10 things to know before you go to Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m Chris. This is Topher. Together, we make Yelloww Productions. We do travel guides that are fun, informative, and entertaining.
And in this video, we’re gonna tell you everything you need to know before you come to this place. Often, I think of it as the entertainment capital of the world. That’s, I guess, L.A., but there is certainly a lot of entertainment here. So, the first thing we’re gonna talk about is that Las Vegas is big. Often, when people think of Las Vegas, they think it’s small. They think they can walk to everything on the Strip.
The Las Vegas Strip is four miles long. And so, you really can’t walk to everything on the Strip. It will often take you 15 to 20 minutes just to go from your hotel, say if you’re at Bally’s, to the next hotel, which is maybe Paris or Planet Hollywood down there. Particularly, if your room is at the back of the hotel, you’ll be doing a lot of walking when you come to Las Vegas.
So, it’s important to find the shortcuts between hotels. For example, the two I just mentioned, Bally’s and Paris, there’s actually a little shortcut that goes between the two hotels that you can walk through. There’s monorails that you can take and lots of things that you can take that you don’t have to always traverse the Strip. Because you’re gonna be doing a lot of walking, you should bring comfortable footwear. I can’t count the number of times, after 10, 11, midnight, that I see a lotta girls in their heels taking them off and walking barefoot because they are too uncomfortable to walk anymore in them. I also mention the shortcuts between hotels.
In addition to pedestrian shortcuts, there are also trams that go between a number of the hotels. For example, there’s a tram that goes from The Luxor to the Excalibur Hotel. And there’s also tram that goes from the Monte Carlo to the Bellagio and stops at the Aria in the middle. So make good use of those trams. There’s also the Las Vegas monorail, which you can take as well. That one isn’t free.
It costs you a little bit of money. Something else to know about Las Vegas being big and transportation is that taxis, you can’t actually hail a taxi on the Strip. If you wanna catch a taxi, you’re gonna have to go into the kinda hotel lobby area. There’ll be a taxi rank, and that’s where you can pick up a taxi from. But be prepared to wait in line, because taxis are pretty popular.
Don’t think you’re gonna get one instantly. Sometimes you can wait up to 20 minutes to get into a taxi. And the last thing to note about Las Vegas being big is it’s a big city, and so, traffic is really, really awful, particularly at 6:00 p.m.
The Las Vegas Strip gets even worse as the night goes on. Maybe even midnight is the worst time to be on the Strip. But, 6:00 p.m. is an awful time to be on the I-15. So, don’t even think about driving that at the evening rush hour. Okay! The second thing to know about Las Vegas is about downtown Las Vegas.
And I am doing this about center-strip. I’m standing at the Caesars Palace Hotel, downtown Las Vegas. Again, on the map it looks close, but it’s really pretty far.
It’s maybe five, six miles to downtown Las Vegas from here. And that cab ride is gonna cost you $30, if you take a taxi to go to downtown Las Vegas. So, if you’re going, be prepared for a little bit of sticker shock on taxis, cuz taxis are not cheap in Vegas. But, going to downtown Vegas, I think is worth it, because the Fremont Street Experience is really cool. They’ve got this lit-up LED screen that runs over the street.
They’ve got night time entertainment. They’ve really glitzed up what used to be kind of a crappy part of town. But in addition to that crappy part of town, it’s kind of cool to see Old Las Vegas, the Golden Nugget, and these classic hotels that you’ve heard of and seen in lots of movies. But be prepared for them to be smoky, cuz the hotels are old. Their air conditioning isn’t quite as good as the Strip hotels, which I feel have a lot fresher air in the casinos.
And the other final thing to know about downtown Las Vegas is people say that’s where you can get the best slot machine odds. So if you’re playing the slot machines, downtown Las Vegas is your place to play. And I will say, I’ve probably won the most gambling at the slot machines downtown. I don’t gamble a whole lot, but those have been pretty lucky for me.
Alright, the third thing to know before you go to Las Vegas, is about hotels. And the first thing I’ll tell you, Las Vegas has a lot of cheap hotels. You can get $29 a night hotel rooms, but you probably won’t want those or won’t like them. I’ve stayed in a lot of bad hotels, before I started picking better hotels. And so, again, if you pick that $29 a night rate, you will regret it.
