Are you ready for Vegas, or is Vegas ready for YOU? A trip with your loved one, best pals or even on a solo business trip can be a huge adventure and an unforgettable experience. Forget all the things you may have heard from stuffy guidebooks and askew review sites – we will offer the best tips, tricks and recommendations for a Las Vegas trip for an insider’s point of view.
A Little Bit Of History
As the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas is also one of the most famous and iconic cities around. For a place only established a century ago, it now stands as a glamorous and alluring destination for global travelers looking to have a fantastic time. Vegas is also known as “Sin City” for its plethora of indulgences, such as casinos, strip clubs, lounges, buffets and much more.
Fun fact: The four miles that make up the Las Vegas strip are not actually located within city limits, and instead lie within surrounding counties.
Hot in a word, describes, Vegas most of the year. While it does cool down at night sometimes and in the winter months, most people who travel to the city will experience sun and heat.
It goes without saying you should bring an arsenal of sunscreen, shades, hats and whatever else you need normally to keep cool. Luckily, there’s, still plenty of fun outdoor activities you can do, especially scoping out the pool scene.
Locals and business owners tend to try to beat the heat best they can, usually be air conditioning. Keep this in mind if planning to be in the casino all day, as most venues keep the temperature at a cool 60 degrees, which could be tough to handle in flip flops.
Flights to the City of Sin
With all the great deal surrounding hotels, parties, food and gambling in Vegas, sometimes the flight is the biggest expense. But with proper preparation and planning, this can also be an affordable facet of the trip too. As soon as you’ve decided to hit the Vegas strip, start hunting for deals online so you can be ready to nab the first one.
Before all that learn a little about how your web browser works. Many flight sites will track your visits be using ‘cookies’, which sometimes will increase the prices over time, because they know you’re on the lookout for a deal. Go into your web browsers settings and make sure to ‘clear cookies’ whenever you begin looking for flights each time.
One of the best ways to be on alert for airline deals is by using ITA software by Google (visit www.matrix.itasoftware.com). This site uses a special algorithm to scroll through all the posted flights and rates around, finding you the best bang for your buck. Search via airport hubs, dates and stoppage to find what works well for you and your trip to Vegas. After discovering the best fare, note the number and directly call and agent or booking service with the information, ensuring you will reserve that exact price. It require a little more effort, but guarantees you won’t find anything cheaper anywhere else.
If you rather just book online in one fell swoop, AirFareWatchDog is a safe bet. You can decide ahead of time what your budget is, and they will send you an e-mail when the flight dips to inside your cost limit. When you’re flying times are flexible, this can be the easiest avenue for finding top deals on great airlines.
Again, bundling packages can benefit you in Vegas – Sign up for alerts from Southwest, Expedia, JetBlue and more to get your hotel and airfare together. Or, follow sites like Groupon Getaways – the vastly discounted vacations and flights are listed sporadically, but they will often list Vegas trips at big cost drops.
Loyalty programs also offer an added bonus for discounts and deals. If you are a regular business or pleasure traveler, stick with one airline as often as possible to accumulate points. After a few flights you may have enough for a 1/2 price route to Vegas, or maybe a free ride. Points can also be earned through restaurants (Southwest Airlines has a great rewards program), hotels or even Amazon.com.
Cabs & More
Conquering Vegas taxis is almost a sport in itself, but you got this. First, check out what else is going on during the time you’re in town – if MGM Grand is hosting a massive expo, for instance, avoid looking for a ride in front of that specific hotel. Most weekends mean tons of conferences though, so sometimes the wait is unavoidable, unless you book a private car or limo service.
Know that many cabbies have been working the strip for a long time and can see your fat wallet a mile away. Although fares are usually very reasonable, ignore pushy recommendations if they’re given and go with your gut instead.
When traveling with a group, it can be easiest to have a private car simply stay with you for the evening to pile in and out of in a snap. Really big groups should keep an eye out for the occasional empty limo that will bring you up and down the strip for $20 bucks a head and a classy way to ride.
