Category Archives: Free Las Vegas

11 Amazing Things to Love About Las Vegas

It’s time to celebrate some things we love about Las Vegas!

There’s a lot to love about Sin City, including all its various forms of sin, but these are a few that leapt to mind immediately. Note: We were going to say “leaped,” but “leapt” just sounds fancier.

Share what you love about Las Vegas in the comments.

1. Bellagio Fountains

Leave this off any top 10 list of things to love and you have to forfeit your Las Vegas card. These traffic-stopping dancing fountains, set to iconic music, have enthralled visitors for years, and we hope the dancing never stops.

Bellagio fountain

The Bellagio fountains use four types of nozzles: Oarsmen, shooters, super shooters and extreme shooters. Extreme shooters send water up to 460 feet high.

2. Sexiest Shopping Mall, Ever

Yes, the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is a shopping mall, but man alive, what a mall it is.

Forum Shops

The Forum Shops at Caesars is the highest grossing mall in the U.S.

3. Strip Clubs

Hey, we waited until number three before getting to some actual sin! Dancers travel from around the world to perform in Las Vegas strip clubs, providing a quantity and quality of entertainment unparalleled in the known universe. Make sure to brush up on your strip club slang.

Pole dancer

Fun fact: Strippers make more when they’re ovulating.

4. Bigass Slot Machine Jackpots

Las Vegas remains the undisputed king of life-changing slot jackpots, and the hits just keep on coming. A player recently won $1.4 million at Cosmopolitan on Wheel of Fortune. We’re pretty sure it was one of the machines we were playing a week earlier. Not bitter at all. Another lucky bastard won $1.3 million at the Cosmo a month earlier. In June, a woman won $1.4 million at Golden Gate.

Megabucks

The biggest Megabucks jackpot in Vegas history was $39,710,826.36, won at Excalibur.

5. OMG the Food, Though

There are so many award-winning restaurants in Las Vegas, they need to invent more awards. There’s something to suit just about any craving, and even if you visited a Las Vegas restaurant every day, it would take a decade to visit them all. Oh, and don’t even get us started about the desserts.

Joe's bone-in filet

This bone-in filet at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab is the second best thing we’ve ever had our mouth on.

6. Highest Concentration of Cirque Shows Anywhere

Cirque du Soleil has been in Las Vegas so long, it’s easy to take for granted the sheer variety and quality of these outsized theatrical spectacles. Have trouble keeping all the Las Vegas Cirque shows straight? We’ve got this with our One-Minute Guide to All the Cirque Shows in Las Vegas.

Ka Cirque du Soleil

If you see “Ka” at MGM Grand, don’t miss this photo op.

7. Venetian Eye Candy

So many Las Vegas resorts feature stunning architecture, it’s difficult to single one out, but we will, anyway. A stroll through the Venetian provides so much eye candy you’re likely to leave with diabetes. In a good way.

Venetian

Venetian is gorgeous, inside and out.

8. Fremont Street Experience Light Shows

It’s easy to take the free nightly light shows at Fremont Street Experience for granted, but they are a must-do. The hourly shows are free and feature bands like The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Green Day and others. The canopy will soon get a $32 million upgrade, so expect a whole new level of “What the hell did I just see?” Fun fact: The canopy’s LED brightness will go from 700 nits to 5,000 nits, whatever those might actually be.

9. The Hooch

Do you know this blog at all? Of course the hooch is on our list! Las Vegas is known for its destination drinking, and there’s no place on Earth with the sheer variety or quantity of alcoholic beverages on tap. Literally. Make sure to check out all our completely consensual panty-dropper cocktails.

Pineapple Express cocktail

And they claim you can’t have a crush on an inanimate object.

10. Neon You Want to Dry Hump

Our love affair with neon will never fade, and while lots of casinos are opted for LEDs, there’s still plenty of gorgeous neon in Las Vegas. If you’re pining for even more neon, here’s a bonus thing to love about Las Vegas: “Brilliant” at the Neon Museum, where classic signs spring back to life with the assistance of projection mapping technology.

