Las Vegas is the gambling and entertainment hub of the United States. Most of the country’s top casinos can be found here, many of which offer a wide range of different gaming options. For beginners, it can become overwhelming… so if you’ve never been to Vegas, allow us to give you a beginners quick guide to the city’s top casinos, hotels, and entertainment options.
If you want to jump directly into any of the beginner tips for Las Vegas that we have provided throughout this page, click on any of the links below to land there!
Where Should I Stay and What Does It Cost?
One of the first things that beginners look for when planning a trip to Las Vegas is which hotel to stay at. Some of the most expensive and impressive hotels in the world are found here, as well as some fantastic budget stay options. The first thing you may want to decide is whether to stay on the Vegas Strip or in Old Las Vegas (Downtown).
Every hotel in Las Vegas is different. Some are known for their gambling options, while others focus on providing fun entertainment attractions. You can check out our full list of hotels in Las Vegas to see exactly what’s available right now.
On the Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is the most impressive part of Vegas. Most beginners and tourists choose to stay here, as it’s home to the best hotels and casinos. If you want to experience the full energy of the city, this is the place to be.
What most beginners don’t know is that the popular area of Las Vegas is divided into three sections. The north, middle, and south are all different.
Take a look at our map here to enhance your strategies as you navigate throughout the city.
If you have the budget, we recommend staying in the middle. Below are just a few of the great hotels currently operating here.
Caesars is one of the most iconic hotels in Las Vegas. It’s been featured in many different films, perhaps most notably, “The Hangover.” That is enough for many beginners to immediately book this to be their first Las Vegas hotel experience.
Caesars Palace was constructed all the way back in 1966 and has gone through dozens of renovations to expand both the hotel and casino. It’s not the cheapest hotel in Las Vegas, but it’s undoubtedly one of the best.
There are many different room rates available here. Those on a tight budget love staying in the Forum Tower, with standard-sized rooms close to the secondary casino. Some prefer to stay in the more upscale rooms such as the Palace Tower deluxe rooms, which are more spacious and include larger bathrooms.
Caesars is a fantastic choice for those staying on the Strip. It has great rooms, hundreds of different gambling options, and can accommodate a wide variety of different budgets. Check out our full review of Caesars Palace here.
When the Bellagio first opened its doors in 1998, it was the most expensive hotel ever built. It’s remained one of the most popular casinos in the city, featuring an incredible gaming floor and great entertainment options including Cirque du Soleil. The Bellagio isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny.
Guests here have a variety of different options. The best rooms for those on a budget are the fountain view rooms. They come with one large bed and offer great views of the incredible Bellagio Fountains. The tower suites are fantastic for those looking to spurge. These rooms include 1,536 sq. feet of room with a large living area, bar, and separate bedroom.
This is one of the most beloved hotels in Las Vegas. It’s not typically thought of as a place for those with a tight budget, yet great rates can be found here throughout the year. Feel free to head over to our full Bellagio review here.
This is perhaps the best option to save money and stay on the Strip, especially for beginners. Tropicana is a great all-around hotel, featuring comfortable rooms and a solid gambling floor. It was opened in 1957 and is found on the busiest intersection of the Las Vegas Strip.
Much like the previous two hotels we mentioned, the Tropicana offers its guests numerous options. Most visitors here choose to stay in the club deluxe rooms. They’re just 375 sq. feet with a view of the pool and the gardens. Spend a little more money to upgrade to the bungalow deluxe rooms with more living space and a unique Miami-beach style theme.
There are more than 800 slot machines and numerous table games located on the casino floor. A great sportsbook owned by Cantor Gaming is also operating within the casino. Head over to our Tropicana review and see what else is available!
Off the Strip
There are still a huge number of people who prefer to stay off the Las Vegas Strip. If you’re viewing this beginners guide, this may sound like a great option to you as well. Some great hotels operate outside of it, most of which are less expensive than the hotels located on the Strip. Many people who frequent Las Vegas use this as one of their budgeting strategies and prefer to stay off the Strip to save some money. Below is our top hotel choice for those looking to stay somewhere different.
The Palms is actually just a short walk away from the Las Vegas Strip. We added this to our beginners guide for this same reason. As a beginner, you’ll get to explore the city through another angle.
Over the past decade, this hotel-casino has gained a reputation as one of the best venues located off the Strip. More than 600 rooms are available here and it houses some of the top nightclubs in the city.
This hotel is known for having low rates. Rooms here are split across three different towers, the Palms Place, Palms Fantasy Tower, and the Palms Ivory Tower. You can expect to pay about $50 for a standard room at this hotel.
