Which part of town?
Las Vegas isn't one contiguous neighborhood, it's split into different sections which cater to various desires. Don't worry though, you're not stuck in one area. The main areas -- as far as visitors are concerned -- are separated by only about three miles and a short cab ride. You can even use our handy Taxi Fare Estimator to get an idea of costs.
The Strip is a cocktail made of equal parts glamour and debauchery, with just enough seediness tossed in to add flavor. It's the glitzy part of Vegas that TV shows and movies showcase, and it's where mega-hotels have blossomed over the last decade. Because of The Strip's high visibility things are more expensive than Downtown, but it's where to stay if you want everything -- gambling, entertainment and nightlife -- all in one area.
- People looking for "the total Vegas experience"
- Those who like clubs and other hip nightspots
- Big-time shoppers
- Those who love luxury and want to be pampered
- Almost all first-time visitors
A bad fit for:
- Visitors on an exceptionally tight budget
- Anyone who can't handle big crowds
- People who have a hard time doing a lot of walking
One word describes Downtown: cheap. Hotels, gambling, food and entertainment are all much less costly here than on the Strip. The trick is in learning the difference between "good cheap" and "bad cheap." Put some thought into choosing your hotel, be realistic about what to expect and you can find a good balance between vacation frivolity and bargains.
- Low-budget visitors
- Serious gamblers who don't care much about other attractions
- Older people
A bad fit for:
- Anyone looking for shows or concerts
- Lovers of nightlife
- Singles hoping to hook up
There are many, many casinos in the Las Vegas area that aren't on the Strip or Downtown, but most of those cater to the locals. For our purpose we're talking about the Stratosphere, the Rio, the Palms and the Hard Rock. Of these, the Strat is a nice place that suffers from a location in the middle of nowhere. The Rio is an upscale hotel where men with enhanced wallets and women with everything else enhanced fit right in. The last two, the Palms and the Hard Rock, are the party spots of choice for 20-somethings on the prowl.
(Note: Another hotel, LVH-Las Vegas Hotel & Casino [formerly the Las Vegas Hilton] is sometimes considered an Off-Strip location because it is not situated directly on Las Vegas Boulevard and is a little apart from the other hotels in the area. However it's also a stop on the Las Vegas monorail, which is one of the main ways of getting around the Strip. So for our purposes we'll consider it to be a Strip hotel.)
- Serious partiers
- Those who would rather spend $40 at an exceptionally nice pool than at gambling table
- Attractive young visitors looking to score
A bad fit for:
- People who want to visit lots of casinos
- Anyone who gets annoyed by 20-somethings in hair gel and flip-flops
Places to avoid
Be suspicious of in-flight magazine ads that tout casinos, hotels and hangouts as "where locals gather." This may be true, but they gather there because they're sick of tourists, and the atmosphere at places like this is geared toward this "I'm tired of everything being over the top" attitude. If you came to Vegas looking for excitement and to revel in the city's surrealness, you're going to be disappointed by locals' joints. Stick to the weirdness of the Strip, Downtown and Off-Strip.