I did, when I picked those rates. If you want to stay in the middle of the Strip, stay right around, kind of where I’m standing, actually. Caesars Palace, really center strip, so is Bally’s, Paris, Bellagio, The Flamingo. On this trip, I’m at The Venetian, which is just one block off the strip. But, this is really the center of all the action. If you’re staying here, you probably don’t need a car.
You can walk, pretty much, most places, or take a taxi. And it’s in the middle, so you’re not paying exorbitant fees. One thing to know about hotels in Las Vegas, though, is they charge resort fees. Oh God, I hate resort fees.
Resort fees, I feel like, started in resorts, in beaches, and places like that, where they have a room rate and then they charge you an extra nightly fee for all the things like the beach and paddleboards and surfboards and swimming pools, like stuff that you never use. In Vegas, most of the hotels on the Strip have started charging resort fees of $20 to $25 a night. So again, that $29 room might actually be twice as much because it might have resort fee and taxes tacked on.
So, take a look at those fees before you book. And many of the Strip hotels are starting to charge for parking now, so take a look and see if your hotel charges for parking. Again, the Weston, which I’m at, which is just one block off the Strip, free parking. And so, I really like that. Weston does charge a resort fee.
A number of The Marriotts though, which I like to stay at, free parking and no resort fees. So, that’s where your often gonna get a pretty good deal. So, if you like peace and quiet, then you might not wanna stay in one of these big Strip hotels, because every one of them has a big casino, lots of people. Things go 24/7. So, if you like peace and quiet, pick a hotel off the Strip.
If you want the most peace and quiet, one of my favorite hotels, it’s a little far from the Strip, is the J.W. Marriott Las Vegas. It does have a casino, but it’s very quiet, reserved.
It’s on a golf course. It is a tranquil place to stay in Las Vegas. The fourth thing to know before you come to Las Vegas is about gambling. And so, if you are coming to gamble in Las Vegas, you should learn the games.
Don’t play a game, if you don’t know the rules. Because if you don’t know the rules, chances are, you’re just throwing your money away. But the cool thing about learning the games is lots of the casinos actually have free classes that you can learn the games in. They’re usually not at night. They’re usually early afternoon. But check those classes out.
They’re free. They’ll teach you how to play craps, or a lot of games that maybe you aren’t familiar with. Also, if you are gambling, you should join the Players Club. The two big Players Club: there’s MGM and there’s Caesars Palace. They each have a rewards program. If you’re gonna gamble, you might as well gamble and get a few rewards points while you’re at it.
That might give you free perks later, like free rooms, easy entrance into the buffets, maybe free parking at some of the properties. So, don’t miss out on that opportunity. The fifth thing to know, before you go to Las Vegas, is that Las Vegas is the desert. And being the desert, you should drink plenty of water while you’re here, because it’s dry all the time.
It’s dry in the summer. It’s dry in the winter. I mean, in the summer, it’s really, really hot but, in the winter, it can actually get really, really cold. If you’re coming in the winter, you should be bringing a jacket, because it can be cold and windy with low temperatures.
But being the desert and dry, you wanna be drinking a lot of water, whatever season you’re here. And I will tell you, you should buy your water at a supermarket, or Walgreens, or a drug store. Do not buy your water at these casinos.
These casinos will charge you an arm and a leg, and then maybe a second leg for a bottle of water. Like, I was in one of these casinos and saw a bottle of water for $6. You heard me right, $6. Now, if you’re playing the slot machines and you have the Players Club, you can get all the alcoholic drinks for free that you want to.
But that bottle of water that’s non-alcoholic, that’ll be $6. Also, if you’re out and in the daytime, or you’re by the swimming pool, make sure to wear sunscreen. The sun is very strong here in the desert. And the casinos are always super, super cold.
They keep them air-conditioned. I think that they can store meat in there. But so, you may actually want to bring a light jacket, not for the outside, but for the inside. I often come to Las Vegas for conferences. And I’ll be in the conference meeting rooms for a couple hours, and if I’m in the summer, I’ll have to go outside to thaw out again, so that I can warm up, cuz I get way too cold from being inside. Alright, the sixth thing to know, before you come to Las Vegas, is about when to go.
When should you go to Las Vegas? And there’s not really a time of year that’s the best, but the best time to come to Vegas is when there is not a convention in town. Las Vegas, big convention town. Conventions that draw over a hundred thousand people. CES is a big example of them, which is the big computer show every year.