Party by Day
Something to consider when in the casinos – many do not have windows and offer libations 24 hours a day. These factors and more make guests lose track of time, gambling and carrying on for hours. This is why it’s smart to vacate the resort, hang by the pool or explore the strip when you can. You can try anything during daylight you desire – from attending cool shows on the strip like the Beatle’s “Love” to getting your heart racing at Machine Guns Vegas by shooting off some ammo.
Fortunately, Vegas makes, it easy to discover playtime outdoors at any time. Giant poolside raves and concerts are the rage and the perfect way to show off your Vegas swimsuit body.
At Mandalay Bay, reserve a floating raft or table at the Daylight Beach Club, featuring top DJs spinning pop and dance music all day long. Encore at the Wynn Las Vegas is just as lively too. If a hot act is playing a day you want in at the pool, call ahead to find out times or if they take reservations to ensure you get to dip more than a toe in.
Just make sure you pace yourself! These pool parties are hot, but it would be a shame if you missed out on Vegas nightlife because you hit it too hard during the day. Instead, use the time to scope out the scene, meet some cool new people and have a couple of cocktails before changing into your best club gear later.
Play smart and play for entertainment only – those are the golden rules to great Vegas gambling. Sure, you might hit it big one night, but do not count on conning the system, as you and everyone else thinks they have it all figured out. Hotels and resorts are miles ahead of you and have plenty of strategies they implement on their own.
So, first go for the long haul. Big hands can be way exciting to put up on that one lucky number or hand, but if you lose it’s all over. Instead, try smaller pot tables or the slots with more moderate payouts. While the winning potential isn’t as shiny, the likelihood you’ll be able to spend a few hours gambling instead of a few minutes is much higher.
Not to mention, almost all casino have cocktail waitresses offering complimentary drinks to keep the momentum going. Bring singles with you and give your server a big tip on the first round – that will help in her keeping those drinks full and finding you quicker when it’s time for a refill.
Back to the gambling. Set a few limits to start, especially if carrying around cards, because that isn’t monopoly money. If you do get ahead a little, put your winnings aside either for something fun, like a club cover charge, or only gamble your winnings over your limit. Realize once it’s gone, it’s gone, so pacing is very important for a trip. If you fancy yourself a decent card player, consider entering in one of the casual poker tournaments occasionally hosted with lower buy-ins than usual, which equals longer play and more fun for all.
Join a Players Club
The easiest way to help marginalize your inevitable losses is by joining a players club. Peruse a few casinos when you first arrive, but then try to stick to your one favorite and join the club. These programs will offer a card and point system, keeping track of all the money you spend at that particular casino.
Depending on your preferences, these cards can highlight a number of special perks. Use points toward anything from a room upgrade to a free meal. Points sometimes can also be redeemed at casino gift shops, for shows and for free play gambling (extra money for more rounds!).
There are several ways to make this system worth your while. If your group enjoys doing things at different times, use one card for multiple gamblers. Or, some programs will let you register as a group to show you’re all actively having a good time, meaning bonus points and even better discounts as a unit.
Almost every casino will have a point system like this, which is simple to sign up for with a valid photo ID. Try out MGM Grand’s M Life or the Caesars Total Rewards programs. There’s, only a handful of programs for a few dozen casinos, so ask if points are transferable if you do want to bounce around to different ones.
Food Glorious Food
The massive buffets in Las Vegas are a true art form. You don’t have to always eat everything in sight, but it’d be a shame to not indulge at least a few times in this time honored tradition. Buffets range from the luxuriously elegant to the all-out fried variety, but there’s definitely something for everyone to check out.
Knowing when the best times to go is key because you don’t want to be the last in line to get the leftovers. For instance, head to the Bellagio buffet on the weekends, as they exclusively serve world renowned caviar along with the regular lineup. If drinks are your thing, there’s three great buffet choices offering endless beer, wine, champagne and/or sangria – Bally’s, Aria and the Las Vegas Nevada Hotel. To score incredible views of elaborate poolside splendor, visit Caesar’s Palace buffet for a scenic dining experience.
