Surprising Facts about Las Vegas Hotels and Casinos

If you are planning on your first Las Vegas trip there are a couple of facts and or tips about hotels you should be aware of. There are extra costs or surprise fees that you might not be aware of.  Many visitors to Las Vegas are often shocked at resort fees, lack of in room fridges and coffee makers in their hotel rooms. These are all just normal facts about Las Vegas. Lets have a look at some of the surprising facts about Las Vegas Hotels and Casinos.

Surprising Facts about Vegas Hotels and Casinos

      • Mini-Fridges – Mini-fridges in most Vegas hotel rooms are not for personal use. They are stocked with expensive snack and drink options and have no room for your personal items. The fridges will often work off of pressure sensors that charge back to your room when an item is taken out. The hotels will often charge you if they catch you with your personal items in the mini-fridge. You can order a personal fridge in most hotels but that of course comes at an extra expense. It’s best to check with your hotel first to see if they offer a fridge. Treasure Island for example, has personal fridges in their rooms as well as higher end suites in most other hotels. We basically purchased as collapsible cooler from Amazon which is easy to pack and large enough to keep our stuff cold.

Las Vegas Hotels

      • Resort Fees – Resort fees are always a shock to first time Las Vegas visitors. Most hotels will charge you an extra daily fee per room on top of your posted rate. The fee is for WiFi, gym use and other things you will never use in Vegas such as boarding passes and newspapers. The fee is paid directly to the hotel. If you are booking via a third part site such as Expedia and Travelocity you will still have to pay this fee to the hotel at the end of your stay. It varies but can range from $20 – $40. Resort fees are rarely waived unless you are a higher tiered member or high roller. You can see the fees in our Current Las Vegas Resort Fee Guide.
      • Coffee Makers – Much to the dismay of many Vegas hotel rooms do not include a coffee maker. The casinos do not want you in the room drinking coffee. They want you on the floor playing or spending money in their shops. Every hotel has a coffee shop or Starbucks but it is not cheap. Prices are generally pretty high. Many people who insist of having coffee bring a smaller coffee maker with them or even pick one up when in Vegas. We detailed a few coffee places in our Where to get coffee in Vegas post.

Coffee in Las Vegas

      • ATM Fees – ATM Fees at machines in Casinos and along The Las Vegas Strip can really vary from place to place. It’s best to check first as some along the strip can be as high as $10. The Walgreens and CVS stores are reported as being respectable at a few dollars. The best is Casino Royal located beside Harrahs at only being $1.
      • Snacks and Drinks – Buy your snacks and drinks anywhere besides a Casino store. The prices are often very over inflated. The best spots are again The Walgreens and CVS stores which are located all over the strip. You will be very surprised what a Casino store will charge you for a simple bottle of water. We always buy a small case from Walgreens or CVS.
      • Not so Cheap Breakfast – The days of finding a cheap breakfast at most of the casino restaurants is long gone. Every casino and hotel will have a breakfast spot on site. The problem is that the cost of that breakfast is way over priced. We tried a couple of places in hotels and were shocked with a $60 bill for a regular breakfast for two. We would have been better off with the Breakfast Buffet price and food wise. You can still find a McDonald’s or Denny’s on the strip for a cheaper breakfast.  The area around Casino Royale has a few cheaper fast food breakfast type spots or we recommend Hash House at The Linq or Peppermill Lounge. If you want to dine cheap you will really have to do your homework.

Essentials to Pack for a Vegas Vacation

A Vegas Vacation is a unique travel experience. The weather can be hot during the day and it can be quite cool at night depending on the time of year you visit. The properties are massive in size which means lots of walking. Having the proper gear and supplies for a trip to Vegas is important. We will Lets just assume that you will bring a bathing suite and shorts, that’s is given. Lets look at some of the essentials to pack for a Vegas Vacation.

Realistically, you don’t have to load all of this stuff up on the plane with you. You can pick up many of the items listed below at a Walgreen or CVS store. Just don’t buy they from your hotel or casino store, they are way over priced.

