time of year to explore some of luxury hotels since I can get hotel rooms for less than they normally charge.
Travelers all across America swear by their AAA membership. It’s useful for auto travel and also for discounts at various businesses at home or when taking vacation. There are many websites and blogs dedicated to helping you vacation in Las Vegas on a small budget but they rarely discuss AAA discounts. I’ve had a AAA membership in Las Vegas and never even thought about it because I’ve never read or heard anyone discuss AAA as a great way to save money. I only found out about these discounts because I received a new credit card and had to renew my membership and had to call the Nevada office.
AAA’s website now has a search feature for discounts where you can sort by location and name of the merchant. This feature is awesome. There are currently 11 PAGES of AAA discounts available in Las Vegas for members. Let’s look at some of those great discounts.
2013 comes to an end this week but we’ve been planning for 2014 for months. Las Vegas is home to many conventions but the largest of them all begins January 7. The Consumer Electronics Show (better known as CES) show takes place from January 7 through 10 mostly at the Las Vegas Convention Center. CES has grown so much in recent years that you can find parts of the expo at the LVH (next door to the convention center) and the Sands Expo & Convention Center at the Venetian.
Tech companies from all over the world come to Las Vegas to show off all kinds of new technology ranging from household appliances to robotics to computers and televisions. There are tens of thousands of people looking at the new tech toys for work and play every day. Last year there were 150,000 people at CES! This makes navigating CES a bit of a challenge.
When you think of a Las Vegas vacation, the first things that come to mind probably include the gambling and the nightlife. While Vegas has become famous throughout the world for its casinos, bars, and clubs, however, it also happens to be a top family vacation destination. Many parents take their kids to see the glitz of the Strip, and they can actually have a blast staying there, as long as you try to find a hotel with amenities that cater to the younger crowd. Luckily, there are several hotels in Las Vegas that can be considered kid-friendly. Here is a look at six of them and the attractions they feature.
It seems as if saving money in Las Vegas is an industry unto its own. Websites like Travel Vegas offer discounts for just about anything you’d want to do when you’re in Las Vegas. Apps like Groupon offer discounts from businesses looking for customers. Technology has brought a lot of discounting in Las Vegas online but it hasn’t brought all discounting to your mobile phone, iPad or computer. Not all customers are ready to make the move online just yet.
Coupons still exist and can save you a lot of money when you come to Las Vegas. Many of the casinos still rely on snail mail and physical couponing as a major part of their marketing. You may get free play or multiplier postcards in the mail if you gamble. The only way to activate these is by bringing the offer into the casino. The same can be said for dining coupons, many of which, that are only mailed to you. These discounts are great reasons to sign up for casino players club cards.
Las Vegas Advisor has one of the most famous coupon offerings in all of Las Vegas. You can read Las Vegas Advisor online for free to keep in the loop on what’s happening in Las Vegas but in order to get the good stuff you’ll have to spend a little to save a lot. You can sign up for under $40 and receive hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in valuable coupons and more.
If there ever was a city perfect for shopping until you drop, it’s Las Vegas. No matter where you go for your retail therapy, once you start to slow down, you’re never very far from a luxury spa or an exotic cocktail. The only problem is knowing where to start. With so many shopping centers to choose from, how do you know which ones to target? Use this list as your game plan, and choose one or more of these prime shopping areas, each with enough retailers to keep you busy for a whole day.
Canal Shoppes at the Venetian
3377 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV
Anyone who’s ever dreamed of shopping in Italy can experience virtually the same thing at the Canal Shoppes. Amid a recreation of the streets of Venice, the cobblestone walkways lead to upscale designer boutiques with names any fashion maven will recognize: Fendi, Christian Louboutin, Herve Leger. Take a lunch break in Italian style too, by grabbing a bite at Mario Batali and Joe Bastianach’s B&B Ristorante, or power up with an espresso at Café Presse.
While we hope you had a great Thanksgiving, we are excited to announce that the 2013 Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are officially here. We have put together a list of all the best deals just for you. We’ll keep this list updated as more are released so keep checking back. After all the holiday madness, who doesn’t need a vacation?
CYBER MONDAY – CET Resorts Nationwide – Up to 40% off – Up to $50 Food and Drink Credit on Vegas Hotels
Not finding the deal you need? View all of our Las Vegas Deals here.
Found a deal we missed? Please leave it in the comments below.
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.
Getting charged the correct fare in a Las Vegas taxi is hit and miss. There are some cab drivers that a pleasant and take you to your destination as you’d expect. Unfortunate about 25% to 50% of all taxi drivers take you out of the way forcing you to pay more than you should. There are tales of people being charged $30 for a taxi ride that cost them $15 going the other direction. This is not cool and here are some ways to protect yourself from being overcharged by Las Vegas taxi drivers.
No Tunnel – Telling the taxi driver “no tunnel” is the most basic thing to tell the driver before heading to your destination from McCarran Airport. The tunnel adds 2-3 miles and around $5 to your taxi fare. You don’t need the tunnel so don’t take it.
A new shopping, dining and entertainment attraction will open in early 2014 in Las Vegas known as The Linq. At its forefront will be a very eye-catching main attraction. The new complex will feature the gigantic High Roller observation wheel as its centerpiece. The outer shell of the huge Ferris wheel is already visible in the Las Vegas skyline from as far away as the airport. This adds more excitement to the anticipated High Roller wheel’s opening.