Plenty of incredibly high-rated restaurants offer a more sit down, slow ambiance too, with big name chefs and unforgettable menu selections. Go for Spanish tapas at the highly acclaimed Julian Serrano, or have some crazy fresh fish at Bartolotta, literally flown in every other day from Italy.
Servers are one of the best kinds of people to chat up about what to do in Vegas- they often live local and don’t have any incentive to tell you something canned, like a concierge might. Tipping is fairly standard, around 20 percent (less for buffets), but if you really want an in, it can be worth throwing them a little extra to discover which club or concert will be bumping that night.
If you are interested in a dinner/nightclub that blurs the lines in true Vegas form– ROSE.RABBIT.LIE at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has reinvented the social club experience. It was recently rated one of the top 10 Hottest Las Vegas Restaurants by Zagat’s! Once you break the wax seal– anything can happen!
Lots of Thrills
Vegas isn’t just about gambling and drinking. Get an adrenaline rush from a variety of ventures, whether you like to defy heights, your wallet or whatever you mom always told you not to do.
Ride a giant roller coaster right through the New York New York Hotel to get a bird’s eye view of the strip in a blink of an eye. Even crazier, go for gold and hurl yourself off the top of the Stratosphere building. This bungee adventure is open super late, so go at night to see the twinkling lights and neon glow before falling dozens of feet off the launch pad.
Who wouldn’t want to shoot semi-automatic guns off in the desert? Make a reservation with Machine Guns Vegas and live your fantasies in their state-of-the-art shooing range or special trip to the outskirts of town. They have AK47s, Glocks and everything in between to try – perfect for the boys weekend, or the ladies too!
“Dig This” cannot be missed. Your feet stay on the ground this time, but guests are able to get behind the wheel of some really heavy machinery and move dirt around. It is fulfill fantasies of boys everywhere that grew up with plastic bull dozers and trucks wanting to give the real thing a spin someday.
Sober up enough to get a forever memory of your Vegas trip – a tattoo. Parlors in the city are super clean, professional and often boast a list of celebs who come into town just to book their favorite shop and artist. Some of the best include Sin City Ink, Fallen Leaf Tattoo and Studio 21. Call ahead and even chat with your artists before you get there, or e-mail them your idea. That way you can shop around for your permanent souvenir.
Commemorate your new ink with some classy female company. Strip clubs are common in Vegas, but the idea of scantily clad women is being revolutionized by innovative entertainers all the time. So make sure you reserve a spot for the “Rose. Rabbit. Lie.” experience, which is a surreal romp through the ideals of progressive live music, sensuous women and ever flowing items to tickle your taste buds.
One note about strip clubs – many will not allow females to enter in alone. Although the rule is silly, the club believe it keeps competition low, so note this if traveling just with the girls.
For creepy thrills instead of adrenaline thrills, Vegas has that too. Spending the holidays in Vegas is fantastic, and Halloween is no exception. Check out the Freakling Bros: The Trilogy of Terror in October, billed as the city’s only ‘R’ rated haunted houses. Plenty of other terrors can be seen right on the strip year-round – just keep your eyes peeled for some incredible characters.
A Little Sightseeing
Vegas was born for tourists, so you can get a little kitschy and take a break for an afternoon of sightseeing and reminiscing.
You can step back in time at the Neon Museum, which is almost a like a graveyard tribute to what Vegas once was. See tons of old signs that once lit up the strip in all its glory, only to later be replaced with technology and greener forms of energy.
The Mob Museum encompasses all the down and dirty details of Vegas’ crazy history with some unsavory characters. See interactive exhibits and high tech displays on the war waged between big names like Al Capone and Whitey Bulger against local law enforcement.
If you are digging museums, have a look at smaller, more hidden gem ones a little off the main drag. Notable attractions include The Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Gambler’s Museum and Martin Lawrence Galleries. The Bellagio also hosts a pretty impressive art gallery, which has featured works by famous icons like Andy Warhol. There are more museums in Vegas than many other major cities in the U.S., but travelers often forget to look, distracted by the other delights this place has to offer.
