City of sin and breaker of banks
Seemingly gone are the days of a ‘cheap trip’ to Vegas. Cocktails at Margaritaville start at $15 USD and even Starbucks charges more in Vegas. Here are some ways you can visit without burning a hole in your wallet.
Stay in old Vegas
Fremont Street is the former heart of the city and affectionately known as ‘old Vegas’ or ‘downtown’. It’s cheaper and has a different kind of charm than the Strip, plus it’s only a 10 minute Uber ride away. Old Vegas is edgy and cool, where kitschy establishments and dive bars meet speakeasies and casinos. It has lots to offer, including the Fremont Street Experience, the Mob Museum, Container Park, live shows at the Smith Center and the Premium Outlets. The Golden Nugget is a favourite hotel with some great suites, an epic water-slide and hosts cowboy conventions, need I say more?! Budget hotels, such as Main Street Station, start as low as $20 USD a night.
Old Vegas Highlights: The Griffin dive bar, La Comida Mexican food, The Laundry Room Speakeasy, Oak & Ivy for cocktails in the container park, Golden Nugget slide, Premium Outlets, Fremont Street Experience, The Mob Museum, catch a show at the Smith Center.
A mid-week visit can make a big difference to the cost of your Vegas trip, as airlines and hotels charge a premium for the weekend. It’s also busier and most of the shows sell out further in advance. Many restaurants do not offer happy hour on weekends, buffets have higher prices and the lines for club entry are long. All the more reasons to travel mid-week, if you can get the time off work!
Make it a girls trip
Vegas is well known for giving ladies free entry to clubs and complimentary drinks, while charging a premium to their male customers. If you’re heading to Vegas for a girls trip, look out for promoters who will get you on the guestlist for clubs and hook you up with free drinks upon entry.
Get into nature – visit Red Rocks
Take a break from the chaos that is Las Vegas and visit Red Rocks, less than a 30-minute drive from the Strip. Red Rock Canyon is a national park with great hiking trails and spectacular sunsets. It’s a welcome break from the mayhem, and it’s FREE!
For a group trip – get a party bus or limo
Vegas is a great place to travel with friends, but it can be expensive for big groups. One of the best ways to save some cash and have a unique Vegas experience is by renting a party bus or limo. Drive the strip, see the sites, listen to the music of your choice and drink your own booze. All the while getting a ride wherever you need to go!
Best value options on the Strip
There are still some good deals to be had on the Strip. One of the more moderately priced hotels is the Flamingo. It’s centrally located opposite Caesars Palace and a 15 minute walk to Bellagio in one direction, and the Wynn in the other. Flamingo has been recently renovated and the rooms are modern with Strip views. The pool party is popular in the summer, with free entry for hotel guests.
Other sneaky tricks
Gambling is a great way to get free drinks! It sounds like a dangerous plan, but if you play roulette or craps you will meet new friends, possibly win some money and have your drinks on the house. Look for tables with $5 minimum bets, and take your time.
Seeing live music doesn’t have to be expensive. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars to see a show, try visiting one of the dueling piano bars. Don’t Tell Mama in old Vegas is a real winner, and The Piano bar in Harrahs is also popular. If you’re wanting to catch a live band, The Double Down is an institution in Vegas. It’s gritty, doesn’t have a cover charge, and is always a good time.
Vegas loves a good happy hour. Most of the deals are 3-6pm mid-week, but there are also some great late-night happy hours.