Flamingo neon

Not for actual licking. Did we really need to tell you that, weirdo?

11. Vegas People

There’s a lot to love about Las Vegas, but ultimately it’s all about the people. It’s about the incredible people who work here and make our vacations possible. It’s about the strangers who become lifelong friends. It’s about the seemingly inexhaustible supply of colorful characters. Las Vegas is the magnet and we’re all wearing iron thongs. Or something.

Beer bottles

Vegas friends are the best kind of friends. Other than rich, forgetful friends, of course.

So, let’s hear more about the things you love about Las Vegas.

Wynn Resorts Rights a Wrong, Rolls Back Paid Parking

Few saw it coming, but Wynn Resorts has bucked a trend by announcing it will give free parking to its hotel guests, as well as a way for us commoners to get free parking, too.

Your first question, of course: Las Vegas hotels make their own guests pay for parking?

Well, yes. Where have you been?

Currently, Wynn and Encore charge guests for self-park and valet, a trend that’s become the norm in Las Vegas, just as it is in other cities.

Self-park rates run $7 for the first 1-2 hours, $12 for 2-4 hours and $15 up to 24 hours. Valet charges currently run from $18 (up to two hours), to $27 for 24 hours.

Starting July 1, 2018, that all changes.

Wynn Encore

Wynn Resorts could use some positive buzz right about now. Free parking is a great place to start.

Guests of Wynn and Encore will be able to self-park or valet for free. Remember when free parking was a thing in Las Vegas?

Free parking for hotel guests will be included in their $39 resort fee. Wynn Resorts assures customers the resort fee won’t be increased to accommodate the new policy.

Don’t get us started about resort fees. That’s a fight for another day.

But wait, there’s more.

Non-hotel guests will also be able to park free, albeit with validation. Guests will be validated upon receipt of a $50 spend at Wynn or Encore.

That minimum can be spent at all the retail stores, restaurants, shows, nightclubs and lounges at either of the resorts.

Players will be pleased to hear even money spent gambling counts toward the $50 minimum spend to get free parking. The company hasn’t release details about how that will work, but we trust they’ll figure it out.

Wynn parasols

Sorry, gazing at the pretty things won’t get your parking validated. Buy a couple of drinks, though, and you’re good.

This change in paid parking policy is a pretty big deal in Las Vegas. Paid parking is an ongoing source of frustration for visitors, and many believe is has caused a shift in public perception of Las Vegas as a value destination.

We are one of those people.

So, what’s the motivation behind Wynn Resorts’ move?

Well, there’s the official answer, referred to as “horseshit” in public relations parlance.

Maurice Wooden, President of Wynn Las Vegas, said, “We have come to believe that charging additional parking fees is counter to the personalized service we provide. This new policy directly reflects the way we know our guests want and deserve to be treated.”

So, it suddenly dawned on them guests don’t like having to pay for parking? Right.

Wynn $5,000 machine

This machine at Wynn is $5,000 per spin. You’re covered on the parking.

Wynn Resorts has at least three reasons to change its paid parking policies.

First, its restaurants, shows and retail stores have taken a hit since paid parking was instituted. And it’s not just happening at Wynn and Encore, but at casinos all across Las Vegas.

Restaurants don’t receive the financial benefits of paid parking, at all, so they’re being hurt with nothing to show for it.

Increasingly, restaurants, shows and retail stores are letting their casino overlords know they’re suffering, and it appears Wynn Resorts is listening.

Second, it’s Wynn Resorts, so there’s an undeniable public image component.

Generously setting aside parking fees can’t hurt during a time when Wynn Resorts is trying to restore its tarnished reputation following the Steve Wynn sexual misconduct scandal.

Wynn Resorts is throwing everyone a bone. Which, come to think of it, is what got Steve Wynn in all that trouble in the first place.

We’ll wait.

Wynn funny chip

Oh, like we’d do a story about Wynn without including this chip. Do you know this blog at all?

Third, follow the money.

Wynn’s neighbors, Venetian and Palazzo, still offer free parking. That means many customers park at these competing casinos and walk to Wynn and Encore.

