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TOURIST TIPS OF THE WEEK:
[click here for the show's
Aug. 20: If you're
looking for a fun, wacky time and love dudes who look like ladies,
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
Grier near McCarran, inside the Poker Paradise bar. See
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
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
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
Sept. 12: We got three dining tips
live on the air from Mike Dobranski, blogger for TastingLasVegas.Com:
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 discoverspringmountains.org
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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, nevadaculture.org,
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
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
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
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
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 bard.org.
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
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
"No typical club douche bags or trendy hipsters who are
too cool to do anything other than sit and clog up the bar with
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
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
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
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 lvlt.org.
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
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 RateVegas.com'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]earthlink.net.
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.
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
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,
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, Sunbeltcars.com.
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 lasvegassun.com/history
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
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
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
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
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 Usedbookslasvegas.com,
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
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
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 designateddriversinc.com.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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
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
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,
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 crownandanchorlv.com
for more info or call 702/739-8676 UPDATE:
Crown & Anchor has a free shuttle from the Strip. Call them
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 LVrenfair.com
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
– 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
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.
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, metropizza.com.
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
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 DeniseTruscello.org.
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
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
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 LeavingLV.net.
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
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
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
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
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.
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 opportunityvillage.org
or just show up at 6300 West Oakey Blvd. Call 702/259-3700 for
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.
(This was a special interview edition of the TSTTotW, so click
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
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 VegasSeatFillers.com.
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
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 gamblersgeneralstore.com.
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,
Too. Or try Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, which
in Northwest Vegas, which has a 10,000-square-foot restaurant
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
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
It’s not all-inclusive, but it’s the best thing
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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
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 www.supersummertheatre.com
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
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 www.goldenrainbow.org
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 www.lvlt.org
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 9: Check
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
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
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 www.wynnlasvegas.com
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 opportunityvillage.org or just
show up at 6300 West Oakey Blvd. Call 702/259-3700 for more
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
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
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.
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 www.nevadaday.org
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!