Travel Tips for enjoying an affordable getaway to Las Vegas
Be flexible with travel dates and hotel options
Friday and Saturday are the most expensive nights for a hotel in Vegas. During major conventions however, even weeknights can double in price. Therefore time accordingly if you can be flexible with dates. If you do want to be there on the weekend, arriving on a Saturday will leave you with one more expensive evening, and prices should drop significantly for the rest of the stay. If you can spare the extra vacation time, planning your trip for Sunday-Thursday offers the best value for money, and is a great way to avoid the crowds but still have fun. Vegas is entertaining seven days a week, but during the week the vibe is more low key.
Mid range hotels are generally well located, spacious, comfortable and while not as luxurious, they have very good amenities as well. Often they are located near to more luxurious properties, so if you would like to divide your time between a different range of atmospheres, you can still experience that without the hefty room cost. That being said, do your research to see if rooms have been updated recently. Great choices are the recently redesigned Park MGM (next to Aria), and renovated rooms at Harrah's or the Flamingo (which offer direct access to the Linq promenade) and quick access to Caesars Palace and the Venetian. One of the best hotels location wise is Paris Las Vegas which also offers good value.
Join Reward Programs
Free to join, the rewards programs at MLife, Caesar's and the Cosmopolitan can offer valuable discounts on future room stays, the ability to collect points on accommodation, dining and video and table play. Even if you don't gamble much, the cards are worth it, especially for room discounts which are substantial. Other options to earn freebies include playing MyVegas (for free or you can buy additional chips) on facebook. The online casino games are quite entertaining and the lower cost rewards don't take a ton of time to earn. Best options include redeeming for a free cocktail, 2 for 1 starbucks and 2 for 1 buffets. The savings can really add up, but be sure the rewards will fit in to your itinerary.
Las Vegas for free - A couple of my favorite essential experiences
My all time favorite free attraction in Las Vegas is the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden. The theme of this incredible oasis changes with the seasons. It is visually stunning and informative display of work from talented horticulturalists and designers. If you can ignore the crowds, you can get caught up in the sights and sounds of the display as it transforms you to another time and whimsical place. I am always amazed by the grand beauty and creativity on display with each visit. https://bellagio.mgmresorts.com/en/entertainment/conservatory-botanical-garden.html
Another must see is the iconic Fountains of Bellagio. Over the resorts 8 acre lake, music and lights synchronized to a spectacular dancing water fountain. Song choices vary, but they are always interesting and the shows take place regularly thorough out the day and evening. It is iconic, and always enchanting.
Relax, slow down and enjoy the midday atmosphere
A few ideas you can utilize to enjoy yourself, slow down the spending and take it easy during your trip to Vegas.
Enjoy Eataly at Park MGM. This grand Italian marketplace has so many options to choose from. While the atmosphere can be energetic, it is also a great place to slowly check out all the products, sit for a gelato or espresso, and take it easy.
Take a leisurely break over coffee or tea at a Starbucks (my favorite is the Crystals mall) or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Miracle Mile shops).
Sip and savour an afternoon cocktail slowly and take in the ambiance at a place like the comfortable and classy Dorsey at the Venetian.
Try and grab a mid afternoon seat at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas for some people watching and a great view of the Bellagio.
Take in the atmosphere at Trevi during afternoon happy hour at the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace, then walk around and window shop amongst the amazing design.
Take a walk and explore some Art
Las Vegas is a great place to check out all kinds of interesting art. Here is just a few options.
I recently briefly explored an up and coming cool area downtown called the 18B arts district. I really enjoyed it, and it's a great way to change your scenery and appreciate the contrast between the Strip and the downtown area. It is close to Fremont Street but with a different vibe. There are some great unique shops and eateries here as well. Best way to get here is to take an Uber or Lyft to one of the specific shops, restaurants or galleries, and then stroll the area from there. Check out the link for all kinds of events and experiences in the area https://www.18b.org
On the Las Vegas strip, the hotels and shopping venues have some amazing art and sculptures to be in awe of. The Aria fine art collections features incredible installations, sculptures and paintings. These can be found at the Aria and Vdara hotels, as well the Crystals shopping centre next door. Crystals can be a great place to take a leisurely stroll and window shop the luxury shops or have a coffee at the well designed open air Starbucks. Check out the link for a more detailed art overview https://aria.mgmresorts.com/en/amenities/aria-fine-art-collection.html
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas offers stunning and interesting views throughout. From unique sculptures, digital art installations by the front desk, the dramatic giant stiletto shoes to pose in, and the incredible Chandelier bar enclosed in 2 million crystal beads.. this hotel is a feast for the senses. Check out more detail at https://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/resort/art
Take advantage of happy hours
This is a great way to try out some interesting places, enjoy some appetizers and save on drinks. Drink prices are quite high in Vegas, so saving a few dollars on a glass of wine or a cocktail is a great way to stretch your dollars. Generally happy hours take place in late afternoon before the dinner rush, or later in the evening after dinner (called reverse happy hour) Careful not to hit too many places though, as this could actually make you spend more than if you just had dinner at regular price. Sushi Roku (at the Forum Shops) is one of my favorite happy hours to check out when I am in the city.
Enjoy a good value casual meal
Food can be expensive in Las Vegas, and there is temptation to treat yourself to any kind of cuisine that you can imagine. But you don't have to be a big spender to enjoy a good meal. A great way to save money in Las Vegas is to take advantage of the many excellent fast casual options that abound. Some of my favorite choices are Earl of Sandwich (Planet Hollywood), In N Out Burger & Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips (the Linq), Blue Ribbon Chicken (Grand Bazaar Shops), Secret Pizza, Eggslut and District Donuts (the Cosmopolitan). These meals can cost you less than $10 or $20 dollars, and while I think it is worthwhile to check out a restaurant or two that you may have on your list for a small splurge, balancing it out with a great deal helps stretch the spending money nicely.
Enjoy a leisurely time at the Linq Promenade
This promenade of entertainment, food and drink is one of my favorite areas to hang out on the Las Vegas strip. The view extends to the dramatic 550 foot high giant ferris wheel dubbed the High Roller (enjoy a ride on it if you can!) Along the path there are shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment. You don’t need a big budget to enjoy one (or two!) of the following.. an indulgent chocolate sundae at Ghirardelli’s, a cute cupcake and coffee over at Sprinkles, or a delicious In N Out burger. There are many affordable options to enjoy as you sit to people watch or walk along and take in the sights and sounds. Plenty of restaurants and bars have live entertainment as well (including Brooklyn Bowl and Virgil’s) and another cool new addition is the Jimmy Kimmel comedy club. Additional entertainment options abound, including VR, bowling, zip lining and a 4D fantasy dome. Take a stroll, take it all in and choose one of the options to splurge on a little for a unique experience. There is something for everyone here in this casual but pleasant and lively atmosphere. Another great pedestrian area to check out is the Park (near Park MGM) and Container Park downtown.
Take in some good musical entertainment
Las Vegas offers some excellent value entertainment options. Check out some rockin live music at the casual O'Shea's casino, karaoke and dueling pianos at the lively Harrah's, and the ever popular open air Carnaval Court with flair bartenders and a great 80s band called the Whip Its that play on weekend afternoons. Tip the band and request your favorite song!
Many hotels will also feature musicians and bands that you can listen to enjoy over a leisurely drink.
Check listings for concerts and lounge events for when you are in town, there is music to be enjoyed at all price points.
Hope you enjoyed a small overview of ways to save in Las Vegas and still enjoy a great vacation!
© 2019 Nella DiCarlo