Las Vegas

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Seal of the City of Las Vegas



Las Vegas, also known as Sin City, is a splendid casino town in the middle of the desert of Nevada. It's the biggest casino city in the United States, possibly in the world.

Tips

  • Comparitively speaking Las Vegas is a small city, with the Las Vegas Strip being pretty much in the middle. Make sure that if you want to experience the strip you ask your host's location relative to it.
  • It is recommended that Bundu Bashers Tours and The Transportation Group NOT be used for any services in this area. There have been reports of abusive staff, misinformation and poor/no service, even after payment has been made.
  • Parking is very easy on the Las Vegas strip. There is usually no charge for parking at any of the casinos (if you park yourself - valet tips are expected if they park it for you). If you don't have a car, or even if you do and you don't want the hassle of traffic, take The Deuce. It's a double decker bus that costs $7 for an all day pass. The route goes all the way from the most southern part of the Las Vegas strip to the most northern downtown portion.
  • Many people who visit Las Vegas choose to take a trip to Grand Canyon or are on their way to or from there. Grand Canyon is located about 250 miles from Las Vegas. The trip from Vegas takes about 4 1/2 hours and takes you right over Hoover Dam. There are many tour companies that do day bus trips, or helocoptor tours. Not being from Vegas, many people make the mistake of thinking that the Grand Canyon is much closer than it really is. Las Vegas to Grand Canyon suggestions are posted here
  • Las Vegas is a very popular destination. It's probably a good idea to contact many people well in advance of your trip. Hosts get booked up quickly.

Finding your way to the Strip

From the Greyhound Station downtown

Exit the bus station and turn left (north). Go 1/2 block to Fremont Street, which is where all the old casinos are. The entire street is covered with a canopy, making it difficult to miss.

Go east down Fremont Street (you can't go west) for 5 blocks or so until you get to Las Vegas Blvd.

Catch the Deuce bus south. This will take you to anywhere on the Strip.

From the airport

Catch the 109 bus at Ground Level Zero. Take it south to the South Strip Transfer Terminal. From there, you can catch the Deuce bus north, which will take you all the way up the Strip.

You can also take the 108 or the 109 bus north, then catch either the 201 bus at Tropicana, the 202 at Flamingo, the 203 at Twain, or the 204 at Sahara. Take any of these buses west for a few stops to get to the Strip.

Things to see

There's also the regular tourist attractions that everyone should check out after dark.

If you're looking for souvenirs, don't miss The World's Largest Gift Shop.

After you see the Vegas Strip, head downtown to experience old school Las Vegas. It's less crowded, cheaper and there's a pretty cool light show on Fremont street every half an hour or so:

If you're looking for some outdoor activities that don't involve gambling, Mt. Charleston is great in the hot summer months. It's about twenty degrees cooler up there. There's great hiking and is like a different world than the dry, dusty, desert of Vegas. Also, in the winter there's snow sports.

Red Rock Canyon is an amazing place that should not be missed. There's a small conservatory with a gift shop and a 13 mile loop that you can drive around. You can stop of at different points to hike a trail or scramble around on the rocks. It's a truly impressive place that is worth a trip out. Despite its name, the park is not a canyon, but a large valley that includes a great many small canyons.

If you like to wander in the desert, there are plenty of parks and preserves nearby. Here is a good source of info. And Wild Nevada has a big list of hikes and excursions into the Nevada wilderness, including a number of obscure destinations. Local Hikes has another long list of hikes in the Vegas area.

Treasures Gentleman's Club and Steakhouse has free (yes, free) drinks from 4pm-6pm every weekday. They also have free (yes, free) buffet from 5pm-8pm every weekday. There is no cover for those with Nevada ID, if you take care of who ever is at the door and the desk, out of towners can get by without paying the $20 cover. As long as you tip out the servers every time they bring you drinks, they keep them coming as fast as you can down them.