The premier rooms are the best budget option here. They’re 440 sq. feet and come with a king-sized bed and spa-like bathrooms. Want to really enjoy yourself? Consider staying in the Kingpin Suite, which includes two full-sized bowling lanes, a full bar, and more than 4,500 sq feet of living space. Check out our full Palms review today.
Old Las Vegas
This is where Las Vegas first got its roots! Old Vegas, or often called Downtown Vegas, has a certain charm that many visitors love. Any Las Vegas beginners should think about starting here, it’s a truly unique place with some fascinating history. Many great hotels are available here and they can fit almost any budget. Here are two of our favorites.
The Golden Nugget
Google any image of Old Las Vegas and there’s a good chance you’ll come across an image of The Golden Nugget. It’s one of the oldest hotels in the city, opening its doors back in 1946. It’s changed ownership several times since then and has gone under a series of renovations.
There are more than 2,000 rooms available in this hotel. There’s also a massive 50,000 sq. foot casino with hundreds of different gambling options available 24/7. The rates for these rooms vary from month to month.
The cheapest room option here is the deluxe room. It can be found for under $40 a night and includes all of the basic amenities you would expect. Spa Suites are 1,200 sq. foot rooms that include a whirlpool tub, bar, and floor-to-ceiling windows. They’re a solid option for those who want to stay downtown while still splurging. Head over to our Golden Nugget review to find out more about this historic hotel-casino.
The popular casino, located on the Eastern end of Fremont Street, is a great choice for those wishing to stay in Downtown Las Vegas. It’s owned by two brothers, Derek and Greg Stevens, and is home to more than 600 rooms.
This hotel underwent a massive renovation in 2012. Today, the D has a modern feel with high-tech displays outside and unique red, white, and black decor. Many different room options are available here.
For the cheapest options, look for the double queen or king rooms. There’s a chance you can find a room for less than $20 a night! Want to see what else is available here? Take a quick look at our D Las Vegas Hotel review today!
As we’ve already mentioned, room rates will vary depending on the time of year.
Budgeting for Your Las Vegas Trip
It’s easy to blow through your money in Las Vegas. It seems as though almost everything in the city is specifically designed to take your cash. But that doesn’t mean you can’t visit on a budget! There are some great ways to check this city out without breaking the bank.
Here are a few tips on how to budget your trip to this incredible city.
Find a Hotel That Fits Your Budget
For many, the hotel is the most expensive part of a trip to Las Vegas. As we mentioned above, there are many different hotels in this city located on the Strip, off the Strip, and downtown. Make sure that you stay in a hotel that fits your budget.
Prepare for Your Nights out Drinking
Las Vegas is known for having some of the best, most unique bars in the world. Some of these bars will charge you $40 for a cocktail. Others serve $1 beers! Do a little research on which bars will best suit your spending habits. There are certainly a lot of options.
Check for Restaurants That You Can Afford
One of the best things about Las Vegas is the huge range of amazing restaurant options. This city has food options for those visiting on a variety of different budgets. If you want cheap eats, look for restaurants that serve you meals for less than $20. If you want to splurge, check for some restaurants that offer your five-star meals.
Decide Whether or Not to See a Show
There are great shows taking place every single day of the year in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, many of the city’s top shows aren’t cheap. We recommend that you look at prices for the shows that you’re interested in ahead of time. You can decide for yourself whether or not you want to see them!
Anticipate Gambling Losses
It’s everyone’s goal to visit Las Vegas and win big playing in the casinos. Most of the time, however, this doesn’t actually happen. Casinos are cash-grabbing machines and are made to keep you playing as long as possible. If you plan on gambling, make sure you stick to a budget and anticipate that whatever you wager may end up in the hands of the casino.
Las Vegas Restaurant Recommendations
Everyone knows that Las Vegas is home to some of the best restaurants in the country. Most of the world’s top chefs have their own restaurants here, many of which cater to a wide variety of different budgets. Below are some of the best restaurants in Las Vegas for different budgets.
Top Cheap Restaurants in Las Vegas
Steak ‘n Shake
Steak ‘n Shake is one of the most popular cheap eat establishments in Las Vegas. It’s located inside the Hooters Casino and Hotel and offers a variety of delicious lunch, dinner, and breakfast items. The most popular option is the steak sandwich.
Prices are very cheap here. Customers can get a sandwich, side, and a drink for less than $10. If you’re in Las Vegas and want a quick, inexpensive meal, this might be the spot for you!
The Egg & I
Looking for a great, cheap breakfast spot in Las Vegas? This might be the best option. The Egg & I is one of the most popular breakfast spots in the country for a variety of reasons. It features a great menu with items such as biscuits and gravy, eggs benedict, and chicken fried steak.
