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Aug. 20: If you're looking for a fun, wacky time and love dudes who look like ladies, check out Drag Queen bingo at Charlie's Las Vegas on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Here's the location and other info.

Aug. 3: This one comes from our old pal Sparky of Las Vegas. Car enthusiasts should know about yet another auto-related museum that recently popped up, the 'Fabulous Racers' Nevada Vintage Race Car and Aviation Museum. It's out near Sunset and Boulder Highway. It's free, open M-F 10-4p, and here's the link. They've got all these old racing cars and also various light aircrafts used in World War II and Korea. Pretty cool. Thanks, Sparky!

July 27: Folks who love art-house films and independent cinema should take a look at the website of Theater7 if they’re going to be in the downtown area. The guys there are trying to build up a following as a place for locals and tourists to go to see movies made in Nevada in general and Las Vegas in particular. They do these weekly film festivals with lots of shorts and also do more elaborate events for First Friday.

July 20: There’s a new novel called Crit out now by one of the best local Vegas writers, Andrew Kiraly. Kiraly had impressed me before with a short story in a 2003 compilation called In The Shadow of the Strip. Now he’s written his first novel, about an L.A. music critic who comes to Vegas to seek out the worst lounge act on the Strip. It’s smart, funny and occasionally silly. I read the entire thing in about 4 hours on Sunday. Good read.

July 14: Recently one of our listeners pointed us to an amazing time-lapse video of Vegas by British filmmaker Philip Bloom. Turns out, there are others like it. On his YouTube channel, for instance, there’s this fantastically beautiful 3-minute timelapse film of him traveling from London to Vegas. His work is just sensational, so go to his YouTube channel and take in some of these videos. I can’t stop watching them.

July 6: Simon at Palms Place, has started a $6 happy hour menu, Mon-Fri from 4-7p. The deal is, each appetizer dish is $6 including orders of calamari, meatball sliders, sushi rolls and personal margherita pizzas. Also, wines by the glass, beers, and well cocktails are also $6.

June 29: You’ve seen all the coverage and hype surrounding the liquidation sale at the Sahara, and you might figure it’s over. It’s not. They’re still going until at least until July 16, and there’s no longer a $10 door charge. They’re open M-Sat 10-7 and Sun 12-5. But buying the stuff isn’t nearly as interesting as simply being able to walk through a gutted, seemingly-looted iconic resort. It’s sort of a historical thing. If you’re in town, you should go over. See this site, though, to make sure it's still on-going.

June 22: There is a monthly event called the Composer’s Showcase that was taking place at the Liberace Museum until it closed last fall. Well, now the event – which features original music by many performers from various Strip productions including Phantom, Cirque du Soleil, Clint Holmes, Celine, etc. So it’s now a bit farther away from the Strip – about 8 miles northwest at Garfield’s in Desert Shores. But it’s a chance to see the performers pursuing their creativity, and it’s a lot of fun. Check it out.

May 18: OK, so we all know by now about First Friday and even Thirsty Third Thursday, both downtown. But here comes a new one, and it’s a good one: VegasStrEATS, a food festival every Second Saturday of the month at the El Cortez downtown featuring all the food trucks that otherwise roam Vegas. It’s a growing street food festival that runs 6 pm to 2 a.m., so if you’re in Vegas on June 11, July 9 or Aug. 13, check out the Facebook fan site. It’s free to attend, although you pay for your food.

April 25: This one’s not cheap, but vintage aerospace enthusiasts should check out Warbird Rides. Out at the Boulder City Airport, there’s a company that owns a T-6, the same model aircraft as was used in World War II – it was known as the SNJ in the US and the Harvard by the RAF. For a starting price of $229, you can fly it over the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead and roll and loop in it. If you want, they can open the cockpit, too. If you’re into that, it sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

April 11: Warren Bates was an editor at the Review-Journal who committed suicide near the desolate ghost town of Amboy, California, last April and waiting for a train. He was 49. He was one of my editors and had come to our home to play poker a few times, and his death was quite a shock. What many people didn’t know was that Warren was an amazingly artistic and gifted photographer who spent his free time in the same sort of desert areas where he killed himself. He left behind some astonishing images that also included some iconic Las Vegas vistas, all with a signature style that transmitted both beauty and loneliness. His sister, Susana, teamed up with folks from the R-J to put on a show of Warren’s work at the Left of Center gallery in North Las Vegas until June 4. Visitors can purchase prints of the photos there or on the website,, and all proceeds go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I spoke with Susana Bates about the show and the loss of her brother today as she was driving back to California.

March 28: Many folks are aware that Zappos, the massive online shoe retailer, is based in Henderson and is expected to move into the soon-to-be-vacated City Hall in 2012. But there’s also a tourist aspect to Zappos, namely that you can tour their offices for free or pay $47 a person for a lengthier experience. You’re responsible for getting yourself out there, but it’s a pretty wacky, interesting approach to work. Tours are scheduled Monday through Thursday and begin promptly at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Visit the Zappos site for more information about signing up.

March 14: Want free Barry Manilow tickets? Bring an old instrument that can be refurbished for use by local high school music students to the Paris Las Vegas concierge desk and they’ll give you one. No kazoos, though. It’s part of Manilow’s charitable efforts to help encourage music education. Here’s a link to more information about the Manilow Music Project.

Feb. 10: The Facebook group called Love it or Leave it! by Las Vegan Mike Korn has really been providing a ton of great running tab on interesting unusual events happening around the Strip and off the Strip. It's worth joining, so go here for that.

Jan. 23: Several local magicians and performance artists put on a monthly free called the Vegas Wonderground. It’s a free program that starts at 8 and 10 p.m. on the third Thursdays of the month at a bar called The Olive, which is about 4 miles southeast of the Strip. It’s really edgy, cutting-edge performance event that is hard to explain but check out their website to see some videos of what goes on there.

Dec. 18: Over at Mandarin Oriental, they’ve decked out the tea lounge for Christmas, including a hand-crafted gingerbread pagoda created by Executive Pastry Chef Gianni Santin. Plus, every night until Christmas Eve, a high school choirs will be caroling from 3-5 p.m.

Dec. 5: Recently around the nation, there’s been an explosion of what are known as food trucks, these vans that pop up at various sites, usually denoted on their websites, serving up various gourmet food items at relatively cheap prices. These places get a sort of in-the-know, cult feel to them, and one of the most delicious in Vegas is known as Slidin' Thru. The owner, Ric Guerrero, joined us for an interview edition of the TSTTotW in which he revealed they've also got a new brick-and-mortar location, 955 Grier near McCarran, inside the Poker Paradise bar. See this VegasHappensHere.Com post about our visit to that new location. Otherwise, keep watch at SlidinThru.Com to find out where the trucks will appear around Vegas.

Nov. 27: If you can’t make it to Vegas this holiday season, you can still taste it a little bit. Executive pastry chef Megan Romano of Aureole at Mandalay Bay is an up-and-coming chocolatier with a new book -- It’s a Sweet Life – and a website where you can order up some of her sensational designer chocolate treats at really reasonable prices. There’s always so much talk about the big celebrity chefs in Vegas and their books and products, but Romano is a real Vegas food figure, someone who has worked in the kitchens here for more than a decade. Check out her site.

Nov. 20: Say you’re really, really hungry but you have no money? Well, there are a few places on the Strip where you can get your meal for free – if you eat a truly disgusting amount of food. At the Sahara, there’s the six-pound burrito at the Nascar Café, which comes with free rides on the roller coaster. At Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina, if you eat an eight-pound plate of nachos in less than 55 minutes, you get the nachos and a T-shirt for free. Also, at Brand at Monte Carlo, if you eat 120 ounces of steak with potato gratin and two signature sauces on your own, it’s free. Otherwise, it’s $267. If you’re not into it, you can just go and see if someone tries it.

Nov. 13: If you’re into a night of clubhopping, you might want to invest in the Palms’ All Access 4-in-1 VIP pass. For $75 per person, you get entry to all four nightlife venues – ghostbar, Rain, Playboy Club and Moon – all night long with front-of-line privileges, too. You have to buy them in advance, and it only seems to be available for Fridays and Saturdays. Here’s the link to buy one. You can also spend $48 for all access, but it doesn’t include the line pass.

Oct 30: Most tourists are unaware of the Freakin' Frog, a college bar by UNLV about two miles east of the Strip that happens to boast the largest whiskey and beer collections in the Western USA. That is, 500 different beers and 500 whiskeys -- many very rare ones in a walk-in fridge. The place offers 300 different wines, too, and 15 beers on tap. The Frog is at 4700 S. Maryland Parkway. Check it out online.

Oct 23: Like many cities, Las Vegas has its share of used bookstores. But worth noting is Amber Unicorn Books, well known as having perhaps the most exhaustive collection of used cookbooks and books on food in the world. The store started in 1981 but closed in 1997. In 2008, they reopened in their current location at the northwest corner of Sahara and Decatur, and they now boast more than 150,000 books. Of those, 16,000 are cookbooks. The shop is open Mon-Thurs 9-6, Fri & Sat 9-8 and Sun, 9-4. Check it out.

Oct. 10: We’ve talked plenty about where to find cheap beer. But here’s a good one for wine lovers: From 4-8 p.m. every day, the Fortuna wine bar and café at the Las Vegas Hilton offers free wine tastings. No idea what sort of wine, but it’s free, so there.

Oct 4: If you really like being around stoners, you might want to check out the Bluebird Las Vegas, which is just off the Strip at 2025 Paradise. OK, you can only smoke pot there if you’ve got it legally from a doctor, but the place also has really great coffee and a vegetarian-only menu. Clearly, this is a different sort of café.

Sept. 26: We bag on the Review-Journal often enough – and especially their website – but they’ve got a pretty great interactive tool for folks looking to find bars to watch their NFL teams play. Sure, you could just watch in a sportsbook, but it’s a lot more fun to go to a bar and watch with fellow fans. You also get a chance to check out some other parts of the city. The link will be on the site. Check it out.

Sept. 12: We got three dining tips live on the air from Mike Dobranski, blogger for TastingLasVegas.Com: Soyo Korean Barstaurant, Namaste (Indian)’s $9.99 lunch buffet and Silk Road for breakfast at Vdara. Meanwhile, Steve threw in India Palace right near the Strip as his favorite Indian.

Sept. 4: This one comes from loyal listener Rob Roberti, who alerted me to the fact that at The Art of Shaving Store at Fashion Show Mall on Fridays and Saturdays, men can receive a free shave from Nika, the resident aesthetician. It’s not a straight-razor shave, and the intention is to give you a feel for their various products. But it is free, although Rob mentioned it’s important for listeners to remember to tip. I did check it out and it is true but it is also important that folks call the store to make sure Nika is in that day. The day I went, she was at a conference, for instance. Call 702-733-9509 before you go. Sorry ladies for a sexist tip.

Aug. 2: If you like to hike and really want to get in touch with the other side of Southern Nevada, check out when you’re about to visit Las Vegas. Two hiking guides have set up this site, which they update regularly, where you can sign up for all sorts of hikes around Mount Charleston and the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. Everything is free and the parks service endorses these guides, so they’re not just some hacks trying to get you out in the middle of nowhere to steal your car or something. There are hikes every weekend, including night hikes on Fridays. The calendar is only filled out through August for now, but the site is updated regularly July 19: Everyone loves cheap beers, so here are a few amazing beer deals on the Strip:

July 10: Every Wednesday from 2:30-5 p.m. at Marie Callender’s at 4875 W. Flamingo Rd in Las Vegas, poker players get together to chat about the game and socialize. Linda Johnson, known as the First Lady of Poker, goes every week. There’s also a Monday discussion group at a place called the Stake Out, but I’ve not been able to confirm the time on that. When I do, I will update this tip in the Tourist Tips section of TheStripPodcast.Com. Anyone’s welcome and several pros attend.

July 5: This is an update of a November 2005 Tourist Tip to note that Tix4Tonight has the Strip’s only discount ticket counters and that there are now 12 locations (see link for the list), but that the company has now expanded into offering really great meal deals, too. Tix4Dinner allows folks to spend $3 per diner on reservations up to a week in advance that get them various hefty discounts on a list of restaurants including RM Seafood (33 percent off each entrée), Range Steakhouse (half off entrees) and Hugo’s Cellar (25 percent off whole check). Check out their dinner site to learn how it works. Also, unlike in 2005, Tix4Tonight does post online now what shows they’re selling cheap seats for that day.

June 28: The Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental is already one of the few breakout hits of CityCenteer, and now starting this week they'll have free, live musicians playing on the third Monday of every month as part of Mandarin Mondays. It's what's known as "industry night," which means locals get special deals on drinks and such -- actually, certain sponsored liquors are free to locals in this case -- but the view and music are free to everyone. Check it out. Upcoming dates include July 19, August 16 and Sept. 20.

June 21: If you have a sudden itch to get out of town – either to Vegas or elsewhere – you might want to check out Lastminute.Com, a site that provides really great discounts to travelers willing and able to go within two weeks of booking.

June 7: If you’re a blogger, podcaster or Tweeter or just a fan of them, then you should try to make it out to Beer & Blog, a gathering on Thursday nights for all sorts of social media folks. They tend to rotate the locations around the valley, so check out their site for the latest info on the next events.

May 31: You may remember about two years ago I did a NY Times piece on that 8-hour temporary casino set up in a trailer on a piece of land in order for the landowner to keep the gaming zoning rights. If there’s no active gaming after 24 months, the gaming zoning disappears and the value of the land drops considerably. Well, there are three of what Howard Stutz of the R-J dubbed Trailer Stations coming up. The first is on June 8 at 4127 W Charleston, the scene of what was a Skinny Dugan’s Pub. Then, there’ll be another on July 6 at the site of the Moulin Rouge, 840 W BONANZA RD. Another one is expected this summer at the former Queen of Hearts Motel that was at 19 E Lewis Ave in downtown. To keep up with these events, We’re starting a new feature on the blog, VegasHappensHere.Com, where we’ll be listing the locations of these when they arise on the Gaming Control Board agendas. The feature will include addresses and links to Google maps. So look down the left column of the site if you’re coming. It’s a weird, fun experience. They usually set up a dozen or so slot machines and there’s rarely anyone there. Just an odd piece of the Vegas experience

May 24: At the Nevada State Museum at Lorenzi Park, 700 W. Twin Lakes Drive, there’s an ongoing exhibit of photos called "Mid-Century Modern Las Vegas" that displays amazing shots of hte city in the 1950s and 1960s. Most of the images are from the collection of Jay Florian Mitchell, a noted photographer. Admission costs $4 for adults and is open 9 am - 5 pm Wed-Saturday. Here's a map.

May 3: When you mentioned to the waiter at most Wolfgang Puck restaurants on the Strip that you're a local and that was good for two free desserts. The good news is that they really never check for proof as that would turn out to be really bad customer service. Sometimes they provide an appetizer, sometimes it’s dessert but don’t forget to ask. So, to remind you, Wolfgang Puck restaurants here include Postrio and Cut at Venetian/Palazzo, Spago at Caesars Palace, Trattoria Del Lupo at Mandalay Bay, Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill at the MGM Grand and Puck Brasserie and Puck Pods at CityCenter. The one at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, however, is counter service and not a proper restaurant, so there’s no locals benefit there.