Drink

  • Beer: The Freaking Frog. Hundreds of beers. A simple place with a friendly atmosphere, great beer and great food. You'll most likely meet alot of friendly UNLV students at this place.
  • Wine: Wine Cellar at the Rio. Thousands of bottles to choose from, plus wine flights.
  • Tequila: Isla in Treasure Island - 105 tequilas available. T&T in Luxor - tequila in the pyramid. Taco Yayo by UNLV.
  • Vodka: Red Square in Manadalay Bay
  • Brewpubs:
    • Barley's - a beer-themed casino in a Henderson strip-mall
    • Big Dog's - on the north side; also a bar on west Sahara
    • BJ's - out near Red Rock, in Summerlin
    • Chicago Brewing Company - west side of town on Fort Apache; also a cigar lounge downtown in the 4 Queens casino.
    • Ellis Island - behind Ballys casino; very cheap beer and close to the Strip
    • Gordan Biersch - on Paradise 1 mile east of the Strip; also in Summerlin
    • Sin City - has a bar in Planet Hollywood
    • Tenaya Creek - on the north side of town
    • Triple 7 - in the Main Street station casino downtown
  • The Double Down Saloon: Never a cover and cheap drinks, most always a live band, some awesome, some awesomely terrible.
  • Paymon's Hookah Lounge:, The location on Maryland is the closest to the strip. Also close to UNLV. Great Mediterranean food and an amazing atmosphere to hang out and have a few drinks and smoke a hookah in. If you've never tried a hookah, I would suggest it. For all you non smokers out there it's nothing like smoking cigarettes. It's pleasant and mellow, almost like inhaling deliciously smooth flavored vapor.
  • 99 cent margaritas: Downtown at the Fremont Casino and Mermaids; on the Strip at Imperial Palace. These are not good but they will keep your buzz on.

Happy Hours

  • Big Dog's: 3 - 6 M-F
  • Blue Martini: 4 - 8 PM daily, half off food and drinks
  • Blondies: In Planet Hollywood, $10 all you can drink, 4-6 PM weekdays
  • Chicago Brewing Company: 6 - 8 PM (?) in the upstairs cigar lounge at the Sahara location
  • Downtown Cocktail Room: 4 - 8 PM weeknights;
  • Firefly: 3-6 PM
  • Freakin Frog: 2-for-1 on select bottles midnight - 1AM ; 2-for-1 taps late afternoons
  • Gordan Biersch: 4 - 6:30 PM M-F, 10 PM to close every night, $1 off beers, $4.95 appetizer specials
  • Hennessey's: 4 - 7 M-F
  • Hogs and Heifers: Wednesday, ladies night
  • McFaddens: 10PM - close Thursdays, $5 pitchers
  • Paymons: 5-7 PM daily, hookas and drinks 1/2 price
  • Red Room: 3-7 PM, $1 drafts. 3101 W. Sahara.
  • Tenaya Creek Brewpub: M-F 3-7 PM, 10 PM - 7 AM; Sat and Sun all day
  • Triple 7: M-F 3-6, $2 beers
  • Yard House: 3 - 6 PM M-F, 11 PM - 2 AM Su - W
  • 3 Tomatos and a Mozzarella: 4-7 PM and 10-12 PM, second drink for $1

Foodsurfing

The following are restaurants in Las Vegas that might be of interest to couchsurfers. Good restaurants are easy to find - this is a list of restaurants that are good in a way that might not be expected, and which most visitors might not know about. If you want to take your couchsurfers out someplace memorable, try one of these:

