6 Things Every Las Vegas First-Timer Needs to Know

As one of the premier destinations in the world, Las Vegas has over 40 million people visit every year. Out of that group, around 6 million guests are vacationing and traveling for conventions to Las Vegas for the first time. These tips are for those who have never been to Las Vegas and are planning their first trip soon.

6. Free drinks when you gamble.

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When you’re at the casinos and are playing slots, video poker, or the tables, the cocktail wait staff serves up free drinks. You can grab your favorite cocktail, a beer, soft drinks, and water. These drinks are complimentary, but a tip should be expected. We suggest tipping $5 on your first order and $1-$2 per drink after.

5. You won’t be able to walk everywhere.

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Las Vegas is massive. The Strip is about 4.2 miles (6.8 km for our foreign friends) and things often appear closer than they actually are. The local transit system offers an express bus services that’s only $2 each-way, they also offer 24-hour and 3-day passes. These are convenient for the more thrifty first timer. There’s also the Las Vegas monorail, our only objection is that the majority of the stops are behind the resorts and can be a hefty distance to walk, they are semi-expensive as well. Taxi fares will add up. Most cab rides on the Strip are going to cost between $10 – $20 depending on your destination.

4. It’s nearly impossible to avoid smokers.

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Over half the United States bans smoking inside public places, Nevada has a hybrid of the law that prohibits smoking inside in certain areas. Smoking in casinos, however, is allowed. As someone who wears contacts, my eyes are more susceptible to smoke irritation. If you’re like me, and avoiding the smoke is sometimes necessary here are a few pointers: 1) Gamble earlier in the day before crowds have gathered. 2) Avoid crowded sports and race books or gaming tables. 3) Linger near the doors or edge of the casino.

Some casinos are more tolerable than others. For example, The Venetian, Palazzo, and Bellagio have great air filters and are much cleaner. Some of the worst are Caesars Palace and Excalibur. Another way to get out of the smoke is to get away from the Strip and Downtown in the middle of your trip and head to local landmarks like the Hoover Dam or Red Rock Mountain Canyon.

3. Food in Las Vegas is fresh and incredible.

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One of the treats Las Vegas offers is its incredible food! Some of the top chefs in the world are creating the most exquisite menus in the United States. Many restaurants offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. Plus, restaurants provide fresh ingredients brought into Vegas daily. There are endless choices of international cuisine, domestic favorites, and experimental tastes. For those looking for an elaborate dining experience without spending their newly won fortune, check out sites like Groupon to find deals at premier spots.

Las Vegas buffets are one of my favorite food experiences. Unlike traditional buffet spots, you will find some incredible eats. However, the Las Vegas buffet has changed a lot over the years. Don’t expect to find cheap buffets on the Strip, as most of them average around $35-$45 per person, depending on the time of day. Cheap buffets with great food still exist off the Strip and even Downtown.

2. Downtown Las Vegas is really cool and really far away.

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The Fremont Experience in Downtown Las Vegas is really cool. But it’s also quite the hike. In fact, from the north Strip’s Wynn Las Vegas, Downtown is 3.5 miles away. This is a costly venture in a cab. If you’re not renting a car and looking to save money, consider using the express bus line to get to Downtown and back. Some casinos offer a shuttle, ask your concierge about this before heading out.

When you arrive Downtown, there’s a lot to do. From the classic and original hotels and casinos to the newer Fremont Experience canopy, zip lines, and food choices, Downtown is a great break from the oversized Strip. Be sure to check out the Mob Museum and the Neon Museum while you’re down there and enjoy learning about some of the most incredible Las Vegas history.

1. Get those drinks to go.

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Open-containers drinks are legal in Las Vegas. As long as it’s not in a glass container, you’re free to walk around with your adult beverage of choice. Pretty cool, right? Most bars on the Strip are willing to give you a to-go cup when you’re ready to hit the Strip. Make sure to drink responsibly as police are always around making sure everyone is having a safe time.

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