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First time to Las Vegas - pointers?

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Old 01-16-2014, 07:23 AM   #1
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First time to Las Vegas - pointers?

My wife is turning 30 in September and we want to plan a trip to Las Vegas, NV. We both have never been and would like to experience it and what it uniquely has to offer.

She is a teacher and has Columbus Day off, which is October 13th. We plan on flying from Houston, Texas to Las Vegas, NV on October 10th (Friday) and leaving 13th (Monday).

We have mentioned it to several family members and friends, some who want to join on their own dime. At this time, those who show interest include: my parents, her parents, my brother and sister, and three other couples, plus our two year old son. All together, that's fourteen (14) people.

Since i've never been, i'll list my criteria, and things i'd like to do. If you've been, please share what else i should do or where to stay or avoid.

- We'd like to stay at a uniquely Las Vegas hotel/casino
- We have a budget of ~$150/night for room
- I'd like to visit the Hoover Dam
- We'd like to see a show (Cirque du Soleil, something along that line)
- I'd like to have an Exotic Car Driving Experience
- We want to gamble
- We want to visit the Strip (people watch, visit hotels, fountains, etc)
- Have a birthday dinner with all 14 people (budget friendly)
- We'd like to hang out at a pool (weather permitting)

So, with those criteria listed, where would you recommend staying, and what else would you encourage me to visit or do?
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:44 AM   #3
Ain't nobody got time for dat!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonBilly View Post
After she packs remove all her underwear and play dumb when she gets there


The wife and I went a couple years ago. It's fun but exhausting. A LOT of walking. We saw Penn & Teller while there. A show I'd recommend. We stayed at the MGM Grand. It was priced right and nice enough for our needs at the time.

We rented a car also and drove to the Hoover dam and then the Grand Canyon. It's a nice drive to both. Hoover dam was cool to see and tour.

We stayed for a week and still didn't get to everything we wanted to do. Lost and won but mostly lost money on Roulette. My wifes game was blackjack and poker. She did the same.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:49 AM   #4
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Remember the riffraff comes out when the sun goes down, I avoid the strip after dark. October is an awesome time to be there for good weather. I have stayed at the stratosphere, its not the nicest, but is very budget friendly, and you can go up to the top which is pretty cool. The bar at the top was way too hoity toity for me. The stratosphere is a little north on the strip though, so walking the strip from the hotel isnt the best, but getting in and out of the hotel with minimal vehicle traffic is good.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:52 AM   #6
Ain't nobody got time for dat!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skidooman View Post
Remember the riffraff comes out when the sun goes down.
This is/was the best time to people watch! Watch all the derp and depressed after drunken money lost.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:52 AM   #7
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I haven't been to Vegas in about 2 years but the hotels are reasonably priced and every casino is in fact a hotel. It should be possible to find a room at your budgeted price on the strip. A lot of the hotels/casinos are actually connected so you can walk from the Luxor for example to the Mandalay Bay through the medieval themed one without going outside. As far as eating the best deal would probably be the buffets which are pretty much everywhere. There are a lot of high end restaurants but also fun places like the Hard Rock Cafe. If you're into animatronic animals you'll enjoy the Rain Forest Cafe in the MGM.

If slots are your thing, you don't even need to leave the airport. Las Vegas really isn't one of my favorite places because I prefer to gamble at the racetrack.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:54 AM   #8
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I would skip the car driving experience since you can do that anywhere.

Maybe a helicopter ride around Vegas and Grand Canyon instead. Think of something you can only do in Vegas.

I would recommend some place like New York New York hotel. It is good for the entire family (kids and parents), yet still fun enough for people our age. It is also within very easy walking distance to a couple other big hotels so you can get some variety.

Definately see a show. One of the best things about Vegas. There are so many, so just pick one that sounds interesting to you and your family.

