10 Things Every First-Time Visitor To Las Vegas Should Know

A couple years ago, I wrote a post on “9 things that Vegas is not” … it was geared toward to the first timer in Vegas. When you get to Vegas for the first time, when you’ve never walked the Strip, taken a ride on the New York New York roller coaster, or even gambled; it’s a lot to take in. It’s impossible not to have fun in Sin City, but there were quite a few things I didn’t realize about Vegas until I went. Here’s 10 Things Every First-Time Visitor To Las Vegas Should Know:

  1. You can’t walk everywhere … seriously, you can’t!

    Every hotel is much farther apart than appears on TV. Technically, the entire Strip is over four miles long, and it will take you at least a 15-30 minute walk to get to a different hotel than your own. Before the weekend is over, you will end up taking a few cabs. I do recommend spending some time walking the strip but you should be prepared for the ridiculous heat in summer and the cold in winter. Everyone should walk at least part of the Strip once. There are fun elevated walkways and outdoor elevators, not to mention plenty of photo opportunities. Just don’t do it in 4-inch-heels (better yet — leave those heels at home).

    This is the view from the walkway. You can see the scale
    Here’s another wide angle night shot to give you some dimensions.
  2. You can take your drinks, walk and drink … anywhere in Vegas

    The drinks are cheap in Vegas, but if you’re you headed to another club or restaurant, but you’re not quite finished with your drink? Ask for a to-go cup! Seriously!! Even classy establishments will let you take your drink outside as long as you use a disposable cup instead of their fancy glassware. Oh, and once outside, you can imbibe with impunity since Vegas lets you drink (most) everywhere.

    Because you can walk and drink, you can order a 64oz alco-slushie with no problem
  3. You can drink for free in any casino …

    … provided you’re willing to pony up 20$ to play at the .25c machines. In Vegas, they’ve done everything in the book to make you keep playing : no clocks, no windows, plenty of lights and sounds. However the trick that works the best is plying customers with free drinks to keep them playing, and playing poorly. All you have to do, is go sit at the bars with the gambling machines built into the counter. You stick in a $20, order a drink, and make minor bets of $.25. You can play forever and they will keep serving you drinks till you drop over. While you’re drinking for free, don’t forget to tip your bartender.

    Drink for free while playing, just tip your bartender. See the machine on the bottom left corner … yeah, that’s your ticket!
    Drinks at the tables .. dancing ladies are optional
    Here’s the walking selection at Fremont Street.
  4. There’s art everywhere in Vegas … for free!

    The vast majority of us go to Vegas to gamble, drink, and party. That being said, take a moment to realize there’s art all around you on the Strip. There are sculptures by famous artists behind the check-in desks, in the hotel lobbies, on the street, not to mention the fact that certain hotels like the Bellagio and The Cosmopolitan have their own galleries that display touring collections from around the world. There’s even the Picasso restaurant in the Bellagio, which is filled with sculptures, drawings, and paintings from the late artist. There’s so much free stuff to do in Vegas, it’s almost criminal. You can even spend an entire day in one hotel roaming around.

    This is Jeff Koon’s 33 Million $USD steel sculpture at the Wynn!
    Here’s a gorgeous display at the Wynn.
  5. Smoking sucks but Vegas allows it everywhere …

    Canadians are definitely all against smoking and most Trinidadians don’t care for it either (The ones I know). In Vegas, it’s permissible for people to smoke inside casinos. To try and counteract that, the casinos will attempt to cover up the smell with what they call “signature scents.” For instance, if you head over to Planet Hollywood, it smells like a mixture of jasmine and lavender. While the smell isn’t incredibly offensive, I do hate the cigarette smoke, so if you’re sensitive, you may want to stay somewhere that there is no gambling at.

    I don’t have a smoking picture … but all the neon gives you an idea.
  6. You can find amazing food and never pay full price

    Vegas has definitely been rebranded as a culinary mecca. Almost every single Vegas hotel restaurant on the strip was phenomenal. No one thinks of Vegas as a foodie city, but from sports bars to three-star Michelin establishments, Vegas delivers. Many of these huge hotels have fantastic relationships with seafood and produce providers, and prepare their meat and make their breads in-house. The buffets are always a highlight for me. As a sampler, here’s one post where I compared the Wynn buffet to the Spice Market buffet in 2013.

    yep food …
    more food
    and then some more
    Then even some more
  7. Absolutely go to Fremont Street

    I absolutely love Fremont Street … it feels like the old Vegas. It’s nice to get away from the expensive strip and see a different side of the city. You can also stick around for a couple hours to catch all the Viva vision shows.

    The neon can blind you sometimes …
    look at the ceiling…


    again …. 4 seconds later
    and yet another 4 seconds later
  8. Don’t bother with going to the clubs with guys unless …

    You’re absolutely prepared to buying tickets, bottle service, or a table. Period.  Vegas may been branded as bachelor-party central, but no group of guys is going to get into a club by themselves. Personally, I think Vegas is completely overrated as a bachelor party destination; I can think of any 6 cities in Latin America that are easily better and you won’t bankrupt yourself trying to compete with Arab princes for the ladies.
    I’ve seen groups of rejected men begging women to join their group to try and get in for free, but at the bigger clubs like XS, TAO, LAVO, and Marquee, that’s just not going to happen. Either chip in together for bottle/table service, buy a ticket to a DJ show, or don’t try to go to clubs. You’ll just be disappointed.

    Ladies, you probably won’t pay for anything. Enjoy.

  9. Go shoot some guns …

    Americans love their guns … like really love their guns.

    They will ship anywhere for you
    Is that an alien gun on the wall?
    You won’t know which gun to pick!
    In case you want to get your inner Rambo on!
    you too can absolutely murder paper.
  10. Don’t use the ATMs on the Strip unless you love giving away your money

    Clubs and strip clubs charge a lot of money to use their ATMs.  They know that you will need money, so their fees can be up to 10% of what you withdraw.  Make sure you have enough money in your pocket before you go out. Unless you can find your own bank ATM, the standard fee at most Vegas ATMs is a staggering $5.99 — a charge that may not bother the high rollers, but gets really old, really fast for the rest of us. Here’s a list of free ATMs that’s off the Strip. If you’re into gold, you can even withdraw gold from an ATM.

    gold finger?

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at rishi@rishiray.com

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