April 19: If you’re going past the Rio at 9-9:30 a.m., you’ve got a very good chance to see the lizards that inhabit the retaining wall along Flamingo Road. They’re cute little suckers and they’ll be sunning themselves inches from oblivious passers-by. It’s kind of a kick to see a little desert animal popping its little reptilian head up by one of the busiest intersections of Las Vegas. The VV and Flamingo corner of the Rio.

April 12: We're recommending three FREE apps that could be really useful to Vegas travelers. First, since wireless Internet is such a commodity in Vegas, check out the Wi-Fi Finder application that identifies where free wi-fi zones are located. It’s incomplete regarding the Strip, but if more of us put in places we knew, it would be a terrific application. Second, grab the GateGuru app so that next time you’re stuck at McCarran – or any airport, actually – you can look up what restaurants and ATMs and such are where. And finally, Charmin toilet paper has this app and site that maybe you’ve already heard of called SitorSquat. It identifies where public restrooms are near your location. On the Strip maybe this isn’t that big a deal because there are so many everywhere, but if you go out into the community and suddenly have to go, it’s worthwhile.

April 4: At Bellagio almost every day except Sundays at 2 p.m., you can go to the concierge desk for they give people "room tours." That is, they take you around the resort to see all the different room styles. It’s free and you don’t have to be a guest or book a room. They do it this way because they’re too busy generally to comply with individual requests on demand. You are advised to call the concierge ahead just to make sure they’re doing it that day – ask if they’re doing “room tours” that day – but that generally they do them at 2 p.m. We don’t know if other hotels have similar approaches, but it’s worth calling up the concierge desks and asking them.

March 22: There's an absolutely phenomenal and incredibly cheap Vietnamese place about a mile east of the Strip on Tropicana Ave. They have these unbelievable BBQ pork sandwiches for $2.95 and the Pho is incredibly tasty and cheap, too. The place is called Pho Thanh Huong and it’s highly recommended.

March 6: This is something of an on-again, off-again tourist tip, but right now it’s on again. If you love movies and are looking to see some of those that missed your town or are already out of the theaters, you can do so for $1.50 at Tropicana Cinemas, which is an easy bus trip about 4 miles east of the Strip on Tropicana. In fact, on Tuesdays, the movies are only $1.

Feb. 22: While working on the VegasMate iPhone app update, I created a list of all the Vegas resorts that provide free shuttle service to and from McCarran Airport. The ones I had were Suncoast, Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock Resort, the M, Palace Station, Terrible’s, the South Point and the El Cortez. It intrigued me that only one Downtown resort provided this service, and since the El Cortez has really improved itself with its new tower and all, it seemed like the free ride from downtown could be another reason to check it out if you were planning to stay up there. Check websites of the resorts for details on their shuttles.

Feb. 15: Travis Cloer, one of the two Frankie Valli’s from Jersey Boys at the Palazzo, will be appearing Wed., March 3 at 730p and 930p at the Liberace Museum. Cloer, whose rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Music And Me” at last summer’s tribute benefit at the Pearl was a showstopper, will be doing songs from the great American songbook. It's a great chance to see one of the Strip's best stars for a mere $20 a seat. See more information here.

Feb. 7: I never really noticed this before, but if you’re a student, there are some pretty great discounts out there for attractions in Vegas. Cirque, for instance, offers 35 percent off Zumanity, Ka, Love and Criss Angel Believe, and we’ll post the link to that. And The Lion King at Mandalay Bay just came out with a $25.50 price for current college students, although you have to buy those tickets in person on the day of the show. We’ll try to find a link to that, too. There are also student discounts for the Bodies exhibit at Luxor, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art and coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Nobody’s keeping a website of all these discounts, but here's a Yelp.Com search that could be of some help.

Jan. 23: Vegas-goers can always use a new funky off-Strip watering hole, so we’re recommending you give to the new Herbs & Rye, an old-style Italian restaurant with a focus on creative and classic cocktails made from all fresh ingredients. The owner is a 29-year-old Las Vegas native who walked away from a career as a bartender who spent his 20s working at every Light Group spot on the Strip. The place is just west of the Strip at Sahara and Valley View and is open 5p-5a daily. The food was outstanding and the dinner menus – lots of homemade pastas – are half-off during the 5-7 happy hour and then after 11 pm, too. Check out it online at HerbsandRye.Com.

Dec. 27: About twice a year, Harrah’s holds a sale of all their leftover merchandise over successive weekends in ballrooms at Caesars Palace and Paris Las Vegas. They sell off the inventory of souvenirs and clothes for ridiculous prices -- $1, $5, sometimes a little more – and I managed to go to the one that took place last weekend. A link to the blog post about that will be found on the blog, VegasHappensHere.Com. I’m told the next go-around is in May 2010 around Mother’s Day, but they don’t really announce them publicly. So keep watch on the blog and I’ll announce the next time they do it and search “parissale” to see if there’s an update. Lots of fun.

Dec. 21: You know about the volcano at Mirage, the light show on Fremont Street, the fountains at Bellagio. But have you heard of Mystic Falls? I happened recently to be over at Sam’s Town, the original locals casino about 6 miles east of the Strip, and I was reminded of the eight-minute-long free attraction they have over there in the central courtyard area. It’s this placid indoor space – a pocket park, perhaps! – where four times a day there are fountain and light shows that “chronicle the Western pioneer experience” with fountains that shoot eight stories in the air and animatronic wolfs and all kinds of other fun stuff. Plus, there’s actually a pretty good, cheap buffet and excellent gaming-table payouts at Sam’s Town. Shows are daily at 2, 6, 8 and 10 pm. See this link to the Sam’s Town page explaining the attraction.

Dec. 8: One of the things that Twitter’s not so good at is helping you find specific things you’re looking for. But one casino-obsessed Tweeter, @EastCoastGamblr, has compiled the best listing of official casino Tweeters, so you can go here and sign up to follow whichever hotels you want. The list includes 37 official Vegas resort Tweeters but also Tweeters from casinos elsewhere, too. I don’t know if anyone’s keeping a list of Vegas nightclubs, restaurants and so on, but please let us know.

Nov. 30: We’re become aware of some new free Wi-Fi areas on the Strip! Besides for the previous TSTTOTW about the free wifi at public spaces at the Venetian, here are some other locations where you can open up the laptop and log on: Pizza Place (formerly Sugar and Ice) at Wynn Las Vegas, parts of Gameworks, the Coffee Bean inside the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood, Seattle Best Coffee at the Orleans, Krispy Kreme at Excalibur and – my favorite – the highest rooms at the MGM Grand where you can mooch off of the wi-fi from the SkyLofts. If you’re staying there and in a bind, take the elevator as high as it’ll let you do and it’ll probably work in the hallways. There is a listing online at a website called LVFreeWiFi.Net but it seems like it’s not updated very much, so be careful.

Nov. 21: While researching last week’s Tourist Tip about India Palace, I stumbled across a new site I’d not heard of before called CityCoups.Com where they have print-out coupons for dozens of restaurants all over Las Vegas. You can get 10 percent off your mean at India Palace, for example. There are some places on the Strip, too, including 10 percent off a the Harley Davidson Café and coupons for a bunch of those shows at the V Theater at Planet Ho. It’s worth taking a look at what they’ve got to offer, and they also have coupons for Reno, Minneapolis, LA, San Jose, Seattle, Denver, Portland and a few others.

Nov. 14: There’s a new Indian restaurant called Namaste that’s getting a lot of buzz right now because food critic John Curtas says it’s so great. Well, I tried it the other day and it wasn’t all that. The service was terrible, the naan was cold and the food was … fine. So this week’s tip is our recommendation for my favorite Indian restaurant, India Palace. It’s only a few blocks east of the Strip so it’s easier to get to, the prices are lower, they deliver to the hotels and it’s open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. I’m a big fan of the chicken tikka masala, but everything I’ve had there is quite delicious. Find the address and more information at IndiaPalaceLV.Com.

Nov. 9: A very large chunk of the Berlin Wall is on display in the men’s bathroom off from the casino at Main Street Station. That’s not really a fair tip because women can’t visit it, but the hotel actually has several authentic pieces of art, antiques and historic artifacts throughout and if you go to the front desk, you can get a self-guided tour map. The items to see include an actual railcar used by Buffalo Bill, street lamps from 1870s Brussels, a chandelier brought over from the Figaro Opera House in Paris and a wild boar direct from a fountain in Nice, France.

Oct. 27: Local entertainers perform free at the Suncoast Hit Parade show every Thursday at 2 pm at the Suncoast Hotel-Casino in Summerlin. Admission is free to Coast Club members, but that's as easy as signing up, and tickets must be picked up on Mondays at noon for that week's performance. For more information, visit this Suncoast website or call 702/636-7111.

Oct. 20: Las Vegas is the home of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and they meet on the first Monday of every month at 7 pm to discuss magic, teach tricks and listen to lectures. The website seems to imply these gatherings are free, so check out the site here. The meetups are at Boomer's bar. Here's a map.

Oct. 13: Culture around here has taken quite a beating lately, but there is a website,, where you can go if you’re planning a vacation here to see what sort of cultural activities are coming up in Las Vegas and across the state. Among the listings on the site’s easy-to-use calendar are lectures, walking tours and special outings. So it’s worth putting that site on your list of places to check when you’re coming out.

Sept. 3: This one came from Markus Hundt of Germany, whom I met for dinner last night. Markus is a German guidebook writer who came in for the MJ concert and stayed at the Palms and happened by accident upon something called the Pole Position Raceway just west of the Palms at 4175 S. Arville. It’s an indoor motorcart track. For $30, you get to drive at speeds of up to 40 mph around their maze 12 times. You do have to be 4 feet tall to do it, but it looks like a lot of fun and I didn’t know it was there. Call 702-227-7223 or visit the site for more information.

Aug. 30: OK, it may not be such a top secret tip anymore since I wrote all about it in my most recent Las Vegas Weekly column, but if you’re downtown in the evening, you really should go check out the new Firefly at the Plaza inside the glass dome where the Center Stage used to be. It’s terrific food – Spanish tapas although they’ve taken that term off the menu because unknowing tourists were confused and thought it was topless – and you get the best view of Fremont Street and the light show around. What’s more, the dishes cost as little as $4.50 a piece, although you’ll need five or six to share for a group of four. Try the bacon-wrapped dates, my favorite.

Aug. 13: Here's a first for a major Vegas resort company: ShopCaesars.Com. It's a site where visitors can buy all manner of souvenirs from Caesars Palace and Paris Las Vegas -- and at reasonable prices, too. A Paris T-shirt and hat combo for $20? How about a snowglobe that plays Cole Porter for $34? Maybe a $55 Caesars poker chip set? Or, if you really, really miss the scents of Vegas, order up some of the lotion or aftershave balm from the room for $20 a tube! It's a way to save space in the suitcase on the way home or to grab something for someone you forgot about once you return.

Aug. 6: I recently came across TheVegasCabbie Show and I feel like it provides some great tips and insight into the city. The current episode is called Free Shit does offer up some good deals and sometimes on his site he even offers ways to get free rides in his cab. Check it all out here.

July 23: The Bootlegger Bistro is a fun 60-year-od Italian joint open 24 hours a day about 3 miles south of the Mandalay Bay on Las Vegas Boulevard owned by the former lieutenant governor who was also once a lounge singer. The food is great – especially the breakfast menu that they start serving at 11 p.m. -- and on Mondays at 9 p.m., local performer Kelly Clinton hosts celebrity karaoke in which performers from Strip shows as well as aspiring professional entertainers come and sing. Kelly – who is now Clint Holmes’ wife -- did this for years and then stopped for some reason, but as of last month the tradition is back. It’s free and doesn’t really get rocking until after 10 p.m. when performers from Vegas productions are off work and come by for a drink and a song.

July 16: If you love authentic Cuban food, check out the Florida Café, 1401 S Las Vegas Blvd S., inside the Howard Johnson’s Hotel north of the Stratosphere. The hotel is a total dump and a little creepy to park at, but the Cuban sandwiches are terrific. Yum! Check out the website or call 702/385-3013.

July 7: At the appropriately named Poetry Nightclub inside Caesars Palace’s Forum Shops, every Thursday at 9 p.m. they have a “poetic” battle of the sexes they call Testosterone versus Estrogen. That is, men and women read their poetry with a comedian as the emcee and the crowd decides the winners. It’s $5 to get in or free if you’re brave enough to read your work.

July 2: Every Saturday morning from 7-10 a.m., hundreds of classic and exotic car owners and enthusiasts gather in parking lot of a shopping center at 9500 S. Eastern Ave., just south of the 215 for what’s called Coffee and Cars Las Vegas. Participants and spectators are more than welcome to bring their own cup of coffee, but there’s a Le Golosita café and Einstein Bros. Bagels in the strip mall. Check out Las Vegas Cars and Coffee.

June 18: Those Entertainment coupon books that are all over the country have a Vegas version with hundreds of dollars in great deals for tourists as well as locals, and right now you can get the 2009 one for free if you reserve the 2010 one. So that’s both books for $25, a pretty good deal. Thanks to guest host Amy for offering up this suggestion.

June 11: My niece wanted to buy me ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s at the Miracle Mile Shops this past weekend and it cost her $15. Then, while we were eating it, we passed the information kiosk at the mall and they had this booklet for free that provided a 2-for-1 discount on exactly what we were eating! It was an important reminder that before you shop at any of the malls, stop by the information desks and find out what sort of coupons they’re hiding. In this case, the Miracle Mile Shops has a thick book full of two-for-ones at restaurants, bars and shows. It was a great find.

May 28: We often like to spotlight what Vegas entertainers are doing off the Strip, and former Mamma Mia! star Carol Linnea Johnson is now focused on her funky gypsy jazz fusion group Hot Club of Las Vegas, found at HotClubLasVegas.Com. The group appears often around Vegas, next at midnight on June 5 at the Bootlegger Bistro, 7700 Las Vegas Blvd S. as part of the legendary Vegas dive’s regular Midnight Music series. See their site for updates and upcoming dates. Listen to the podcast to hear an 8-minute chat with Johnson about the music, the closure of Mamma Mia and The Lion King. Also, Johnson and her husband are appearing in plays at the Utah Shakespeare Festival this summer in St. George, Utah, and there's info about that, too, at

May 21: It’s really getting hot out there, so here’s one way to cool off: Head to the pool at the Tropicana. It’s beautiful, the deep end is actually deep – 8 feet, which is about double the depth of any other pool on the Strip these days – and it’s free and open to the public. There’s no guards stopping people from walking in, nor can there be because of the swim-up blackjack tables. So enjoy.

May 7: For those drawn to car festivals, Las Vegas hardly disappoints – especially in the spring. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway, beyond its schedule of NASCAR races and the like, also hosts the Las Vegas Speed Spectacular Car Show from May 15-17, which includes a vintage car show and “nostalgia” drag racing featuring nitro-funny cars. Day passes start at $19. Then, from June 5-7, the Fremont Street Experience hosts the Vegas Groovy Cruise, an annual gathering and drive for owners and admirers which this year focuses on classic 1969 vehicles in honor of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. But beyond that, there are several model-specific classic-car gatherings that take place throughout the year all over the Las Vegas region. See Lasvegascarshows.Com for a calendar.