A Panoramic View from the Top
From the top of the High Roller wheel, riders will have an amazing panoramic view of the iconic Las Vegas skyline and the surrounding areas. Compartments will hold 40 people each, and there will be 28 compartments. Reaching a height of 55 stories, over 1,000 riders on the wheel will be able to see over the famous Bellagio Hotel and Casino. When the more than 1,500 lights are installed on the High Roller, it will be visible for miles away from the Las Vegas strip.
Constructed at an estimated cost of over $550 million, Caesar’s Entertainment hopes that the new attraction will attract people of all ages, but especially younger people. This new addition is expected to help boost the economy of the city. Tickets will sell for $30 each, giving riders a 30 minute beautiful and exciting panoramic experience viewing the city of Las Vegas in the comfort and stability of fixed cars. Large screens playing informational videos will add to the experience.
Visiting the traditional and best known sites in Las Vegas is fun and exciting, but sometimes when you take a side trip off the beaten path, you can learn some interesting things about Las Vegas. Many people know all about the casinos, gambling, showgirls, high quality entertainment and nightclubs of Las Vegas. Few know about museums in Las Vegas that showcase some of the interesting and sometimes morbid history of the cosmopolitan city. These past events have helped to shape Las Vegas into the city it is today.
Some visitors may not realize that in the 1950s extensive nuclear bomb testing went on in Nevada’s deserts and that the testing was also visible from the hotels on the Las Vegas strip. Stories have been told of casino patrons who pulled up chairs to the windows of Las Vegas’ most famous casinos. From there, they were able to watch gigantic mushroom clouds fill the sky in the distance due to the testing of bombs about 60 miles away.
Another part of Las Vegas’ history that is not always well-known is the influence of organized crime. Mob members, who lived very colorful lives and often had questionable past histories, had a huge impact on Las Vegas’ development in the 1950s. Two intriguing museums help to teach visitors and residents some of this history that cannot be forgotten. The lessons are taught in entertaining and informative ways.
Las Vegas is undergoing a major facelift. I think it’s great because I love new things but other people may find it sad that places and things that they came to love are no longer available. While I’m looking forward to the completion of SLS Las Vegas some people will never step foot in the new hotel because it will sit on the land where the Sahara once stood. Some prefer to keep the past alive. Out with the old and in with the new, I say.
Downtown is a similar story. While many of the older restaurants, bars and hotels still offer cheap dining, drinking and sleeping options the newer places are coming in with price points on the high end of the price scale. You can still get a short stack of pancakes from DuPar’s at the Golden Gate for $5.99 but a fancy hot dog at American Coney Island at The D will cost you almost $5. That’s $5 for a hot dog!
Customer spending in Las Vegas used to be mostly done in the casino on gaming. That hasn’t been the case for a while. Over the past 20 years customers have been spending more and more money outside of the casino on dining, spas, shows and so on. The casino operators are finally catching up with this trend. The Linq and MGM Park area in between Monte Carlo and New York-New York are both focused on providing non-gaming entertainment.
There are a lot of ways to spend the day in Las Vegas with spending little to no money. One of the best ways to enjoy the Vegas Strip is to do some window shopping. I’m talking about the traditional way to go window shopping and non-traditional way to go window shopping. There is a lot to see in Las Vegas and it can take a full day to see it.
Traditional window shopping often takes us to retail outlets where we’ll look and possibly play with things we’d like to purchase but probably won’t. Well, there’s a lot of that to do in Las Vegas. Window shopping on the Vegas Strip will take you anywhere from the most exclusive shops to second hand goods. I’d normally start with the fancy things to do but in this case the more gritty places are unique and only found in Las Vegas.
Your day of window shopping begins in between where the hotels are on the Vegas Strip and Downtown Vegas at Gold and Silver Pawn. G & S Pawn is located at 713 Las Vegas Blvd. just north of the Stratosphere. This is the pawn shop that most people know as the place where the TV show “Pawn Stars” is recorded. There are a plethora of pawn shops in Las Vegas but this is easily the most popular. You’ll often see stars of the TV show here. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait in line to look at some pretty random second hand goods.
I don’t like to think about this in October but the year is coming to an end. The stores are skipping over Halloween decorations for Christmas and the Vegas nightclubs are heavily promoting their New Years Eve parties. With that in mind I figured that it’s a good time to look at where are the construction in Las Vegas stands and when we can expect some action. I’ll break it down by portion of the Vegas Strip moving south to north.
The main construction that you’ll see on the south end of the Vegas Strip is surrounding New York-New York and Monte Carlo. The casinos remain intact and have been operational while the frontage to the Vegas Strip is being worked on. When all is said and done, there will be a host of new shopping and dining options. Construction is still clogging up the streets but it seems to be on track for an early 2014 opening. Vegas Inc. has details on what shops and restaurants will be opening.
Across the Strip at MGM Grand you’ll still see a lot of construction happening even though their large nightclub construction project, Hakkasan, was completed earlier this year. The current construction at MGM Grand is focused on updating their huge marquee. There is a lot of traffic in the area because of this. Vegas Chatter has details on specific changes to the sign if you care about such things. If rumors are true there will be more construction at MGM Grand after the current work is done. We’ll have more on that as it’s released.