You can get a bus pass for the entire day for around $5 if I remember right. Will take you all up and down the strip as well as old Vegas (Fremont Street). Lots of people watching in Fremont street and slightly cheaper to gamble there. If you go to Fremont, go in the evening/night so you can see the Fremont Street Light Experience.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:57 AM   #9
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I'm one of those people that's extra cautious so watch out for pickpockets.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:58 AM   #10
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Vegas is a ton of fun! Last time I was there we stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacations, but it was connected to the Flamingo, giving us access to all their amenities without actually being in the casino (Good for the kiddo?) and it's also connected to the Las Vegas Monorail which covers a majority of the Strip. Saw Tim Allen and gambled at the Venetian/Palazzo when I was there. You can explore that place for hours!
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:59 AM   #11
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEEVON911 View Post
This is/was the best time to people watch! Watch all the derp and depressed after drunken money lost.
Oh for sure. But I wouldnt want to have to keep tabs on a little kid while doing it.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:13 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by skidooman View Post
Oh for sure. But I wouldnt want to have to keep tabs on a little kid while doing it.
Yeah. Good point. That's only for mommy's and daddy's.

I'll be honest OP. I didnt really think Vegas was the place for young kids and I was surprised that I saw as many as I did. Just my Opinion.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keylay View Post
My wife is turning 30 in September and we want to plan a trip to Las Vegas, NV. We both have never been and would like to experience it and what it uniquely has to offer.

She is a teacher and has Columbus Day off, which is October 13th. We plan on flying from Houston, Texas to Las Vegas, NV on October 10th (Friday) and leaving 13th (Monday).

We have mentioned it to several family members and friends, some who want to join on their own dime. At this time, those who show interest include: my parents, her parents, my brother and sister, and three other couples, plus our two year old son. All together, that's fourteen (14) people.

Since i've never been, i'll list my criteria, and things i'd like to do. If you've been, please share what else i should do or where to stay or avoid.

- We'd like to stay at a uniquely Las Vegas hotel/casino
- We have a budget of ~$150/night for room
- I'd like to visit the Hoover Dam
- We'd like to see a show (Cirque du Soleil, something along that line)
- I'd like to have an Exotic Car Driving Experience
- We want to gamble
- We want to visit the Strip (people watch, visit hotels, fountains, etc)
- Have a birthday dinner with all 14 people (budget friendly)
- We'd like to hang out at a pool (weather permitting)

So, with those criteria listed, where would you recommend staying, and what else would you encourage me to visit or do?
Tell her to pack comfortable shoes. People don't realize how much walking a tour of the strip involves.
I'm not sure on your impulse control, but leave the credit/debit card in the hotel room when you go to do your gambling. Wouldn't want you pulling a Chevy Chase in Vegas Vacation.
Anything that needs an appointment (such as the car experience), definitely schedule it before you leave.
I'd suggest leaving at least half a day open for the trip to see the dam. It's only about 45 minutes to drive there, but there's a lot to see.
Leave a day without anything planned. That way you've got time to go do or see something you noticed that looks interesting. Or hang by the pool
Bring mirrored wrap-around sunglasses. Attractive women in Vegas tend to have their bathing suits made out of something resembling air. Unfortunately, unattractive women are abundant in Vegas as well...
Have fun, and be safe!
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:36 AM   #16
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I love Vegas. But, in my opinion, it's one of those places that you have to be committed to dropping some coin and not worrying about it in order to get the full effect. That being said...

My main advice: try and stay somewhere in the middle of the strip. I've stayed at MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay before, which are nice, but they are kinda on the end of the strip. I much prefer the Bellagio, Caeser's Palace, etc. that are more central.

If you're going to see a show, try out the discount ticket windows. They don't have a set list of shows that they offer, so read up and pick 3 or 4 that you'd be happy seeing, then go early and try to find one of them that's being sold that day. When I've done it, you actually receive a voucher which you then take to the casino hosting the show, which you exchange for a ticket. When we did this, we went right to the casino after buying the voucher so we wouldn't forget to later, and ended up getting front row, center seats for something like 70% off (we were the first people to buy tickets for that show). Something to think about, especially if all 14 people want to go.