Clothing Essentials

  • Comfortable Shoes – We were logging anywhere from 6 to 10 miles a day on our last Vegas trip. There is no way you want to do that in a pair of uncomfortable shoes. I bring a pair of walking type shoes for daytime gawking and a pair of dressier shoes for fancier dinners or functions.
  • Jacket or Long Shirt – One, it can get cooler at night and secondly you might need a long shirt if you are going anywhere with a dress code.
  • Long Pants – Same reason as above.
  • Hat – That sun can get to you if you are sitting around a pool or just walking up and down The Vegas Strip. If you plan on being outdoors bringing a sensible hat just makes sense.
  • Sunglasses – Again the sun is merciless in Vegas and who is kidding who, you might want to hide those bloodshot eyes the next day.


  • Sunscreen – No brainier here. You have to keep that skin protected in the hot Vegas sun.
  • Lip Balm – You might forget about this one but my lips always get chapped in Vegas. Hotels are dry at the best of time add that to the dry desert air and it’s extra dry.
  • Nasal Spray – It happens every trip. My nose dries out in the dry desert air and when it does it’s uncomfortable. Nasal Spray is on the list this year.
  • Pepto Bismol – I prefer the Pepto tablet. They are easy to carry around and they do the trick when I get that “buffet tummy”.
  • Headache Pills –  This one is self explanatory.  Who hasn’t had a sore noodle in Vegas?
  • Ear Plugs – If you are unfortunate enough to get a room over top of a night club you will be glad you packed these.


  • Water Bottle – Some people like to have their own water bottle to carry with them. Vegas is one those towns where drinking water is important.
  • Solo Cups – I usually grab these when I get to Vegas. I like to pour a drink from the hotel room and take it with me or when I buy one on the Strip pour it in the cup.
  • Beer Koozie – I have a Beer Koozie in the pocket of every jacket I own. They keep your hands dry and your beer cold.
  • Small Cooler – Most hotels do not have a fridge you can use. They are stocked with snacks and drinks. We bring a small collapsible cooler that we can fill with ice to keep our drinks cold.


  • USB Plugs – More and more hotels in Vegas have usb plugs in the room  but it’s not guaranteed. I throw a few of these in my bag.
  • External Batteries – When you are away from your room for longs periods of time taking photos or posting on social media  you can drain your battery on your phone or camera fast. You can find small portable batteries or even phone charger cases on Amazon fairly cheaply. We have noticed more USB Charge stations over the past couple of years.


  • Drivers Licence or Passport – I was at Ellis Island on my birthday and my drivers licence expired that day.  They would not give me a card or let me use my coupons because the computer would not accept my information. It’s important to make sure you have your information up to date and handy. I am not a fan of walking around with my Passport but some clubs and bars will not accept a drivers license and require a Passport.

Vegas Vacation photo

Best Bars in Vegas with a View

You are headed to Las Vegas and you are looking for that perfect place with a great view to enjoy a drink. This review of the best bars in Vegas with a view should help you. There is nothing like having a cocktail and getting looking over the Las Vegas Strip. Surprisingly there aren’t as many places to get a good strip view as you would think. For a town with as many sights and lights as Las Vegas you would think you would have dozens of options but that’s not the case. Still there are some real solid options to get a drink and enjoy the Vegas skyline. We were going to set a price range for each place but just count on expensive. A view isn’t cheap in Vegas, or is anything else.

Updated 2018/09/03 – The Mandarin Oriental has been purchased by The Waldorf Astoria.

Best Bars in Vegas with a View

Many people ask what is the best time to witness the Vegas skyline and that really is a matter of preference. During the day you really get an idea on how massive the buildings and attractions are. It’s something that at night is almost hidden or obscured by the lights. At night obviously the lights are an amazing sight to see and a must do when in Vegas. A third great time is at sundown itself. There is something really special about watching the strip lights come on as the sun dips behind the horizon. We will show you a few photos of each prospective.

Skyfall Lounge at The Delano

The Skyfall Lounge sits atop of the 64th floor at The Delano at the south end of the Vegas strip.  The lounge gives you an amazing 180 degree of Vegas from the south.  The video above is not ours but it gives you a great shot of the view.

  • Location: 3940 S Las Vegas Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89119
  • Hours: Daily 5 pm – 12:00 am
  • Dress: Smart Casual
  • Cover: No
  • Website: Skyfall Lounge

Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay

foundation room vegas photo
Photo by fictures

The Foundation Room sits on the 63rd Floor of Mandalay Bay at the south end of the strip. Not exactly a club or a bar it’s described as more of a high end lounge. The photo above is a typical view that you will expect to see from the balcony view. Your view is looking down towards MGM and up the strip towards the bend at The Paris. There is a cover charge which you reportedly do not have to pay if you dine there.