Prices here are very affordable, usually between $4 to $13 for a full meal. There are also some great lunch items available for those arriving mid-day. For a great breakfast, give this place a visit.
Las Vegas is home to many incredible fusion restaurants. One of the most popular is Jaburritos, home to the Japanese burrito! It’s located within the LINQ and has grown to be one of the top cheap eateries in the city.
Customers here can find sushi burritos, poke bowls, and mochi ice cream. This isn’t your traditional sushi restaurant. It’s inexpensive, and offers some truly unique creations. If you want a unique combination of Japanese and Mexican food, this is the place for you!
Top Moderately-Priced Restaurants in Las Vegas
Juan’s Flaming Fajitas & Cantina
You’ll find a huge number of great Mexican restaurants in Las Vegas. The best moderately-priced restaurant in the city is probably Juan’s Flaming Fajitas & Cantina. You can find it on Tropicana Avenue, located off the Strip.
Prices here range from $15 to $30 for an entree. The restaurant serves everything from steak fajitas to enchiladas. Those craving Mexican food will love this place.
Mon Ami Gabi
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Mon Ami Gabi. It’s located directly in the center of the Las Vegas Strip at the Paris Las Vegas, right across from the Bellagio Fountains. The menu here is all about French cuisine, with popular items such as escargot and steak tartare.
This is one of the best venues in the city. Customers have the ability to sit outside and are seated on a first-come, first-serve basis. It’s a fantastic restaurant with great prices.
Trevi Italian Restaurant
The Trevi Italian Restaurant, located inside the Caesars Forum Shops, is a great food spot with moderate prices. You can find almost all traditional Italian cuisine here including brick oven pizzas, chicken marsala, and veal piccata. Many people also praise the restaurant’s great atmosphere.
Almost everything on the menu costs less than $40. For the quality of the meals, this is a true bargain. It’s not the cheapest place in Vegas, but those craving a good Italian meal will love it!
Top Expensive Restaurants in Las Vegas
There are some great buffets in Las Vegas. Some are very cheap, and others will cost an arm and a leg. Many agree that the Wicked Spoon is the very best buffet in the city. This restaurant costs around $30-$50 to enter depending on the time, and drinks are charged individually. The great thing is that it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet with endless options!
But this isn’t your traditional buffet. The food here is top-notch, including delicious entrees from top chefs. You can find things like Atlantic salmon, fresh sushi, fried chicken, and rib-eye steak. Don’t settle on a sub-par buffet. Head to the Wicked Spoon!
Picasso, located inside the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, is a true representation of fine dining. It offers all you can expect from a world-class restaurant. The food is prepared beautifully from some of the best chefs in the city.
This restaurant’s head chef has received eleven AAA Five-Diamond awards. The menu is made up of French and Spanish cuisine. It’s a great spot for those willing to spend a little extra for their meal.
Want to eat while looking at one of the most beautiful views in Las Vegas? Consider heading to Skybar. It can be found at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on the 23rd floor. It features floor-to-ceiling windows with a view that overlooks the entire Strip.
Prices range from about $20 to $75. Certain entree items will cost more. It’s an Asian restaurant with menu items such as chicken satay and crispy pork belly. If you really want to splurge, this might be the spot for you.
How to Pick Which Casino to Gamble At
As we’ve already mentioned, millions of people come to Las Vegas every year to gamble. Casinos are the lifeblood of Las Vegas, helping it grow from a small city in the desert to one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. Choosing which casino to gamble at, even as a Vegas beginner, is easy if you know your budget.
Some casinos here are known for their high minimums. Others are known to give budget gamblers some great opportunities to win money. Below are some of the best casinos across different budget ranges.
Best Las Vegas Casinos on a Budget
Even at cheap casinos, there’s a chance for you to win or lose a huge amount of money. Your chances of winning will always go up when placing wagers on games that you actually understand. Keep that in mind!
Planet Hollywood is one of the most popular hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. It’s also popular with budget gamblers. Many of the table games here offer lower minimum bet requirements in comparison to other casinos in this area. Table games at the Cosmopolitan, located right across the street, are almost twice as expensive!
This casino is also home to some great budget bars. You can find reasonably-priced drinks here and a variety of great budget restaurants.
Palms Casino Resort
The Palms isn’t located on the Las Vegas Strip. This is probably why prices are considerably lower than many of the city’s other casinos. There are hundreds of inexpensive slots here and a variety of table games, some of which have minimum bet requirements of just $5!
A recent CNN article claimed the Palms as “one of the coolest hotels in Las Vegas.” It’s grown extremely popular over the years, has been recently renovated, and it is known by most locals as one of the most inexpensive to place wagers. So naturally, we had to throw this into our beginners guide.
