Lets face it Vegas can be an EXTREMELY expensive city to stay in.  With being said you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy Vegas.  Sure, you could spend all of your money breaking the bank at the tables or the many strip clubs.  Or you could follow some of these guidelines to enjoy “Sin City,” and still keep your life savings in tact.

ROOM & BOARD

You may be tempted to stay in one of the popular casinos, such as the Bellagio or Caeser’s Palace, but there really are some great alternatives that wont cost you and arm and a leg in Las Vegas.  If you absolutely must stay on the strip I recommend staying at Circus Circus.  It’s one of the last casino’s on the strip but you can get some rooms for as low as $30/night, as opposed to paying over $100/night for some of the big name hotels along the strip.  Don’t let the low price fool you though there is more than enough to do at this budget hotel including; free circus acts running all day, a video game arcade, indoor amusement park, as well as the traditional gambling and dining experiences.

The best value for your money in Vegas however is definitely staying at one of the hotels on Freemont Street. Not only are they significantly cheaper then hotels on the main strip, nightlife in Vegas lives on Freemont Street.  While the main strip kinda slows down later in the night, Freemont street is still alive and kicking even in the Early morning.  With street performers entertaining tourists all night long and the Freemont Street Experience Starting up after the sun goes down it really is a better option if you don’t plan on just gambling.  Oh yea! and everything is MUCH cheaper here be it gambling, food, or .99 cent margaritas; your dollar will go a lot farther.  If you do want to go to the main strip the buses run all night long and they only cost about $21 for a three day unlimited pass.

One thing I would advise against is staying at one of the hostels in Vegas.  Lets face it you are their to gamble and party and you don’t want to have to go to a different hotel every time you want do some late night slots.  They also aren’t much, (if any) cheaper then the hotels on Freemont Street.  The hostels also look pretty shady as they aren’t in the best areas of town best to just stay away.

CHEAP OR FREE ENTERTAINMENT

Most people want to go to Vegas to spend their money gambling, and that can eat up a large portion of your budget pretty quickly.  If you don’t want to spend to much money on gambling head down to Freemont street again to find quarter video poker and blackjack as well as slots.  And whatever you do don’t waste your money on penny slots.  While it may sound like it is cheap, the machines generally have a minimum of $1 limit with so many pennies per line.  Quarter Slots are a much better deal  as they actually are a quarter.

If you are staying on the main strip you can still gamble for very cheap.  In fact when I was there I played blackjack for about 6 hours on only five dollars.  Across from the main Circus Circus building there is a video casino.  I went there early in the morning with my last $5 and put it in the $1 Blackjack machine.  Not expecting to win anything or even play very long I bet one dollar at a time.  I lost the first four hands, then with one dollar left I won getting myself back up to $5.  Then I lost the next four hands.  With one dollar left I hit blackjack again and went back up to $5.  This cycle repeated itself for the full 6 hours.  Now I can’t guarantee this will work for you and I will Say I was the only one at the machine so try at your own risk.  Now playing blackjack for 6 hours without getting anywhere may sound boring to you until you realize that staying at a table will help you save on drinks.

Let me make this clear.  There is NEVER a reason to spend money on alcohol in Vegas.  If you are at a table or a slot machine waitresses will routinely come around to take your order.  Generally it is customary to tip the waitress the minimum bet at the table (or $1/order at quarter machines)  it’s not mandatory.  But trust me, if you tip your waitress generously she’ll make sure to come back around quick and often.  The drinks aren’t watered down either.  It’s in the casino’s best interest to get you drunk.  The drunker you are the more money you spend at the tables and the more money you are likely to loose, so it’s prob best to only take what you plan on spending at the casino or using some restraint on your drinking.

If you’re in Vegas you probably want to take in a show.  And if you have the money I wouldn’t tell you NOT to take in one of the big name shows they’re world famous for a reason.  But if you don’t have the money for something like that it doesn’t mean your out of luck.  Almost every casino on the strip has free entertainment.  Whether it be the circus acts of Circus Circus, the living statue of the Venetian, the Fall of Atlantis at Caesar’s Palace, or one of the many other shows the casino’s offer.  If you want to seeing something with a little more production value show’s at Freemont street start at around $30 a ticket and are well worth that price tag.

FOOD

There are some world class diners in Vegas, but there are also some cheap ways to eat as well.  If you go away from the touristy spots in town you can find food without such a high markup in the residential areas.  Luckily though you don’t have to leave town to find a good deal.  There are plenty of buffets at the various casino’s that allow you to get your fill and are well worth the money as well.  Or you can head over to Freemont St (are you seeing a pattern yet?) to get cheap food at the casino’s.

My personal recommendation is to head over to “The Heart Attack Bar and Grill.”  It’s a hospital themed restaurant where the waitresses dress and nurses and you have to wear a hospital gown to eat there.  Ashley and I ate there for just around 30 bucks for two burgers fried drinks and tip, and the portions are HUGE.  Be warned though if you don’t finish your meal the nurses will paddle you so make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew.

PLAYER’S CARDS

Player’s cards are your golden ticket to Las Vegas and every casino has them.  They offer you free drinks, free play, or other various rewards.  The more you play the more perks you get.  Make sure your first stop in any casino is to get one of these cards.

PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

Room & Board:  El Cortez Hotel on Freemont Street

Entertainment:  Circus acts at Circus Circus

Food:  Heart Attack Bar and Grill on Freemont Street

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