So, you wanna make sure you don’t come when one of those conventions are here. There are plenty of convention calendars online that you can check the conventions that are in Vegas. It will behoove you to do that. If you come during a non-convention week, the rooms might be, you might get good rooms for 80 bucks, and those same rooms during a convention week could be $300 or $400.
The couple times a year that are good is Christmas is typically a slow time. After Thanksgiving is also a pretty good time to come to Vegas. Also, mid-week is a good time, like Monday to Wednesday, is the least busy time in Vegas. The busiest is the weekend, particularly, for all the people who can drive in from Southern California, from L.A. They typically come Friday, Saturday, and then, drive back Sunday. So, if you are coming from L.A. to Las Vegas, don’t drive back from Vegas on a Sunday afternoon to L.A. What’s normally a four-hour drive will take you seven hours with all the traffic of people going back to L.A. from Vegas.
And, the other thing to know is that Vegas, it doesn’t ever close. I mean, I know there are holidays that most of us take in this country, but they don’t in Vegas. Vegas is 24/7, 365 days a year.
Everything here is pretty much open all the time. I mean, that’s a slight over-exaggeration. Some of the stores, the buffets, they do close at night, but they’ll be open 365 days a year.
Typically, even on Thanksgiving and Christmas, you will find this a fantastic place to be. Alright, the seventh thing to know before you come to Vegas, is about food. And the food in Vegas is awesome, without a doubt.
I just finished eating at The Bellagio buffet. Really good buffet. Caesars Palace, where I’m at, has the Bacchanal.
I’m not sure how to pronounce it. It’s rated the number one buffet in all of Las Vegas. The buffets here will be hands down the best buffets you eat, I’m gonna say, anywhere. But, in addition to all the great food, there’s also lots of crappy food. So, I read somebody that was describing it and said, “You’re never more than 100 feet away from the best gourmet food of your life, but you’re also never more than 100 feet away from the worst two-dollar hot dog of your life.”
So, do your research, because not all the food here is the best. Some of it really caters to tourists. And so, a lot of the good ones, I will say, are the non-obvious ones.
For example, there’s a restaurant in The Venetian called Bouchon. It’s this fancy French restaurant, but in order to find it, you have to go up one of the elevators that’s basically marked for guests only. You would never know how to get to this restaurant, or that it was even there, unless you knew it was there, and you knew to look for it. And also, if there’s a famous restaurant in the world that you’ve wanted to eat at, chances are, it very well may have a location in Las Vegas.
For example, in Los Angeles, there’s a famous breakfast place called Eggslut. You may have seen it if you’ve seen my “Los Angeles Cheap Eats” video, or my “Food Hauls” video. Well, they have a location here in Las Vegas. Also, the Hofbräuhaus from Munich has a location here in Las Vegas.
The Shake Shack, which is from New York, has a location here in Las Vegas. There are a lot of restaurants in Las Vegas that have their, basically, second location out of the original one here. So, do take a look for some of those specialties. But the food, it can be expensive. Those great buffets that I talked about, the one I had at The Bellagio was $38 for dinner, so it wasn’t cheap.
But there are some that are cheap, and if you’re interested in those, check out my video on the “Best Cheap Eats” in Las Vegas. Link’s in the description below. You can still find a t-bone steak in Las Vegas for $4.95, if you know where to look.
The cheapest food is typically not on the Strip. The cheapest food is usually downtown. Chinatown has good eats too. And the other thing to know is you can get breakfast pretty much 24/7 here, cuz this town, again, never sleeps.
People gamble til late at night, wake up at odd hours, so if you want breakfast at 7:00 p.m., you can usually find it. So now, in the food section, I’ve been talking a lot about buffets. I’ve got 7.1 to tell you just about buffets. The buffets are great, but just once a day, please.
Caesars Palace has this 24-hour buffet pass that you can have all you can eat from all of their buffets within 24 hours. That is just crazy, because when I eat one buffet, I’m pretty much done for the next 24 hours. If you try to eat two buffets in a day, you will pretty much gross yourself out, I think. I gross myself out when I do it. The best time to have a buffet is right at the end of lunch, right before dinner. A lot of buffets are more expensive during dinner, have better food during dinner, and if you time it just right, you can get to a lot of buffets and pay the lunch time prices, but eat the dinner time food.
But the lines for dinner on weekends, things like that, they can be long. Think one, two, three hours. (loud car) That was a really loud car.
