These are always cheaper than the Strip, cater to a local crowd, and
you may find they are quite a bit of fun. About 15 minutes from the
Strip north on Rancho are the Texas and Sante Fe. Very nice local
casinos for way less money, and they’re right next to one another,
so it’s almost like a sickly, generic, Strip twin brother – if by
twin brother you mean Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in the
movie Twins. Still very nice though. Some other off Strip casinos
include: Red Rock, Clarion La Quinta, Best Western, and more. Check
their rates and they should be quite a bit less than the Strip.
Downtown is always a good bet too. You may have to find a hotel a
block or so from the Fremont Experience to get the best rates, but
they universally will be less than the Strip no matter what’s going
And like any city, Las Vegas has its share of hostels located on
seedy streets where most are uncomfortable walking late at night.
You can find rooms in these ill-reputed neighborhoods for as little
as $20 a night in some cases. Why not? It’s not like if you get
mugged you have any money to steel right?
There probably is not a city in the world with as much absolutely
free entertainment per square mile as Las Vegas. Here are some of
the cool FREE things you have to see if you are here – no matter
what your budget is:
- The Fremont Street Experience
- Bellagio Dancing Waters
- Mirage Volcano
- MGM Lion Exhibit
- Fountain Festival in Caesar’s Palace
- Masquerade Show in the Sky in the Rio
- Sirens of TI right outside of Treasure Island
- Gondola Canals inside the Venetian
- Eiffel Tower in front of the Paris Hotel Casino
- The World’s Largest Gold Nugget – In the Golden Nugget
- Red Rock Canyon
- The Luxor Light (Just don’t try to climb up there... you’ll
see what we mean).
- The Painted Ceilings within the Venetian
- Live Shows Downtown Almost every single day by different
And the list could go on for pages. Just about every casino
Downtown and on the Strip has something to do for free.
And if you spend your time Downtown (a good idea on a budget) many
of the casinos have $2 drink specials – maybe not the best deal, but
considering most of the strip charges as much as $10 for a single
drink, this sounds pretty good.
It’s a natural imperative that at some point if you are alive and
breathing during around a 24hr period – you will have to eat to
survive. This is normal so don’t get overly concerned if you’ve
spent the entire day drinking $2 margaritas and jumping from free
show to free show and suddenly there is a rumbling in your stomach.
Off the strip buffets are notoriously inexpensive, many offering
deals like $5 all you can eat, or $2 shrimp cocktail. Is it the
greatest shrimp cocktail ever? Who cares? You’re drunk and hungry.
And did you know that if you are a tourist in Vegas, we don’t
actually physically fence you in on the Strip or Downtown? It’s
true. Vegas is an actual city with real people, and we have all of
the normal restaurants you’d find in a normal city – selling food at
non-tourist local prices! Heck, we even have grocery stores! The
nearest to the Strip is about 1.5 miles East on Tropicana, the same
on Spring Mountain/Twain going East (Twain East of the Strip and
Spring Mountain West, it’s the same road).
So you love to gamble, but you’re on a tight budget. No Vegas
trip is complete without at least an attempt at coming out on top of
the house. Surprisingly there is 1 hold-out right on the Strip for
cheap gambling. It is the only non-corporate casino on the Strip and
the bane of MGM/Mirage, Boyd Gaming, and Wynn. Casino Royale is the
little independent casino that could right across from the Mirage.
They always have the lowest limits on the Strip, and it is always a
lot of fun. Off the Strip you’ll find low limits at any of the local
Casinos including all Station Casinos, and the Downtown area
naturally will be far less expensive.
Las Vegas does not have the vibrant public transportation of most
major cities like NY, SF, or LA, it does exist though. $2 will get
you up and down any of the major streets off the Strip, and routes
usually have a wait time between 15 and 30 minutes per stop.
Double-decker trolleys take tourists up and down Las Vegas Blvd
24/7. And the little-used Tram runs the length of the Strip for way
less money than any cab ride. Of course if you really want to see
the Strip and Downtown up close, walking is a great way to do it.
Just be sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes, it’s bigger than it
Hitchhiking is an option – not the safest but it’s been done.
More likely you want to look at connecting flights out of the LA
area or Phoenix because they usually have several flights a day and
so are less expensive. Driving will save you money if you are coming
from CA, AZ, CO, or Utah – and depending on the city and how freaked
out security at the airport happens to be that day, you may even get
Busses and Trains are always the cheapest, also the most scenic.
So check into these two great options if you want to save a little