I have lived in Las Vegas since 2004. I have worked in the same hospitality/entertainment company for the past thirteen years. For nine of those years, I worked in two different casinos so my ‘office’ was on Las Vegas Boulevard or the Strip as it is commonly called. Most locals who work on the Strip really don’t want to hang out where they work if they don’t have to, but I make it a point to stay at hotels on the Strip whenever I have some vacation time. I love it!  There is always something new and exciting happening. I can imagine how exciting it must be for someone who has never been here before.  I can always see it from the first-timer’s eyes and I do know enough to share some worthwhile tips for those of you who plan to visit this sparkly city for the first time.

It is Hot and DRY

The Strip

If you are going to be visiting in the next couple of months, you probably already know that it will be triple digit hot. What you may fail to remember is that it is also very dry.  When I first moved here, I use to get nose bleeds until my body eventually got use to the weather. Saline nose sprays have worked for friends who have experienced this when visiting for the first time, but I recommend that you consult your doctor on what’s best for you if you anticipate this may also be an issue for you.  Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and ensure you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Wine and beer don’t count.

Bring Cash

There are ATM machines located in all casinos, however there are some pretty hefty charges if you use them and sometimes your own bank charges a fee on top of that.  Bring enough cash. If you need to go to an ATM, there are some banks located on Tropicana Avenue and there are some located on Flamingo Road. This was always a common question when I worked in a casino.

Get a Rewards Card

Some rewards programs will reward you for both gambling and spending within their casinos.  Make sure you inquire about which casinos the rewards card works at to ensure you aren’t signing up more than once for the same program.  Usually the casinos where you can use the card are listed at the back of the card.  If you are going to spend money, you should be rewarded for it.  When you come back, and you will be back because you will have so much fun, you may get some great offers and discounts.

Things Are Far Apart

Fremont Street

It is a lot of fun to walk up and down the Strip because of the all of the great things you’ll see along the way.  In fact, there are free shows you can catch in the process, not to mention all of the interesting characters you are bound to meet.  It is important to note, however, that the Strip is over four miles long and again, it is very hot. Wear comfortable shoes and take frequent breaks if you plan to walk the Strip. The casinos that are next to each other can actually be quite a trek to get to in this hot weather.

Now that we have the basics out of the way, here is the fun part.  I am all about the experience whenever I am on vacation.  Here are more tips for you to get the full Las Vegas experience.

Try a Buffet, Eat at a Fine Dining Restaurant

Las Vegas has always been associated with having buffets.  The $2.99 buffets are long gone and have been replaced with the elevated culinary experience. You can now expect live cooking stations, specialty stations that serve all types of cuisine, and the upgraded ambience to match! Try a buffet while you are in town.  Some notable buffets are at Bellagio, M Resort and Wynn to name a few. For more details, click on the hotel name.

We have the best, internationally recognized chefs in Las Vegas and they are almost all located on the Las Vegas Strip.  Enhance your Las Vegas experience by dining at one of the celebrity chef’s restaurants!  Here are some of the chefs we have in Las Vegas:  Jose Andres, Joel Robuchon, Gordon Ramsay, Wolgang Puck, Nobu Matsuhisa, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri and Emeril Lagasse.

Watch A Cirque Du Soleil Show

I have said it before, Las Vegas’ nickname as “Entertainment Capital of the World” couldn’t be more appropriate.  There are great concerts happening every weekend in Las Vegas.  If you have the time, make sure you see who is performing the weekend while you are here and purchase your tickets ahead of time.  If you only have time to watch one show, however, I really think there is nothing that is more unique than a Cirque du Soleil show. The costumes are exquisite, the set designs are spectacular, the concept of each show is extraordinary and the performers are so talented.  It really is a show not to be missed.  For a list of shows, click here.

Check out Some Free Stuff

The Fountains of Bellagio

Be sure to check out these completely free experiences:  Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Fremont Street Experience, Mirage Volcano, Fountains of Bellagio, Fall of Atlantis at the Caesars Palace Forum Shops and of course,  stop by the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign to have your photo taken!

Go to the Outlet Malls

If you want great discounts on designer and name brand items, stop by the outlet malls. There are two located near the Strip:  the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets is located Downtown and the other is just south of the Strip, Las Vegas South Premium Outlets.  The North location has higher end stores and is an outdoor mall while the South location is an indoor mall.  I will leave it up to you to decide which one you prefer.  Click on the names of the locations for the store listings.  I personally prefer the North location because of the mix of stores.

Enjoy our sparkly city!  “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!”