Las Vegas – The Yes/No guide to Sin City

What you want and what you don't want in America's Playground.

Taking a trip to Las Vegas is a little like developing your own personal style.  At first, you might stay here for two days, blow your money on slots, and wander up and down the strip acquiring nothing but a pair of blisters.  And then you learn.  What happens there is allegedly supposed to stay there, so with as little explanation as possible, here’s what’s actually worth it and what’s not, broken down into categories.  Good luck.

Style
  • Wearing a suit on the flight there – Yes
  • Going tieless – Yes
  • Wearing a suit at night – Yes
  • Feeling out of place in a suit because even at the nice hotels plenty are in sweats and crocs – No
  • Navy suit – Yes
  • Light Grey suit – Yes
  • Summer Suit – Well, in summer, yes.  It gets brutal there.
  • Black suit – Not unless you want to look like a casino employee.
  • Lighter brown lace ups – Yes.  All weekend.
  • Black lace ups – Nah
  • Dark denim – Yes
  • Navy Cotton Sportcoat – Yes
  • White, well tailored dress shirts to wear with just about everything – Yes
  • Sweaters – No
  • Wallet – No
  • Card case/slim wallet & subtle money clip – Yes
  • Wearing a suit on the flight home – No

The one pair of shoes you need in Las Vegas:  Comfortable brown lace ups.
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Travel and Accommodations
  • Arriving on Friday and leaving on Sunday – No
  • Arriving on Thursday and leaving on Monday – Yes
  • Staying at a crappy hotel so you have more cash to gamble – No
  • Staying somewhere nice and gambling much less than most – Yes
  • Calling ahead to request a non-smoking room on a non-smoking floor – Hell yes
  • Paying for your trip, minus expenses, up front in cash – Yes
  • Having a cab budget, because that casino “just down the street” isn’t as close as you think – Yep
  • Bellagio – Yes
  • Aria – Yes
  • Mandalay Bay – Yes
  • Paris – No
  • Imperial Palace – No (but it is centrally located with cheap tables)
  • Cesar’s Palace – Nah
  • MGM Grand – Yes
  • Venetian – Yes
  • The Flamingo – What, you a Donnie and Marie fan?

Part of the Bellagio decked out for Chinese New Year.  It’s well worth it to stay somewhere nice.
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Food/Drink
  • Buying booze at the Casino bar – No
  • Free Mixed Drinks while gambling – No
  • Free liquor on the rocks / neat while gambling – Yes
  • Tipping the cocktail waitress extra for bringing free top shelf stuff while gambling – Yes
  • Pacing yourself with club soda / water while gambling – You better
  • Buying/bringing a small bottle of favorite liquor for your room – Yes
  • Bringing Apples/Bananas/Protein Bars/other snacks for your room – Yes
  • Stumbling drunk into the weight sensor equipped mini/snack bar in your room – Aw crap.
  • Buffets – No
  • Basic sandwiches and salads from casino cafes – Yes
  • Julian Serrano at Aria – Yes
  • Del Monaco at the Venetian – Nope.
  • Olives at the Bellagio – Yes
  • Shibuya at MGM Grand – Yes
  • Todd English P.U.B. – No.  Beer selection is decent though.
  • Hash House A Go Go at the Imperial Palace – Yes

Skip the buffets.  Save your cash (and calories) for nice dinners in the different casinos.
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Gambling
  • Craps – Yes (practicing for free can help.)
  • Craps with a group of friends so you can take over half a table – Absolutely
  • Blackjack – Maybe
  • Slots – No
  • Placing a reasonable wager at the Sports Book – Yes
  • Watching your game and enjoying free drinks at the Sports Book – Maybe the best gambling value in Vegas.
  • Poker Rooms – Not if you’re in Las Vegas with a date.
  • Friendly $10 Craps table dealers – Yes
  • Ornery $5 Craps table dealers – No
  • Staying somewhere nice but spending a little time gambling somewhere cheaper – Yes
  • Old Downtown Las Vegas / Freemont Street – Yes

Gambling.  Yes.  But do other things.  Many, many other things.
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Other Activities
  • Bellagio Fountains set to Sinatra – Yes
  • Bellagio Fountains set to Faith Hill – No
  • Window shopping ridiculously expensive luxury brands – Yes
  • Asking to try on a super expensive watch while window shopping – Yes
  • Asking to try on a super expensive suit while window shopping – No
  • Bottle Service at a club – No
  • Bottle Service for a group in the below zero Vodka Vault at Red Square while wearing mink coats – It ain’t cheap, but yes
  • Exploring the individual casinos – Yes
  • Seeing a show – Yes
  • Spending a good chunk of your time gambling – No.  There’s so much more to do.

At least make sure you’re dressed well when you walk in.

What else?  Most of us have been to Las Vegas a few times, with the 1st time being filled with mistakes, and subsequent trips being when we put what we learned to good use.  Leave all your Las Vegas knowledge below.