As my esteemed bredrin alluded to in his top 5, you are best off starting your visit with exploring the city, finding you bearings and getting a feel for what it’s all really about… This, you will quickly learn, is drinking, and lots of it. The great thing is, and I wish this was the case in the UK, it is legal, and very much the social norm to drink on the streets, and not just a civilised sip of wine or beer! You are also allowed to bring your own drinks into and out of any establishment (maybe not restaurants) as far as I could tell, even in glass, no more downing that last bit before you head off!!
The vast majority of dudes will be sipping from extremely large cans of beer, there is a particularly brilliant Bud Light Mang-o-Rita, which is essentially mixed with a cocktail of some kind…. it tastes like heaven, goes down smooth and is 8%!! The ladies will most likely be drinking cocktails from oversized novelty chalices, or the classic and classy straw in a bottle of wine.
The above can all be purchased, for a reasonable price, from any super market, these tend to be located just away from the main strip, but never too far. You will also notice street vendors wondering around with cool boxes filled with drink which aren’t terribly overpriced if you consider the price you would pay at the casino bar. Don’t waste a second!! Get out there and go for a drunken adventure!!!
This one is most probably included as I am geography graduate nerd:
This builds on the previous point of getting a feel for the city. From the surrounding deserts and mountains, to the ‘miniature’ houses of the suburbs, to the bustling streets and towering casinos of the strip, this is certainly the best way to appreciate the geography and scale of the city.
The views from the top are spectacular to say the least, but there does have to be a special mention to the brave souls who jump of the top of it strapped to a few cables!!! – I’ll stick to my cold beer, comfy sofa and looking out at the spectacular panoramic views thank you very much!!
At over 1000 feet, it’s probably advisable to lay off the sauce a wee bit before you visit this attraction.
Gambling!!! Probably first on the list for word association with Vegas… There is no getting away from it, when you land there are slot machines in the arrivals lounge! Even if you’re not a gambler, your best bet, pun intended, is to simply embrace it rather than fight it, you will have a much better and immersive time.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to experience it fully, just get yourself to one of the machines, I recommend Blackjack or Craps as these give the better odds, roulette is fun too, but the odds are nowhere near as favourable. Most of the machines will have a tutorial button you can press if you don’t know the rules, however I would recommend learning a bit before you travel, I downloaded a Craps app before our flight took off and picked it up pretty quickly.
The best bit about the gambling for me is not the chance of winning money, although I wouldn’t say no, it’s the free drinks you receive for feeding money into their machines, it is in the casinos interest to keep you spending money at their establishment!!!…
What I found worked best, was finding a game that I wanted to play, and that had a good atmosphere around it, i.e. people having fun and chatting. Then playing the minimum bet each time, this was typically around $3. For games such as Craps and Blackjack that $3 can take you pretty far. Then before long a cocktail waitress should ask if you want any drinks, it would be rude to refuse right!? Around 5-10 minutes later she should return with your drink, now this is a very very important point, always tip the waitress!! Even if it’s just $1 each time she brings / clears your table, she will be around far quicker to take your next order. If you are not losing too much on the game you can have a very fun and cheap evening with this method, or in Kyle’s case, you can make some money too! Hats off to the man!!
One thing to note – the stakes at actual tables, with actual croupiers are much much higher, I didn’t back my gambling skill enough to get caught up in all that business.
If you’ve read my previous points you will quite rightly notice that it all revolves around drinking, and therefore partying! This is what the whole city is all about, this is what it was designed for, this is your destiny when in Vegas.
I’m a big advocate of not over planning a night out, the only plan should be to meet up and have a few pre drinks and see where the night takes you, in my experience these are always the best nights. But there is no harm in considering your choices in terms of bars and clubs.
My advice would be to get yourself on as many guests lists of clubs as you can, this is easy enough as the promoters are all over the strip, even during the day, all they should ask for is your phone number and maybe to add you on Facebook.
The nightclubs are good, but nothing spectacular, just as good as you would get in any large city, however the thing that separates Vegas from other cities is the whole party culture, everyone there is out to have a good time.
Most of our nights consisted of drinking whiskey and playing cards in the hotel room whilst getting ready, then heading to the casino for a spot of pre drink gambling, then maybe a bar or two, then hit the nightclub, after that the casino again for a few drinks, then you come onto my final point…
The biggest thing I was looking forward to before travelling was sampling the American food, and it didn’t disappoint. From an 8am McDonalds after a heavy night, to the renown buffet at the Aria (great crab!), to the Cheesecake Factory, it was all spectacular.
Even the sandwiches and crisps from the supermarket taste better over there, I would recommend stocking up on lots of crisps and sweets, peanut butter M&Ms in particular, when you do your beer runs.
Two places stood out for me during my time in Vegas:
Don’t worry about sleep, just get out there, do as much as you can, drink while you’re doing it, and when you are done drinking – stuff your face!!