April 30: Rounding out a food-filled show, this one seems appropriate. If you haven’t heard about Restaurant.Com yet, you need to know about it. A friend in Minneapolis pointed me to this website where you buy gift certificates to restaurants at a discount. For example, you can buy yourself a $25 gift certificate to Ago at Hard Rock or Border Grill or RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay for $10. You buy it, print it out and bring it in. There are some restrictions – different restaurants have minimum bills or times or days when the certificates can be used. But the site is free to use and they have nearly 200 restaurants around Las Vegas and thousands across the U.S.

April 16: If you’re looking for a new place to see the valley from a unique perspective, drive out east to the Eastside Cannery on Boulder Highway to grab a drink at the One Six Sky Lounge. The space, on the 16th floor of the new hotel-casino – get it? One Six? -- is really pretty and offers one of the only views of the valley from the east side, so it’s a great place to go watch the sunset over the Strip and western mountains. Also, on Fridays from 5-8 pm they do an event with free food, half-priced martinis and giveaways. Drinks are normally between $5-$8, not bad these days. The OneSix Club is at 5255 Boulder Highway and there’s no cover charge. And here, in case you need a testimonial from someone else, is the best reason to check it out, according to someone on Yelp.Com: "No typical club douche bags or trendy hipsters who are too cool to do anything other than sit and clog up the bar with their Mojitos."

April 9: This past weekend, working on a travel piece for a major newspaper, I made the most charming discovery, a gorgeously appointed and affordable bed and breakfast in adorable downtown Boulder City called Milo’s Inn. The reason it’s a tourist tip is that the rooms are all $99 through May and, also, it’s the only legally licensed B&B in Clark County. (It may not say it on the site, but the innkeeper, Karen, sent me an email confirming this.) They have four rooms, each with beautiful tile floors and marble bathroom furnishings, and breakfast was perhaps the best I’ve had in a while. Silver dollar pancakes to die for! So take a moment out of your Vegas trip to hang out in quaint Boulder City and stay at Milo’s.

April 2: We hear all the time from Vegas visitors who want to get off the Strip and outside into local nature. Sure, you can drive yourself to Red Rock or Valley of Fire, but then you’re on your own and you might not know where to go or what to do. Well, those of you out there interested in birding or just taking unusual routes should check out the free hikes offered by the Red Rock Audubon Society. There are three coming up, on April 9, May 2 and June 4, which take you into areas where you can see owls, songbirds and other feathered friends and hobnob with locals. While they’re free, you need to call and reserve your space and check out the schedule at RedRockAudubon.Com.

March 26: Onda, the Italian restaurant at the Mirage, is a very pretty space that offers the Onda Wine Lounge’s Rush Hour, a free wine tasting experience every Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. Also worth noting is that Fleur de Lys at Mandalay Bay has free gourmet snacks along with 2-for-1 drinks during “Flower Hour” from 5-6:30 pm on Fridays. Not quite free, but probably a good deal. And at Red Square at Mandalay Bay, they offer CaviHour every day from 4-6 pm in which you get a free ounce of caviar for every two Imperia vodka drinks ordered. So that’s three tips, although the Onda one seems like the best because it’s free with no strings attached.

March 8: If you haven’t heard of BiddingForGood.Com, it’s a really interesting way to buy Vegas-related travel and donate money to good causes across the nation. That’s the site that KNPR in Las Vegas just used for it online fundraiser auction, and while I was on the site I realized loads of causes auction off Vegas stuff. For instance, as we record this, a hospital in New York is selling raffle tickets to win a golfing trip that includes a stay at the Wynn and roundtrip airfare for four and a school in Louisiana is auctioning a Vegas vacation. And there’s other interesting offers. Check it out but make certain before you bid that it’s something you can use from wherever you are. That is, if there are plane tickets involved, they may only go from the city where the auction is taking place. Also, if you’re interested in other cities, you can search for auction items involving those, too. Happy bidding.

Feb. 12: The Center for Gaming Research at UNLV offers something called the Gaming Research Colloquium Series. It’s a monthly lecture by visiting scholars, faculty and invited guests on gambling and Vegas-centric topics. The free one-hour talks occur on Thursdays from 12:15 to 1:15 pm in the Special Collections Reading Room in Lied Library. These are talks that should be of interest to listeners of this program – the most recent one was a law student’s theory on why the mob did NOT run Las Vegas, this month’s talk will be about the art of managing casino games and March’s talk will be on the sociology of poker players. It’s a great opportunity to get off the Strip and check out the special collections at UNLV, which have all sorts of Vegas history artifacts, and to meet Dave Schwartz, the center’s director and the author of several important books on Vegas history. Oh – and one more thing! All of these talks are available as podcasts! For more information on the series here and the podcast here.

Jan. 29: We had heard a rumor about this and it turns out, it’s true: Aviation buffs can park their cars in a small lot on the south boundary of McCarran International Airport, tune into 88.5 FM or 101.9 FM and eavesdrop on the air traffic control chatter. Kinda fun to do.

Jan. 22: Dana Montgomery of Salem, Ore. offered this one: “We wanted to have an authentic Vegas experience and not pay a lot of money, so we went to see a performance at the Las Vegas Little Theater last year and it was amazingly good. The show we saw was called Bleacher Bums, but they’ve got different things going on all the time. It’s a cute, small community theater but it’s also right in Chinatown, so you can go to that Japanese place you mentioned last week and then take in a show. The tickets are only about $20, and it’s really fun.” Indeed, we, too, can recommend the LVLT, although like any community theater, some shows are really good and others are not. If you’re interested when you’re in town, the best thing to do is to check their site and then Google the current show and the name Anthony Del Valle to find the R-J critic's take. The LVLT is at 3920 Schiff Drive in Las Vegas which is, as Dana wrote, off Spring Mountain in Chinatown about two miles west of the Strip. The website is

Jan. 8: Heather in Chicago wrote offering what seemed like a terrific bit of insider information, a new hole-in-the-wall Japanese place called Raku just west of the Strip that specializes in $2-$5 dishes small dishes. "The agadashi tofu was one of the most amazing things I've ever eaten, a saucer-sized disk of pillowy tofu, lightly fried and in this delicious broth," she wrote. "My husband despises tofu and said it was one of the best things he's ever eaten." Then the next day, there was a blurb in Norm Clarke's R-J column about how John Curtas, the KNPR food critic, decided this was the best new restaurant in Vegas. So I don’t know how top secret this is, but it’s clearly a very good tourist tip. Heather also urged folks to make reservations as several parties were turned away at the door when she was there. Raku is at 5030 W. Spring Mountain Rd. #2. The phone is 702/367.3511. From what I can tell, there’s no website.

Jan. 1: There’s a kiosk at the Fashion Show Mall right outside of Nieman Marcus for Wynn and Encore where you can win free stuff at the Wynn or Encore resorts. All you have to do is ask the attendant for a pull-off contest card. You pull a tab and win! I did it twice and won a $10 credit at Sugar and Ice, the dessert place at Wynn, and a $50 of slot play. You take your card to the Wynn Red Card desk, which is their players’ club desk inside the casino, and they give you your prize. If you’re not a Red Card member, you have to sign up. It’s unclear how many times you can win, but it’s free stuff either way and everyone wins something. The only trick is that if you pull off more than one tab, it’s totally invalid. It’s also unclear how long they’ll be giving away these pull-off cards. Find more info about these kiosks here.

Dec. 25: this one comes from Markus in Germany, who visited a few weeks ago and signed himself up for a Vegas foreclosure tour. He gave it rave reviews. Basically, the Re/Max realtors have created a free three-hour bus tour – and every one is different – that takes you to neighborhoods hit by foreclosure. Markus reported that for the most part, they were homes in nice, interesting areas of town and there was no hard-sell sales pitch. They run them Sundays at 12:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. while Markus said he was the only tourist he saw on his tour, the ReMax folks are clearly hoping for out-of-towners, too – and by out-of-towners, we may mean foreigners. The website for – TourVegasHomes.Com – indicates that every tour includes a Chinese-speaking agent. The only downside is that you do have to get yourself to the pickup location, 8400 West Sahara Ave., which his about 7 miles west of the Strip.

Dec. 4: This one comes from listener Henry Thibideaux of Vancouver, B.C., who wanted us to know that folks can get their photo taken with the $1 million at Binion’s for free just by joining the Binion’s Players Club. It’s $20 for non-members and they were charging everyone since they brought back the fixture of the old Binion’s. I went down to check it out this afternoon and it’s true. You get a coupon for your photo and a deck of Binion’s cards when you sign up. The coupon says the offer expires Dec. 28, but the guy at the desk said he understands they’ll be doing it after that, too. Also, when you sign up and get your photo taken, you get a page of coupons that includes 2-for-1 meals at the Coffee shop as well as some slot play and drink specials. The only downside is that they make you wait a half hour to pick up your photo. Dirty little trick, but worth it. Check out my shot on the blog by clicking here.

Nov. 28: Down at theTown Square Mall, they do something called Snow in the Square – a 15-minute outdoor snowstorm -- at 7 pm Mon-Thurs and at 7 and 8 pm Fri, Sat and Sunday through the holidays . But what’s even more interesting is their “shop, stay and shuttle” program where you get free shuttle service, a $50 gift card and a coupon book for Town Square if you stay at the participating Fairfield Inn, the Residence Inn or the Courtyard Marriotts near the Strip linked to here. Next year, they’re adding a new Hampton Inn and a Hilton Homewood Suites to the list. You must book your rooms using the special code, SHO, and it’s easiest if you do it by clicking on the hotel links found here. Details of other Town Square events and activities, including other holiday-related events, is here.

Nov. 20: We often like to tell listeners about ways they can experience the talents of performers on the Strip in other venues for a lot less money. Well, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, “Jersey Boys” pianist Philip Fortenberry performs an hour-long concert at the Liberace Museum. Fortenberry is a veteran of several musicals in New York and London, including Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar and Seussical the Musical, and he’s performed at Carnegie Hall and at the White House. He moved to Vegas to perform in Mamma Mia! and stayed for We Will Rock You, Hairspray and Phantom of the Opera. Fortenberry’s shows cost $17 a person. For more information, click here.

Nov. 13: If you've got an iPod Touch or iPhone and you love Las Vegas, shell out the $4.95 for's VegasMate application. It knows where you are and can suggest restaurants, hotels and more. Plus, you and other users can write reviews. It's a portable, constantly updated guidebook. Hear the Tourist Tip section of the Nov. 13 show to hear RateVegas's Hunter Hillegas explain it all and to find out more, click here.

Oct. 30: Mike Kurban of Las Vegas offers free tours of the Out of This World Paranormal Museum, which is actually just his home east of the Strip where he has a collection of hundreds of strange paranormal objects. They include an antique Ouija board, Voodoo dolls, a Masonic amulet and the Bible that Kurban says he used to perform four weddings on the Jerry Springer Show. There are exhibits on every wall of his home, including the bathrooms. Kurban describes himself as a medium, a psychic healer, an improv performer and a relationship expert. There’s a virtual YouTube tour you can find here and Mike can be reached to make appointments at 702-457-1377 or via thirdeyemike[at]

Oct. 23: Over at Miles’ favorite place, the Riviera, they’ve got an interesting deal going. If you enroll in their player’s club and show a copy of a current airline ticket, you get a free pass for the breakfast or lunch buffet. That’s a $12 value either way.

Oct. 16: It is highly unlikely that this one will be marketed to tourists, but it really should be. The Las Vegas Art Museum, which is at 9600 W. Sahara inside the West Sahara Library, is quite a haul and they usually do modern art and paintings and stuff. But from Oct. 25 to Nov. 30, they’re doing a show of 360-degree pictures shot around Las Vegas by Thomas Schiff, a Cincinnati photographer who is also releasing a book called… Vegas 360. The book has 77 images, the art museum show has 20. The pictures are taken with a custom-made camera using special film and mounted on a tripod that rotates. I’ve seen some of the pictures and they’re incredible cool. Here's a link some of the images and here's one for the show at the museum. The book isn’t listed yet on Amazon.Com, but it also contains essays on Vegas by a number of local writers including Dave Hickey. It will be on sale at the museum for $39.95 and would make a great holiday – or Friessmas! -- gift.

Oct. 2: Magic lovers can head down to Boomers, 3200 Sirius Ave., at 10 pm Wednesdays for gatherings of Darwin's Magic Club, a group of illusionists who show one another tricks and hang out. Listen to this explanation of what it is from the Gamblers Book Shop podcast. Here's a map of Boomers and here's a link to some information about Darwin's Magic Club.

Sept. 25: We’ve spoken before about the car collection owned by Jim Rogers, owner of Sunbelt Communications, but I just learned that there’s also an auto museum out by Boulder City at the St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. If you happen to be on your way to the Hoover Dam, you’ve seen the Ranch as you drive and it’s worth stopping in. St. Jude’s is a shelter for abandoned, abused and neglected children and they have a small auto museum on the campus that includes one of Elvis Presley’s old cars and a 1929 Isotta Franschini Tipo 8A Castanga Roadster among others. It’s free and open for certain from 10 am to 2 pm on Fridays but also usually it’s open from 9 am to noon weekdays, so call ahead. You can also have a tour of the property. For more information, visit the St. Jude’s website or call 702-294-7100 and follow the voicemail system to the Boulder City site administration.

Sept. 18: This one comes from Bob K, who wrote in to mention it when we did the poll recently on where to go get rip-roaring drunk. Bob pointed us to a section on the SpyOnVegas.Com website where they feature a different club or bar in Las Vegas every night Monday through Thursday that is giving away a specific drink starting at 6 p.m. until they run out. For example, this Wednesday they have an event at Brio at Town Center where they’re giving away St. Francis wine. The deals change every week, so be sure to go here.

Sept. 11: While it would seem strange to come to a place like Las Vegas and then go to the movies, there are two regular free movie activities related to casinos that might make it worthwhile. First, over at the Mandalay Bay on the second and fourth Fridays of the month at 9 p.m., they put up a huge screen over the Mandalay Beach and show free flicks – this month they’re showing Ferris Bueller on 9/12 and American Pie on 9/26. It’s free and open to anyone, not just Mandalay Bay hotel guests, so this is a rare opportunity to hang out at the beach and float in the wave pool. They’ll also have movies in October 2008 and then they’ll stop for the winter before revving up again when the weather improves in the spring 2009. They provide towels and chairs and guests can also play volleyball and ping pong. You do, however, have to be 21 or older to go. For families, though, there’s the Outdoor Picture Show at the District at the Green Valley Ranch resort in Henderson. They offer free films at 8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday unless there’s bad weather all year round. The films are usually G or PG rated, but it’s a fun chance to watch the movies outdoors and check out the restaurants and shopping down there as well. Find more information about the Dive-In Movies here and the Outdoor Picture Show here.

Aug 19: If you’re in Vegas Sept. 1-7, some of the best restaurants in Vegas are offering specially priced fixed-price meals as a benefit for Three Square, a local homeless charity. For that one week, lunches are $25.08 and dinners are $50.08, with a portion of the proceeds going to the cause. There are nearly 100 restaurants on and off the Strip participating, some for lunch, some for dinner and some for both, and they include some of the biggest ones where these prices are remarkable deals like Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Nobhill, Craftsteak, Rao's, Maggiano's Little Italy and Olives. In addition, over at MGM Grand during this week there are some special events including a $15-per-person sake tasting event at Shibuya that starts at 11 p.m. on Wednesday and a $15-per-person Tequila tasting event at Diego starting at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday. Here's the link to the list of restaurants and the menus for this event.