  • Location: 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
  • Hours: Daily 5 pm – Close
  • Dress: Smart Casual which means no shorts, sandals, hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, sports apparel, tank tops, sneakers and athletic shoes.
  • Cover: $30, Reported free access if you dine at the restaurant.
  • Website: Foundation Room

Sky Bar at The Waldorf Astoria

The Mandarin Bar has been renamed to The SkyBar as the property has been purchased by The Waldorf Astoria. The SkyBar is located on the 23rd floor of the The Waldorf Astoria hotel which sits just in front of the Aria Hotel and Casino. While it may not sit as high as the two bars to the south the view is stunning. The glass to ceiling walls give an impressive view. There is also a tea room located next door if you are looking for a different experience with a view. Not our video we found this gem on YouTube.

  • Location: 3752 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89158
  • Hours: Sun – Thurs (4:00 – 1:00 am), Friday – Sat (4:00 – 2:00 am)
  • Dress: Casual but not set. People report that you don’t want to be undressed as in flip flops and a tank top.
  • Cover: No
  • Website: The Waldorf Astoria

107 SkyLounge at The Stratosphere

Does a 360 degree view from the 107th floor of the Stratosphere have you interested? You won’t catch another view of Vegas like this. The Strat is located fairly north of the strip and not a good idea to walk to at night. It’s a short Uber or Lyft. Admission is free and it’s highly recommended to visit at happy hour and see the sun set over Vegas.

  • Location: 2000 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104
  • Hours: Daily from 4pm – 3am
  • Dress: Casual dress.
  • Cover: No
  • Website:  107 SkyLounge

VooDoo Lounge at The Rio

bar view voodoo lounge the rio

The VooDoo Lounge is located off the strip at The Rio Hotel and Casino.  The photo above is from our 2015 trip. We did VooDoo Zipline package from Groupon and had free entry to the bar. You get a great view of the strip from the rear.

  • Location: 3700 W. Flamingo Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89103
  • Hours: Sun.-Thurs. (8 PM – 2 AM) – Fri.-Sat. (8 PM – 3 AM)
  • Dress: Casual dress.
  • Cover:
    • Sun – Thurs –  $10 Women/$20 Men
    • Fri – Sat – $20 Women/$30 Men
  • Website: VooDoo Lounge

High Roller at The LINQ

high roller view las vegas

High Roller is a 550-foot tall Ferris wheel located at the back of the LINQ Promenade. We are including it because you can do the Happy Half Hour all you can drink package or from views buy a drink in the bar and take it with you. It takes a half an hour to rotate and you get a 360 degree view of Vegas from the west side of the strip. We have done the ride during the day, dusk and night. We enjoyed them all.

view from the high roller

  • Location: 3545 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
  • Hours: 
    • Daytime Pass – 11:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    • Anytime / Night Pass – until 2:00 a.m.
  • Dress: None
  • Cover: See website as there are different packages for day/night and drinking package. See Groupon or Travel Zoo for deals.
  • Website: High Roller

These are probably your best go to lounges, clubs and attractions for getting a great view of Las Vegas while enjoying a cocktail. There are many other places along the strip where you can get a lower view. Check out places such as The Eiffel Tower Restaurant at the Paris and The Giada at The Cromwell and the Beer Park.  Please let us know if we should add any more places.

Christmas in Las Vegas Guide

We have been visiting Las Vegas during the Christmas season for the past four years. We have put together this guide to show you what type of weather to expect, attractions and Christmas displays to visit and what to expect in general from crowds.

Christmas Weather in Las Vegas

The average temperatures for Vegas in December is a high of 58° F (14° C) and a low of 34° F (1° C).  We have found that the temperatures can fluctuate quite a bit from day to day. There have been days where we have been able to wear shorts and a t shirt by day and a long sleeve and pants at night. Probably more often than not you will require long pants by day and night, a short or long sleeve shirt by day and a light jacket at night. When the sun goes down and the winds pick up at night it can fairly chilly.

Las Vegas Crowd Levels at Christmas

There seems to be differing opinions about crowd levels in Las Vegas over the Christmas Holidays and December in general. By the first week of December Christmas decorations will appear in hotels and along the strip.

