VEGAS PRIMER COURSE
Short of Cancun during college spring break, few places in North America can top the opulence and over-indulgence quotients of Las Vegas. From one end of “The Strip” to the other, blazing lights and buzzing neon signs advertise every conceivable way of blowing next month’s rent in 15 minutes or less. If you came to the gambling capital of the world on a budget and for no other reason than to check out all the pretty radios at IWCE 2001, don’t leave your hotel room once the sun sets and the sin rises. Come to think of it, if you came to Vegas on a budget, chances are you aren’t staying in a hotel anywhere near the carnival of temptation, so you needn’t worry. For those of you brave or curious enough to look the money-sucking beast in the eye, MRT offers this abridged guide to spending your paycheck in Las Vegas.
If you’re reading this in Las Vegas, chances are you already have a place to lay your head during your stay. For those who came without a reservation, good luck getting one now. If you’re reading this before the show — like you should be — you still have time to get a room at one of these swanky joints. The Excalibur Hotel & Casino and the Luxor Las Vegas offer fancy fantasy themes, from the knights and knaves of the former to the pharaohs and sphinxes of the latter. Rooms start at $60 and $50 respectively. Things get a little pricier with the Bellagio Resort & Casino. Billed as a “luxury hotel,” it doesn’t have a room that starts at less than $169 per night.
If you want to have enough energy to spend the day walking the show floor and spend the night prowling the casinos, you’ll have to eat. As with every other way to spend your money, restaurants are in no short supply in Vegas. Virtually every hotel/casino offers an affordable buffet of some kind, but you won’t get a real taste for the city unless you sample the more expensive establishments. The MGM Grand sports the Coyote Café, which serves up Southwestern grub for $25 — $30 per entrée. If jambalaya and hot spices are your thing, then — BAM! — try Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, also located in the MGM Grand. For the Chinese fan, Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois is a relatively (still $20 per entrée) cheaper alternative.
Music and shows
If gambling is the meat and potatoes of Las Vegas, then lavish stage productions are the gravy. The Rat Pack may not rule the Strip with cigar and martini anymore, but musicians like Wayne Newton and Tom Jones continue to sell out show after show. Canada’s Cirque du Soleil, a combination of aerial and underwater acrobatics, is a visually stunning experience. But with ticket prices starting at $90, it can be enough to make your wallet do flips. The comic magician duo of Penn and Teller, who appear at the Rio Hotel & Casino, offer a semi-normal alternative to the fancy prancings of those crazy white tiger-wranglers Siegfried and Roy. For a truly unique experience, check out the Blue Man Group’s musical mind trip at the Luxor.
The Excalibur Hotel & Casino:
Luxor Las Vegas:
Bellagio Resort & Casino:
Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House:
Chamber of Commerce:
Las Vegas Visitor