Aug. 14: This week’s tip actually comes from guest host Amy Turner who always takes her guests to a terrific little hole in the wall called Love-It Frozen Custard. Yes, it's been out there. But there’s some breaking news here, too. Luv-It is going to be open seven days a week starting Sept. 7, 2008! They used to close Sundays and Mondays. Luv-It is an over-the-counter homemade custard place with traditional flavors and usually some specialty flavor. It opens at 1 pm every day and closes at 10 pm Sun-Thurs, 11 pm on Fri-Sat. It is in a dodgy neighborhood just east of the downtown area at 505 E. Oakey. The website says it’s walkable from the Stratosphere, but we don’t recommend that. See more about it at its website which can be found here.

Aug 7: My favorite foreign candy is Maynard’s wine gums, a tart, fruity candy from London that I discovered in 2001 when some British friends brought them back to China where we were living. I mentioned this a while back and how it’s hard to find that stuff in Vegas on the show and a listener sent us this link to Brian’s British Foods at 3375 S. Decatur Blvd, about 3 miles west of the Strip. They’ve got 750 imported foods. And no, I’m not getting free wine gums for saying this. Their website also allows folks to mail-order. They’re open 10-6 seven days a week, and phone is 702/579-7777.

July 31: Time and again at this year's Chip Collectors Convention, I asked folks where in Vegas they went for their stuff and they said the Broadacres Swap Meet in North Las Vegas. Billed as Nevada’s oldest and largest open-air swap meet – we called them flea markets on Long Island – it sits on 41 acres of land including 20 acres of paved parking and features 1,150 vendor spaces. There’s also six restaurants serving BBQ, Mexican, pizza, Japanese and burgers, plus there are four beer stands, three lemonade stands and more. And, from what we understand from the experts, there’s just a ton of great Vegas stuff as well as all sorts of other bargains. They open at 6 am on the three days they’re open, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays. On Fridays, they close at 3 p.m, Sat/Sun they close at 4 p.m. Admission is 50 cents on Fridays and $1 on Sat-Sun for adults, free for kids under 12. The swamp meet is at 2930 North Las Vegas Blvd, about 8 miles north of the Strip. Find info and a map here.

July 24: If you go to the cash register area at certain shops at certain malls on the Strip, you can find free passes into some of top nightclubs. Among those stores are Metro Park and Marciano at Fashion Show, Ted Baker and BeBe at Forum Shops and Marcianos and BeBe at the Miracle Mile Shops. When I went in, there were free tickets to get into The Bank at Bellagio and Jet at Mirage. That can be worth $20 or more, so if you’re at the mall and you plan to go out while you’re here, go check it out.

July 17: Amy of GritstoGlitz.Com pointed the way to what's probably the most affordable Wolfgang Puck restaurant in the world, his Springs Preserve Café just off the Strip at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. Seriously, the food is quite excellent and portions quite generous – the Chinese chicken salad is a favorite – and the view of the Springs Preserve and the city are terrific, too. The Puck restaurant at the Springs Preseve is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Here's a link, from which you can get directions and a copy of the menu. There's really no need to make a reservation and you don't have to pay admission to the Springs Preserve to dine here. The phone # is 702/822-8716.

July 3: We strongly recommend our listeners head downtown to a really awesome new store called Retro Vegas, 1211 S. Main St. The owner was the director of the Atomic Testing Museum and he's opened a store full of intriguing Vegas furniture artifacts like a couch from Siegfried & Roy's dressing room and stuff like that. The shop is open Mon-Sat, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the phone number is 702/384-2700.

June 26: Hey everyone, the malls are giving away free stuff. All you have to do is follow this link to download a printable coupon that you can bring to various places in seven Vegas area malls for free coupon books and gifts. Its some sort of promotion through the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, but not only did I never hear of it before but neither did the spokeswoman at the LVCVA I called to ask about it. The Shop Vegas passport gets you something at the Grand Canal Shops, Fashion Show Mall, Las Vegas Outlet Center, Forum Shops, Miracle Mile Shops, Fashion Outles and the Las Vegas Premium Outlets.

June 19: This one responds to a question from Gary and Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota, who wrote in to ask whether there are any regular showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in Las Vegas. The answer is, yes. The Onyx Theater inside Commercial Center at 953 E. Sahara Ave., offers showings on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month at 11:30 p.m. for $10 a person. They have a whole cast that acts out the show while the film is playing on the screen and they have free “prop kits” available for audience members. Each go-around has a theme – this coming weekend, for instance, is Goth night and they’ll have prizes for the best Goth male and female costumes. The event has a website, DivineDecadence.Org. Attendees under age 17 must be accompanied by an adult. And, so you know, fair warning, the Onyx is in the back of the Rack, a sex-toys shop.

June 5: Everybody knows about the classic cars on display at the Imperial Palace, but few know about the Sunbelt Classic and Antique Auto Museum that is owned and operated by the owner of Miles’ TV station, Jim Rogers and Sunbelt Communications. Rogers is a classic car collector – we even got to drive one in a Helldorado Parade in 2005 – and he’s got 300 restored vehicles on display. Tourists can come and see them for free by appointment only. They generally require tour groups of five or more, but you can call Mike at 702-649-0110 and find out if there are tours already scheduled for any point during your Vegas trip. Or find some new friends at your hotel bar and make a plan. They museum is open Mon-Fri except holidays starting as early as 6 a.m. at 1420 Gragson St. north of downtown, but again you cannot just show up. You must have an appointment. You can find out more at the museum’s website,

May 29: This one’s totally free – and more intended for those of you who can’t make it to Vegas any time soon. The Las Vegas Sun’s amazing new website now has an expansive new section at that you really must spend a little time with. The wildest feature is an interactive historical map of the Vegas region where you pick the date and it will show you, say, the Strip as it was at that time. Then you can click on each resort or place and get a pop-up with historical and profile data about the place. In other words, look at it in 2000 and you find the Desert Inn. Look at it in 2005, you find the Wynn. There’s also an expertly produced, TV-quality 11-part decade-by-decade documentary about Las Vegas, implosion videos, hundreds of old Sun stories from the archives that illustrate various historical moments, a virtual tour of the Neon Boneyard and audio testimonials from the likes of the late Benny Binion and late Sam Boyd. The depth of this feature is breathtaking, with more promised to come. Make some time to play around with it.

May 22: We know from our interviews with many chefs that Las Vegas tourists love their meat. Well, there’s an amazing little Brazilian restaurant on Paradise called Yolie’s that offers some excellent meats at a remarkably good deal. Thirty-five bucks per person during dinner hours gets you a salad or soup, potatoes, polenta, beans and rice, vegetables AND an all-you-can-eat helping of seven different meats: Turkey Wrapped in Bacon, Young Spring Chicken, Home Made Sausage, Trip tip of Beef, Top Sirloin of Beef, Tenderloin of Pork, Leg of Baby Lamb. Servers come by constantly to slide pieces off skewers until you’re done. That’s a really great deal, but the lunch deal may be even better. For $14.95 per person, you get all the same sides with only four meats, sausage, chicken, pork and beef. Yolie’s is in the same shopping plaza as Firefly and Ruth’s Chris at 3900 Paradise Road, just north of Flamingo. They’re open for lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am – 2 pm, dinner daily from 5-11 pm. Call 702-794-0700 for a reservation or see the menu here.

May 15: As summer and a recession is upon us, the casinoes are trying to bring you in with free music. Over at the Orleans, they're having free jazz concerts by the pool every Friday from 7-10 p.m. through June 13. Find more on that here. And at Green Valley Ranch, they're offering free jazz concerts every Wednesday through August at 6-9 p.m. by the pool, Whiskey Beach. The GVR offer is particularly attractive because the pool region there is beautiful. Find out more on that here.

May 1: This one was something I discovered about an hour ago. The lobbies of the Palazzo and Venetian offer free wireless Internet. That could be pretty useful if you're walking around and really need to check something on your laptop. Saved my butt for this week's show!

April 24: This tip comes from Charles in Richmond, Va., who wrote: "While booking a room at the Flamingo last fall and seeing if I had enough player points to get a discount -- I didn't -- the reservation agent asked if I was over 50. I never realized that the casino hotels had a senior discount. Maybe at 56 I still don't think of myself as a senior. The senior discount cut the room cost in half. For listeners over 50, skip the Internet and call the reservation number and ask." UPDATE: This may only work at certain Harrah's properties. We've confirmed Bally's has a senior discount for Sun-Thurs as well but Caesars and Paris do not. Calls to MGM Mirage and Wynn indicate they do not offer such a discount. Check back for further updates.

April 17: It’s with a very heavy heart that we note that the Guggenheim at the Venetian is about to close. But, it’s also a terrific opportunity because from now until May 11, 2008, there’s no fee for admission! Woo hoo! So get over there to check out the Modern Masters collection, which includes works from Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Chagall and many more. It’s a pretty good bet there’ll be some excellent closing-out sales at the museum gift shop, too. So check it out. The museum is right off the main entrance hall near the Venetian’s lobby.

April 10: We do so love free music, don’t we. And it turns out there are not one but FOUR free “dueling pianos” offerings in Vegas. – at the Piano Bar at Harrah’s Las Vegas, at the TI’s Kahunaville restaurant, at The Bar at Times Square at New York-New York and at South Point in the Del Mar Lounge. In each of these, pianists play and the audience are the judges. It’s nightly at Harrah’s starting at 9 pm, nightly at Kahunaville at 9:30 pm, nightly starting at 8 at The Bar at New York-New York and Thurs-Sat starting at 9:30 pm at the South Point. Check it out. It’s free.

April 3: If you’re going to be in Las Vegas on May 1 and you love to eat, you really should take the mild splurge and go to the Epicurean Affair event at the Flamingo. For $125, you get to taste something from more than 100 Las Vegas restaurants and bars, including several of our favorites like Craftsteak, Mesa Grill, Aureole and… Maggiano’s Little Italy! (No Rao’s, by the way.) Also, there’s plenty to drink, too. Not clear whether that part is included in the ticket price. The event is put on by the Nevada Restaurant Association and is not a charitable event, but it’s a really terrific deal. You can pay $150 to be part of a VIP group that gets to go in an hour before everyone else. Otherwise, it starts at 7:30 p.m. Groups of 10 can get in for $100 a piece. Tickets are available through this link or by calling 702/878-2313.

March 13: Since we’re on such a high-culture kick this week with Maya Lin and all, it seemed like the right time to mention that the Las Vegas News Bureau is putting on a pretty interesting display from March 14 through May 30 of its vintage Vegas photos of Latino entertainers throughout the city’s history at the Hispanic Museum of Nevada. Didn’t know one existed? Neither did we. It’s in the lobby of the Embarq building at 330 S. Valley View Boulevard, and the photo gallery can be seen from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday. So it’s right near the Las Vegas Springs Preserve and if you’re heading that way, it's always fun to look at these old pictures. The museum has a website, of course, which is HispanicMuseumNV.Com. The exhibit, appropriately enough, is called Viva Las Vegas.

March 6: From March 10-14 and then again in September is the semiannual National Wine Week and, in honor of that, the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse on the Strip is offering a terrific deal: $10 on top of your lunch tab between 11:30 am and 2:30 pm gets you 10 glasses of different wines. The list of wine choices changes each day, and those lists are available on the restaurant's website. Note that this is apparently a semi-annual event and it seems that they probably also do it in mid-September as well, so it seems like a good idea to go to their website and sign up for their email blasts so you'll know. Smith & Wollensky is located at 3767 South Las Vegas Boulevard, across the street from Monte Carlo. The phone is 702/862-4100. Reservations are recommended.

Feb. 28: Some travel agents are now able to help tourists book rooms that otherwise would otherwise only be available to time-share investors -- and sometimes at astonishingly low rates, like $80-$90 a night at Polo Towers, for instance. Contact Terry Wilsey, 702/731-2114 or email him at

Feb. 21: Many of you probably don’t have the $100 a seat to spend on Bette Midler’s “The Showgirl Must Go On” or the good fortune of getting comped in like our friend Amy. The good news is, you can hear part of the show for free! OK, it’s not the Bette part, but still. Six members of Bette’s 14-piece band make up a separate band called Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns, a weekly lounge act at the Palms. In fact, it was at The Lounge at the Palms – that’s the name of the lounge! – is where Bette herself discovered the musicians and recruited them into her show. Each member of the group, it should be said, has some connection to music-biz royalty, from the trombone player who worked with Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis to the trumpeter whose dad was a composer, pianist and music director for Frank Sinatra. In addition to their steady Strip gig, they plan to continue their shows at 10:30 pm on Monday nights at the Palms. Check the group out here.

Feb. 14: A very useful and convenient service that has been around for a little while has recently been expanded, so it seems worthwhile to mention particularly since its seen such low usage. Passengers on Delta, US Airways, Southwest and United are now able to check up to three bags at Airport SpeedCheck Advance kiosks at the Luxor, the Venetian, the Las Vegas Convention Center and the McCarran Rent-a-Car Center for $20. This is great for folks who have to get out of their rooms but still have a full day ahead before they fly out. It also can help reduce the lines at the airport. McCarran hopes to see 10 percent, or 7,000, of the 70,000 outbound bags each day checked through these off-site locations, but right now the average is only 1,600 a MONTH. So $20 isn’t much for the convenience and the ability to go directly to the gate when you get to McCarran.

Feb. 7: On the heels of very sad news this week that the offbeat bookstore The Reading Room at Mandalay Bay is closing, it seemed like a good time to mention that those literary types among you should be aware that the Vegas region is home to about 20 used bookstores. How can you find them? There’s a great website called, of course, set up by an association of small bookshop owners in the area. The reason we even know? One day I was driving about a mile west of the Strip and I spotted, in an unassuming little strip mall at Oakey and Western, a charming little place called Greyhound Books. The owner told me about the website. So check it out. Happy reading!

Jan. 24: Las Vegas City Hall has a free Archival Walking Tour in a room next to the first-floor offices of the City Clerk. It’s not much, but kinda fun, a collection of 40 Vegas municipal artifacts including a case full of Oscar Goodman bobbleheads, a 1959 map of the city and the city budget from 1923. There's even have a brochure for a self-guided tour. Go into the clerk’s office and tell them you heard about this and someone will let you in. City Hall is at 400 Stewart Avenue and is open 9-5 M-F except holidays. Here's a map.

Jan. 17: Miles had often said he wanted to try the "nicest suite available at the Sahara." So, for a mere $185 a night, we stayed there on the Saturday after his 36th birthday in the end-of-the-hall suite on the 10th floor of the Alexandria Tower. It turned out to be terrific value, if an imperfect experience. (The elevator and parking garage were particularly iffy, the TVs tiny and sad.) Our suite had lots of space and nice clean furniture, offered an outdoor balcony with a view of the Strip and sits right off the MonoFail, providing access to posher points south. And it looks like the most they ever charge for it is $419 during – surprise! – NASCAR week in March. Otherwise, it’s usually about $200-$250, even on Saturday nights. So go to SaharaCasino.Com and check it out.