The first two weeks of December has The National Finals Rodeo in town for 10 days. This is the time period that we generally are in town for. It is  considered by many to be a busy time in Vegas but it’s a bit relative. Any of the casinos like The Mirage, MGM or Orleans that host nightly concerts or events will be busier than others that don’t. The NFR Experience website has a list of after dark events.

The following week and right up to Christmas Eve or a couple days before is generally fairly dead or empty in terms of crowd. This is because Christmas itself leading to New Years can be quite busy.

Vegas Shows Go Dark

Before you plan your big Vegas Christmas Vacation you should know that some shows go dark in December. This is especially true leading up to Christmas itself. It’s always best to check schedules in case you get your hopes up about seeing a show. For example, we never get a chance to see Brad Garret at his comedy club as he takes a few weeks off before Christmas and New Years.

Christmas Decorations and Attractions

One thing we have noticed over the past 5 years is that Vegas seems to be getting into the Christmas spirit more each year. There are lots of amazing Christmas Tree Displays. The Christmas music is hit or miss but you will find it in the lobbies, shopping areas and around the buffets. Lets take a look at some of the main displays and attractions.

Holiday Menus and Buffet Lines

Vegas is open on Christmas like any other day. It would be impossible to list where to dine for Christmas dinner. Your best bet would be to search out where you want to dine and look at their website or call to see if there are any Christmas dinners planned. Buffet lines can be fairly busy especially during NFR in early December and closer to Christmas. Plan accordingly.

The Bellagio Conservatory Christmas Display

You can expect crowds as The Bellagio Conservatory is the Cadillac of Christmas displays in Las Vegas. This is probably one of the most stunning Christmas displays you will ever see.  There is moving train, moving polar bears and a small area where it snows.

Bellagio Christmas Display Vegas

Las Vegas Christmas

Christmas displays in Vegas

Aria and Crystals Mall

Our next top spot is to a less degree Aria lobby and more importantly the Christmas Tree at Crystals Mall. This first photos is the display at Aria and then the tree at Crystals.

Aria in Las Vegas

Crystals Las Vegas Christmas Tree

The Wynn

Last year was our first visit to The Wynn. We went to see the Christmas display and we were not disappointed. Not as grand as The Bellagio it was still a site to behold.

The Park and T-Mobile Arena

The Park area is relatively new but that doesn’t mean that they don’t celebrate Christmas. You will another large Christmas tree as well as decorations, lights and music. It is especially lively if there is a sports event or concert in the area. Visit at night to get the full effect of the lights. Last year in 2017 they had a skating rink but it was not real ice. It was plastic surface and it was very small.

This view is from the the open outdoor bar inside the t-mobile arena.

Golden Knights Vegas

Fremont Street Experience

I wouldn’t say that Fremont St goes overboard with the Christmas spirit but they do have a tree. They also have a number of filthy Santa’s but they might have those on any other given day.

The Best of the Rest Christmas in Las Vegas

Many of the casinos will also decorate their main lobbies or their shopping malls with Christmas cheer. For example, The Mirage, Caesars Palace and Harrah’s put up miscellaneous decorations. The Venetian also does up the area where the waterfall is located (photo below).

Christmas Activities in Las Vegas

There are a few Christmas themed activities to visit which we have not taken part in but are recommended. This would be The Ethel M. Chocolates Cactus Garden holiday display which is free to visit. There is also The Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where you can drive the track or take a tram which is lite up Christmas lights and decorations. There are generally Groupon deals for both of these activities.

Ice Skating in Las Vegas at Christmas

Our first trip back in 2014 there was ice skating located at Caesars Palace and we have heard that there was also skating at The Venetian. For the past couple of years there is only ice skating at The Cosmo. They have a real ice surface on top of their pool and you can rent skates.  You can also reserve a fire pit area and do the whole smores experience. There is also a Groupon for this event. We tried it one time and had a great time.

This is a stock photos as ours did not turn out well.


Las Vegas Swimming Pools Guide

One of the greatest activities in Las Vegas is it pools. Pool season in Las Vegas is a life of its own. Most of properties have a number of pools and options to suite everyone’s needs. If you are looking for a family pool experience or more adult pools you will be able to find what you are looking for on our Las Vegas Swimming Pools Guide.