One of the cardinal rules of Las Vegas casinos: Don’t send customers to a competitor. Guests may intend to pass through Palazzo to gamble and dine at Wynn, but there are lots of distractions along the way.

So, the bottom line is Venetian and Palazzo deserve props for holding strong on free parking. If they’d rolled out paid parking, it’s unlikely Wynn Resorts would be changing its policies.

Palazzo

We all owe you a beer, Palazzo.

Along those same lines, let’s not forget another neighbor with free parking: Fashion Show Mall. You can bet there’s a collective sigh of relief at retail outlets inside Wynn and Encore right about now.

We can only hope the new parking program at Wynn and Encore is an acknowledgment by casinos that paid parking is an unnecessary annoyance to customers.

Paid parking is a short-sighted revenue play that hurts brands and, ultimately, Las Vegas.

Let’s hope the other big casino companies in Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts (which started this whole paid parking mess), see the light, too.

Guy Creates Las Vegas Race for Friends and It’s Amazing

Everyone needs a friend like Gabe Sinna.

Sinna recently celebrated a birthday, and decided to invite some friends to join him in Las Vegas for the festivities.

Lots of people have done that. But Gabe Sinna isn’t everybody.

After months of planning, Sinna created an ingenious game for his friends to play, inspired by the hit travel competition on CBS, “The Amazing Race.” And his game has raised the bar for Las Vegas scavenger hunts forever.

Amazing Gabe

Trust us, the word “amazing” isn’t used lightly here.

See, just about everyone has a friend who’s a planner. But Gabe Sinna is more than that. He’s a savant. He’s a genius. He’s a freak.

And we’re not just saying that because Sinna dove deeply into the recesses of this very Las Vegas blog for nuggets to inform his “Amazing Gabe” race.

Amazing Gabe

Gabe and the better half of the teams competing in the “Amazing Gabe” race.

While Sinna orchestrated an entire Las Vegas trip for his friends, we tagged along on the part that featured downtown. Not only do we work downtown (in marketing at Fremont Street Experience), the area is home to some of our favorite places in Las Vegas.

Sinna did extensive research about downtown before creating his race, then built his “race” using elements of “The Amazing Race,” including “Detours” and “Roadblocks.” He even used artwork inspired by the show. Told you he’s a freak.

Amazing Gabe

This is the photo caption where we don’t mention how much free time Gabe clearly has.

At the beginning of each leg of the race, Sinna distributed clues (“Route Info.”) and his friends, all couples, got to explore downtown in a fun, unique way.

It should be noted Sinna’s friends are also sort of freaks, as they made matching T-shirts with Sinna’s face on them for each team.

Amazing Gabe

Gabe’s friends weren’t messing around. It’s a little thing called “bragging rights.”

The “Amazing Gabe” race included a carefully-curated list of things to do downtown:

  • Take a photo with the gold nugget replica at Golden Nugget
  • Get a pic with a million bucks at Binion’s
  • Try a scorpion shot at Nacho Daddy
  • Visit Banger Brewing
  • Ride the SlotZilla zipline
  • Visit Golden Gate
  • Rub Buddha’s belly at The Cal
  • See the Berlin Wall at Main Street Station
  • Ride the Downtown Loop to the Gold & Silver Pawn shop
  • Take in the Neon Museum
  • Grab a dog at American Coney Island at The D

The downtown race culminated at Pizza Rock, of course. Did we not mention Sinna reads this blog?

Gabe Sinna’s friends are apparently fellow Las Vegas aficionados, because they navigated his clues with relative ease. (It was determined later the Internet may have made some of the clues too easy to solve. Thanks a lot, blogs!)

Amazing Gabe

Everyone got to express their feelings about Communism at the Berlin Wall display inside the restroom at Main Street Station.

Ultimately, the red team won.

Amazing Gabe Las Vegas

Congrats, Joe and Angie. You’re Internet famous. Not redeemable for cash.

As mentioned, the downtown “race” was just part of the fun. Sinna created a nearly 20-page, spiral-bound booklet for his friends.