Jan. 10: Many tourists are vaguely aware of Mount Charleston, the 11,000-foot mountain about 40 minutes northwest of Las Vegas. But I just discovered that during the winter, they actually offer sleigh rides! You and the family can pile onto a wooden sleigh drawn by a pair of horses for a 20-minute ride through the beautiful trails of the snowy mountain forest. It’s $20 for adults, $10 for kids and it’s operated by the Mount Charleston Lodge, which are also the folks to run the really lousy German restaurant at the top of the mountain, too. After winter, they also run coach rides through the same region. For reservations and information, call 702/596-6715 or visit this link.

Jan. 3: Sometimes, this being Vegas, you drink a little too much. And usually, it doesn’t matter because you’re on the Strip and you can get a cab. But suppose you’ve driven your own rental car and you don’t want to have to go back and get it later or you’re afraid you won’t even remember where you left it? That’s where Designated Drivers comes in. For $50 plus mileage after the first 10 miles, they’ll come and drive you in your own car to wherever you need to go. They promise to arrive in 30 minutes or less and they work 24 hours a day. The number to remember is 702-456-RIDE. Or visit their Website at And, although it’s too late this time, on New Year’s Eve the offer their services for free courtesy of UNLV’s Safe Community Partnership and the Designated Drivers program through a grant from the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety.

Dec. 27: Rob and "Stagedoor" Suzie, two loyal fans from Broward County, Fla., joined us in the studio to rave about this pizza place that’s kind of famous called Grimaldi’s, an offshoot of a famous New York institution where Sinatra and Bill Cosby ate and which has been named the best pizzeria in New Yrok by Zagat’s seven times. It’s a bit of a hike from the Strip, far south on Eastern Avenue, but worth the trip for the coal-fired oven-baked pizza. Grimaldi's is in the Richmar Plaza shopping center, 9595 S. Eastern Ave. Call 702/657-9400. Here's the site and map.

Dec. 13: The Palace Station will now and forever be known as the place where that OJ thing happened, of course. But there’s actually a reason to go there now that gifted and acclaimed pianist Wes Winters has started performing every Monday night for 5 and 7:30 pm seatings at the Pasta Palace. It’s actually a decent Italian restaurant, but the attraction here is Winters, whose day job is as a Liberace tribute artist at the Liberace Museum. In this gig, Winters does a classic Vegas lounge act, playing Sinatra and Elvis and others. Diners pay $20 for the entertainment and a three-course meal that includes a list of entrée choices. It really is a terrific deal. See PalaceStation.Com for more information.

Dec. 6: Over at the Fashion Show Mall, they’ve got a surprisingly entertaining holiday-themed show that goes off four times a day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the Fashion Show runway. Santa and about a dozen green female elves dance and give out candy canes and there’s even a surprise only-in-a-Vegas-mall ending we don’t want to give away. So go over to the mall if you’re here Friday, Saturday or Sunday at noon, 2, 4 and 6. The Fashion Show Mall is on the Strip across the street from the Wynn.

Nov. 29: You might recall I covered the casino chip collectors convention last summer. Well, it turns out you don’t have to wait for the once-a-year event to meet others who love Vegas history and artifacts. The Southern Nevada Casino Collectibles Club meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Leatherneck Club, 4360 Spring Mountain Road. They have drawings where they give away chips, there are trades and contests. Non-members are welcome to check it out. Email Jerry O’Neal at for more information or just show up. They say between 40-60 people come each month. There isn’t really a functional website for the group, so here's a link to a Google map for the Leatherneck Club.

Nov. 22: There are lots of things coming up in Las Vegas for Christmastime, but nothing is quite as fun or delicious as the Chocolate Wonderland at Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens, open through Jan. 1. They’ve decked their three-acre cactus garden with 500,000 lights for holiday cheer, and inside the factory they’ve got holiday-themed chocolate sculptures galore. And, as always, visitors to the chocolate factory get free samples. The lights are on in the cactus garden is open from sundown to 10 pm seven days a week except for Christmas Day. The factory itself is open for free tours from 8:30 a.m. to 7 pm daily. Click here for a map and more iinformation.

Nov. 15: For a mere $13 a person, tourists can ride on the floats that roam over the casino at the Rio All-Suite Hotel-Casino during the hourly Masquerade Show in the Sky. They give you these funny costumes to wear and take your pictures and it's a really fun, unique way to enjoy the experience. As of Nov. 19, incidentally, the show's hours will change to top-of-the-hour from 6 pm to midnight, seven days a week. There are 25 seats available for each show. Click here for more information on getting tickets.

Nov. 8: The 2008 American Casino Guide by Steve Bourie is now out and if you haven’t heard of it, you need to get it. Bourie is a widely quoted gambling expert whose annual guide gives you everything you need to know about just about every aspect of casinos. Plus, there’s a healthy section in there with coupons – 2-for-1s for meals, gambling credits, that sort of thing. The book only costs $12 on Amazon.Com, which is a total steal. Pick one up and get one for friends for the holidays. Oh, and I don’t personally know Bourie, so I’ve got no conflict of interest on this one.

Nov. 1: Our listeners are fascinated by Vegas history, such as it is, and although this isn’t a city of Civil War-era Victorians or century-old saltboxes, there is some interesting housing architecture around. Last summer, for a promotion for his real estate business, Jack LeVine of Keller-Williams realty created the Very Vintage Vegas tour. The idea was that people were challenged to follow a route he created and photograph as many of the old homes on the list as they could, then enter a drawing for a prize. The contest is over, but the self-guided tour remains online in three parts, part ONE, part TWO and part THREE. You can hear Jack explain the tour and some of the highlights at the very end of the Nov. 1 show by clicking here.

Oct. 25: You don’t generally expect to find much in the way of culture down in Henderson, but through March 2, the city’s Department of Cultural Arts and Tourism is presenting a special interactive exhibit at the Henderson Events Plaza, 60 replicas of scientific devices developed by Leonardo da Vinci. The Da Vinci Experience is on loan from the Museum of the History of Science in Florence, Italy, and includes models of a hang glider, a bicycle, a double-hull boat, an air-screw, a robot, a chamber of mirrors and a movable bridge, among others. There’s also a 10-minute bio video about Da Vinci. The Henderson Events Plaza is in downtown Henderson at 200 Water Street and is open Sun-Thurs 9 am – 6 pm, Fri-Sat, 10 am – 8 pm. Tickets are $17 for adults, $12 for students, military. Call 702/267.2171 or visit this link for more information.

Oct. 18: The popular website TravelZoo.Com recently added a page listing cheap show ticket deals, launching the section with info for two cities – New York and Vegas. Right now they’ve got half-price seats for Mamma Mia! and Phantom as well as free upgrades for Le Reve and Spamalot for tickets bought by Oct. 31 for performances through the end of the year. They are deals that are offered elsewhere – nothing exclusive to TravelZoo so far as I can tell – but it’s all in one place and I suspect there will be more as time goes on. It certainly seems like a good place to start when looking for a Vegas show. Thanks to Sparky in Vegas for that tip.

Oct. 11: Nevada Day is coming up, and that means that the wacky neurosurgeon and former lieutenant governor Dr. Lonnie Hammargren will be opening up his bizarre house full of weird artifacts of American pop culture and Las Vegas history to the public as he always does. If you’re here on Oct. 28, you must go between 1 and 5 pm to walk through this monstrosity - he calls it the Hammargren Home of Nevada History or the Principality of Paradise -- at 4318 Ridgecrest Drive, just south of the intersection of South Sandhill and East Flamingo. It's free and it's a riot. The guy's got all sorts of fun things to gawk at, from actual spacecraft mementos to old neon billboards to stuff he keeps from his time as some sort of goodwill ambassador to Belize. Go to here for more details.

Oct. 5: Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the public is no longer able to get onto Nellis Air Force Base to see the Thunderbirds Museum. Large groups can apply for tours of the base and anyone who is associated with the military can get on to see the museum, but otherwise you’re locked out. Which is why when they open the place up for Aviation Nation in November, anyone interested in the military or planes ought to get out there. This year’s two-day air show and fair is scheduled for Nov. 11-12 and includes a litany of air demonstrations including some cool Thunderbird tricks. Plus, folks are able to walk inside of some of the planes on display and famous pilots and astronauts always appear as well. Best of all, it’s FREE. See the the show's site here. If you’re in town that weekend, you should go.

Sept. 27: We had an email from Johanna in Brighton, England, who says she’s coming to Vegas this fall and wanted to know where she could get some decent British food. We didn’t actually know there was such a thing – KIDDING!!! – but there is a terrific and seemingly authentic pub about two miles east of the MGM Grand on Tropicana at 1350 E Tropicana. We have dined a few times called Crown & Anchor that has terrific fish and chips and bangers and mash and all that, and they broadcast all the soccer –- err Football – games from Europe live on the weekends. So check out their site at for more info or call 702/739-8676 UPDATE: Crown & Anchor has a free shuttle from the Strip. Call them for details.

Sept. 20: The 14th annual Clark County Renaissance Festival will take place from Oct 12-14 at Sunset Park in Henderson. It’s really quite a cool event, with more than 50 shows per day including historical re-enactments, jousting tournaments and Celtic concerts. The entire park is decorated for the time period, with blacksmiths, stain glass designers and wood workers showing their crafts. There’s also rides, bow and arrow and axe target games and medieval barber and surgeon demonstrations. The festival opens from 10 am to 10 pm on Oct 12 and 13 and 10 am to 5 pm on Oct 14. Admission is $10 per day or $25 for a three-day pass. For more information, visit or call 702/455-8200.

Sept. 13: Since we’re recording on the anniversary of 9/11 and it’s very much on everyone’s minds this week, it seemed like a good time to revisit one of our very first tourist tips, which is to point everyone’s attention to the surprisingly tasteful 9/11 memorial in front of the Statue of Liberty at New York-New York. What happened was that after 9/11, Vegas visitors left T-shirts, candles, notes and messages on the railing in front of the Statue as a symbol of their solidary with those suffering in New York City. That may sound cheesy, but remember that New York-New York casino may be as close as many Vegas tourists ever get to the Big Apple itself and the emotion behind the outpouring was genuine. MGM Mirage and historians at UNLV collected all the items, archived them and display them in a rotation in the glass cases at the plaza that was built at the northwest corner of Trop and Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s free, it only takes a few minutes and it’s worth noticing. What’s interesting is that it’s not described anywhere on the New York-New York website because they don’t want to be seen as promoting it, but it’s really pretty cool.

Aug. 30: One of my New York Times editors has been planning a Vegas trip in December and has run about a half-dozen choices for hotels by me. Then she sent me a link for a unit at the Jockey Club she found on a website called VacationRentals.Com – for as low as $75 a night. So I took a look and that is a fantastic website not just for Vegas but for anywhere you go. We’ve found rentals like this on Craig’s List, but this seems a lot better organized. Some are really good deals, other not so much. A number of units at Panorama, where we own a unit for the time being, are available as well. Before you book at a hotel-casino, then, especially in peak seasons, it might be worth it to take a look at VacationRentals.Com.

Aug. 23: Everybody loves to save money. And there’s a website out there by someone who calls himself the Free Geek who has created a page on how to get comp’d in Las Vegas. It’s a pretty basic summary of what to do in terms of using player cards, looking around for coupons, etc., but it’s all in one place and has some links that could be useful. So go check it out.

Aug. 16: If you eat at any of the Wolfgang Puck restaurants in Las Vegas and tell them you’re a local, they’ll give you something for free. Sometimes it’s the appetizer, sometimes it’s a dessert. And they don’t actually check your ID to see if you’re really from here, so just mention it to the server when you order. Last night, Amy and I ate at Postrio at the Venetian and we got a free blueberry cake dessert that was incredible. That’s worth $12. The Wolfgang Puck restaurants here include Postrio at Venetian, Spago and Chinois at Caesars Palace, Trattoria Del Lupo at Mandalay Bay, Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill at the MGM Grand. And there’s something opening at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, although they haven’t said what it’s called and we don’t know if this special would apply there since so many locals will be visiting and eating there.

Aug. 9: By happy accident two weeks ago, a friend and I wandered into a mind-blowing pizza joint about a mile east of the Strip called Big Mama's and Papa's, 1370 E. Flamingo Road. Why the raves? First off, the schtick for this place is that they offer the LARGEST pizza slices you've ever seen, but it also has a terrific crust and generous amounts of sauce. I took home one of my two slices and cut it up into three large pieces just to fit it in the toaster oven. Really. We saw them carrying out a Big Papa's pie and it took two guys to carry this ginormous box containing a 3-foot-wide pizza. We also ordered the onion rings, the very best I've ever had. The prices are really reasonable - $6 for a "small" slice that would feed three people, $1.99 for the onion rings. They do deliver to the Strip, albeit with a $50 minimum order. This is an L.A.-area chain that is expanding, with plans for stores in Phoenix and New York City soon. For more info, click here or call 702/733-9499. The site also has coupons.

Aug. 2: Sure, you think of Liberace and you think of over-the-top excess and rhinestones. But he was also a gifted pianist and his foundation still helps foster the talents of young, aspiring musicians. The 2007 Liberace Piano Competition kicks off with two free concerts of the some of the top amateur and professional piano players at the Liberace Museum on Sunday, Aug. 12 and Sunday Sept. 9 at the Liberace Museum. Then the finals for the competition are Sunday, Sept 16 at Community Lutheran Church about two miles east of the Strip on Tropicana Avenue from 1-4 pm. The cost for that is $10 for adults, $5 for kids. A portion of the proceeds goes to a Las Vegas charity called Family Promise. See the Liberace Museum site for more information or call 702/798-5595, ext. 16

July 26: There are a few places to see classic cars in Las Vegas, but we'd heard of this one until recently: the Carroll Shelby Museum and Car Factory. Shelby was a post-World War II car racer who drove for Astin- Martin and Maserati and set 16 speed records before retiring in 1959. Then he launched the Shelby-American car company and designed cars for Ford and Dodge. In 2003, he opened a factory next to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where they manufacture Cobra sports cars for Ford. The 100,000-square-foot facility has a museum and factory and it’s open for free from 8 am to 4 pm Mon-Fri. There's also a 45-minute factory tour, too. Check out this link for call 702/942-7325 for directions and more information.

July 19: Cirque du Soleil is selling $50 tickets to all their Vegas shows as part of a “Summer of Cirque” promotion. You must buy the tickets through this link and it seems like the tickets for Love and O are already sold out. But $50 to see Mystere, Ka or Zumanity are pretty good deals. There are $50 seats available at all shows through the end of September.

July 12: Listener Kenneth Hurt reports that any hotel-casinos with gambling at their pools must allow non-guests to use their pools. Just tell the guard you want to gamble. They may charge a surcharge, though. This would include the Wynn Las Vegas, Hard Rock and Tropicana.

