Since there are so many different places in the world I want to explore in my lifetime, I try very hard not to travel to the same cities over and over again. Las Vegas, however, is a place I will probably never be able to escape visiting. It’s the quintessential American destination for celebrating milestones with friends; turning 21, bachelor and bachelorette parties, rejoicing over the end of a bad relationship—you name it, Vegas is there to celebrate it. After the first few times though, is staying on the main part of the strip or on the strip at all really necessary anymore?
Once you experience the glitz and glamour of staying on and exploring the strip, you might find yourself wanting to change things up—and that’s exactly what I did this weekend. A couple weeks ago, my friend, a certified Vegas-virgin, said he wanted to celebrate his Dirty 30 by experiencing Sin City for the first time. So we bought a plane ticket and booked our stay at SLS Hotel and Casino, a boutique hotel that’s just a 5 minute cab ride away from the more populated part of the strip. I don’t regret it one bit. Not only did we all stay away from the crowds, but we also did a majority of our partying off the strip as well. Here are some reasons why it’s perfectly fine to go this route:
1. A Casino is a Casino
If you like to gamble, how much are your odds of winning really going to change if you go to one casino over another? Whether you play poker at the fabulous Bellagio Hotel or try your luck over at the Westin Casino & Spa on East Flamingo Rd, the cards are the same and so are your chances of walking away a millionaire.
2. It’s Just a Cab Ride Away
Anytime we had plans to do something on the busier parts of the strip, we just hopped in a cab and went. Depending on traffic, the time it took to get there ranged from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. During the summer, when temps are in the 100s, it doesn’t matter where your hotel is—you will be catching a cab to get around. Even if we booked our stay at one of the bigger hotels on the strip, spending money on cab fare would have still been unavoidable.
3. Save Money on Hotels
Because so many people prefer to stay at any one of the famously massive hotels along the middle of the strip, you can save money by opting to avoid them (although sometimes you can find special deals at the older hotels). Use that money you save to splurge on a really nice room in a less expensive hotel. We stayed in the Lux Tower of SLS Hotel and Casino, an all-suite section that offered the artsy look I’ve grown to love about boutique hotels. This one is characterized by Classic French décor, with opulent oversized sofas, stylish chandeliers and sconces; a custom closet armoire and a peek-a-boo shower that adds a playful twist for lovers (and a somewhat awkward one for those who are just friends).
4. Save Money on Partying
We noticed a huge difference in price between going to bars off the strip and trying to party it up on the strip. One club we tried to enter had a $55 cover charge and strict dress code (the fellas weren’t too happy with that one). The cover charge for the awesome bar we ventured to off the strip? Zero dollars. The drinks were cheaper and stronger too. That’s a win in my book.
5. Add Some Variety to Your Trip
Whether you choose accommodations in the middle of the strip, towards the end of it, or off it altogether, definitely make sure you at least venture off the flashy path to do something a little different. There are so many options to choose from! My off-the-strip adventures over the years have included going to the gun range with my sister, a random laser tag excursion with a group of 17 people, and solo day trips to places like Lake Mead, various national parks, and desert tours.
Just because what happens in Vegas stays there, that doesn’t mean you have to. So once you get enough of the pricey clubs, Fat Tuesday runs, and Cirque shows (my favorite), escape the strip and do something different!