Hotels too can give insight into Sin City’s past and present. For example, Circus Circus and Caesar’s Palace were both originally built in the 1960s.
Even if you are not ready to take the plunge, it can be cool to peek inside a real Vegas chapel to see another couple get hitched. One of the most famous is Chapel of the Flowers, votes a great destination wedding venue for years by top bridal magazines.
Full production shows are something else in Vegas. Legendary names like Celine Dion, Cher and Britney Spears battle for your attention on the concert circuit, among many other talents as well throughout the year. Ensemble shows are also popular, as well as music acts that even impersonate the famous icons that have since left us (like Elvis, obviously). You don’t have to go to Broadway to enjoy a musical either – productions like Jersey Boys are in full swing on the strip. Witness Cirque du Soleil or a professional magic show – the possibilities are endless. Some of the best Cirque shows include the thrilling Mystere and Beatles-inspired LOVE. That goes for the burlesque and strip shows too for both guys and girls.
“Zumanity” is a little risqué and a lot of fun for the adult crowd. It is a Circe Du Soleil show inside the New York New York Hotel, but it’s been branded 18+ for some scandalous, but still acrobatic, acts.
Party All Night
Here comes the best part. Vegas never sleeps and neither should you on this incredible trip. There is countless parties, clubs and events to attend every night of the week.
The hottest clubs around right now are all about the classy cocktails and incredible views. Admire the famous Bellagio fountain from Hyde Bellagio or party it up at United States top rated nightclubs: Marquee & XS. Both feature similar environments with giant bars, badass DJs, & glistening people. SLS LiFE is brand new and should be on your radar. If you’re pressed for time and wanting to see a little bit of everything, consider joining a VIP Vegas tour to have your transportation and itinerary taken care of for you. Some of these guides will pick you up and drop you off at several designated hotspots to make sure you are utilizing your time wisely and to the fullest. Or, be on the lookout for VIP hosts to steer you in the right direction for perfect parties.
Get your drink on and visit the perfect spots for libations with a view. The Mandarin Oriental has a swanky bar with fantastic vista points along the strip, as well as the Fontana Bar and the Eiffel Tower bar that highlights the Bellagio fountain. But Mix at Mandalay Bay is a stand out for its fantastic views of the entire strip.
Want to add a huge BOOM of excitement to your Vegas evening? How about getting inside a helicopter to check out the gleaming skyline below? The Seal Extraction experience from Machine Guns Vegas can bring you over the Grand Canyon, the Strip or one of the city’s famous festivals, like the Electric Daisy Carnival.
After all this, you might be feeling a little rough. Vegas even has you covered to get you over the hangover and back in action quick. Visit REVIV at MGM Grand for a B1 vitamin shot and other great nutrient administered by professionals to revitalize and refuel.
Dance ‘til Dawn
Even if dancing is not your thing, most of the biggest crowds are moving and swaying one way or another at night in Vegas. Go with your own dancing shoes on or simply head to the clubs just to watch it all unfold.
But first, if you plan to hit up the poshest ones like XS, Hakkasan, Tryst, and Light make sure you are properly dressed. Not only are some bouncers strict about dress shoes and other clothing items, looking smart can sometimes help you gain entry into the club faster. Don’t attempt to bribe the front man either – they’ve seen it all and most likely you’ll come up short.
On the strip, especially for females, some club promoters will offer free entry for you and your friends. Some of these can be legitimate, but do read the fine print. Many only gain free entry if you arrive very early in the evening. Be wary of giving out a phone number to them as well when they want to call later to confirm your spot on the list – there is no guarantee they are for real and you may instead just simply be annoyed, or worse, harassed, for the night.
Bottle service is all the rage in Vegas. If you have money to throw around with your friend, reserve a table at a place like Tryst. They will hand deliver large handles of top shelf liquor, sometimes accompanies with things like chocolate covered strawberries for their best customers. All of this is done while being surrounded by pro dancers and an indoor waterfall to complete the surreal look. Tao in the Venetian also has some of the hottest people and the best bottle service as well, including plush sitting areas so you can dance around your table and avoid the sweaty crowds below.