The following list shows:

  • A link to each hotels pool page, if they have one.
  • Notes if the pools are year round or seasonal
  • Hours of operation
  • Temperature (which may not be accurate)
  • Links to any specialty pools or clubs

Las Vegas Swimming Pools Guide

8:00 AM – 8:00 PM (hours are seasonal)
82°F (spa pools heated to 101°F)
Liquid Pool Lounge (adults only)
Seasonal; While pool is closed guests can use the pool at Paris
7:00 AM – 8:00 PM. (hours are seasonal)
Binion’s Gambling Hall
Seasonal; Guest from Four Queens may use pool at Binion’s
Not heated
Caesars Palace
8 AM – 7 PM. (hours are seasonal)
Seasonal (Until September 30);
8:00am – 8:00pm
Not heated
Circus Circus
Pool 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM – Daily
Slide Tower – Only Mat Racer Slide Open | 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Weekdays
Slide Tower – All Slides Open | 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM – Weekends
8 a.m.-7 .pm
Pool Hours Vary
9 AM – 5 PM
74°-84° F
Go Pool – 21+
Four Seasons
Guests use the pool at the California
Not heated
Gold Coast
Winter hours: 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Summer hours: 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Golden Nugget
Winter hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Summer hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Not heated
Green Valley Ranch
Not heated
Hard Rock
9 AM – 6 PM
Not heated
Daily 9 a.m – 8 p.m.
Mon. – Sun., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
While pool is closed guests can use the pool at Excalibur
M Resort
10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Las Vegas Swimming Pools GuideView of Treasure Island Pool, May 2017
Main Street Station
Guests use the pool at the California
Not heated
Mandalay Bay
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
MGM Grand
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Daily 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
(Closed for maintenance in December)
Private Oasis Pool and Bare Pool
pools in las vegas
View from The Mirage Pools, May 2017
The Park
8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
New York-New York
9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Daily
Palace Station
Sunday – Thursday: 9 am – 10 pm
Friday & Saturday: 9 am – 11 pm
Winter hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Summer hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (hours are weather permitting)
Seasonal 9am – 7pm
10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (hours are seasonal)
Planet Hollywood
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
9am – sunset
Red Rock Resort
9 am – 5 pm Monday – Thursday
9 am – 6 pm Saturday & Sunday
9 AM – 6 PM
Not heated
Sam’s Town
8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Memorial Day through the first week of September
Santa Fe Station
Pool Currently Closed
Signature at MGM Grand
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino
7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Not heated
South Point
9 a.m.-5 p.m. (hours are seasonal)
Winter hours :9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Summer hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sunset Station
9 am – 8 pm
The D
7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Not heated
Treasure Island
Varies 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Closed Mid Nov to Mid Feb
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Winter hours: 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Summer hours: 7 a.m.- 10 p.m.
8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Main Pool 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Venezia Pool: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Hours are seasonal
Westgate Las Vegas
Wynn Las Vegas
Winter Hours: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Summer: 8 a.m.- 7 p.m.

We have gleaned our Las Vegas Pools Guides from a number of sources but mainly from each pools website. Vegas is always changing and while we strive to keep our list updated it may contain errors. Please let us know if any of our information needs updating. Make sure you check out the rest of our Las Vegas Guides.

Best Apps to Use When Visiting Las Vegas

Having a good collection of Apps on your smartphone can be important when visiting Las Vegas. There are so many options when it comes to entertainment, shows, dining and attractions. Having the right Apps on your iPhone, Android or tablet can save you time maneuvering between properties and find you unique places to visit.

Best Apps to Use When Visiting Las Vegas

Google Maps

Vegas is enormous and there are a zillion food, drink and entertainment options. Admitted it’s easy to get directions from hotel staff, visitors and there is lots of signage. Having a decent map app can help you figure out fast where you need to go and Google Maps will even give you directions to get there. What we like best is that you can pre-download the entire Vegas region to your phone so that you can use it if you find yourself with no cell coverage.

Best Apps to Use When Visiting Las Vegas

Uber and Lyft

Both Uber and Lyft are solid options for travel in Las Vegas. They have their own pick up and drop off spots and there are plenty of drivers so getting a ride never takes long. Rideshare is pretty smooth in Las Vegas. Read our ride share Location post for pick up and drop off spots at Current Uber and Lyft Pick Up and Drop off Locations in Las Vegas.

