We love timesharing vacations and we love to go to Las Vegas. We own at the Hilton Grand Vacation Club in Las Vegas which was the first timeshare we purchased, and usually travel there once or twice a year and have had wonderful trips. We have taken friends and family on many of these trips. We thought we would outline for you some of our ideas that you can use in planning YOUR trip to Las Vegas. These lists are not totally complete, but offer you a good starting point. We have found that Las Vegas is not just about gambling, and offers a lot for everyone to enjoy.
- General-some basic ideas
- We fly to Las Vegas as we can get economical flights from Michigan.
- We set up a rental car before we go. See our post on getting the best deals on rental cars.
- Las Vegas is a great city for people-watching as you can take in the sights while you walk up and down the strip.
- Timeshares-there are around 15 resorts. We have stayed or toured several and have made some quick comments about these. We also suggest you check the TUG website for reviews and ratings of all the resorts.
- Hilton Grand Vacation Club-they have 3 locations and all are very nice
- Wyndham Grand Desert-a nice timeshare a long block off the strip
- Planet Hollywood Towers by Westgate-II, Nice, excellent location
- Marriott’s Grand Chateau, in the II system– short block off the strip, beautiful resort
- Tahiti Village
- Villas at Polo Tower
- WorldMark Las Vegas-they have several locations
- Club de Soleil
- Grandview-about 10 mins south of the strip and nice rooms
- Cliffs at Peace Canyon
- Vacation Village at the Jockey Club
- Carriage House
- Summer Bay
3. Gambling-it’s the reason the city exists
- We enjoy some gambling, usually slots.
- We only do penny slots and we gamble together. It’s more fun and saves money.
- We usually budget $20.00 a day for our time in town. Sometimes we win a little and don’t spend our entire budgeted amount, but we do stick to our $20.00 day limit.
- If you like table games, the minimums are less off the strip. We think the odds are also better off the strip for slots.
- Get player club cards at every casino you visit, as they often give you perks.
4. Shopping-we are always looking for bargains.
- Unfortunately, there are not many bargains in Las Vegas.
- They have two outlet malls which are nice, with the usual outlet prices.
- The Fashion Square Mall is a large normal mall with the typical mall stores.
- The Forum Shops are fun to walk around, but we have found little to buy.
- Most hotels have a number of retail shops, but again they are pricey.
- Glitzy souvenir shops along the strip.
- Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood ( a mix of upscale and normal)
- Shoppes at the Venetian (upscale)
We’ve mentioned just a few here. There are many, many more!
5. Dining on the cheap-you have to eat and should try to do it as inexpensively as possible. It is really pretty hard to go hungry in Vegas, even if you are on a limited budget. But be careful, as there are so many places to eat, it’s overwhelming, and you don’t want to be caught starving in front of an expensive restaurant! So follow some of our trusty tips to eat well on the cheap:
- Look for coupons in the local newspapers,” Where Magazine,” and other coupon flyers. Often they have 2 for 1 buffets, or other good deals.
- Sign up for player cards at the casinos. They often give free buffets or coupon books to new members, as well as discounts to existing members.
- If you live in the Eastern or Central time zone, you might consider doing lunch buffets, as they are cheaper than the dinner buffets. Usually, we stay on Eastern Time for at least the first few days of our trip, and the lunch buffet times run until 2:30-4:00 in the afternoon. That’s 5:30 to 7:00 Michigan time!
- Eat simple breakfasts and/or lunches in your condo.
- Always take a few food items like crackers, cookies, chips or fruit when you go out for the day. That way, if you’re far from your designated cheap lunch place, you won’t give in to buying expensive snack food at a pricey hotel.
- Sign up for a timeshare presentation. (Just kidding!) But if you are going to go to one anyway, make sure there’s some free food in it for you, or other good stuff!
- Investigate the buffets at the off-strip hotels. They are often just as good as the big-name hotels on the strip, and significantly cheaper.
- Take advantage of those $1 shrimp cocktails when you see them.
Realizing, of course, that everyone has different ideas about good food and good places to eat, these are some of the best (and cheapest) that we’ve found in Las Vegas:
- Port ‘o Call Buffet at the Gold Coast
- Ellis Island (steak dinner currently $7.99—not on the menu—you have to ask for it) They have many other home-cooked specials every day, too.
- French Market Buffet at the Orleans
- Terrible’s Buffet (not great, but not bad)
- Casino Royale (coupons for Subway, Ben & Jerry’s located there)
- Golden Nugget buffet (downtown, and always crowded)
- Silverton buffets (look for coupons in the paper—this place is about 10 minutes south of the strip).
- Splurge at the Spice Market Buffet in Planet Hollywood. Not cheap, but it’s consistently voted the best in Vegas
- Some select hotels are now offering an all-day buffet pass for anywhere from $29.99—$39.99 a person. Some require a 2-night stay, and they are good for 24 hours from the time the pass is issued. Check out this website: http://www.harrahs.com/buffets/index.html
- Most hotels on the strip have at least 5 or more restaurants, and there are even some more economical chains like TGIFridays and P.F. Changs in some of them.