Best Las Vegas Casinos to Make Big Bets
As we just mentioned, the price of the casinos you wager at won’t affect your chances of winning and losing. Some players prefer to play at the big casinos which tend to offer more gambling options. Here are some of the Las Vegas expensive casinos that players love.
The Cosmo is perhaps the most impressive casino in Vegas. In 2013, it was rated the best hotel in the world thanks to its incredible architecture and fabulous gaming floor. Table prices aren’t necessarily cheap here, yet the dealers are great and you’ll have access to hundreds of different slots, table games, and sports betting odds.
We highly recommend this casino for those willing to place larger wagers. There is also a fantastic poker room here for those looking to test their skills against other players.
According to TripAdvisor, the Wynn is the best hotel-casino in Las Vegas, period. It’s owned by one of the biggest casino operators in the world, Steve Wynn, and offers gamblers a huge variety of different options. On this casino floor, you can find just about every popular slot game, enough table games to keep you busy all night, and a number of incredible bars.
Take a look at some reviews for the Wynn, and you’ll understand why it’s grown so popular. Culinary fans will love this venue as well, as it’s home to some of the best restaurants in the city.
Players Clubs and VIP Programs
Most of the casinos in Vegas give their loyal players great perks. VIP programs vary from casino to casino, yet most are based on the concept that the more you gamble, the more perks you will receive. Here are some Vegas casino VIP programs available right now.
Caesars Entertainment: Total Rewards
The Total Rewards program at Caesars is one of the most popular VIP casino programs in Las Vegas right now. It’s designed to reward players for spending money inside the Caesars Palace casino, shops, restaurants, and more. There is a specific tier set in place for this reward program that you can see below.
|TIERS:||POINTS PER YEAR:||COIN IN SLOTS:||COIN IN VIP:||TABLE THEO:|
|Diamond Level 2||40,000 Credits||$200,000||$400,000||$13,333|
|Diamond Level 3||80,000 Credits||$400,000||$800,000||$26,667|
|7 Stars||150,000 Credits||$750,000||$1,500,000||$50,000|
Feel free to head over to our Total Rewards breakdown today!
MGM Resorts: Mlife Rewards
Mlife Rewards is run by MGM and is available in many of the top casinos in Las Vegas, including Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, and more. It’s a great program to benefit players who spend money in any MGM-owned properties. This company recently updated its tier system.
MGM has announced that slot Express Comps will now be calculated based on the time played, average bet, and game type for all slots. This method is also used to calculate Express Comps earned playing table games at all regional properties. There is also a new 10% room discount for all members of Mlife, regardless of your tier.
Check out the tiers below!
|TIERS:||ROOM DISCOUNTS:||TIER CREDITS:|
|Sapphire||10% Discount||0 -24,999|
|Pearl||10% Discount||25,000 – 74,999|
|Gold||10% Discount||75,000 – 199,999|
|Noir||10% Discount||Invite Only|
Make sure to check out our full breakdown of the Mlife Rewards program today!
Must-See Free Shows in Las Vegas
We already mentioned that there are a huge number of incredible shows taking place in Las Vegas every single day. Some of these shows are actually available for free! For those beginners visiting on a tight budget, these are the best options for you.
Bellagio Fountain Show
Almost everyone’s heard of the fountain show at the Bellagio. It’s located directly in front of the hotel and runs every 30 minutes in the afternoons and evenings, and every 15 minutes from 8 PM to midnight. It’s an incredible spectacle that every visitor to Las Vegas should check out!
Circus Circus Act
Circus Circus is a great venue to bring the whole family. This hotel-casino puts on a great spectacle for visitors for free every single day! It features jugglers, trapeze artists, and more. It’s only about 10 minutes long, but it’s free!
Volcano Show at the Mirage
The Mirage is located in the mid-area of the Strip. This popular hotel puts on an incredible Volcano spectacle every day before 7,8, or 9 pm. It’s one of the quicker “shows” in the city, yet it’s free and definitely worth checking out!
Dealing With the Las Vegas Weather – Season by Season Breakdown
As you might expect from a city located in the desert, Las Vegas gets very, very hot. We aren’t kidding either. That’s why it’s important to be honest about our weather so I had to throw this into our Las Vegas beginners guide. Although some prefer to visit during the cooler months, others do embrace the summer heat. Here is a quick breakdown of the Las Vegas weather over different seasons.
Summer in Las Vegas
Summertime is the most popular time to visit Las Vegas. During the summer months, most of the hotel pools are open, shows get bigger, and rates go up. Temperatures during this time can get unusually hot.
