I have vacationed to Las Vegas at least twice a year for the past six years or so. Every time I go, knowing that I don’t drink, gamble or enjoy ‘adult entertainment’ my friends and family always ask me “Why do you go to Vegas? What is there for you to do?’ and my answer is this: Las Vegas is CHEAP, it’s warm there most of the year, it has food and shopping galore, and there is a lot more to do than meets the eye. Las Vegas has actually gotten to be a lot more family-friendly in the past few years. Last time I went, I actually spent zero time on the Strip. You can totally have clean fun on the Strip though too.
Ho-tel. Mo-tel. Holiday Inn: Las Vegas is home to the most fun and unique hotels in the world! They are usually affordable too, because the hotels want everyone in their hotel, spending money in their casino. (Joke’s on them. They will never get me to throw away my hard-earned cash on a bet!) The hotels that are a little on the older side can be as cheap as $30/night on priceline.com.
When I am trying to plan a trip there I check the rates every day until I can get them at the price I want. My husband and I have stayed at The Stratosphere almost every time we’ve gone because it’s always the best price and we’ve had only good experiences there. It’s a little older/less flashy than the Wynn but it’s still on the Strip, moderately close to everything, and it’s clean. You can also get great deals on new hotels that are on or off the Strip but you’ll still probably spend $50-$100/night.
Here we are, now. Entertain us: Oh my gosh so much to tell. First, if you haven’t been to Vegas and plan to walk the Strip and explore the hotels you need to know: wear comfy shoes and have a bottle of water with you, especially in the summer! It gets hot and it’s a long walk. The Bellagio fountains are a must and there are botanical gardens inside that are super gorgeous. There are lions at the MGM grand. Most of the attractions at the hotels are free to walk around and explore. A few miles after the Strip ends (but still on LV Blvd.) there is a giant outlet mall. If you like shows, there are a ton of Broadway shows, concerts and of course Cirque de Soleil or Blue Man Group are supposed to be amazing. Tickets to these shows are quite a bit cheaper in Vegas than they are elsewhere in the world. Last but not least, a secret: if you like thrift shopping or antiquing Las Vegas is a gold mine. Once you get off the Boulevard, there is a thrift store on every block! It’s amazing. I would love living in Vegas just because of that. My favorite hobby, so easy, so accessible. You could really find some treasures.
Time-out: I just decided that I am going to make a list of free things to do in Vegas because I can’t possibly fit it all into this post. Stay tuned for that next week!
Leavin’ on a Jet Plane: Getting to and from Vegas really depends on where you live, but since the Las Vegas International Airport is such a big one, there are a lot of flights and if you sign up for low fare alerts from airfarewatchdog.com you can get a screamin’ deal. I’m not exaggerating, last week I got an alert that I could fly to Vegas round trip from Houston for $73. I didn’t buy the ticket and I know that seems nuts, but we’re saving for a house. In other circumstances I would have jumped on that deal quicker than a hot knife through butter! Those cheap fares usually have specific dates attached to them so you’ll probably want to plan your whole trip around that to make it worth it. If you live close enough to drive, parking is free at all of the hotels on and off the Strip and having a car there is super convenient.
Eats: Five words: Hash House A Go Go. You have to go there! Okay but really, Las Vegas is like a foodie’s paradise because all of the most famous chefs have restaurants there and it’s a place people like to spend money so the place is overflowing with fine dining. They also have tons of cheap food. It’s really the best of both worlds. When I go, I splurge on a few awesome meals, like Hash House A Go Go (about $12-$20/plate) and then get a bucket of bagels, stuff to make sandwiches or use coupons on fast food for the other meals. My personal opinion: buffets aren’t worth it. Las Vegas is famous for all-you-can-eat buffets but they are mostly expensive, the food is mediocre/greasy/pew, and are you really going to eat enough for it to be worth the $15 you paid for lame buffet food? No. Spend that $15 at Hash House A Go Go. (Sorry I’m obsessed.)
Getting from A to B: Just recently LV built a monorail one block away from the Boulevard and it’s pretty affordable. As I mentioned, parking is free at all of the hotels, and in my experience having a car in Vegas makes things easy. If you fly, it might be worth it to rent one depending on how long you will be there and what you plan to do. Driving down the Strip takes forever, traffic is stop and go almost all day and night. If you are doing it for sight-seeing purposes it’s a fine way to go but if you’re trying to get somewhere in a timely manner, there are better ways. Go around! There is also a city bus you can ride around but I have heard it’s not worth it because it takes an hour to get anywhere.
Travel junkie? Check out How to Travel to Europe on a Budget and How to Experience NYC on a Budget! Or check out my video from when I stayed at the Magnolia House, it was so fun!
Are you an avid Vegas visitor? What is your favorite cheap thing to do there? Share your tips in the comments below!