Other than that...gamble, hang out at the pool, and just enjoy it. Vegas is an awesome place. Except the clubs. They're expensive, and really cheesy.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:39 AM   #17
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Here's some ideas:

Quote:
Originally Posted by keylay View Post

- We'd like to stay at a uniquely Las Vegas hotel/casino
- We have a budget of ~$150/night for room
These first two kinda go hand in hand. With that said, your best bet will be some of the older, more iconic hotels on the strip such as the Flamingo, Harrah's, Tropicana. Last time we went was that same time of year and I got a strip view room at the Flamingo for around $140 per night. The reason why I like the Flamingo/Harrah's area of the strip is that it's right in the middle of the strip. I often find great deals on Expedia and other travel sites and would recommend watching those for just the right deal. Tropicana, Luxor and Excalibur often have really cheap room rates however the rooms at that rate aren't the greatest. I try to stay away from the North end where Statosphere and Circus Circus...Stay the EFF away from Circus Circus. Don't stay downtown...it's fun to visit once on a saturday night but you don't want to be stuck there.

- I'd like to visit the Hoover Dam
Do it. Like someone mentioned above, take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and/or Hoover Dam. There's no shortage of people on the strip promoting tours of both. Otherwise if you're getting a rental car you could drive there.

- We'd like to see a show (Cirque du Soleil, something along that line)
There are no shortage of Cirque du Soleil shows on the strip...take your choice. Zumanity is somewhat erotic...all the others are more family friendly. You like the Beatles? I heard the Beatles Love show is pretty awesome. Mystere is still there at Treasure Island, that's a good one too.

- I'd like to have an Exotic Car Driving Experience
As someone mentioned above, you can do this anywhere. It will take a good portion of a day to go do this. But if you insist, there are a couple companies that handle this. They also have a NASCAR experience at Las Vegas Speedway which I watched a friend of mine do and it looked like a blast! expect to pay anywhere from $200-$500 for a basic experience. Groupon often has deals for these.

- We want to gamble
What kind of gambling you want to do? The strip can be fun if you can get a seat but sometimes it gets unbearably crowded at the tables on the strip. also, the low minimum bet tables are scarce. Downtown you'll find more $5 minimum bet tables but the crowd varies and can become unbearable in other ways. When I drive in I love gambling in Primm but I wouldn't drive there from the Strip just for it.

- We want to visit the Strip (people watch, visit hotels, fountains, etc)
Central strip is where it's at. My favorite sight-seeing hotels:
Wynn/Encore - Fancy, luxurious
Bellagio - Water show
Venetian/Palazzo - cool mall area
Paris - Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower during a Bellagio water show. You gotta time it just right...but it is like $17 per person for maybe 5 minutes of oohs and ahhs. Still cool.
Aria/Vdara - This has some awesome architecture in/around the hotels as well as the adjoining mall. Also some of the hallways on the room floors are lined with leather.
Margaritaville at the Flamingo - Has this rad outdoor patio adjacent to the bar that is awesome for hanging out and people watching. That's where we came across the "Kick me in the balls for $20" guy.
Downtown/Freemont St - People watching here is great...go at night so you get to see the light show.


- Have a birthday dinner with all 14 people (budget friendly)
Tons of good food. too much to list. Hash House A-Go-Go is one of my faves. Huge portions and reasonable prices. I hear Gordon Ramsay's BurGR is really good but might be a little more pricey. If you want cheap amazing tacos on strip, Tacos El Gordo is where you want to be. Warning, you can only get Carne Asada and Adobada in the line on the right...I don't know why.

- We'd like to hang out at a pool (weather permitting)
Yeah, that time of year the pools are mostly all closed down.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:14 AM   #18
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I really like the Big Shot on top of the Stratosphere. Then it's all about the food for me.
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