Open Table

Las Vegas has amazing and unique dining options. Restaurants can be busy as well and we love to make reservations through Open Table. It saves time and effort when making dining reservations. We also love to look up places that we might want to visit, read the reviews and browse the photos.

Best Apps to Use When Visiting Las Vegas

Groupon and Travel Zoo

The two powerhouses of group buying in Las Vegas. We rarely head to Las Vegas without a handful of purchases on these two apps. You can get amazing deals on attractions and activities, food and drink and show tickets. We are fans of the deals for The High Roller and discounts at restaurants such as $50 for $30. One of the great deals that comes and goes are discounted shopping cards at Miracle Miles Shopping Malls. They will basically sell 1/2 price cards for use at all shops. We stocked up on drinks at ABC and Vegas Knights gear at Lids.

Players Clubs Apps

We always have the main players clubs apps loaded on our phones when we head to Vegas. Especially the for the hotel that we are staying at. Mainly we have Mlife, Total Rewards and B Connected as those are the hotels that we frequent. They are great apps for checking on property maps, entertainment schedules, dining options and for checking your Players Clubs standing and points.


This was the one Vegas specific app that we like to download for out trip. It has a number of guides, maps and attraction listings. What we like about it is that it takes all of the Groupon, Travel Zoo and other deals websites and lists them in one handy place. It also allows you to bring up a map and it shows all of the deals in your proximity.

My Vegas

MyVegas is a game played on Facebook Android and iPhone. You play the games with chips to earn loyalty points which you can trade for freebies at Las Vegas hotels, restaurants and attractions. On Facebook you can play MyVegas and My Konami. On your smartphone or tablet you play MyVegas, My Konami, Pop Slots and Blackjack. You sync all of the games with your Facebook id so that your loyalty points all go to the same pot.

If you have not heard of the game before and think it’s a scam it is most certainly not. We have personally cashed in free tickets to KA, Beatles Love, 2-1 Terry Factor tickets, numerous buffets, attractions such as the Secret Garden as well as free nights at The Mirage.

We are going to do a big MyVegas post soon which will give you tips and tricks to get the most out of the game.

myvegas photo
Photo by eastcoastgambler99

Night View of the Las Vegas Strip

Night View of the Las Vegas Strip

An incredible photo of a night view of the Las Vegas strip. According to NASA Las Vegas is the brightest city when viewed from space. There is an estimated 9,900,000 light tubes in Vegas. Sources state there is nearly 15.000 miles of neon lights in Vegas. It costs nearly $127 million a year to illuminate the strip.

Night View of the Las Vegas Strip

The amazing part about flying into Las Vegas at night is witnessing the lights. You go from total darkness to the amazing display of bright lights that you see in the photo above. Not only is it bright, it is much bigger than what most people believe. When you think about Las Vegas you think about The Strip and Fremont St. You can see from the photo that Vegas is quite large with many neighborhoods and houses. The population in 2016 as estimated at 632,912.

Las Vegas Street Scene 1955

Las Vegas in 1955 was very different then what it is today. This Las Vegas street scene photo from 1955 shows the Golden Nugget and a host of other casinos and hotels that are no longer part of Vegas. The Golden Nugget was built in 1946 and is still a prominent part of the Fremont St experience. If you get a chance stop by and see the shark tank.

Las Vegas street scene 1955

Make sure you click on the photo for the larger image.

Interesting Las Vegas Facts

Las Vegas may be famous for its luxury hotels, fine dining and cirque shows but there are many interesting facts that the average visitor does not know. Here is a list of interesting facts about Las Vegas that you may not be aware of.

Interesting Las Vegas Facts

The famous strip is 4.2 miles and is not even located in Las Vegas proper. It actually sites in the town of Paradise which is within Clarke County. Las Vegas proper would be Downtown or Fremont St, where the original hotels and casinos are located.

It is estimated that 41 million people visit Las Vegas every year. There are not shortage of rooms for those visitors. Statistics show that in 2017 there were 104 Casinos and 148,690 hotels rooms in Las Vegas.

