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Las Vegas: Downtown vs. The Strip

Las Vegas: Downtown vs. The Strip
by Wilson of

First of all, if you plan on traveling to Las Vegas chances are youíre guaranteed a great time! But where will you stay? Well, Las Vegas has more than 70 casinos in and around the desert oasis. Depending on your taste, budget, and energy level the decision can sometimes be difficult as every casino has that ďsomethingĒ special to offer their guest. Personally, Iíve been traveling to Las Vegas casinos for the past 17 years and there are definitely some differences between casinos on the famous strip as opposed to those located downtown, specifically on Freemont Street. Letís take a look at the three areas mentioned above.

What kind of taste do you have? Whatís your style? The new look Vegas strip is booming with exotic, larger than life, billion dollar mega-resort casinos. Ok, well Iím sure most people would love to stay at one of these great casinos; ahh, but whatís the catch? Well, you can assure that if you plan on staying at The Mandalay Bay, The Bellagio, or The Venetian itís going to cost you a pretty penny! Traditionally, hotel casinos on the strip run about $50 to $100 more a night than those located downtown. Why? Simple, you pay for the atmosphere and space. The strip is the jewel of the desert and jewelry cost a lot of money.

Does downtown Las Vegas have taste? Sure. Freemont Street is more alive today than it has been in years. The Golden Nugget recently wrapped up a major renovation project and is considered one of the most prestigious casinos in all of Las Vegas. But why are the rooms so much cheaper than those on the strip? Honestly, some of the rooms at the Nugget are more expensive than lower end strip rooms, but the majority of the casinos downtown are older and some people prefer the big, new, shiny beast on the strip.

Do things cost more on the strip? In all of my experiences with Las Vegas casinos I have found that my dollar goes a little further when Iím downtown on Freemont Street. For example, you can easily find a $1 or $2 dollar craps table downtown, but thatís a nearly impossible task on the strip as the lowest minimum bet youíll find there is $5 and during prime time in the evenings, often times more!. In fact, you can bet that just about everything on the strip will cost more money compared to the deals youíll receive downtown. They say drinks are free in Vegas as long as youíre gambling, and that is true, but if you try to buy one on the strip at a casino bar you better dig deep! (Drinks can cost 7-15 bucks depending on the casino you're in). On the other hand, if you buy a drink at a downtown casino you can count on saving at least a couple of bucks.

Will I get tired more from being downtown or on the strip? Great question; Freemont Street is great because itís only about three to four blocks long, while the strip is four to five miles in length and very difficult to navigate. I would compare Freemont Street to the likings of hanging out at a really huge shopping mall. The good thing about downtown is the casinos are literally right next to each other. However, if you prefer the strip experience you might want to wear your tennis shoes as each casino has a ton of space between them and before you know it you are exhausted and crabby! No matter where you end up staying while youíre in Vegas you will have a great time as it truly is a state of mind.

The bottom line is this- if youíre planning a trip to a Las Vegas casino make sure you do a little research before you go. If I go to Vegas purely to gamble I always stay downtown because the casinos are close and the dealers are more laid back. If I go to Vegas with my lovely wife and some friends we usually spend a little extra and stay on the strip. Our thought process is simple; if we spend all of our money and weíre staying on the strip at least we have a nice room and a great swimming pool to use until our plane leaves! Have a great trip and good luck.

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