Las Vegas

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Sin City. It can leave you exhausted and broke. But it will also be one hell of a weekend. I don’t advise going for more than a long weekend though. I went for Final Four weekend, arrived on a Saturday morning and left the following Tuesday, the morning after the NCAA men’s basketball championship game. It was the perfect amount of time. You can definitely do a Vegas weekend trip and not break the bank. I flew Spirit Airlines, which was around $200 round trip.  Shared a room at the Monte Carlo (Soon to be Park MGM) with two other friends and ate cheap for lunch. In-N-Out, Bruxie, and Taco Bell Cantina. This isn’t your normal Taco Bell that you stumble into after a night of drinking. Two stories tall on the strip, it’s equipped with a VIP lounge & DJ Booth, and serves the normal menu plus shareable appetizers like Spicy Bacon & Ranch Potatoes, beer, and twisted freezes (spice it up with vodka, rum, or tequila). We saved the rest of our money for dinner, gambling, and the pool clubs.

 

What to Do:

  • Walk the Strip and see the Fountains of Bellagio, over 1000 fountains that shoot water 500 feet into the air every 15 minutes at night (every 30 minutes during the day)
  • Place sports bets and watch the games at any of the hotel’s sportsbooks (Sportsbook at Caesar’s is my favorite)
  • Walk along Fremont Street (old Las Vegas / Downtown Vegas), located a few miles north of the current strip. Established in 1905, it is the original gambling district, featuring cheap food, free entertainment, and only blocks away from my favorite casino, El Cortez. (Fun fact, old Sin City was founded by Mormons in 1855)
  • Gamble at the shaggy El Cortez Hotel & Casino. I walked in and felt like I was transplanted back to the 70’s. It was as if time stood still, gambling on the $5 tables, drinking endless Corona’s. The tables are so cheap, you’d really have to eff up to walk out broke.
  • Grab drinks & take the obligatory selfie at The Chandelier Bar at The Cosmopolitan. Three separate floors, each serves their own distinct cocktails and has different operating hours and dress codes. The bars on level one even have video poker machines with its own drink voucher system. Try the Verbena at Chandelier 1.5 (Between the casino and 2nd floor), the famous flower drink where you’ll be given an edible flower called the Szechuan button after a few sips that creates an intense tingling sensation in your mouth that alters the drink’s taste. If you’re a fan of an Old Fashioned, try the Infinite Playlist which features 12 year rum aged in bourbon barrels. Or try the Libertine, which consists of Maker’s 46 bourbon, lemon juice, orange marmalade, rosemary syrup, and maple syrup foam.
  • Join a Pool Crawl. Includes admission to 3 pools (Ours were Go Pool Dayclub @ The Flamingo, Drai’s BeachClub @ The Cromwell and Rehab @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino), party bus transportation to all of the pools and complimentary drinks on the party bus, and expedited entry.
  • Shops at Venetian
  • Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, floral displays redesigned each season

 

What to Eat & Drink:

  • La Comida – Guava Margarita, Queso Fundido, Puerco Ahumado (Smoked Pork Shoulder)
  • Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s – If there’s one meal you should splurge on ($65 per person for weekend dinner) in Vegas it’s this buffet that has more than 500 dishes! It was voted “Best Buffet” 5 years in a row. Some of the dishes include prime rib, chilled crab legs, Australian lamb, dim sum, and pho. Be prepared to stand in line for like an hour though :/
  • Carson’s Kitchen – The Magarian, Crispy Chicken Skins, Bacon Jam, & Oxtail Risotto

 

Tips:

  • The Strip is a lot longer than I thought so don’t walk everywhere, take Lyft or an Uber.
  • Check out this site for how to bet on sports.
  • Be productive on your incoming flight and sharpen your betting skills by reading a book on one of your favorite casino games.
  • Buy alcohol at the store and make your own drinks in your hotel room. Most Vegas casinos allow you to walk around with outside drinks on the casino floor. Also take advantage of free drinks while you’re gambling. Just make sure you tip the waitress for them to keep coming back.
  • Check out the basic blackjack strategy chart on this site. And never buy the insurance! This adds as much as 7% to the house edge.
  • Don’t play the slots at the McCarran Airport! First thing I did when I landed was play these slots and I lost. Then I later found out that these slot have the worst payout percentages in town.

 

What to do Next Time:

  • High Roller – Think of a ferris wheel that’s large enough for you to stand and walk around in for 30-40 minutes while you sip on drinks from your private bartender (Extra $$) as you gaze on the Strip and surrounding valley 550 feet up in the air.
  • Mob Museum – Features interactive exhibits and artifacts on the history of organized crime
  • Nacho Daddy – Kind of like the scene in Skyfall where James Bond takes a shot with a scorpion on his hand instead at Nacho Daddy the scorpion is pickled and in your drink
  • Ride a zip line over Fremont Street
  • Downtown Cocktail Room – half off everything happy hour 4-7pm Mondays thru Fridays
  • $1 martinis at the Interlude lobby bar in The Cromwell from 6 to 7pm every day
  • Check out the Hoover Dam