Making the Most of your Las Vegas Trip: The Latest and Greatest Tips

Making the Most of your Las Vegas Trip: The Latest and Greatest Tips
Making the Most of your Las Vegas Trip: 
The Latest and Greatest Tips (Photo courtesy of Delano Las Vegas). 

If you live in the continental U.S., chances are you have been to Las Vegas at least once. Even if you are an international traveler, Las Vegas ranks 6th in the U.S. cities most visited by foreign tourists and is the 23rd most visited city in the world. The amazing thing about Las Vegas is even if you were there a year ago, you won’t recognize it today: it is constantly growing and changing.  There isn’t a week that goes by where a new club, hotel or attraction isn’t opening up.

Whether you are new to Sin City, haven’t been in years or haven’t been in a week, here are some of the latest and greatest openings and lesser known tips on navigating and getting the most of your Las Vegas visit.

Traveling to and Around The Gambling Capital of the World

If you live in the western half of the U.S., you cannot let life go by without at least one road trip to Las Vegas.  It never ceases to amaze that this thriving city is completely surrounded by the desert.  There’s nothing like your first glimpse of the city lights as you come over the last hill on Interstate 15.

Las Vegas
Las Vegas

Photo credit:

However, most fly in.  McCarran International Airport receives over 275 daily arrivals, including direct international flights from London, Zurich, and Seoul as well as two directs from cities in Mexico and four from Canada.

Taxis are hands down the most expensive yet convenient inner city travel.  Most elect to take a taxi from the airport to their hotels, but many of the hotels offer a free airport shuttle. Make sure you check whether your hotel offers one. Some, such as the Hard Rock Hotel and M Resort even offer free shuttles between their property and their sister properties or specific attractions.

Las Vegas Monorail
Las Vegas Monorail

Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Monorail.

The Las Vegas Monorail is a visually pleasing and completely comfortable way to travel the strip.  Its 3.9-mile track runs from the MGM Grand to the SLS Las Vegas.  You can purchase anything from a single ride ticket for $5 to a seven-day pass for $56. There is also a free monorail from the Mandalay Bay through its sister properties ending at The Excalibur Hotel and Casino and one from the Monte Carlo to the Bellagio.

If you plan to travel around quite a bit, hire a limo. It costs about the same as a bunch of taxi rides and it’s certainly way cooler.

So Much To Do, So Little Time

Seventy five years ago, the first hotel and casino opened on what is now known as the Las Vegas Strip, and since then the Entertainment Capital of the World has been known for its gambling, nightclubs and shows. On any given night, there are hundreds of entertainment options; minimally 25 concerts, 7 Cirque Du Soleil shows, 15 regular comedy shows, 10 magic shows, dozens of adult and burlesque shows, impersonator shows, hypnosis shows, boxing and sporting events and pretty much any other show you can imagine.

Caesars Palace in Las Vegas
Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

While show tickets can get expensive, there are also great ways to save money in Las Vegas as well. When you get your tickets as well as where make a difference.  Visiting on a weekday brings table minimums down as well as other hotel, restaurant and show ticket cost. Then, there’s the famous $20 upgrade trick: Just slip the front desk a $20 note when checking in, and you’re going to get any and all complimentary upgrades they have available.

This year marks the opening of several new hot spots for clubbers.  Intrigue at The Wynn opened April 28th, a 14,000 sq. ft. venue accommodating 1200 patrons in unrivaled luxury. 60 booths ranging from $1000 to $10,000 line the walls while the club within the club is social media free and no one can buy their way in.  You need special approval.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Photo courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

The Jewel at ARIA opened May 19th and featured special guest host Jamie Foxx. Jewel has since featured both live performance and EDM with some of the most popular DJs in the world.  The 24,000 sq. ft. dance club also features 5 themed VIP suites encircling the dance floor for more intimate gatherings.

If clubbing isn’t your nightlife choice, Paris has opened the Budweiser Beer Park, the first rooftop bar and grill on the strip featuring views of the fountains at the Bellagio.  The bar offers 100 unique beer choices, including 36 on tap, and amazing American cuisine.  Nights feature DJ and live music and daytime sporting events are televised on a multitude of screens.

The Latest Places to Be

There are many exciting new hotels and clubs opening up in 2016.  First and foremost, the new W Hotel by the Starwood Group was scheduled to open at the beginning of the third quarter of this year.  They have now confirmed a December 1 opening and are accepting reservations for dates after December 15. It’s newly renovated 289 rooms were designed with luxury in mind alongside its Away Spa and Wet, the outdoor pool and bar area.  It will truly light up what has been, up till now, the more boring end of the strip.

The Lucky Dragon, the strip’s first authentic Asian cultural and gaming resort opens December 3rd. It features 206 rooms and spa designed with China’s ancient rich culture in mond.  There will be a lineup of authentic Chinese restaurants and the casino game mix will focus on popular Asian games such as Baccarat, Pai Gow, Fan Tan and Sic Bo. As hiring has begun, it appears they are on schedule to open.

Finally, Resorts World has resumed construction and is expected to open in early 2019. Another Chinese themed resort, the $4 billion project will include such unique features as a Panda exhibit, ice skating rink and aquarium.  This, alongside a 100,000 square foot casino and four hotel towers with a total of 3100 rooms, will appeal to the untapped Chinese demographic in Las Vegas.  It is said there’s a strong chance the area from West Sahara to Resorts World Drive will become the Chinatown of Las Vegas.  Chinese Hainan Airline is in the works to offer direct flights from Beijing three times a week.

It Never Ends

Renovations are constantly in the works at all the favorite hotels, so chances are they will look quite different from the last time you were here.  Restaurants change almost annually, and there is always some new hot spot popping up. Make reservations at prime time if money is no object, as the most popular places will probably have celebrities on display.  Eat during happy hour or the time between lunch and dinner for better bargains.

While Las Vegas is one of the top ten weekend destinations, it is impossible to do and see everything in two or three days. Create a basic list of your desires, whether it is eating, drinking and gambling or entertainment and activities.  Stay longer if you can, especially if you win big.  If you are looking for a great time, you just can’t lose with Las Vegas.