Local Las Vegas Information

Tips for Visiting Las Vegas | Las Vegas Dining Options | Things to Do in Las Vegas | Exploring Las Vegas Neighborhoods

Below is some important information, compiled by ALSC's 2014 Local Arrangements Committee, to help you make the most of your visit to Las Vegas.

Tips for Visiting Las Vegas

Making the Most of Your Budget

  • Flights: Book early. The earlier you can book your flight, the better. Spirit Airlines flies into Las Vegas and they usually have the cheapest flights you can find. People have been known to fly from Las Vegas to Chicago for $90 round trip. Beware of upcharges though, and pretty much everything is considered an upcharge. You have to pack efficiently (everything in a backpack, no suitcases), print your boarding pass at home (more for your own convenience) and be sure to bring your own food and drink on the plane. Check their website to see if there's a flight from your city to Las Vegas. Many locals are fans of Southwest Airlines for their reasonable prices (including two free checked bags!)and "fun" culture. You won't find their fares listed on the popular travel sites (Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, etc.) so be sure to check their website before you book your flight.
  • Food: Eating on the Strip can be pretty pricey, especially if you're only looking in hotels. We've compiled a list of our best restaurants based on cuisine type, price and whether it's located on the Strip or off it. Check it out here.
    • There is also an amazing way to eat all the food you want all day for $50+tax. It's called the Buffet of Buffets pass and with it you get into seven of Vegas' top buffets for a full 24 hours. For more information, check out their website.
  • Drinks: The easiest way to get cheap drinks? Gamble! Cocktail waitresses will bring around drinks the entire time you're gambling for absolutely free whether you're playing high stakes poker or the penny slots. You just have to be sure to tip them each time or they'll suddenly disappear but otherwise the drinks will keep on comin'. There are cheap drinks and food options at happy hours at the restaurants around town as well. Every place has their own times for happy hour so you'll have to call around to see but generally it's between 3-5pm. Some restaurants even have midnight or late night specials which include cheap food and drinks. This website populates happy hour and late night locations based on zip codes, names of the place or keywords.
  • Entertainment: Looking to see a fabulous Vegas show like Cirque du Soleil, Jersey Boys or the Blue Man Group but don't want to pay full price? Then check out http://www.tix4tonight.com where you can find tickets for half off! Most venues don't like to have empty seats in the crowd so to fill up space, they sell same-day tickets through this website for half of the regular price. You can purchase tickets at the various booths around the Strip, and they can tell you exactly what they have on sale for that day. They have locations in the Fashion Show Mall, Planet Hollywood, Circus Circus, Bally's, M&M World and Town Square.

    We also have compiled a list of entertainment options on the Strip based on free activities, those under $10-$20, over $20, and Vegas nightlife shows including bars and clubs. Check it out here.

Getting Around Town

  • Las Vegas Monorail: The Monorail has several hotels on its route if you're trying to get all around the Strip. The monorail runs on the east side of the strip all the way to the convention center. Visit their website for routes, times, prices and more.
  • Trams: There are three (free!) trams that run along the west side of the strip. One runs between TI and The Mirage, another between Bellagio, City Center and Monte Carlo, and another between Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay Bay. For more information click here.
  • Taxis: Taxis are convenient and plentiful, but they can be rather pricey depending on where you need to go. Drivers have also been known to take tourists on the "scenic route" to run up the fare on the ride so if you have a smart phone, you might want to look up the route on Google Maps or a GPS device to tell them which way you'd like them to take. The most common instance of this is "long-hauling" is from the airport. From Vegas.com: "When you get in the taxi, tell the driver you want to be taken to your hotel via Swenson Avenue, NOT the airport tunnel. The airport tunnel may seem faster because it connects to the freeway and has fewer lights, but the route is several miles longer resulting in cab fares that are $5 to $10 more. The exception to this rule are hotels in the Downtown area, the far North end of the Strip and hotels group on West Flamingo Road (The Palms, Palms Place, Rio Las Vegas, Gold Coast)."

