Question #1

What are your top 3 recommendations (sights/casinos/restaurants) for someone’s inaugural trip to Vegas?

Melissa, Nebraska | December 15, 2018

This is a great question! Since I’m all about value here at VLV, I’m going to try and focus on two cheap(er) options, with a splurge option for the third.

It being your inaugural trip, I wanted to give you an idea of all that Vegas has to offer, so I tried to recommend a mix of things that are on the Strip, Downtown, and slightly off the Strip.

Of course tastes vary, so I’m always happy to provide more specific recommendations – just shoot me an email!


  • Bellagio Fountains – they’re iconic for a reason, and did you really go Vegas if you don’t Instagram them? They are set to different songs and a new show begins every 30 minutes during the day, and 15 minutes at night. Check out the Bellagio’s website for more info on what to expect. Make sure to go inside to the Bellagio Conservatory to check out their free seasonal displays as well.
  • Walking the Strip (with a drink in hand) – people watching is one of the best parts of Las Vegas. I always make a point to grab a drink and just walk down the street (there are no public consumption laws in Clark County!) taking it all in. Make a point to walk through the casinos on the way to check out the different displays, window shop, and take in even more sights.
  • Splurge: High Roller Observation Wheel– This was the moment when I fully fell in love with Las Vegas. The views of Sin City from 450 feet are truly awe-inspiring, and help you take in the glitz of Las Vegas. I recommend going at night so you can see all the lights and upgrading to the “happy half hour” bar car (exactly what it sounds like… 30 minutes of free drinks) for a few more bucks; I definitely got a good value with my 10 drinks.


I highly recommend trying different casinos to find the one that feels best before committing to too much gambling, but here are three representative ones to check out.

  • The D (Downtown Las Vegas) – the D has the only operating Sigma Derby machine and excellent full pay Bonus Poker progressives at the bar upstairs, makes a mean Mai Tai, and has a fun party atmosphere. If you want to play 3:2 blackjack at lower minimums, check out its sister casino, the Golden Gate, which is on the same Club One players card.
  • Ellis Island (slightly off-strip) – if you’re staying on the Strip, but want somewhere with low minimums, 3:2 blackjack, plentiful microbrews, and great food specials, Ellis Island is the place to be. It’s a short walk from center Strip, and is by far the best value you can find without going Downtown or off-strip.
  • Cosmopolitan (Strip) – the Cosmopolitan’s casino is by far the swankiest I’ve been in. The table minimums are too high for my budget, but it’s a great place to go and take in the glitz and glam of the Strip. They serve quality cocktails, and have good drink service, making it good for slow rolling. Be careful, though, since the bartop Video Poker requires drink vouchers after your first drink.


  • Magnolia’s Cafe at Four Queens (Downtown)- it ain’t glamorous, but it’s cheap. You can earn comp points pretty quickly playing full-pay 9/6 Jacks or Better, take advantage of your BOGO coupons from the ACG and LVA, and get a solid meal.  I’m a big fan of their Queen’s Breakfast that has pancakes, french toast, sausage, AND bacon for under $10, rendering my two toughest breakfast decisions moot.
  • Ellis Island Steak Special – the Ellis Island Steak Special is famous for a reason. After gambling $5 on your players card, you’ll receive a $2 off coupon which will bring your price for a 10oz sirloin with two sides to $7.99. You can also redeem your ACG and LVA coupons for free play and match play while you’re at the casino!
  • Hexx Bottomless Mimosa Brunch – since it’s on the Strip (outside Paris), prices are a bit higher, but if you can put back mimosas like me, it’ll be well worth it. Ask for patio seating so you can people watch and take in the sights of the Strip and Bellagio Fountains. Watch for periodic Groupons that can help offset the priciness.


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