After a recent trip to Las Vegas, I didn’t come home with a suitcase full of money. The good news is I didn’t leave a suitcase full of money behind, either. Here are my tips for having fun in Vegas, whether you gamble or not,:
1. Have a plan. Get a map of the strip and figure out where you want to go and what you want to see. The hotels seem close together but they are sprawling structures and it will take you 20 minutes to get from one to the next.
2. Wear comfortable shoes. See #1.
3. Book a show or two ahead of time. We saw Elton John (a great show by an engaging entertainer) and one of the many Cirque du Soleil productions. Both highly recommended. The shows don’t have to be huge productions like Cirque; Jerry Seinfeld is coming in June and he puts on a terrifically funny show.
4. Book a nice restaurant or two ahead of time. Tried this time and highly recommended: Nobhill at the MGM Grand and Spago at Caesars Palace. Expensive (but aren’t you worth it?) but wonderful food and fantastic service. Emeril’s Fish House at the MGM was sold out and our concierge (who helped with the booking) told us it often books up months in advance.
5. Pick up a free player loyalty card. Even if you aren’t a big gambler, you’ll spend more time than you think at the tables and it could earn you discounts and freebies, if you don’t mind sharing the information on how long you gamble and how much you win/lose. At Caesars Palace it was called Total Rewards, and was good at other Harrah’s properties such as Paris and Rio. They are cagey about how many hours/dollars it takes to earn rewards, though.
6. We did not get there (ran out of time; see #1) but wanted to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel for a drink and a stunning view of the city.
7. If you plan on taking a gondola ride at the Venetian hotel, book ahead (same day only). We didn’t and ended up being there too late to do the ride and get back in time for an early dinner and show.
8. Stop and watch the Bellagio fountains dance to music and lights. Free!
9. Bring a bathing suit but don’t plan on spending much time by the pool in spring and summer; it’s just too hot. And you’ve got too much to do.
10. People will say you can bring children, and we saw many, but don’t. Yes, there are some things they may want to do but Vegas is really not set up for children; it’s hot, there’s too much walking and the tamest shows will have risque elements.