    Click here for a list of taxi cab companies. If you're on the Strip or Downtown, every hotel will have a taxi line for you to grab one if you need it, and cab drivers are encouraged to pick up and drop off fares from these lines rather than hold up traffic on the Strip.
  • Airport Shuttles: There are several airport shuttle services from McCarran Airport. These are a good idea if there's a group of you, and is usually cheaper than a cab; however, some shuttles only run from the airport to the hotel. If you're looking for a ride from your hotel back to McCarran, check with the company first to see if they are able to pick you up, or use one of the companies listed on Vegas.com, which provide round-trip service.Click here for a list of shuttle services.
  • Car Rentals: Renting a car is a good option if you can afford it. There are some well-priced rental companies listed here. Most resorts have rental car companies located onsite for your convenience.
  • Limo Services: If you're planning a big night out with a bunch of friends you might want to consider renting a limo for the occasion. What better way to get from place to place than cruising in style down the Strip? Limo services will not only pick you up and drop you off wherever you need to go but will wait for you while you hop from restaurant to bar to club to back to your hotel. Pricing for limos can be reasonable if you have enough people to split the tab. A list of limo rental services can be found here.
  • Public Transportation: The CAT (City Area Transit) Bus has a route that runs up and down the strip 24/7 featuring a double-decker bus nicknamed The Deuce. You can check out Las Vegas's route schedule and map for the fastest way to get to your destination using Las Vegas's public transportation. Check out the Transit Map to see where public transportation can take you, and use the Transit Stop Locator to find the nearest bus stop. You can also text RideRTC to find out when the next will arrive at your stop.
  • Walking: If you're staying on the Strip, be advised that depending on which resort you're staying in, the walk from your hotel room to the street alone may be a lot longer and less direct than you expected. While it certainly is possible (and enjoyable, especially at night) to walk the Strip, be sure that you wear comfortable shoes and have a backup plan on how you'll get back to your room if the walk is more than you were prepared for. Many people find that breaking their excursions into smaller "chunks" is more gratifying than walking the entire length (almost four miles) in one trip.

Handling the Weather

  • Stay Hydrated: This is probably the most important and least-realized fact about visiting Vegas. Keep water on you or make sure you have easy access to water while you're out because it is very easy to become fatigued while walking around under the blazing sun in desert temperatures.
  • Wear Sun Screen: Even if you think you don't burn easily, the desert sun can be brutal to your skin.
  • Avoid Walking During the Day: Try to travel by vehicle or other transportation throughout the day, and leave walking until after the sun sets.
  • Allergies and Nose/Skin Sensitivities: If you're from a humid area or have allergies, you might find the air here to be drier than you're used to. You might want to consider bringing a saline nasal spray if you're especially sensitive to dry air, and many people find that they need to use more moisturizer and/or lotion while they are visiting.

Staying Safe and Other Miscellaneous Information

  • Remembering Your Hotel Room: Las Vegas has some of the largest hotels in the world, and many resorts have more than one hotel tower. Carry a matchbook or other preprinted information with the name, address and telephone number of the hotel whenever you go out. This will assist you should you become lost or separated from your group.
  • Keeping Your Belongings Safe: If you're planning on experiencing the Vegas nightlife, bring a wristlet or compact wallet that you can hide on your person so that it's big enough to have what you need to get around, but small enough to not get in the way in a crowd.
  • Stay in Public Areas and Avoid Alleys: Some bars, especially downtown, can be in not-so-nice areas if you wander off. Make sure you stay in populated, public areas with people you know and avoid any place or person that looks suspicious.
  • Card-Slappers: There are people all along the Strip, especially in high-traffic areas, that slap cards in their hand to get your attention so that they can hand them to you. These cards advertise "adult services" and the advertising is usually crude. The flappers will usually do their best to get you to grab their cards, but if you keep your hands in your pockets and ignore them, they're harmless.
  • Street Performers: The number of street performers in tourist areas has grown in the last couple years. Many dress in full costume as popular characters like Elmo or Buzz Lightyear. Some of them may have actual performances like break dancing or juggling and some just stand around taking candid photos with tourists. A recent ordinance makes it illegal for them to charge you anything (they can only ask for donations or tips) but be aware that if you do engage with them, they're expecting a tip, even if you're just taking a photo in passing. They're usually harmless enough but if you feel uncomfortable just keep to yourself and walk away from the area.


If you have any questions regarding this information, or would like to add information to this guide, please contact the 2014 Local Arrangements Committee.