The booklet included, among other things, his friend’s favorite drinks.

Amazing Gabe

This is what we meant when we said, “Everyone needs a friend like Gabe.”

There were also agendas for other days of their trip, shuttle schedules, maps of The Strip and downtown and a page for his friends to note which Vegas casinos they’d visited.

One of our favorite parts of his booklet was devoted to a photo hunt. Sinna created an extensive list of Las Vegas-themed photo ideas, including images of:

  • Bachelorette with a sash
  • Slot win of more than $50
  • Any celebrity (yes, a photo with this blog qualified)
  • A doppelganger
  • Guy with a mullet
  • Bike cop
  • Tasteful side boob
  • Pink flamingo
  • Vegas sunset
  • Neon sign
  • Party pit dancer
  • In line at White Castle
  • Any Elvis
  • Showgirl with feathers
  • Guy named Don (I.D. required)
  • David statue at Caesars Palace
  • Pay phone
  • Night club line
  • Kissing at the Bellagio fountains

Now, that’s a Las Vegas photo hunt right there.

Amazing Gabe

What happens in Vegas goes into the Cloud.

Sinna’s booklet also included another scavenger hunt list with items like “business card from a pit boss,” “slot ticket worth .01 (exactly),” “show ticket stub,” “deck of casino cards” and “trifecta of porn cards (brunette, blonde and redhead).”

While we love Las Vegas a lot, we bow before the love Gabe Sinna clearly has for this town. Seriously. His name even has “sin” in it.

Thanks to Gabe for letting us tag along on several legs of the “Amazing Gabe” race! We were truly impressed with his knowledge of Vegas, as well as his organizational ability, as it’s well-known we are personally bereft of the planning gene.

Amazing Gabe

We are not a heights person, but for some, winning prevails over woozy.

If you’ve done anything even remotely as creative as Gabe for a Las Vegas visit, we’d love to hear about it. We won’t hold our breath.

Amazing Gabe

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Bellagio Conservatory Embraces Italian Roots With First-Time Capri-Inspired Display

Bellagio, the Las Vegas resort inspired by a town in Italy, has tapped into its Italian roots again with a new Conservatory & Botanical Gardens display transporting guests to the island of Capri.

Bellagio Conservatory Italy

The new Italian display at Bellagio Conservatory is like a vacation from your vacation.

Bellagio’s Conservatory rarely disappoints, but it’s great to see an all-new display.

As always, Bellagio’s Conservatory is a free attraction and remains one of the best free things to do in all of Las Vegas.

Bellagio Conservatory 2017

Bellagio’s horticulture teams has pulled out all the stops for this first-time display. Bellissima, as the kids say.

Bellagio’s new Italian display, which runs through Sep. 9, 2017, covers a lot of ground, with water features, colorful villas and a metric ass-ton of flowers, of course.
IMG

Guests enter the vibrant new exhibit through a 26-foot archway. Inside, there’s an eight-foot fountain.

Bellagio Conservatory Italian display

This is a wonderful place to freshen up, as well as to meet some helpful Bellagio security guards.

Nearby is a 22-foot moss-covered fountain that pays tribute to the Fontana dell’Ovato located in Villa d’Este, a 16th century residence in Tivoli.

In case there was any doubt, we knew all that off the top of our head and definitely did not copy and paste it from a news release.

Bellagio Conservatory

Villa d’Este is a 16th-century villa near Rome and Fontana dell’Ovato means “oval fountains.” Look at you, inadvertently learning things from a Las Vegas blog.

The eight-foot plate, showing an Italian village, is made of lentils, something we never would have known was a thing except for our enduring love of a 1980’s British sitcom, “The Young Ones.” You bet it’s random.

Bellagio Capri display

In Greece or Turkey, this would be broken by now.

In the north section of the Conservatory, there’s water streaming from lion and monkey sculptures, as well as four lemon topiaries, whatever those might be.

Bellagio Capri display

Bellagio’s horticulture department employs nearly 160 people, all of them with a greener thumb than we’ll ever have.