  • Casa Di Amore - 2850 East Tropicana. Semi-expensive Italian food.
  • Chicago Joe's - 820 S. 4th Street. An Italian restaurant downtown, in a little brick house.
  • Cottage Cafe - 4647 Paradise Rd. Ethiopian food near the Hard Rock Casino.
  • Hikari - all you can eat sushi for $21, at Buffalo and Flamingo.
  • Hash House A Go Go - 6800 West Sahara. Hearty and very untraditional "twisted farm food". A bit pricey but two meals will feed three people. Americans find this place weird. Foreigners will be bewildered. But happy.
  • Hush Puppies - 7185 W. Charleston. Southern cuisine.
  • India Oven - 2218 Paradise Rd. Excellent Indian restaurant at way below Strip prices.
  • Kobe Sushi Bar: 9340 W. Flamingo, all you can eat sushi for $22 after 5pm.
  • La Palapa: 2477 E. Tropicana Ave at Eastern. Veracruz style seafood.
  • Lotus of Siam - 953 E. Sahara Ave. Very good Thai food, at reasonable prices. The buffet is from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.
  • Luv-It Frozen Custard - 505 East Oakey Boulevard. Conveniently located near the Olympic Garden strip club. Inconvenient to everything else, but a tasty frozen treat.
  • Marnee Thai - Spring Mountain Road, 2 blocks west of Decatur. Couchsurfers agree, Marnee Thai is good Thai.
  • Ming - Good Chinese food on the Strip. Hidden in the Imperial Palace. Much cheaper than most sit down places on the Strip.
  • M&M Soul Food - 3923 W. Charleston. So when they get home they can say, "I was in Vegas, hooked up with some people and we all went out for soul food." How many people get to say that?
  • Naked Fish's - 3945 S. Durango Drive. Japanese/ Sushi bar. For some reason I can't stop going there. It's so damn good I order the same thing most times I go there. When I do order something different, I end up liking it and order that everytime, too. They have, probably, the best sushi I've ever had...a lot of their stuff is on the spicy side, though. It's a very small place. Very limited seating. It's a good idea to make reservations. Johnny Fo.
  • Pho Kim Long - 4029 Spring Mountain Rd. Vietnamese food served from 8 AM to 3 AM daily.
  • Rosemary's Restaurant - Rosemary wants a lot of money for her food, but you have to love a place that includes a suggested beer pairing with every menu item.
  • Sonic - Sure it is only fast food, but its unlike what you will get anywhere else in the world. Try the Ocean Water.
  • Souper Salad - On Flamingo and Maryland (also on the north side somewhere). All you can eat soup and salad bar with a few other things as well, $8 plus $2 for a drink.
  • Sushi Factory - Tropicana and Jones, also Eastern and Horizon Ridge. All you can eat sushi, $22 lunch, $25 dinner.
  • Taco Yayo - Exotic tacos, beers and tequilas. Low-priced student hangout across from UNLV at 4632 Maryland Parkway

Buffets

Buffets are a Las Vegas tradition and a part of the complete Las Vegas experience. Most hotels have buffets, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For a fixed price you can eat as much as you want, from a usually vast selection of cuisines. Often the food is quite good, and it can be a bargain as well, especially if you skip other meals for that day and just load up at a buffet.

  • Arizona Charlie's: On Decatur north of Charleston, way off strip and not a very interesting casino, but the $9 for the dinner buffet makes it a bargain, and the food is enjoyable, if not great.
  • Asia: 2380 S. Rainbow, $8 lunch buffet includes sushi, more for dinner, which includes crab legs
  • Bellagio: The dinner buffet is $30 or so, but the quality is exceptional.
  • Circus Circus: At $14 or so this is in the bargain zone for dinner buffets, but the food is not so good here. It is adequate but better buffets can be found for the same price.
  • Excalibur: Their Roundtable Buffet is $17 for dinner, and pretty high quality. 2-for-1 buffet in the afternoon.
  • Main Street Station: Around $12 for dinner. This is located downtown just north of Fremont Street. A very popular buffet, with high quality food at a bargain price.
  • Palace Station (and the other station casinos): $7 or $8 for dinner with club card; food is ok and at the price it is quite a bargain.
  • Paris: An expensive buffet, $30 or so for dinner, but very high quality.
  • Riviera: $14 lunch buffet. About average in quality.
  • Terrible's: $10 for the dinner buffet, which is reasonably good.

Hostels

You can also sometimes find good deals on hotel rooms, including rooms in some of the less fancy casinos: http://www.hotels.com/dealFinderSearch.do?instanceId=75&allPropertyTypesSelected=true&where=C1325&when=&x=214&y=147

Unusual things to do in Las Vegas