We've all had Las Vegas on our minds recently. Especially with the horrible news constantly circulating the worst. Because of that i wasn't sure if i should post anything from my recent trip, but i'm going to. Not just for the community there that needs the support, but because you can donate more than your money to slot machines while you're there.
Booking your trip to Vegas can be done in two minutes, no joke. With apps like Expedia and Travel Pirates, plus a little old fashioned research, you could be on your way tonight. But planning about a month or two ahead can save you hundreds of dollars. Here's 5 ways to save money when traveling to vegas...
1. Triple check all prices from third party sites, then call the hotel you're interested in to match the rate. I recommend the Paris Las Vegas Casino & Resort or The Cosmopolitan. You'll be smack dab in the middle of the strip and a hop from Fremont.
2. Start watching for an average price about 4 months before you want to go. Once you check a few times, you'll know what's cheap/expensive from your home airport. Set up notifications on your favorite sites or sign up for deal newsletters like the ones from Alaska Airlines.
3. Open a card with Simple and start SAVING! Really though. You're probably thinking, "MF why are you dropping a card on us?", but i'm not your crazy person. I really saved a great deal before my trip using the cards automatic saving system. I was saving money and didn't even know i was missing it. Check it out here:
4. DON'T GAMBLE - i know, i'm a real bummer. Now go spend the money i saved you on something that will actually support the local economy... at least more directly.
5. Take some booze with you. At $20 bucks a pop, drinks can really add up quick. Start before you head out and save those dollars! #oldschool
Where to Stay...
With so many casinos, boutique hotels, and Airbnbs to choose from, i'm just going to list my PROS and CONS for each place i stayed at.
Pros: Great quality for the price across the board. From the rooms to the room service, i felt justified in my purchase. Paris Las Vegas is home to Gordon Ramsay's Steakhouse. Now, while that might sound like a plain celebrity restaurant, i was really surprised by how much i liked it. Though being a country boy, i'd pass on the steaks and try the small plates. Think chorizo stuffed lobster tail, patty pan squash, pickled cipollini onion, brandied lobster cream sauce. Plus, the location on the strip really doesn't get better... depending on what you want to do.
Cons: Older hotel with some needed love and attention to detail. Ask for a room away from The Chateau, a nightclub that can be noisy for light sleepers without earplugs.
Pros: Off the Strip (if that's what you're looking for), Entertainment like Penn & Teller, Chippendales, and Eddie Griffin. Close to some of Las Vegas' newest legal weed stores, though i wouldn't hope to be impressed by strains or quality if you're heading there from Washington, Oregon, or California. The pools are pretty cool and there's three... go early!
Cons: Not much for good food on site, unless you like Guy Fieri's take on Mexican Food. Design NEEDS to be updated.
WHAT TO EAT...
Milk Bar: Compost Cookie, Corn Cookie, Birthday Cake $$$
Momofuku LV: Chilled Spicy Noodles, Pork Ssam Bowl, Two Buns: shrimp and pork $$$
Gordon Ramsay Steakhouse: Get all the small plates and sit at the bar $$$
Jean Philippe Patisserie: If you can try one of everything - $$
Donut Bar: Butterbeer, The "Homer", and Creme Brulee all $2-$4 - $
KJ Dim Sum & Seafood: Extremely cheap place for lunch or dinner in a place where $100 is cheap. Xiaolongboa wasn't as good as Seattle's but worth the price. $
Tacos El Gordo: Seriously the best tacos outside of California, and no line if you like lingua. $
Ramen Katanaya: $8 Tonkotsu... nuff said $
China Poblano: After all his efforts helping Puerto Rico, there is no way i can leave out Chef Jose Andres. Go eat at any of his places in Vegas, but the cocktail tasting at China Poblano is pretty great and very well priced.
What to Do...
Pay a visit to a museum, you think i'm kidding but i'm not! Vegas has tons of history and that means stuff to put on display. What's vegas known for? The mafia, gambling, and sex! All with pretty amazing museums to explore. I was really excited to check out the Erotic History Museum and the Neon Museum. Both were extremely educational and took about an hour to do.
See a show! Countless greats have graced the stages of Vegas since the beginning. One show that doesn't revolve around a celebrity that'd i'd highly recommend is Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil at New York, New York Hotel and Casino. Definitely the largest drag show in Las Vegas!
Legal Weed! Nevada took a step in the progressive direction and legalized marajuana. They are much more strict than their neighboring states, with quality bud hard to find and expensive if you do. Still fun to check out local products and edibles! Check out THRIVE or The Apothecarium
DONATE BLOOD... if you're straight. If you're gay simply make a donation to the blood center. Yes, i am serious. Most states don't allow donations from sexually active homosexuals because of laws put into place in the 1980's. With 16 people still in the hospital from the tragedy at the Mandalay Bay (and blood supplies wiped out) it will actually help a lot. More Here
Las Vegas isn't for everyone, but it really is steeped in American History, mischief, and that sense of truly letting go. To be honest, Las Vegas as an adult reminds me of burning man. Hear me out! Most of what i saw there, no matter the age, was the honest need for FUN. People getting too drunk, losing inhibitions, and looking for a way to get rid of basic life jitters. BLJ = never doing anything fun and then over doing when you get a chance. Like a teen with booze. As you get older, especially young professionals, make sure you carve out time for personal fun. It could be camping in the Olympics or a mini staycation close to home... DO IT FOR YOU. If there's anything we can learn from Vegas, its to live like its your last ride.