NASA has dubbed Las Vegas as the brightest spot on earth. There are 9,900,000 light bulbs just on the strip. The Luxor Light Beam which sits on top of the Luxor Pyramid can be seen from 100 miles away and the beam is only at half power. That light beam cost $51 an hour to operate.

luxor vegas photo
Photo by Jay Abramson

The design for the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign was never copyrighted. The sign was designed by Betty Willis and erected in 1959. The circles around the word “welcome” represents silver dollars. They are a tribute to Nevada being the “silver state”.

las vegas facts

Las Vegas really is the wedding capital of the United States. There are anywhere from 300 – 500 wedding a day. They make it pretty easy, you only need a driver’s license or passport around $50 to get a marriage licence.

You won’t find lottery tickets in Vegas. Looking for a power ball ticket? You will have to go to Utah as lottery tickets are not allowed in the state of Nevada.

Prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas. It is against the law in Clarke County.

There are an estimated 1,000 people living in the tunnels below the city. Matthew O’Brien a reporter who first brought the story to light has published a book called Beneath The Neon.

Seafood is king in Vegas. It is estimated that 60,000 pounds of shrimp is consumed every day. Resorts like the Aria are moving to recycle their food waste and sell it to farmers to be used as pig slop.

Thinking of swimming the Bellagio fountains? You might want to think again as the water used is referred to as “grey water”. The water in many of the fountains and displays is recycled from sinks, bathtubs, and showers.

bellagio fountains photo
Photo by gilbrit

Elvis Presley performed 837 consecutive sold out shows at what is now the Westgate Casino and Hotel. Elvis still has a strong presence in Las Vegas with impersonators and shows being found all over the strip and downtown Fremont St.


Tips for any Las Vegas Vacation

Travel tips for any Las Vegas vacation. A trip to Las Vegas can be overwhelming as there are lots of attractions and activities to do. The sheer size of the resorts can make your trip challenging. Follow these Las Vegas vacation trip tips to make your next stay a success. Get these tips for hotels stays, dining and restaurants, activities and attractions and Las Vegas shows. We will help you make the best of your trip to fabulous Las Vegas.

Vegas Hotel and Resort Tips

  • Weekends and holidays are expensive – Expect to pay more for weekend and holidays. You can most certainly save money by visiting Monday – Thursday in Vegas. Holidays will also see a spike in room rates because the demand for rooms rise. Surge pricing during conventions is also real. If you are seeing very high rates chances are there is a major convention in town. Also be aware of major sporting or music events such as fights or March Madness. Shop around for dates and book with what you are comfortable with.
  • You can change your reservation – Last year I booked a December stay at the Mirage in September. By December the Mirage was offering better prices with more freeplay and resort credit. I simply called and changed my reservation for the better deal. Keep  your eye on prices and deals if if you booked directly through the hotel and don’t be afraid to call and ask for the better deal.
  • Resort Fees on the rise – Resort fees are a fee that is paid directly to the hotel upon check out. They are not included in your pricing if you booked through a third party travel website. The fee can range anywhere from $20 – $40 a day. This fee gives you access to such things as wifi, self parking, printing boarding passes and fitness rooms. Most hotels have them in effect and you can see them in our Current Las Vegas Resort Fees post. Resort fees are one of the most controversial and despised aspects of Las Vegas.
  • Sign Up for Players Cards – Every hotel has a loyalty or Players Club program like Mlife or Total Rewards. Sign up and use your card whenever you can for bonuses and freebies. Show your card when shopping at hotel stores or eating in their restaurants. If you get enough points you may get part of your final bill comp’d. Hotels will also give bonus’ to new sign ups and the points you gain can be used for gambling or food purchases. If you are staying at an MGM property you can charge bills to your room at any other MGM property. It’s an easy way to make sure you get your points and credit for  your purchases. Another reason i shows the hotels how much you are spending and you can get offers for free rooms without spending a lot of money. Just use your card when playing and you will get offers to your Players Club account online or email if you signed up with one.
  • Parking will cost you – Hotels looking to maximize their profits have implemented daily parking charges. Beware this extra charge if you plan on driving into Vegas. Check with the hotel directly for their parking policy.

