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Brian Christopher in Las Vegas

People expect me to be the expert when it comes to Vegas. Sure, I’ve been dozens of times and that would make sense, however my trips are work trips and are a bit more constricted. That said, I offer all the tips I have for you that revolve around casinos.

Where to Stay?

Hotels can go for $19 to $1900 a night. So first you have to set a budget. Like most people, you probably would prefer to save some money on a room in order to bump up that gambling budget instead. Check if your local casinos have any affiliations with Vegas casinos, because you may get your stay for free (as I did on my first trip to Vegas!). Then compare prices on their own sites, expedia.com, travelzoo.com and elsewhere to find the best deal. Don’t forget about the hidden (in my opinion, RUDE) resort fees which can cost you up to an additional $50 a night. Then there are parking fees on top of that. So, research the fine details before you book!

To save a little more, plan your visit on weekdays and avoid major holidays, conventions and events. If it’s your first time in Vegas, I strongly suggest you stay on either the Vegas Strip or downtown on Fremont Street. That way, you have a plethora of options at your disposal and within walking distance. On the Strip however, it can take you ten minutes walking between casinos, so give yourself a lot of time. I love to just walk in and out of each casino playing a slot or two that are unique to that property.

Where to Party?

If it’s a party you’re after, downtown has the best atmosphere with outdoor concerts and bars and at a budget you can surely afford. If you’re more into nightclubs and feeling fancy, then hit up the numerous clubs on the strip in casinos like Hakkasan at MGM Grand, Drai at The Cromwell, Omnia at Caesars, Marquee at Cosmopolitan and more. When it’s the pool season, I love both MGM and Cosmopolitan for their pool parties!

What’s Unique at the Casinos?

If you are a fan of fancy and high end décor, then be sure to check out the Bellagio Gardens (and their famous outdoor fountains of course) which change with every season, the carousel of flowers at The Wynn, the Venetian with its canals with singing gondoliers and beautiful landscaped indoors and outdoors, the Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan, the New York city backdrop at NYNY and the Eiffel tower replica at Paris Las Vegas.

Head on upstairs at The D for its old school gaming collection including the last remaining original Sigma Derby horse racing game; El Cortez Casino has a lot of coin operated poker machines; Cosmopolitan has breathtaking views from the balconies on all of their hotel rooms; Golden Nugget has a water slide that goes through a shark tank; and The Flamingo has real flamingos.

Where are Non-Smoking Options?

There are two casinos where truly smokefree spaces exist. The first is at Plaza, where you can find the Brian Christopher Slots at Plaza area. The Sand Dollar bar is also a smokefree space and includes some video poker options, for those who prefer a bar option. On the strip, the Park MGM is the first fully smokefree resort there.The Signature at MGM Grand, Vdara, Four Seasons, Delano and Platinum Hotel and Spa are non-smoking hotels (non gaming). For more on smokefree options in general, check out our Explore Smokefree Casinos guide.

Where to Eat?

People LOVE their buffets, but in Vegas you better take out a second mortgage first. That said, the standouts for me include Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan and The Buffet at The Wynn. All restaurants at the Wynn actually offer a separate Vegan menu as well. My favorite steakhouse lies within Plaza Casino downtown at Oscar’s which offers a beautiful view of downtown Vegas – located at the end of the strip beside the relatively new Circa Casino. And Oscar’s was recently expanded to offer an amazing outdoor patio option too.

This list is not complete and can only be done so with recommendations from you. As I mentioned, I mainly come to Vegas to gamble at a single casino at a time for work, and don’t always pay attention to all the fine details.

Line it up,


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