Now, there are many REALLY good, and REALLY expensive places to eat, but we would definitely do some research before spending a lot of money to dine. After all, as our son says, “it’s just food!” Check the internet, and urbanspoon.com and read reviews before you spend the big bucks. And make sure you keep your eyes and ears open for some great deals!
6. Shows-there are some great ones and we usually go to one or two each trip.
- There are probably over 100 different shows in Las Vegas, so you have plenty of choices.
- Be sure to check where you are staying as they often have shows on site as well as they often offer discounts to other shows.
- Every week, numerous performers put on shows. You should check the internet or the local paper for these. Some are only there for a weekend night, or a limited engagement.
- We like the Cirque du Soleil shows and have seen several of the seven that are currently being staged in Las Vegas.
- As we have suggested in other lists, check the local papers for current deals.
- Around town, there are a number of half price ticket outlets which offer unsold seats for the current day shows. Be sure to check them out.
- There are a number of regular plays that we have also enjoyed such as The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera.
- Consider an afternoon show. Usually they are cheaper, or you can get in for the price of a drink. Some long-running ones include Viva Las Vegas, at the Stratosphere, and the Mac King Comedy & Magic Show at Harrahs.
7. Not to be missed attractions-most are free and many people miss half of them
- The Lion Habitat at MGM
- The Fountains at Bellagio (musical, and so beautiful, especially when viewed from the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
- The Sirens of TI pirate battle outside at Treasure Island
- The Volcano at the Mirage
- The free tour at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory
- The Conservatory at Bellagio (Fantastic floral and statuary display! Changes 6 times a year, depending on the season).
- The sound and light show downtown : the Fremont Street Experience-light canopy excellent show, evenings
- Two shows in the Forum Shops at Caesars–Fall of Atlantis and Festival Fountain. The Atlantis show is the better of the two. Also, there is a nice 50,000 gallon saltwater aquarium with more than 100 species of ocean life.
- Masquerade Show in the Sky at the RIO
- M & M World (Yum!)
- Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo
- Springs Preserve (downtown)
- Stratosphere Tower-great views and amazing rides!
8. Hotels you need to see-they are unique and most that we recommend are eye- popping
- Circus Circus-Largest indoor amusement park and hourly circus acts
- Paris-nice shopping and restaurant area which is set up as a street in Paris. The Eiffel tower is an excellent place to see the city, especially at night.
- Luxor-one of the largest lobbies of any hotel, with very unique architecture.
- Caesars Palace (Roman statuary rules!)
- New York New York (a Bronx-like and Soho atmosphere)
- Mirage (Exploding volcano and beautiful greenery. Home to Siegfried & Roy’s Lion Habitat
- Treasure Island—Pirates are cool!
- Excalibur (Medieval games for the kids)
- Mandalay Bay–Home of the Shark Habitat, House of Blues, many shops
- Wynn and Encore–upscale hotels with great decor
- Bellagio-Make sure you check out the Chihuly glass in the lobby and also the conservatory and fountains.
- City Center-one of the newest hotel complexes on the strip featuring many shops, restaurants, offices and condos.
- Venetian-check out the gondola rides, as well as the shops along the Grand Canal. The art work and ceilings here are priceless!
9. Short Trips you’ll love-its good to get out of the city for a day and see some of the surrounding area and sights
- Mount Charleston-12,000 feet high with skiing and hiking
- Red Rock Canyon-beautiful red rocks about 25 miles from Las Vegas, great for picnics, hiking and a 13 mile auto loop.
- Valley of Fire-about 45 miles out of town– great rock views, hiking, picnic area, etc
- Lake Mead-largest man-made lake in Western Hemisphere with all kinds of water recreation.
- Grand Canyon-It is a long trip up, but well worth it. There are a number of day bus trips.
- Hoover Dam-One of the seven man-made wonders of the world, and the new bypass bridge is a sight to see.
- Death Valley-A long trip, but an excellent national park with a lot of interesting sights
10. Overnight trips to think about-we frequently spend another week in a timeshare within driving distance of Las Vegas. We then return to Vegas for a couple of days before flying home.
- Flagstaff—Wyndham has the closest timeshare to the Grand Canyon. Also good location for the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, and Crater Lake. It is a nice town with good eating and a number of things to do and see in the town itself.
- Sedona-Beautiful rock formations and a number of attractions to see. Great area for hiking. There are a number of excellent timeshares in the area.
- Utah-We often spend time in the Utah area checking out Bryce and Zion National Parks. These are both beautiful with great driving routes as well as hiking.
- Phoenix-Great city with lots to do and see. The Botanical Garden is a must! Also a number of good timeshares are in the area.
- California-A number of great locations for one week trips. Easy to do a week in San Diego, Palm Desert, or Los Angeles, just to name a few.
We are always amazed when someone tells us that they were in Las Vegas for 5 days, and they never ventured out of their hotel. All of their gambling, eating and shopping was done right there. What a waste! There is so much do see and do, and we’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg, here. Obviously, there are some topics that we haven’t touched on, such as golf and nightlife. (That’s because we don’t do either of those!) You might want to send us some of your ideas for a fun and economical Las Vegas trip, and we’ll post them on the site. ‘Til then, remember—“what happens in Vegas is usually a lot more fun and interesting than what goes on at home!”