Dancing is fun but not for everyone, so why not go to a concert instead? Music is the universal language and reverberates through this city like a free spirit. Rock and alternative bands most likely will be found at the House of Blues or the Palms is perfect for top pop acts. DJs up and coming are discovered at the XS venue in Encore, as well as their outdoor beach club. Feel like getting a local taste of the music scene? The Beauty Bar off the strip is small, intimate and perfect for a down night of simply immersing in some solid tunes.
Best Pool Scene
Where is the best place to work off a hangover? Poolside. All Vegas resorts have a pool you are usually granted access to upon check-in, but it is possible to pool hop a little and see other watering holes as well. Some people decide on their hotel based on the pool parties they host, as many Vegas day parties get wet and wild.
The biggest pool at the Cosmopolitan is not floor level so it has views of the strip below for an interesting perspective. Thursdays in the summer are best for the Cosmo to catch their live summer concert series. DayLight Beach Club at Mandalay Bay is where spring breakers and clubbers tend to flock, while the Encore Beach Club pools at the Wynn surrounded by palm trees are the classiest around.
Bring your own towel and accessories, as it can be tough to give up a lounge chair once you have claimed your spot. Order drinks poolside, or check out the small shops and convenience stories inside the casinos instead – if they carry plastic bottles of beer, wine or liquor, you can usually stock up and take it down to the water yourself without worrying about a server.
A plush bed and modern décor can make or break a Vegas trip. It can be key to choose the right digs for a fantastic crash pad to round out the whole City of Sin experience. A boy’s weekend on the cheap can be best spent at The Golden Nugget – clean rooms, huge casino and a dangerous buffet selection. Classier joints include the Wynn, Encore, Aria, MGM Grand, SLS, or the Bellagio, all on or close to the strip for easy access.
If you frequent chain hotels or other destinations like Atlantic City, call ahead to Vegas hotels to see if points or discounts can be applied there as well. Oftentimes it’s transferable. Or choose hotels like the Wynn or Encore, which are connected to the best clubs and activities for easier entry. To score a package deal, keep up with notification from companies like JetBlue that often have deals for both flight and hotel together, if you are not picky about where to stay and rather save a ton of dough. Keep up the gambling as well and stick to a specific casino – sweet talking a club staff member might get you a comped night or two if you spend enough money.
No matter where you stay, be wary of fast talking concierge services. Although they may offer tips useful from time to time, most have a set list of recommendations that have paid to be mentioned. Most likely, the front desk will also attempt to persuade you to stay within the hotel for gambling and eating as well, as it benefits their brand.
Avoid Vegas pitfalls
Hydrate. Sounds so simple, but those super sunny skies and an all day ‘go gogo’ mindset can really drain your body’s water sources. If possible, have bottled water hand-in-hand with your big, fruity frozen cocktail – you’ll last much longer in the long run.
Have an exit strategy. Keep a business card of the hotel and a driver on you at all times. It comes in handy right around 3AM, or whenever you first get lost off the strip.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. No top club is going to give you whatever you want for free. In fact, very little is free in Vegas, so take all special and offers with a grain of salt. If worries, check costs ahead of time to avoid sticker shock when the bill comes.
Hang on for the biggest thrill offered in Las Vegas shooting. Machine Guns Vegas has an exclusive selection, a quality range and incredible staff to cater to your every need. No matter if you are a seasoned shooter or a first timer, all are welcome to hang out, learn and love their time at MGV.
Packages cover all you heart’s desires for shooting – personal, military, even Hollywood style. Let the expert staff help you choose which best suits your wants and expectations for the experience. While in the lobby, check out the state-of-the-art equipment, gear and general space to get a feel for what can be done and your options. Machine Guns Vegas is like no other as it provides guests with top notch safety, security and selection. Handguns, semi-automatics and full automatics are all on the menu.