June 28: The best pizza place in Vegas, Metro Pizza, offers a special pizza-making seminar at 6:30 pm on the last Tuesday of the month in which they walk you through the steps of making a pizza and then you eat it. It costs $21.95 and you have to sign up by calling 702/736-1955. Note that this is the Metro Pizza at 1395 E Tropicana Ave and not the one at the Ellis Island Casino. There’s a calendar of all of their special events and special deals on their website,

June 21: Get your butt down to see "The Mentalist" Gerry McCambridge at Hooters at 8 pm Mondays and Tuesdays and 6 pm on Saturdays, the best new show we've seen in a long time. OK, it's not new; McCambridge was at the Stardust for a while. He does a 70-minute show for the Vegas bargain of about $37 in which he does these mental tricks impossible to believe. Also, McCambridge is founder of VegasSeatFillers.Com, a free last-minute ticket service. Hear our 9-minute chat with McCambridge on this week's show. Buy tickets for the show here.

June 14: The Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas has a free outdoor movie festival all summer for both hotel guests and members of the public. In the “DIVE-IN MOVIES” SUMMER SERIES, which started earlier this month, the Ritz Carlton shows a different film every Friday and Saturday night at 8: 30 pm until Labor Day weekend on a 7-by-12-foot pool. You’re also allowed to swim while the movie is playing. The film selections are all family-friendly, too. This coming weekend, for instance, they’re showing Fantastic Four and Toy Story. A full schedule of the movies and directions are here. They’ll cancel the event in the case of rain or high winds, so call ahead at 702/567-4700.

June 6: Visitors to the Venetian may walk in for free to see the inside of the $40 million Phantom theater from 10 am to 1 pm Tuesdays through Fridays. Just walk in! See the chandelier, the whole thing. I don’t know a theater that lets you do that. Now, there’s no tour and there’s no meet-and-greet. For that, there is a $250-per-person package that includes a backstage visit with the cast and the best seats in the house. That’s not bad, really. But either way, fun!

May 31: The World Market Center is that collection of imposing buildings west of downtown where they have huge furniture-industry trade shows. The building is generally not open to the public at all. That’s why if you’re in town June 8 or 9, you owe it to yourself to run up there from 9 am – 5 pm to check out what's inside as they clear out older inventory ahead of this summer’s big trade show. It costs $10 for admission and is a benefit for several Las Vegas charities including the Nevada AIDS Project and Habitat for Humanity. You’ll be able to see and buy at discount furniture, décor and accessories in 70 showrooms. Read more about it here. The World Market Center is at 495 S Grand Central Parkway.

May 24: If you love really excellent black and white photography, a good friend of ours is opening a new shop at the Venetian just off of the lobby to sell her artistic work. Denise Truscello is an award-winning photographer who has shot all the big celebrities and is a fixture on the red carpets all over Vegas. But this gallery focuses on her work in her other favorite city, Paris. You can hear us talk to Denise at the end of the latest show or visit the gallery, open Sun-Thurs 10 am - 8 pm, Fri-Sat 10 am - 10 pm. Check out her work, too, at

May 17: One of my favorite, more unusual places to see concerts in Las Vegas is the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater, which has a large stage surrounded by a lush grass lawn. And on the first three Saturdays in June, they’re holding two free jazz concerts and then a reggae concert that costs $20 per seat. What’s so nice is that you can sit outside on a blanket with a picnic and a bottle of wine and enjoy the music in a calm atmosphere that just does not exist anywhere on the Strip. Find more information here and see a map of the Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, here.

May 10: Long-time Strip headliner Clint Holmes is staging 22 performances at UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theater in June of his autobiographical musical called "Just Another Man." You can hear him discuss it at the end of this week's program. The show is on in previews June 1-6, then June 7-24, tickets start at $21 for previews, slightly higher after that. See the show schedule and buy tickets at Or call the Judy Bayley Theater Box Office at 702/895-2787 to purchase tickets.

May 3: If you love Nevada history and trivia, check out this new site funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities called OnlineNevada.Org. It’s sort of like a Wikipedia site just for Nevada information and it’s been built up by a number of scholars, writers and experts who are fact-checked and who contribute all sorts of bits about Nevada history. Nevada is the second state – after Georgia – to start one of these up under the NEH’s guidance. There are now more than 300 entries and a cool gallery of old Vegas images, too. So go check it out.

April 26:Tickets just went on sale last week for Cinevegas, the ninth annual Las Vegas film festival which runs from June 6-16. It’s always a terrific week of independent films and celebrity sightings, but if you don’t want to pay, you can always volunteer. Check out the link to the application. Or you can either pay $10 per film you want to see or they have a few package deals that range from $100 for students on up to $525. See the links on the site for more information. As of now, they have not announced what the film lineup is nor what stars they’re expecting.

April 12: If you’re fascinated by Vegas history and its future, you ought to check out VegasTodayand Tomorrow.Com. A few of my sources had actually pointed me there from time to time, so I checked it out and it is impressive. Some of the sections aren’t updated as often as they could be – the latest renderings they have on CityCenter are a year old, for instance -- but there’s just so much to poke around and look at and it’s a terrific resource. My favorite section is the section with renderings of casinos that were proposed but never built.

APRIL 5: We’re not huge fans of the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas, but this is pretty interesting – and free. Starting this month, their executive pastry chef Chris Hamner has created these amazing sugar sculptures that are on display in the lobby that took him 100 hours to build and are really very artistic. What’s particularly interesting is that they plan to put new ones out every season. The first one is called “An Unexpected Oasis” and is made up of 45 orange and blue pieces created from 150 pounds of sugar. The chef is apparently a modern art buff who used to hang out at the Smithsonian Institution and wonder if he could make art with food. So if you’re on the drive out to Hoover Dam or coming back the long way from Valley of Fire, it’s worth swinging in for a drink at the lobby bar to see these. There's a photo up on the blog of the first one. I’m looking forward to seeing the new ones. And I wonder what they do with the old ones. Maybe Chef Hamner can call in and let us know.

March 29:You might have heard that there was a shooting at the nightclub Minxx in Vegas the weekend of the NBA All-Star Game and they’ve been questioning a NFL player who may have been involved in some way. Well, the bouncer who got shot is paralyzed and needs your help. So, if you’re a fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship thing – and we’re not, but obviously a lot of people are – then head over to Aces Bar & Grill in the southwest part of the valley for a series of 12 fundraisers for the poor guy who got shot. Gray Maynard, one of the UFC stars and a Vegas resident, will be hanging out at the bar from 8-9 pm on every Thursday for the next three months starting April 5 to watch the 12 episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 5” which airs at that time on Spike TV. It’s a good cause – and a really nice sports bar as bars go. A little out of the way at 7272 S El Capitan, but if you’re a fan of UFC, it’s worth checking out. Call 702-579-3330.

March 15:Thomas in Germany offered this recipe for a perfect Vegas day at under $100. He wrote: Early breakfast at the Peppermill at $20 Lunch at Rosemary's Restaurant for $30 (their amazing lunch deal plus an alcoholic beverage of your choice; reservations recommended and a ways off-Strip -sf) Mac King's show ($10 max with coupon), dinner at Koto All You Can Eat Japanese Buffet ($35 with drink). Throw in a few free attractions like the Fountains at Bellagio and the view from Mix (early enough to beat the cover charge or just by taking the hotel elevator to the top floor) and you've got a hell of a day. All taxes are included.

March 8: March 8: A few weeks ago, a colleague insisted I meet her at a place called the Roma Deli and Restaurant about three miles west of the Strip and I came home just raving about it. As it happens, it was also the same day the R-J was reviewing it and, while I tend to believe that most of the time their food reviewer puts the food in the wrong orafice, this time out she got it exactly right when she gave this place an A. I’ve been back twice more and I’ve decided that it’s definitely worth a jaunt off the Strip because I’ve eaten in brilliant Italian delis all over New York and I’ve never tasted homemade bread like this. The menu is quite varied – from sandwiches to oxtail soup to the most authentic tiramisu I’ve yet to find in Vegas -- and it’s set in a charming tables-in-a-market style joint where you either order from the table or at the counter. It does tend to get busy around meal times so a reservation is recommended if you’re coming by cab from the Strip or you’ll end up stranded. And, no, I called to ask – they don’t deliver on the Strip. It's at 5755 Spring Mountain Road and the phone is 702/871-5577. A link to the R-J’s review is here.

March 1: We are supposedly sworn to secrecy about when the implosion of the Stardust will be. The Boyd folks have asked the media not to say anything to avoid massive crowds. So we’re not going to say it. BUT… if you really want to know, there’s a fellow who says he’s from the demolition company who this week posted something in the comments section of a Jan 2006 posting of Richard Abowitz’s Los Angeles Times blog, TheMovableBuffet.Com. Also, for all sorts of great stuff about the Stardust including tons of pictures of it being stripped and the sign coming down, see the Stardust section of

Feb. 22: The Vegas Grand Prix needs your help from April 6-8. Volunteers are sought to help out and this is a terrific, free way to get up close with the event. They need help with a lot of things, from aspects of the race itself to the rock concerts,a charity gala, a celebrity poker tournament and other events. Each volunteer gets a uniform shirt and cap, discounted tickets for friends and family, lunch and snacks each day and a volunteer appreciation party. Five hundred vols are needed and they'll take names all the way until March 31. You must be 18 years by April 6 and must commit to put in at least 25 total hours over the three-day event, which includes Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. Call Bahr Rapaport at 702/944-8661 x300 or, for applications, visit their site here.

Feb. 15: We like to bring to our listeners’ attention when various stars of Strip shows are doing things outside of their normal duties. And one of the more active actors or actresses in this regard is Rebecca Spencer, who plays Madame Giry in "Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular." Spencer, who has performed on Broadway for years, is now also a recording artist with two albums to her credit. And she will be performing songs from those albums at 2 pm on Feb. 25 at the Clark County Library. 1401 E. Flamingo Road about two miles east of The Strip. Tickets are just $15. More info is found here. She’ll also be performing in “Jerry Springer the Opera” at the MGM Grand on March 17 and 18 in a show to benefit Golden Rainbow, an AIDS charity in Las Vegas. Find out more about that here.

8: We’ve talked about the Bootlegger Bistro before – one of our first Top Secret Tourist Tips when we first started was about their celebrity karaoke on Monday nights when Strip entertainers come down to sing for free late into the night. But now here’s another reason to go down to the classic old Vegas restaurant owned by the family of the former Lt Gov. Every third Sunday of the month at 1 pm – so coming dates are Feb. 18 and March 18 and April 15 –you can hear 10 young singers perform in an event known as “Ten Future Stars.’ The kids who get to perform range from 8 to 16 years old and are nominated by their school music teachers and they’re really good – two past performers went on to perform on the TV show “America’s Got Talent” and several are performing at the NBA All-Star Game at the Thomas and Mack in Vegas later this month. Call 702/736-4939 for more information or click here.

Feb. 1: Our listeners are fascinated by Las Vegas history, but few of them know about the Clark County Museum. (That may be because the state gives Las Vegas museums no money to promote themselves to tourists, something that the current legislature is looking into fixing.) The reason this occurred to us is that there was an article in the R-J about the museum spending $72,500 to move the 40-year-old Candlelight Wedding Chapel from its spot on the Strip between the Riviera and the Sahara over to the Clark County Museum site about 20 miles east of the Strip at 1830 S. Boulder Hwy in Henderson. The chapel will be restored and placed among the other eight structures relocated from other parts of Clark County including a home from 1912 and a railroad depot from 1933. The museum's main building has a timeline explaining the history of the region, but it's the ability to walk into some of these old buildings that is most fascinating. The best part is, admission is only $1.50 for adults, $1 for kids 3-15 and seniors. It's open daily 9 am - 4:30 pm. 702-455-7955 or at this link.

Jan. 25: Starting last night, the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay began weekly FREE Blues concerts called Nothing But the Blues inside the Crossroads room at the House of Blues restaurant. They start at 9 pm and is open to people of all ages. There are drink specials each week and a variety of giveaways. There’s also a host who explains a piece of blues history each week. To find out more, see this link or call 702/632-7600.

Jan. 11:This week’s is admittedly vindictive, but hey, it’s our show. George Wallace is offering $10 seats to locals through Valentine’s Day. The tip here is, don’t go. Don’t fall for it. Even if that means he’s giving you $10 to sit through his show. He’s not funny. In fact, he’s a joke around these parts because of his pathetic, obnoxious appearance on the Strip in November 2005. This may not seem like a good tip, but this is Vegas where there’s ALWAYS too many entertainment choices. Telling you what NOT to see is at least as useful as telling you what you should see. So don’t go to this. And if you want other tips on things to avoid, see my piece from the L.A. Times, Dallas Morning News and the Chicago Tribune on Vegas’ Seven Deadliest Sins. The good news about those is that some of the non-recommendations have since closed. The bad news is, so have some of the recommendations in that piece. Oh well. That’s Vegas.

Jan. 4:This tourist tip took an unexpected turn. I was working on something the other day and I realized that the airport slaps an extra 10 percent tax on all rental cars rented there, so it occurred to me that it’s probably a savings to take a cab to your hotel and, if they offer it, rent a car there. BUT... it turned out to be quite the opposite. Yes, the tax at the airport exists, but the base rates on similar cars is in many cases DOUBLE what it costs to rent from the airport so it’s a lot less expensive at the airport. SO, here’s the tip:

If you’re renting when you arrive, rent at the airport. AND, if you’re just renting for the day to drive to Hoover Dam or something, take a cab to the airport and rent there. But don’t go all the way to the airport. Have the cabbie take you to US Rent-A-Car, the cheapest rental car place in town, which is on Paradise as you go toward the airport off Tropicana. They won’t charge you the extra 10 percent if you’re not coming from the airport. They’ll only charge it if you go their on their shuttle from the airport! Their site is here.

Dec. 28: There are two Vegas-related Yahoo newgroups we've recently become aware of that seem to be well worth signing up for. One is called Vegas Coupons and it can be found here, and the other is Casino Comps, which is found here. Vegas Coupons members share really useful coupon codes for shows and other discounts that they find online or get in the mail, among which recently included cheap seats for Blue Man Group and Mystere. Casino Comps members share secrets of how to get freebies from casinos in Vegas and elsewhere in the world.

Dec. 21: You don’t have to be a Jew like Steve to enjoy saving money and you don’t have to be Jewish to pick up a Chai Connections savings card for Las Vegas. For $18, you can get a list of deals and VIP benefits around the Strip and the city at large. Among the deals available on the Strip, you can get a $20 sports arcade game card for $10 at ESPN Zone, two-for-one tickets to Second City and $2 off per ticket bought at TIX4Tonight booths. There are also deals at various bagel places and kosher restaurants around the city. Click here find out more and buy one.

Dec. 14: Even in the desert, there's real holiday cheer. Opportunity Village is a charity in Las Vegas that finds jobs for adults with mental disabilities, and their big annual event is the Magical Forest. It's amazing -- acres of holiday displays with millions of lights, two passenger trains, an antique carousel, parades, carnival games and a Santa Claus -- all that good stuff. Last year, HGTV named it a “top holiday destination” and more than 150,000 people checked it out. This is the Magical Forest’s 15th year. It costs $9 for adults, $7 for kids to get in, all the money goes to the charity, and it's open 5:30- 10 pm nightly until Dec. 30. Buy tickets online at or just show up at 6300 West Oakey Blvd. Call 702/259-3700 for more information.

Dec. 7: Ice skating and vegas don’t sound like they would go together, but how about an ice rink that floats? Out at MonteLago Village, they put an ice rink on Lake Las Vegas from now through Jan. 15. The rink uses 110 five-gallon buckets of water and a 12,000-pound freezer to keep it cold and can have 60 skaters on it at once. It costs $12 per person for an all-day pass. For directions and skating times, which vary a lot depending on the day, click here.