The Mirage Resort King
Taken from the 24th floor The Mirage in Dec. 2017

Getting Around in Vegas Tips

  • Bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes – This is an important tip. Properties in Vegas are enormous in size and you will be walking more than you think. You might look fabulous walking the strip in high heels but your feet are not going to like you by the end of a sight seeing tour. My watch logged roughly 10 miles a day in just doing normal gawking around the strip. With properties like The Venetian, Caesars and The Bellagio it’s a hike just to get into the hotel proper from the sidewalk.
  • Utilize cheap transportation – We wrote about the use of The Free Tram System in Vegas which is a decent way to get around the strip. Vegas also has a great bus system. Called The Deuce (double decker) the bus is constantly running up and down the strip and stops at every hotel. The double elongated bus called the SDX stops less frequently and is perfect for taking downtown to Fremont St. You can buy bus passes from machines located at the stops. Remember, no open containers on the buses. Lyft and Uber are also great ride share choices and we will post about getting deals on those later on.
  • Ignore the Street Hustlers and Time Share Scammers – Walking any where near Bally’s, Planet Hollywood and across from NYNY you are going to be approached by hustlers. They will be giving out cards for escorts, vip club passes and trying to lure you to a time share presentations. Outside the MM Mall at Planet Hollywood they will pretend to be working for the mall and offer a coupon book which is a diversion to get you signed up for a time share presentation. Just ignore them as most of them won’t bother you past their initial hustle. If they persist we use the “just heading to the airport” response which is usually enough.

Las Vegas trips

Planet Hollywood taken Dec, 2015. Classic area for hustlers.

Food and Drink Tips for Las Vegas

  • Bring a collapsible cooler – Depending where you stay a fridge is not included with your room. MGM for example stock the in room fridge with snacks and drinks. A fridge is an extra charge. We purchased as small collapsible cooler from Amazon which fits in our suite case perfectly.
  • Shop for snacks and drinks off site – The mark up for snacks and drinks at Hotel stores is insane. The landscape of Vegas has changed and there are Walgreen’s and CVS Pharmacies everywhere now. Stock up on your snacks, bottled water and beverages here. Even some of the smaller shops you see like outside of Harrah’s are offering pretty decent rates on beverages.
  • Red Solo Cups are your friend – The alcohol laws in Vegas are pretty relaxed. You can consume in public places but no glass bottles and if you purchase a closed container it can’t  consumed on the premises, or within 1,000 feet, of the store. Red Solo Cups are perfect for travelling from hotel to hotel. Most places on Fremont offer solo cups as you are leaving and heading out to the street.
  • Happy Hour is a thing – Vegas is famous for Happy Hour offering great food and drink deals. Generally before 6:00 pm you can get 1/2 price food and reduced drinks at most places. Some also have a Happy Hour later at night. There is no way we can tackle keeping a list on that so lets just say that google is your friend.
  • Sign up for Email Lists – Create a throw away email account and see if any of the restaurants you are planning to go to have rewards for joining. For example, Hash House a Go Go at the LINQ will send you a birthday 2-1 coupon every year and Holsteins at The Cosmo will send you a reward like a free booze milkshake.

Happy Hour Vegas tips

Happy Hour at Pizza Rock Downtown Vegas taken Dec. 2017

Las Vegas for the Frugal

  • Coupons – There used to be coupon magazines in cabs or in the lobby’s of hotels but those are in a bit of decline as of late. There are still two great coupon books out there. We have used both books in the past. It’s just a matter of what you think you would get better use of.
    • American Casino Guide – Available for under $15 on Amazon or Barnes and Noble this is packed with coupons for food, drink and games in Vegas. We find that it has lots of lower value coupons but that makes it worth the price. There are lots of food deals on the strip and downtown Fremont St.
    • Las Vegas Adviser – You join their membership website for $37 a year and get their coupon book and monthly magazine. When compared to the ACG but we found it had some higher end coupons. For example, the 2-1 Buffet at The Cosmo is a great value. We covered the costs and more after using only three coupons for food, drinks and play.
  • Groupon – Another great resource for getting deals in Vegas is Groupon. We start looking about three months our from our trip for deals. You will be sure to find a deal on dining and on may attractions and activities.
  • Travel Zoo – Sometimes forgotten is Travel Zoo. We like to look for dining and drinks deals but they have a good collection of Activities and Shows as well. For example, we used it for a great deal on Penn and Teller a few trips back.

These are just some basic tips to help out on your Vegas vacation. Most of them are common sense tips that could be applied anywhere you visit but Vegas can be expensive and exhausting if you don’t know what you are getting into. If you have a tip or suggestion please leave a comment.