Generally, the temperature hovers from 90 to 100 degrees. Triple-digit weather is common, and it can even get up to 110 in the summer. If sitting by the pool sounds great, this might be the perfect time to visit.
Fall in Las Vegas
The weather changes quickly from August to September. Fall temperatures tend to vary. Usually, temperatures during the daytime in this season hang around 80 degrees. Towards the end of October, the temperature drops significantly. Many people love visiting in fall time, as the weather is a little milder, yet the pools tend to stay open.
Winter in Las Vegas
Wintertime is a very unique time to check this city out! The weather is, obviously, the coolest at this time and the focus shifts from the pools to the casinos and shows. The weather generally hovers around 60 degrees during the daytime. At night, it can get down to 30 degrees. Visiting Las Vegas for New Years is a once in a lifetime experience, so consider heading to the city during this time!
Spring in Las Vegas
Spring is perhaps the best all-around time to visit Las Vegas. The weather isn’t scorching and it doesn’t get freezing-cold at night. Most of the pools are open and many of the world’s top artists choose to put on shows during this season.
How to Stay Safe in Las Vegas
Most visitors to Las Vegas stay completely safe. The biggest issue that tourists face is losing money in casinos and bars! Of course, problems exist in all major cities and Vegas is no different. Here are a few tips and strategies for you to stay safe while visiting this city for the first time!
Do Not Jaywalk
The Las Vegas Strip is a massive stretch of road featuring many of the biggest casinos in the country.
Sometimes, it can be tempting to simply cross this road outside of the designated areas to do so! This is never a good idea. Cars can reach high speeds on Las Vegas Boulevard and there’s a real chance you’ll be hit. Stick to the crosswalks!
Keep Track of Your Money
Las Vegas might be the easiest city in the country to spend money. There are many casinos, bars, and restaurants that are happy to take your cash. We recommend that you keep track of exactly how much you are spending. It’s also a great idea to keep your wallet in your front pockets or purse as pickpockets are known to hang around busy tourist spots.
Be Cautious in Downtown Vegas at Night
There may be some that roll their eyes at this tip, yet generally speaking, it’s a good idea to stay alert while in Downtown Las Vegas after midnight. This area is known for having higher crime rates than on the Strip. It’s a fun area filled with historic sights! Don’t be scared to visit, but keep your eyes open in the evenings.
Avoid All Physical Confrontations
Las Vegas is known for its booze, and unfortunately, this can lead to some individuals fighting. It’s never a good idea to get into a physical confrontation here. Las Vegas Police will throw all parties in jail, regardless of who’s in the right. Enjoy your time in Sin City and don’t get suckered into a stupid conflict that will ruin your trip.
Drink Lots of Water
Temperatures in Las Vegas can exceed 100 degrees. Most people choose to walk on the Strip and some completely forget to drink water. Make sure you stay hydrated during your time in this city. The last thing you want is to wake up in the hospital from dehydration.
How to Save Money in Las Vegas
Hopefully, by now, you have a few ideas on where to stay and how to enjoy yourself in Las Vegas. Just remember that a hotel room isn’t the only thing you’ll be spending money on here. Vegas is home to thousands of fun entertainment attractions. Gambling is also a quick way to blow through your money.
There are a few basic tips you can follow to save money on your trip. Here are the best ways to stretch your budget as far as possible while still having an amazing Vegas vacation!
- Use the $20 trick to get an upgraded room at just a fraction of the normal cost!
- If you plan on gambling, sign up to a Las Vegas comps program to earn great freebies such as room stays and casino credit!
- Visit Las Vegas in the middle of the week. Hotel rates will always be more expensive on weekends.
- Avoid visiting during major holiday and event weekends, as prices everywhere in the city will go up.
- Utilize the free coupon books that many taxi cabs offer.
- Take advantage of Happy Hour. Many restaurants and bars in Las Vegas will reduce prices significantly at certain times of the day.
- Don’t gamble for free drinks. You’re probably better off just buying a drink at a bar.
- Stay hydrated! Vegas is notoriously hot. Drink water throughout the day to keep yourself safe. It could save you money from a trip to the hospital.
- Purchase your alcohol at a store and make your own drinks! Bars in this city can charge an arm and a leg.
- Do your bar crawls in Downtown Las Vegas. This part of the city is considerably cheaper than the Strip.
Our Complete Las Vegas Guide
There’s a reason why millions of tourists visit Sin City each year. It’s the adult playground of the United States, featuring the best hotels, casinos, and entertainment options in the country. Before you visit this city, check out some of our other Las Vegas guides below!
Make sure to reach out for any additional questions. Have fun on your vacation!