Nov. 30: (This was a special interview edition of the TSTTotW, so click here to hear Tim Arnold talking about his museum.) Possibly Vegas' greatest hidden treasure is the Pinball Hall of Fame, a 4,500-square-foot storefront where folks can play any of the 200 or so vintage pinball machines. They're fully operational and most of them cost a quarter, just as they did in their hey day. It's a nonprofit effort run by Tim Arnold, who has a collection so large he can't fit them all in the Hall of Fame. Some of the machines date back to the 1940s. The Pinball Hall of Fame is open 11 am to 11 pm seven days a week at 3330 E. Tropicana Ave. And, as a bonus tip, it's right next to a $2 second-run movie theater. For more information, click here.

Nov. 23: It's now officially holiday season, so it seems right to advise folks that they need to go drive down to Sunset Park for The Gift of Lights, a driving tour of 300 animated light displays. It's the sixth year they've done it and this year there will be some 8 million lights involved. It costs $12 per car, $2 off with a donation of a bag of "gently used" items for Goodwill of Southern Nevada. And some of the proceeds go to a Clark County Scholarship Fund. The event is open 5-9 pm Sun-Thurs, 5-10 pm Fri and Sat from now until Jan. 1. Click here for more information or call 702/451-1641.

Nov. 16: Update: This week they announced they'll send you a text message instead of an email when they have tickets available. That's much more convenient for tourists who are out and about. There's a new free ticket service that's just started up that I've checked out and it's legit. It's called Vegas Seat Fillers. Basically, you sign up and during the day they send you emails about shows that are giving away tickets to fill out the audience. You respond in time, you get free seats. It's new, so the shows so far haven't been the big ones, but it's free so what do you have to lose and it's such an ingenius idea that it seems sure to get bigger. Check them out at

Nov. 9: You don't think of the Las Vegas Strip as a place for intellectual pursuits, but the Reading Room at Mandalay Place is one of the oddest, brainiest little nooks on the Boulevard. There in a Vegas casino is a bookstore that wants to be taken seriously, with serious novels and nonfiction as well as beach reading. But what's even more interesting is that they routinely bring in significant authors for readings. This weekend, for instance, they'll host Mark Winegardner, the writer chosen by the estate of Mario Puzo to write the sequels to the classic "The Godfather." There's also a weekly philosophy discussion group on Tuesdays at 7 pm in which folks gather to talk about various points of interest. Last week, for example, they debated the meaning of the word "life." The Reading Room is inside Mandalay Place, the shopping arcade between Mandalay Bay and Luxor, and it's open from 7 am to 11 pm daily. Call 702) 632-9374 or click here for a schedule of upcoming events.

Nov. 2: With Christmastime coming up and all the talk about the Stardust closing, it’s the perfect time to let folks know about the Gambler’s General Store in downtown Las Vegas or online at This is your one-stop shop for all sorts of real vegas memorabilia – old slot machines, old decks of playing cards, poker tables, chip sets… you name it. And they’ve got all sorts of specials on the site. One of them that I saw today that would be perfect for a Vegas addict is the “Jackpot Bucket” for $19.95, which includes dice used at the Wynn, a dice tie, a dice paperweight, a Harrahs bottle opener, a Harrahs pencil and picture frame, slippers from the MGM Grand, a slot visor, a shoehorn from the El Rancho and an Aladdin ice bucket. Or some variation therein. You can be sure that various Stardust items will be available soon, too. The Gambler’s General Store is at 800 S.Main Street, online or at 702/382-9903.

Oct. 26: Looking for a cheaper gourmet meal? You might want to check out one of the two cooking schools in Las Vegas where some of those vaunted Strip chefs were trained. The Culinary Institute of Las Vegas, which is actually in Henderson, offers lunch from 11:30-1 pm and dinner from 6-8 pm for just $9.95 at the school’s restaurant, Opus Too. Or try Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, which in Northwest Vegas, which has a 10,000-square-foot restaurant called Café Bleu open for lunch from 11-12:30 Tuesday-Friday and dinner from 6-7:30 pm. Starters range from $7-9, entrees are about $12 and desserts are $6. The Culinary Institute is at 2350 Corporate Circle in Henderson and can be reached by phone at 702/992-8510. Le Cordon Bleu is at 1451 Center Crossing Road in Las Vegas and can be reached at 702/365-7690. Reservations are recommended. In both cases, the students cook and wait the tables.

Oct. 19: Cast members of Mamma Mia! and Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular will perform on Nov. 11 in a special concert presentation of a new musical "God Lives in Glass" in a benefit for a homeless charity called Family Promise. “God Lives in Glass” was written by NYU drama therapy professor Robert J. Landy based on his interviews with children from around the world regarding their perceptions of God. Composer Keith Thompson, recent musical director of We Will Rock You and Hairspray in Vegas, worked with Landy and Greg Ganakas to adapt the book into a musical revue. It's a chance to see Strip performers doing something other than their usual gigs. The event is on Nov. 11 at 2 pm at the Community Lutheran Church, 3720 E. Tropicana Ave, about two miles east of the Strip. Tickets cost a minimum donation of $30.Call 702/245-0992 or click here for tickets and more information.

Oct. 12: Las Vegas' annual gay and lesbian film festival in Vegas is Oct. 20-22 at the Onyx Theater about one mile east of the Strip. It's three days of GLBT films, some experimental and some poised for wide release. The films are all free. Plus, "The Strip" co-host Steve Friess will be moderating a brunch panel of Vegas-based film critics discussing the "Brokeback Mountain" effect on cinema. The brunch costs $10 and starts at 11 am at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. Both events are in the Commercial Center plaza at 953 E. Sahara Avenue. Click here for more information and the schedule of events.

Oct. 5: The artists and would-be artists out there would be interested to know that for $200, they can go on a special field trip away from the Strip to paint some of the vistas around Vegas. No need to bring your own supplies, either! Loretta Reinick, a local art gallery expert who has worked with the Vatican's art collection, will pick you up, take you to Red Rock Canyon, Mt. Charleston or Lake Las Vegas and provide acrylic paints, easels, canvas and lunch on a four-hour trip. Plus, she'll offer her instruction. All skill levels welcome. Call 888/300-8882 or visit ScenicPaintingTours.Com.

Sept. 28: A listener has some cheeky advice about the monorail, so we're copping out and using that for this feature this week. Listen here, and thanks to Bay from the Gritz To Glitz podcast!

Sept. 21: Believe it or not, far too few Strip casinos offer Wi-Fi in their rooms. It's shameful, really. But how do you know? The Las Vegas Advisor's website has created a very useful table that reports on who has it, who doesn't and even what the fees are. Check it out here.

Sept. 14: One of the best concerts of the year is coming up -- and it's a very good bargain. The Andre Agassi Grand Slam For Kids is the now-retired tennis legend's big charity event. It's on Oct. 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena each year and tickets are as low as $50 to see a packed show that this year features Ellen DeGeneres, Phil Collins, John Mayer, The Counting Crows and Sarah McLachlan.The site for the show and foundation is here and you can buy tickets by calling (702) 474-4000 or by going to Ticketmaster.Com or MGMGrand.Com.

Sept. 10: In honor of our Miami visit, here's a recommendation for the best Cuban food in Vegas. Check out the Florida Cafe, 1401 S. Las Vegas Blvd., inside the Howard Johnson Hotel north of the Stratosphere. It's not a pretty area of town, but this is the Cuban food that Cubans go out for in town. See their website here or call 702/385-3013. (Note: Miles doesn't like this place. Steve says he's wrong.)

Aug. 31: The Downtown Coffee Company now host a weekly Friday night jazz jam starting around 4 pm each week that first got going about two months ago. These friends bought the oldest church in Vegas, a former First United Methodist Church, and turned it into a café and meeting space. I actually went there a while back to consider it for a Tourist Tip when they opened, but there wasn't any free Wi-Fi and the hours, 8 am - 3 pm daily, didn't seem all that great for casual visitors, so I didn't use it. But now they've got this pretty hip new thing on Friday nights that's set up by a fellow named Daryl Morris, son of Elvis Presley music director, in the former chapel of the 106-year-old building. The performers are all respected jazz musicians and the jazz jam sometimes goes as late as midnight. Phone is 702/382-2323 and there's no website, but here's the Google map.

AUG. 24: Check out VegasResource.Com. It’s actually intended for locals -- it’s a weekly newsletter that tells you where all the freebies and cut-rate tickets are that week. It includes coupons to buffets, shows, souvenirs and more. Go ahead and sign up. It looks cheesy, but they newsletter is actually pretty useful.

AUG. 17: It’s almost football season again, and often visitors who don’t like the ruckus of the sportsbook look around for bars where other fans of their teams hang out and watch the games. But where to go? Well, the local newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, last year did this great piece that tells you which bars support which teams and what their game day specials are. Check out the piece via this link. It’s not all-inclusive, but it’s the best thing out there.

AUG 10: OK…some people really, really love certain slot machines. And this month, Harrahs started offering the Slot Finder on their website. You can search for your favorite slot machines and it will tell you which casinos they're in anywhere in the US and what denominations they are. Here's the direct link.

AUG 3: For brilliant Indian food right near the Strip, head over to India Palace. It’s only about a mile east of Las Vegas Boulevard on Twain Avenue (aka Sands Avenue or Spring Mountain Road) and it’s in a broken-down part of town. That said, the food is incredible all around, from the chicken tikka to the dal soup to the garlic nan. You know it’s good because you always see local Indian people in there. The lunch buffet is quite complete and costs $9.95. The restaurant is at 505 E. Twain and the phone is 702-796-4177. See this link for more information.

JULY 27: August 12 is Home Movie Day, a national effort to collect people's home movies and show them in an artsy way. Vegas is participating for the first time thanks to filmmaker Lynn Zook, who has collected footage from local Las Vegans of all sorts of activities. She's showing them from 10 am - 5 pm for free at three different locations in Las Vegas for people to come and watch. The locations are the Nevada State Museum, 700 Twin Lakes Drive; Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 S. McLeod Dr.; and the Clark County Heritage Museum, 1830 S. Boulder Highway. Zook's site is here and she can be reached via e-mail at

JULY 20: One of the cutest, most clever lounges in Vegas is the Seahorse Lounge at Caesars Palace. They reason we love it is because they have a 1,700-gallon tank that contains about 100 potbellied seahorses, which is a different breed than can be seen in the aquarium at the Forum Shops. What's more, all the waiters and waitresses can answer pretty complicated questions about the seahorses and their biology. The Seahorse Lounge is also a lot more low-key than the other lounges and clubs, and it’s free to get in and it’s open 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, children aren't allowed to get up close because it's a bar.

JULY 13: UPDATE: This deal is now good through Dec. 22 but there are blackouts from 10/31-11/5, 11/9-11/11, 12/2-12/3 and 12/9-12/10. This is going to sound like an advertisement but really, it’s an alert. There is a new hotel-condo called the Platinum about to open in Las Vegas in mid-September and they are offering $129 one-bedroom suites for any night of any week in September or October. That includes weekends and big conventions, any day of those months. This is about a block east of the Strip. We’ve never been there, but the photos of the rooms look very pretty. The point here is that it’s new and $129 a night in Vegas in that location is amazing. You can book it via or call 877/211.9211. It is subject to availability – and there are only 255 units in the 17-story building. So it may be hard to get the deal -- but you heard it here first, so maybe you’ve got a shot.

JULY 6: Every summer, it’s worth heading out to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park to check out the amateur local theater called Super Summer Theatre. The shows are almost always excellent – the June “Adventures of Tom Sawyer” received rave reviews from Las Vegas CityLife – and inexpensive at $10 a seat or $8 in advance. What’s great about it is that the plays take place outside just outside of Red Rock Canyon with exquisite scenery. Bring a blanket. Shows start at 8 pm, by which time the heat has usually simmered. Go to for information and directions.

JUNE 29: Bouncing off of Paige O'Hara's comments on this week's show about her upcoming performance at UNLV Performing Arts Center in a Jerry Herman tribute show, it is worthwhile to click here and check out the dates and times of that and other offerings in the same "New York Stage & Beyond" fall series. Others to perform include Mandy Patinkin and Wynton Marsalis, and tickets start as low as $35, a steal in Las Vegas.

JUNE 22: If you're in Vegas on the third Monday of each month, head over to Suede Lounge after 10 pm for the monthly "Composer's Showcase." Basically, local composers and songwriters get Strip singers to croon their work. June's composers included musicians from Mamma Mia, Ka and the now-closed Hairspray. Next dates are July 17, Aug. 21 and Sept. 18. There's no cover and Suede offers $2 appetizers, well drinks and draft beers during the showcase. Suede, in an earlier incarnation, was where the now-huge rock band The Killers first performed. Suede Restaurant and Lounge is just a mile from the Strip at 4640 South Paradise. Find the map here. The song, "Gourmet Meal," played at the end of this week's podcast was written by former Hairspray conductor Keith Thompson and is available on the 2002 off-Broadway show cast album "Kooky Tunes" via Amazon.Com by clicking here. (Thanks to Michael Caprio for this tip.)

JUNE 15: It's pretty weird, even for Vegas, but the upcoming Bodies exhibit at the Tropicana is worth a visit. They've taken real corpses and "plastinated" them, meaning they've preserved them somehow in such a way that you can see all the veins and blood vessels and bones and skin. Everything. These sorts of exhibits have been makine the rounds in recent years and are controversial. Miles thinks its gross, Steve thinks it's interesting. Steve wrote a piece for USA Today last year about a similar show in Chicago, so check that out here. And go to the Tropicana starting June 23 for the exhibit, open 10 am - 10 pm and it costs $24, with discounts available for seniors, kids and Tropicana hotel guests. Click here for more information.

JUNE 8: The stars turn out -- and perform -- each year in most entertaining fundraiser in Vegas. It's "Ribbon of Life," the annual mid-June production show benefiting Golden Rainbow, a charity that provides housing to people with HIV/AIDS. This year's show is at Bally's at 1 pm on June 10 and 11. On June 11, they're having a special Siegfried & Roy appearance and honor. If you missed the show and want to buy the DVD, call the Golden Rainbow office at 702/384-2899. Or go to to donate to a great cause. Tickets are $50, 75, $100 and $200.

JUNE 1: Every Monday at noon at the Las Vegas Hilton in the Shimmer Cabaret, you can watch Hilton spokesman Ira David Sternberg interview Strip celebrities for his radio show, "Lunchtime with Ira." Past guests have included Johnny Mathis, Lance Burton, Clint Holmes, Oscar Goodman, Robin Leach and Reba McEntire. (hmm…we had them too!) Steve will be appearing on the June 5 edition, in fact. The program goes out on 720 AM in Vegas, is carried nationally on Cable Radio Networks, is streamed live and archived on Click here for more info.

MAY 25: You don’t have to wait in line at the Bellagio Buffet! You can walk right on past the line and go to the bar…and pay the bartender for your buffet meal! It’s true! I gather you have to sit at the bar to eat, but hey – this could save you a load of time. It is a spectacular buffet. Good eats.

