Interesting things to do in Las Vegas on a budget
Sin City might not be the first destination that springs to mind when planning a shoestring getaway but, never fear! There’s plenty to do in Las Vegas with very little money – and have a great time doing it…
Five-star dining at one-star prices
Las Vegas is well-known for its A-list shows, as well as its world-famous – not to mention exclusive – nightclubs and five-star restaurants. Yet if you’re on a budget, you may be worried that won’t be able to afford a full-on gourmet food fest, or a weekend worthy of the guys in the Hangover movies. But think again…
Prime-time in Las Vegas’ five-star restaurants starts at 8pm and ends at 10pm each night. Yet the guys that run these places like them to be full at all times. They entice guests with happy hour (actually three hours) and pre-show menus. L’Atelier Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand, Michael Mina at the Bellagio, and Milos at the Cosmopolitan are just a few gourmet restaurants that offer five-star meals at between $40 (£28) and $80 (£56).
Make the most of the nightlife
For many visitors, the best part of any weekend in Vegas is going to its world-famous nightclubs. The bad news? You could spend a long time waiting in line…and some of the prices are astronomical!
So what’s the good news? Well, the first thing to do is patrol the strip for flyer reps. Not only will these drastically cut the cost of entry, (reportedly up to 75% in some cases) but also cut queuing time and give you offers on drinks, particularly if you attend earlier on in the night.
That said, I recommend that you get in line by 10pm at the latest or your night may end up in disappointment. The clubs are known to get busier as more and more tourists pour out of the nearby casinos.
While Las Vegas is famous for its gambling, you may want to stay away from The Strip’s casinos if you are on a budget. While the offer of free drinks may entice you, ultimately, you’ll lose more. Vegas’ locals are a savvy bunch who can easily spot a drunken tourist ordering round after round whilst simultaneously bleeding chips at the poker table!
If you really cannot escape the pull of a cheeky wager, and have some time to kill in your hotel room, your money would be better spent online. Not only does this make budgeting more effective, but it also allows you to play the most popular table games virtually, rather than risk losing all your money the first night at Caesars Palace or the Bellagio.
Reverse Happy Hour
Most restaurants in Vegas stop serving food at around 10:30pm. However, there are so many performers finishing their sets at that time that some places offer “reverse happy hour”, where you may well find cheap food and drinks starting as low as $3.
Restaurants offering reverse happy hour include Holstein’s and Blue Ribbon Sushi at the Cosmopolitan. We also recommend trying out the Bootlegger Bistro (five minutes’ walk from Mandalay Bay), for old-school Italian “graveyard specials” at great prices.