- The Femme Fatale: Have a crazy bachelorette with the girls or an unforgettable date with this option. Female shooters can enjoy a go on the MP5, Glock 17 and M4. A choice for an additional 40 rounds with a M249 SAW can be a great bonus to try for an extra fee.
- The Compound Experience: Spend an afternoon in paradise with the ultimate package. Shoot everything from an AK47 to a full auto Glock with plenty of ammo to go around. Gain access to the luxe VIP lounge and range area, as well as your own t-shirt and target gear. Compare all the best semi and full gun options in the perfect package for the best value.
The experiences at MGV go beyond package deals as well. Guests who want to re-create magic can arrange for an outdoor shooting session, complete with helicopter transportation and on-hand trainers in the desert range.
Greg H. traveled all the way from Brisbane, Australia to try his hand at the shooting range:
“It’s been a long time that I actually fired a gun of any sort and coming from Australia. It’s not that easy to actually go and do this sort of activity. I decided to have a go in Vegas and to my surprise so did my daughter who I never thought would be interested in firing guns.
I booked with MGV they picked us up from the hotel. Ten minutes later we were at the firing compound going through the waiver and have the process explained to us. The staff are so helpful especially with my daughter being only 15 and not too sure about guns, they made her feel so comfortable that she had a great time there. This will be the only time she will fire any type of weapon so it was great for her to experience it. After we finished they took us back to our hotel. Great day!”
Kai2k feels MGV is worlds above anything else available in Las Vegas:
“I’ve used ‘the other’ ranges at Vegas – this one is streets ahead. When you arrive you are made to feel at ease and sit in a comfy reception area. While drinking complimentary water or energy drinks, the friendly staff offer help and advice to ensure you pick the right package. They even advise the cheapest way to do it. Once in the range, at all times things are safe and professional. I felt at ease the whole time and my instructor was very helpful and patient.
On this occasion I fired the Glock, AK47, Snipers rifle and then finally, a childhood dream….the MINIGUN. This was truly awesome. I felt like Jesse Ventura from the Predator movie!Tip: find the free voucher in one of the leaflets (in back seats of taxi cabs) for a free Uzi shoot. I highly recommend this establishment!”
William from Illinois brought his girl along and they both had a blast:
“Shooting a fully auto machine gun was 1 of the many things I wanted to accomplish while vacationing in Las Vegas. I talked my girlfriend into going to MGV and shooting. We were both very pleased with the experience, we were picked up and dropped off at our hotel the driver was very professional and informative. The experience at MGV store / range was very professional and informative as well, my girlfriend was well instructed on how to handle and aim each weapon she shot with confidence each time and actually shot better than me.
I would highly recommend MGV to anyone that is interested in shooting fully auto guns. I chose the seal team package and my girlfriend chose femme fatale. Don’t forget to tip the driver and your instructor, these people work hard, are professionals, and very knowledgeable. Thanks for a great time MGV.”
Lady_Canuck1 traveled from Vancouver for a wild girl’s getaway and loved MGV:
“My sister and I had a great time shooting at MGV. We booked 3-gun packages ahead of time and they sent a car to pick us up from the Bellagio. We are both hearing impaired and the first shooting range we contacted (The Gun Store) said they couldn’t accommodate us because we wouldn’t be able to understand the “complicated” safety instructions etc.
But the staff at MGV was very great and didn’t over-complicate anything and helped us pick out guns so we were able to just go in and shoot. I’d definitely recommend this place and will be visiting again on my next Vegas trip.”
Everyone from pro athletes to porn stars are talking about their great time at MGV. Big names such as pop star Rhianna, comedian Carrot Top and rapper Nelly have graced the range, mastering the skills it takes to shoot our huge variety of guns and ammo. The reputation that MGV has allows celebrities and the everyday traveler to be ensured they are in capable, professional hands at all times.
Contact MGV anytime via e-mail or phone and connect through social media to keep in the loop on the newest guns and specials. We look forward to seeing you soon in Vegas!