The place that used to be known as “Sin City” has recently gone more mainstream, with a pair of Big Four franchises calling Las Vegas home and serving as the site of numerous amateur, college and professional sporting events with big time sportsbooks operating in the city that provide NFL lines.
Some of the most popular recording artists, including Elton John, Celine Dion and Adele have or soon will be setting up long term engagements in Las Vegas, creating another draw outside of the traditional gambling activities.
However, the primary attraction for the city that was founded in the desert to create a mecca for those wanting to place wagers on cards, dice and machines hasn’t really changed that much, with the chance to win big in style still the primary reason to visit.
So Many Choices, So Little Time
As a frequent visitor to Las Vegas over the past 30 years, I can tell you the city offers many different options for almost any budget or activity level. The first choice for most people to make concerns how much they want to spend and where to stay based on their budget.
There are two main areas in Las Vegas: The Strip and Downtown. Both offer their own unique experience for visitors, regardless of what they are looking for from a visit to the gaming capital of the world.
This is the area in South Las Vegas that is closest to the airport and where all of the biggest and newest hotel and casino properties are located. Caesar’s Palace, the Venetian, the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Harrah’s and the Wynn are just a few of the places that can be found along Las Vegas Boulevard, all providing their own version of entertainment, casino gambling, shopping and dining.
For someone that wants to experience the full measure of modern Las Vegas that’s portrayed on television and in the movies, The Strip is the place to go. It gives visitors the most choices regarding gambling options as well as shopping mall environments and most hip clubs for exciting night life activities.
On the weekends with the influx of visitors from Southern California and during periods with large convention crowds, The Strip can get very crowded and table minimums on games like blackjack and craps can creep upwards to $25.
For those interested in throwing down less per hand, booking a stay during the summer or mid-week is recommended to take advantage of less gamblers and lower table minimums.
The area along Fremont Street, which was the original site of the first Las Vegas casinos such as Binions, is older and offers less options for hotels, casinos and entertainment. However, the Golden Nugget, which was the first property owned by Steve Wynn on his way to becoming a Vegas legend, is the jewel and provides amenities not unlike those found on The Strip.
There have been some vast improvements made to many of the downtown properties and in addition to the Nugget, first class restaurants and more modern casino environments have become available.
For travelers who want to focus purely on gambling and desire a variety of table minimum options, hitting the downtown casinos offers a respite from the glitz, glamour and expense of The Strip.
Even for those visitors who prefer to stay on The Strip, downtown is just a fifteen minute cab, Uber or Lyft ride away and is worth the brief time if for nothing more than to see the Fremont Street Experience, an overhead light show that is shown on the hour after the sun goes down. The great thing about Downtown is that the casinos are nice and they won’t bust your budget if you hit a cold streak.