The lemon topiaries are made of about 1,400 flowers.

Bellagio topiary

“Topiary” comes from the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener, “topiarius,” a creator of topia. No, really.

The centerpiece of this seasonal display is a miniature village with 50 villas, each with a terrace.

Bellagio Capri display

You can’t spell “Bellagio” without “bella.”

There’s a bell tower, unbrellas, boats and other flourishes like a 50-foot lemon tree and “Lover’s Rock.”

Bellagio umbrellas

Umbrellas were once called “bumbershoots.” Yeah, we’re spending way too much time on Wikipedia.

Overhead, there’s a sun and moon, each 16 feet tall.

Bellagio Italian sun moon

Every guy in every bar in Las Vegas with sports on. Dude, priorities.

The entire Italian display uses an incredible 57,000 flowers and 560 shrubs. Shrubs never get any of the glory at Bellagio’s Conservatory. While they play a supporting role, without shrubs, the Conservatory would be like “Goodfellas” without Joe Pesci or “Jaws” with Robert Shaw.

Shrubs should really look into getting a better P.R. agency.

Bellagio boxing gloves

You can find this piece in the back of the Conservatory. We’d say this was a clever promotion for the Mayweather-McGregor fight, but it was in the works long before the fight was announced.

Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens are a must-do in Las Vegas, and the first-time Italian display makes it a must-do all over again.

Bellagio Conservatory Taste of Italy 2017

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Security Breach: El Cortez Begins Creation of Imbibe Bar

Way back in Jan. 2016, we caught wind of a new bar coming to El Cortez, the classic hotel on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

At last, the hotel’s current casino bar has been closed and Imbibe bar is in the works.

El Cortez Imbibe bar

Yes, even if it’s just a curtain, it qualifies as a security breach. You’re quite the stickler, aren’t you?

The hotel has made no official announcement about the bar, it’s closure, any expansion
or even the bar’s name. Just go with it, anyway.

Naturally, we had to peek behind the drapes to see what’s up inside.

El Cortez Imbibe bar

The future home of Captain Morgan spiced rum and possibly other kinds of liquor we care much less about.

Presumably, the new Imbibe bar will try to appeal to a younger crowd. From what we hear, there’s already a strong millennial presence on Fridays and Saturdays. El Cortez benefits from all the surrounding restaurants and bars (think Gold Spike and Commonwealth) in the Fremont East District.

We did a walk-through of Fremont East so you can get your bearings.

Staffers say not only is the bar being renovated, but it’s expanding beyond the current casino bar’s footprint, and could potentially swallow the area where the keno parlor resides. (The keno desk would then be relocated to the hotel’s sports book area.)

El Cortez Imbibe lounge

Cornhole and foosball in 3…2…

We’ll keep an eye on the new bar at El Cortez, of course, but in the meantime, you’ll want to take advantage of a new promotion at the historic casino.

Here’s a thingy because we’re too drunk to relay the details.

El Cortez promotion

We refuse to do math unless it directly benefits us. This is that.

So, that’s cool, right? You’re making a withdrawal from the ATM, anyway, so why not get some free slot play?

Once you make your ATM withdrawal, head to the casino cage. There, you’ll be given a certificate for free play. Take the certificate to the loyalty club desk, and the free play is put on your club card.

El Cortez promotion

Vast fortunes have been won in Las Vegas with $15. Actual results may vary.

Now, win something and stick it to The Man. Winning with free play is even sweeter than the regular kind of winning, promise.

Our Favorite Bellagio Conservatory Display Takes Us Back “Under the Sea”

You know how Las Vegas attractions too-often describe themselves as being “immersive”?

Well, in the case of the Bellagio Conservatory’s summer display, “Under the Sea,” it’s
true. Because it’s under the sea. Please, try and keep up.

Bellagio seahorses

Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach, which is why you’ll never see one at a Las Vegas buffet.

“Under the Sea” is far-and-away our favorite Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden display of the year (sorry, pandering Chinese New Year display), so let’s dive headlong into this free, family-friendly Las Vegas attraction.

