As the pledge of a thousand regretful hangovers goes…‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’. But if that were as religiously adhered to as the misbehaving bros wished, then we’d be seriously lacking in advice, tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the seemingly impenetrable Sin City. Fortunately, we’re here to help, with these 10 IDEAL tips for a weekend in Las Vegas.
TAKE POKER LESSONS
First things first, little fishes, fear not. We were all new to the table once upon a time, so before you start staking big bucks and acting the whale, it’s important to get to grips with the rules and nuances of each game. Most of the heavyweight casinos on the strip offer gaming lessons, so get yourself prepped and primed or you’ll be fluttering like a pigeon.
Alternatively, learn to play with skill before you go and start perfecting your poker face. In the weeks leading up to your trip, consider playing video poker online or even having a flutter with your friends to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of the game.
And here’s one quick lesson to help you get started; the well-known, perennially prescient phrase that ‘the house always wins’ should be one which you keep in mind throughout your trip. No matter how lucky you may be one day, the casino is still, and will always be, winning.
ENJOY A BUFFET…
It’s important to remember that Vegas isn’t all about the gambling. In fact, there’s entertainment to be found on every corner – some more salubrious than others – and enough food to satisfy even the greediest person’s appetite. And since Vegas is full of them, that’s a good thing.
The buffets, of course, are world renowned, but be warned; dinner services, in particular, can get seriously busy. The city has dozens of all-you-can-eat orgies and it’s a common sight to see people waiting for over an hour for that never ending spread. Some of the best ones include:
- The Buffet at the Wynn, where you can expect to find more than 90 dishes including traditional American fare like ribs and mac & cheese, ribeye steaks sliced to order, and even fancy tacos.
- The Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars, where you’ll find dozens of different cuisines all under one roof. Their weekend brunch menu is particularly popular, serving up red velvet waffles, green tea pancakes and vanilla French toast. Oh, and their egg and omelet bar is egg-traordinary good.
- The Sterling Buffet at Caesars is the best place in town for surf and turf. Here you can feast on an endless selection of Alaskan king crab legs, lamb, lobster tails, prime rib, sushi, fresh-shucked oysters and so much more. Yum.
Other top buffet options include Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan, Buffet at the Bellagio and Carnival World Buffet.
…AND A FINE DINING EXPERIENCE
That said, you’d be mad not to look beyond the buffets at some point during your stay. Las Vegas is one of the world’s premier places for fine dining, attracting top notch chefs from all over the globe keen to cash in on the city’s hunger for opulence and indulgence.
If you’re after a blowout meal, then Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace boasts a particularly extravagant menu. The restaurant is designed to be a replica of the renowned chef’s Paris flagship, with the City of Light and the Neon Capital of the World sharing many of Savoy’s signature dishes.
While The Strip is of course home to an array of all-encompassing eateries, there’s more to the food in Vegas than this three-mile stretch. Head over to The Fremont East District of Downtown Vegas to find up and coming chefs trying out new and innovative concepts. It’s where you’ll find us eating when in Vegas, too.
BUDGET FOR BETS, BUT NOT BOOZE
It’s simple economics that if you stick around long enough in a casino, you’re going to spend more around the table than at the bar. The ‘house’ will take advantage of this; if you spend some time at the table, then they’ll start to ply you with booze. So, no need to delve into your pockets for drinks if you’re betting. Simples.
Remember, though, that it’s best to keep your wits about you and stick to your budget, even when a little light headed. And despite the ‘party now, pay for it later’ mantra of Las Vegas, dp try to behave; you don’t want to be 86’d for playing the prat, after all.
DRESS WITH EXTREMES IN MIND
Las Vegas is hot – you’re in the middle of the desert, after all – and you might be doing a bit of walking between venues, so dress accordingly. However, indoors the A.C is on full blast, 24/7, so pack a light jacket, too, or you’ll be sweating one minute, shivering the next.
WEAR A WATCH
It’s also easy to lose track of time in a room with no windows, no clocks and abundant distractions. Add to that the fact that mobile phones are banned (or, at the very least, discouraged) around the table, and you might find your weekend is over and you haven’t eaten, slept or left the first poker table you sat down at. A simple solution, then, is to wear a watch.
FILL YOUR DAY
New York may be nicknamed The City That Never Sleeps, but we think Vegas has equal claim to that title. That said, Vegas isn’t just about casinos and nighttime fun.
Providing the perfect antidote to all the noise and light pollution of Vegas proper, there are some beautiful day excursions to be had, including a trip to the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Springs Preserve and Red Rock Canyon.
If you’re missing the bright lights after your foray into the countryside, take a tour through Las Vegas’ famous Neon Graveyard when you’re back in town. Here, the signs from old casinos and other businesses in the city are laid to rest, and it’s a fascinating, eerie spectacle.
If you’re hungover or it’s simply too hot to do any of the above, why not spend the day cooling off from the sweltering heat at one of Vegas’ many hotel pools. Let us direct you to 5 of the best pools in Las Vegas to help you decide where to focus your attention.
Or, if you’re after an educational way to fill your days, then visit one of Vegas’ many museums. We’d recommend the Mob Museum, where you can learn about the history of organised crime and its impact on American society. Here, you can even listen to old FBI tapes and take a prohibition distillery tour, sampling the museum’s very own moonshine along the way. Wow!
VEGAS ETIQUETTE: COSTUME COURTESY
A highlight of Vegas (or hassle, depending on your perspective) is the costumed street performers who line the strip. Anything goes here; you’ll see Disney characters rubbing shoulders with Marilyn Monroe lookalikes who in turn are conversing with someone tattooed to look like a tiger. This is all part of the over-the-top sense of place here, and you might feel compelled to have a photo taken with them. Fine, and fun too, but do remember to show your gratitude with a tip, or things can get a little hairy.
GIVE A LITTLE BACK
A dark side exists away from the strip; one of vice, addiction and homelessness. Spare a thought for those less fortunate than you, and less able to splash the cash with an abandon so juxtaposed with the living conditions of the city’s homeless community. Instead of chasing losses you’ll never catch, why not reserve that one final wager from the bankroll as a charitable donation, and reclaim just a little bit of karma in the process.
YOUR VEGAS BUCKET LIST
If you’re a bucket list type of person, there are some iconic experiences in Sin City that simply shouldn’t be missed:
- Get married by an Elvis or Cher impersonator – You don’t actually have to get legally married, as some chapels in Sin City will perform a ceremony without a marriage license. If you’re already married, it could be a fun way to renew your vows.
- Take a photo in front of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign – Because you haven’t really been to Vegas if you don’t snap a pic in front of this famous landmark.
- Take a gondola ride at the Venetian – And enjoy a live serenade by a gondolier.
- Enjoy the spectacle of the dancing fountains at the Bellagio – Best enjoyed from the observation deck of the ‘Eiffel Tower’ at Paris Las Vegas.
- Ride the Slotzilla Zipline above Fremont Street – See the beating heart of downtown Las Vegas from on high.
- Order a drink at LONGBAR at the D, the longest bar in Nevada – Mine’s a Vegas Bomb, barkeep.
- Get lost in the magic of O by Cirque du Soleil – The biggest show on The Strip.
Which ones will you tick off your Las Vegas bucket list?