MAY 18: Q Vegas, the major gay magazine in Las Vegas, has a free discount card called the Q VIP card that offers great deals to both gay and straight travelers. Many of the vendors that offer discounts are not gay-related services at all. For example, the card is good for $2 off at the Atomic Testing Museum, $6 admission at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, $500 off a car at a local Cadillac dealership. There are about 30 vendors in all involved. Just click here and click on the link to email the information they want. They send it to you in the mail within a few weeks.

MAY 11: The Clark County Health District has a free coupon book it will send tourists who want to go to smoke-free establishments. They’re mostly 2-for-1 deals at restaurants and most of them are off-Strip. But some come recommended by The Strip, including Café Heidelberg, a really good German place about a mile off the Strip on East Sahara Ave. Click here to see the list or e-mail to have them mail you a coupon book. Thanks to listener David Fletcher of Nova Scotia for this idea.

MAY 4: A listener wanted everyone to know all about Red Rock Canyon. We agree it's a sensational place very near to the Strip. It's about 20 miles west on Charleston Boulevard and there's a $5 entry fee.

APRIL 27: For a great driving experience, check out The Drive behind the Sahara Hotel-Casino - a test drive center for fancy GM cars, including Caddys and Hummers. It costs $10 for two driving "experiences,"a pretty good deal.

APRIL 20: Tired of all the cuisine on the Strip? Check out the 24th-floor Binion's Ranch Steakhouse inside Binions Horseshoe Hotel-Casino, is at 128 East Fremont Street. It's an Old Vegas classic, open seven days a week, from 5-11 pm, with a live pianist on Fridays and Saturdays. Call 702/382-1600 or visit this link for more info.

APRIL 13: Las Vegas, like most cities, is a town saturated by Starbucks. But there is one cute, hip independent café about four miles east of The Strip called ReJAVAnate Coffee Lounge. It’s where Steve does most of his writing because of the free Wi-Fi, so if you see him there with iBook G4, say hello! It’s owned by two Strip actors – one of whom is in Forever Plaid and the other of whom just got a chorus role in the new Phantom production at the Venetian. Every month, local artists display their work, too. And Steve has a special favorite drink – a nonfat, sugar free, decaf vanilla-hazelnut smoothy. Yum! ReJAVAnate Coffee Lounge is at 3300 E Flamingo Rd., in the Renaissance III Shopping Plaza at Flamingo and Pecos between Food 4 Less and Hollywood Video.

APRIL 6: Every Monday night at 9:30 pm, the Second City Training Center holds performances at the Las Vegas Little Theater and it only costs $5 to get in. What you get is two hours of improv comedy from Second City stars as well as their students. It’s called SET – Student Experimental Theater. There’s no advance tickets, you buy them at the door. But some information is on the Little Theater’s website at or call Second City at 702-733-3111 ext 6471. The theater is at 3920 Schiff Drive, which is off of Spring Mountain Road about two miles west of The Strip.

MARCH 30: Here's one’s from the files of the weird. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is selling tickets for $10 for spectators to come out on Aug. 19 at 7:15 pm to watch divorced couples crash into one another on purpose. The couples in the Divorcee Demolition Derby pay $500 and get to ram their cars into their ex’s. Ex-wives get pink cars, husbands get black cars. For more information, go to For more information, click here or call the Speedway at 800/644-4444.

MARCH 23: The newly installed Museum of the American Cocktail at the Commander's Palace inside the Aladdin-Planet Hollywood is worth a visit since it's free and won't stay in Vegas for much more than a year. The collection was housed in New Orleans before their building was ravaged by Katrina, leaving the artifacts undamaged but the building has yet to reopen. There are dozens of old pieces of literature, photos and recipes about the cocktail, which is said to have been invented 200 years ago this May by Americans. Hear more about it in an interview on "The Strip" with King of Cocktails Dale DeGroff, the founder. The museum is free and open when the restaurant is open. For hours, click here.

March 16:

March 9: Check out BroadwayBox.Com, where they collect coupon codes of specials available for Broadway shows in New York. They’ve recently started a section of the site for Las Vegas, too, and this one includes special room rates as well as show tickets. For example, they show you how to get a $159 room at the Bellagio through the end of March. It’s a way of keeping tabs on what specials and sales are out there and how to get at them, and you can subscribe so they email you when something new comes along.

March 2: For some real Old Vegas fun, grab a drink at the Horse-Around Bar, made famous by Hunter S. Thompson in the classic "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." It's a round carousel-looking bar that revolves. The height of tackiness, but fun. Go to Circus Circus Hotel-Casino, 2880 Las Vegas Blvd S. You can also watch the free acrobatics circus act there. The C-C is a dump, but a strangely charming one.

Feb. 16: Most tourists never get past Red Rock Canyon when they go for an outdoorsy aside from the Strip, but if you go a bit farther west, you come to the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. It's a 520-acre park nestled at the bottom of bright yellow sandstone bluffs. The 1869 stone cabin and blacksmith shop are still standing there. The park is a placid, wide-open space with white picket fences, a red ranch house, long green lawns and tall trees - not stuff you expect to find in the desert. Bring a picnic and a Frisbee. Park docents do living-history presentations and, from June to August, there's a theater series called Theater Under the Stars. Park entry is $8. It's 25 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Take West Charleston Blvd to where it becomes NV 159 and go 5 miles west of Red Rock Canyon. See the state's site here.

FEB 9: Over at The Mirage, they just unveiled a new Trainer for a Day program that lets guests spend a day learning all about dolphin health and behavior at the Dolphin Habitat. For a cool $500 a person, participants get breakfast and lunch and get trained in dolphin terms and hand signals. (Dolphins have hands?) Later, they put you in wet suits and do some hands-on stuff with the dolphins. At the end of the day, you get to pose with the dolphins. The give you a picture, a certificate and a T-shirt. You must be 13+. They only have four a day in the program, so call 702/792-7889. Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance.

FEB. 2: Sick of the crush of the hoards of tourists at the Hoover Dam and the headache of the traffic down there? Try this: Go at night. The museum will be closed and there aren’t any tours, but it is much more beautiful when it’s all lit up. At night, when there’s nobody around and the place is quiet – that’s when you really get the sense of wonder and awesomeness of this place, that it’s not just some gaudy tourist trap. Plus, the guards that are there at that time of day are much nicer and less edgy. And it’s free.

JAN. 26: Looking for a great breakfast place? Just a mile east of the Strip is Harrie's Bagelmania, a brilliant and homey little joint that's the closest thing to those East Coast Jewish bagel spots right down to a cranky and loving grandma-type waitress, Roz! It's open every day from 6:30am to 3 pm at 855 E Twain Ave. (Twain is called Spring Mountain west of the Strip and, for a few blocks east of the Strip, is called Sands Avenue.) Call 702-369-3322 or click here for more information.

JAN. 19: From now until March 31, the New York -New York is offering a remarkable package deal called the Z PleaZure Package. BUT you must reserve it by Feb. 28. Here's what you get: Reserve a room at the hotel and for $159 you can add a pair of tickets to the show, unlimited Zumanitinis at the show with 2 souvenir glasses, breakfast in bed in your suite, two spa admissions and a room upgrade. Call 1-866-815-4365. There's no way to reserve it online.

JAN. 12: About a mile east of Fremont Street is the Gambler's Book Shop, founded by the late John and Edna Luckman. Yes, that's really their names. John realized in the 1960s that there were fewer than 20 books about gambling in print, so he set up a little store that went on to publish over 100 titles. It's really cute in the age of Barnes & Noble, a privately owned shop with $1 million in annual sales. You can buy from them online, too. Longtime manager Howard Schwartz is now the owner and he reads most everything he sells. He's got great stories about gamblers who pop in and out, blaming or thanking the books or him for their luck. Gambler's Book Shop is at 630 S. 11th St., 702/382-7555. One caveat: It's in a rough area of town, so take a cab -- and have them wait for you.

JAN. 5: No Tip. We did our Top 5 shows in Vegas lists. (Website to come)

DEC. 29: At the Wynn Las Vegas, anybody – not just guests – can walk through the lobby and out the French doors to watch the show at the Lake of Dreams. This is valuable information because most people think it’s only for folks checked into the hotel, but a spokeswoman confirms that that's not true. There's a bar and tables out there, so you can have a drink and watch the light and animation show there. Unless you’re eating at DB Bistro or the SW Steakhouse, there’s no better vantage point to see the free production, which goes off every 45 minutes from 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. during the winter. Call 702/770-7000 or visit for more information.

DEC. 22: This one’s both a tourist tip and a public service announcement: As of last week, strip club owners in Las Vegas have said they will no longer give kickbacks to cab drivers for bringing them customers. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the practice, which is illegal to begin with but rarely enforced, won’t happen anymore. Seeing how we’ve never taken a taxi to a strip club in Vegas nor, I don’t think, ever been to one, we’re not entirely sure how this works for the customers, but it seems like a tourist seeking a strip club might want to do a little research before heading out so they don’t end up somewhere gross now that the cab driver has no incentive to bring you somewhere decent.

DEC. 15: Even in the desert, there's real holiday cheer. Opportunity Village is a charity in Las Vegas that finds jobs for adults with mental disabilities, and their big annual event is the Magical Forest. It's amazing -- acres of holiday displays with millions of lights, plus rides and a Santa Claus -- all that good stuff. It costs $9 for adults, $7 for kids to get in, all the money goes to the charity, and it's open 5:30-9:30 Sunday to Thurs and 5:30 to 10 pm Friday and Saturday from now until Dec. 30. Buy tickets online at or just show up at 6300 West Oakey Blvd. Call 702/259-3700 for more information.

DEC. 8: Every year, the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas puts on a FREE, massive teddy bear display in its Presidential Suite. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit. The suite is decked out in Christmas decor, of course -- plus more than 1,000 teddy bears from FAO Schwarz! Just go to the Four Seasons, which is attached to the Mandalay Bay, from Dec. 9-22 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It also gives you a chance to see the inside of one of those fabulous Four Seasons suites!

DEC. 1: Just before Christmas is probably the most affordable time to come to Las Vegas. The place is dead after the National Finals Radio ends around Dec. 11, which means some incredible hotel deals from Dec. 12 to Dec 23. Weekday room rates at Bellagio are as low as $159 and at Caesars Palace is $120 a night, for instance. The Las Vegas Hilton – which is now pretty much on the Strip because of the monorail – is just $49 a night! If you’re willing to rough it, the rooms at Palace Station are only $30 a night. Go to the hotels’ individual websites and check it out. The rates do go up for the two weekends before Christmas, but not by much. The Monte Carlo, for instance, where Lance Burton performs, is $59 during the week nd $109 on the weekend. Still a steal for a room center-strip on a weekend in Vegas.

NOV. 24: Rather than bother with the Stratosphere for an expensive view of the Strip, go to the bar at Mix atop TheHOTEL at Mandalay Bay before 10 pm. It's free, and the view is better.

NOV. 17: Thousands pass through the Venetian every year but have no idea that they can preview TV shows and help Hollywood decide what to air. That is, a market research firm called MRC Group has a 10,000-square-foot test studio where they take advantage of the fact that a cross-section of America comes to Vegas, providing researchers with pretty much any demographic profile they're looking for. The MRC Group uses that to test out shows, commercials, even products, so here's what you do to partake: There's a kiosk for the MRC Group right by hte door to the self-parking on the canal level of the Grand Canal Shoppes. Ask the attendant what tests they're doing and whether you can be involved. It's FREE. You can also call 1-800-820-0166 or 702-360-7700 or click here. There's little info there and none on the Venetian's site, though.

NOV. 10: Stuck at McCarran with time to kill? Believe it or not, there's a TWENTY-FOUR hour gym there. 24 Hour Fitness costs $10 per day. They do not, as rumored, offer rental gym clothes, though. Go to the level above baggage claim and you'll see the sign. The gym itself is actually below the baggage claim, so there's an elevator there. Call for more info at 702-261-3971. Click here for more information, too.

NOV. 3: Tix4Tonight is a great spot for cheap show tickets. In fact, recent guests told us that they got better deals there than at TKTS, the other cut-rate show ticket company. Tix4Tonight's three kiosks are outside Neiman Marcus at the Fashion Show Mall, outside the Harley Davidson Cafe at Harmon and the Strip and in a small shack across the street from the Stardust Hotel-Casino. You must go there to find out what shows are available every day. They're open from noon to 9 p.m.

OCT. 27: Over at Caesars Palace, most people know that the north end of the Forum Shops has that beautiful 50,000-gallon horseshoe-shaped saltwater tank that contains houses more than 500 colorful fish of more than 100 species including zebra sharks and cow-nose rays. But the real tip is down below! There’s a free educational tour, visitors handle live starfish and observe lined seahorses, animals that can't be placed in the main tank because keeping them safe and properly fed would be difficult. To check it out, the tours go off at 1:15 and 5:15 p.m. weekdays. Stand by the sign near the aquarium on the Tower Records side of the aquarium.

OCT. 20: Once a year, a wild, wacky former lieutenant governor opens up his bizarre house and its weird collection of Americana for Nevada Day, which is Oct. 31. This year, Lonnie Hammargren's home will be open from 1-5 pm on Sunday, October 30. The "Hammargren Home of Nevada History" is at 4318 Ridgecrest Drive, just south of the intersection of South Sandhill and East Flamingo. It's free and it's a riot. The guy's got all sorts of fun things to gawk at, from actual spacecraft mementos to old neon billboards to stuff he keeps from his time as some sort of goodwill ambassador to Belize. Go to for details or to Lonnie's homepage by clicking here.

OCT. 13: For loads of great info on Vegas deals and more than $1,300 in coupons, subscribe for $50 a year to the Las Vegas Advisor newsletter. Or just sign up for the free LVA e-mail newsletter. Click here for more info.

OCT. 6: To disprove the belief that Vegas has no culture, we recommend checking out the popular and eclectic First Friday events from 6-10 pm every first Friday of the month (duh) in the downtown Las Vegas area. (Upcoming dates: Oct. 7, Nev. 4, Dec. 2, Jan. 6.) Head to the Arts Factory, 101 E. Charleston Blvd., (take a cab from the Strip) to start a crawl from there to several art galleries and off-beat shops. There's often music and food, too. Call 702/384-0092 for more info.

SEPT. 29: Take in some fantastic Spanish tapas at Firefly, the slightly-off-Strip restaurant where Miles and I had our first date on Oct. 1, 2004. There's no good homepage for the restaurant, so click on the name above for a review. It's at 3900 Paradise Road. The phone number is 702/369-3971.

SEPT. 22: Tickets for Tony-winning "Hairspray" at the Luxor are on sale now, and the previews prices -- $50 per seat plus taxes -- is probably the best deal you'll ever get to see original stars Harvey Fierstein and Dick Latesa in these roles. Preview performances are Feb. 6 to Feb. 14. Go to the Luxor site to check it out.

SEPT. 8: Check out the 9/11 memorial at the corner of the Strip and Tropicana in front of the Statue of Liberty outside the New York-New York hotel. The memorial includes T-shirts and other mementos left on the railing by tourists and locals at the Statue in the months after the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks.

AUGUST 25: Check out the Bootlegger Bistro, 7700 Las Vegas Blvd. S, on Monday nights after 10 p.m. to see Strip stars in Kelly Clinton's celebrity karaoke!


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