Bellagio Conservatory Under the Sea

A whale’s tail is called a “fluke,” a term which also describes the time you actually won something playing keno.

While many of the elements of “Under the Sea” will be familiar to frequent Las Vegas
visitors, the centerpiece of the display is new.

“Under the Sea” features a walk-through fish tank designed by the team behind a Las
Vegas-based reality show, Animal Planet’s “Tanked.”

Bellagio Conservatory

The aquarium structure holds about 1,500 gallons of water and approximately 15 children screaming, “Look, Mommy, it’s Dory!”

Guests walk down a tunnel flanked by two 20-foot aquariums. Tip: As you’re strolling
through the aquarium structure, don’t forget to look down. The floor is illuminated and
animated.

Bellagio Conservatory Under the Sea

Told you it’s immersive.

The fish in the aquarium are on loan from Mandalay Bay and include five flame angelfish, six sailfin tang (Dory is a regal blue tang, but close enough), six Spanish hogfish and three lunar wrasses. Any of which would make a damned fine band name, by the way.

Once again, the Bellagio Conservatory has created an impressive display, including tens of
thousands of plants.

The “Under the Sea” exhibit boasts 80,000 blooming plants. No, we did not count them. We
have a life. The blooming plants include New Guinea impatiens, calandiva, hydrangea,
sunflower, salvia, pineapply lily, asalea, chrysanthemum, miniature rose and calla lily.
The exhibit gets 6,000 tulips each week, and it has about 2,000 ivy plants.

Bellagio calandiva

We’re guessing these are calandiva, but we know flowers like we know fact-checking and copy editing.

Shout-out the exhibit’s 600 shrubs, too. We were not entirely aware begonias and hibiscus
were shrubs, but who are we to argue with horticulturalists? Or people who write news
releases about their work, for that matter.

“Under the Sea” also has seahorses, dolphins, a clam and pearl, a sea turtle, starfish, scuba divers, a seal and a whale. There’s also a mermaid looking a little like she’s on her third night in Las Vegas, if you get our drift.

Bellagio mermaid

The mermaid’s realm comes complete with a matching set of bidets.

Let’s not get bogged down trying to figure out why there are flowers growing “Under the Sea.” This is whimsy, not a Jacques Cousteau documentary. (That sound you hear is Millennials collectively shrugging.)

There are also massive jellyfish. These gelatinous creatures are some of the most distinctive in our planet’s oceans. Jellyfish use their “bells” for locomotion and their stings provide us with an excuse to urinate on our friends.

Bellagio jellyfish

This is the first known jellyfish upskirt, ever. It’s a little thing we like to call “innovation.”

Happily, the Bellagio Conservatory’s seasonal exhibits remain free. Which is definitely
going to jinx it, sorry. Think we’re kidding? Attractions like this aren’t cheap. Bellagio
has 120 people on its horticulture staff.

For a long time, Las Vegas casinos used free attractions to draw customers to gamble. But Las Vegas visitors are gambling less, and we’d wager just a tiny fraction of people who
visit Bellagio to see the Conservatory end up at the slot machines or tables.

“Show in the Sky” at Rio went away, “Sirens of TI” had its plugged pulled at Treasure Island and the volcano at Mirage cut back on its number of shows. Not to be a buzzkill, but enjoy the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden while you can!

Bellagio Conservatory sea turtle

Sea turtles were around during the late Jurassic period. Turtles seem laid-back now, but they were a little freaked out about the late period thing.

Find out more about the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden.

Interestingly, the photo of the “Under the Sea” display on Bellagio’s Web site isn’t
actually the display. It depicts a previous incarnation. Don’t be so OCD, bro.

Bellagio scuba diver

“Please turn your head and cough.” ~Sea moss

Enjoy a metric ass-ton of photos from Bellagio Conservatory’s “Under the Sea” display, a reminder to appreciate and preserve sealife, especially the adorable kind. Because let’s face it, nobody’s making a blob fish out of carnations anytime soon.

Bellagio Conservatory Summer 2016

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