I was going to eat at the Caesars Palace buffet this evening, but the wait was 90 minutes on a Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. So, prepare yourself for the wait. So if you want to avoid the rush, eat your dinner at 5:00 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. Pick early or pick late. 7.2: This is in the food section and it’s about alcohol. And you can drink alcohol anywhere in Las Vegas.
You can drink alcohol in the casinos. You can drink alcohol on the street. You can drink alcohol crossing the street. But, you need to know that you can only drink alcohol if it’s in on the street, if it’s in a plastic cup. No glasses are allowed on the street. So if you’re leaving a hotel and you have an alcoholic drink, ask for a to-go plastic cup.
They’ll be happy to give it to you and you can carry your drink as you go. You’ll often see tons of people carrying these, like, foot-long margaritas with them as they walk around, cuz, everybody knows, you need a foot-long margarita everywhere you go. That makes the vacation so much better. Alright, the eighth thing to know about Las Vegas is about ATMS. And it is that, ATMs are expensive. Almost every hotel has ATMs as part of their, like, bill-breaker machines, because the same machine that you would use to cash out your ticket vouchers from the slot machines, you can use, typically, as an ATM.
But they are gonna charge you a ridiculous surcharge to get your money out. And then, you lose your money and give it to the casino anyway, so I don’t even know why they charge you the ridiculous ATM fees, but they do. If you’re looking for a bank ATM, like Bank of America, they’re actually really hard to find. There’s very few actual bank ATMs on the Strip.
You’ll find them a few blocks off the Strip, but if you don’t have a car, they are hard to come by. So, make sure that you prepare ahead. Bring cash with you. Don’t be planning to get here and take out cash from the ATM, unless you just want to give away lots of your hard-earned money to the banks in the form of ATM fees. The ninth thing to know about Las Vegas, this is the second to last one, is smoking.
Smoking seems to be allowed almost everywhere here. I’m not really a fan of smoking, and so, it starts to bug me after a while. The Strip hotels are a lot better cuz they have a lot better ventilation, but if you’re in downtown Las Vegas, you will really notice that there is smoke everywhere. So, just be prepared for that.
The tenth and final thing to know, before you come to Las Vegas, is about tipping. Las Vegas is a city that runs on tips. And it seems like everyone here is going to want your tips, the waiter, the waitress, the person in the buffet, the taxi driver, the bellboy, the people that you take a picture with on the street.
There are these people that dress like showgirls or Elmo, and of course, they’ll be like, “Take a picture! Take a picture! Take a picture!”
And then as soon as you do that, then they’re like, “Gimme money! Gimme money! Gimme money!” And I get that they have to make money, but it would be nice, I feel, if they actually said, “Hey, take a picture for a dollar!” instead of just “Take a picture! Take a picture!
Take a picture!” and now, “Give me money!” Cuz there’s a lot of people that aren’t expecting that. If you’re someone who is not from the U.S., or you’re not familiar with tipping guidelines, if you’re going to a sit-down restaurant, the guidelines is typically, 15-20% of your bill you will leave as a tip. That’s your bill before taxes. So, if your bill is $100, you might leave a $15 tip.
Taxis, you would probably tip 10 to 15-20%, depending upon how good the ride is. In your hotel, you should also tip the housekeeping, a couple dollars a night is typically nice. And if people bring bags to your room, a dollar or two to help them out with that.
The valet, you might tip a dollar or two. There’s guides you can look up for tipping etiquette. But just be prepared to have a lot of $1 bills for tips. When I come to Vegas, the first thing I do, is I take my 20s and I go into the bill-breaking machines in the casinos. I put the 20s in there and get a whole bunch of ones, so that I have a whole bunch of $1 bills for my stay for all the tips. And I know some of you might be thinking it’s for strip clubs, but it’s not.
It’s for tips. And so, just a couple other things you should know. These aren’t part of the 10, but there are a couple things that I just want to leave you with is to skip the time-share sales pitches. There’s gonna be people that’ll try to lure you in to see free shows, or things like that.
Generally, something that’s too good to be true is too good to be true. If you go to a time-share to get a discount on a show, you’re gonna waste a whole bunch of time in there. And really it’s not worth your time. Just enjoy your time in Vegas. Pay for the things you want.
And don’t be doing that too good to be true. Alright, well that wraps up this video. Now you know everything you need to know to come to Las Vegas.