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    Viva Las Vegas!!May 12, 2016
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    • • LV's McCarran International (LAS) is the 8th busiest Airport in the U.S. and number 23 in the world, with 41.7 million passengers
    • • 79 percent of McCarran's departures and 82 percent of arrivals are on time, the average departure delay is 52 minutes and arrival delay is 50 minutes, and cancellations are at 0.6 percent
    • • McCarran Airport is only two to four miles southwest of most Las Vegas Strip hotels
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Eats from our January 2016 Trip – The Buffet Yard House Cravings Feast of not so Grand Buffet

LasVegasFood

Yard House – Located near the High Roller observation wheel at The Linq is Yard House. Nice looking place with good service and 100 beers on tap plus good, very reasonably priced, eats… do I need to say more? Sure I do! If the already mentioned didn’t spark an interest than these tips should:

Tip: GREAT Lunch Specials and Happy Hour (M-F, 3-6)

Tip: The Club Sandwich is da bomb! Seriously large sharable dinner portion.

Mirage’s Cravings Buffet Cravings is a solid buffet option with several themed stations with a variety of consistently good food options. Since we often stay at The Mirage Casino Hotel we’ve visited this buffet probably more than any other.

Tip: Buffet includes unlimited draft beer (Budweiser and Goose Island IPA) and house wine (a red and white)

Tip: Active military receives BOGO or 50% off

Excalibur’s The Buffet – If in the neighborhood and hungry for a buffet that won’t break the budget consider The Buffet at Excalibur. This recently upgraded buffet is well appointed with the usual buffet fare. Taste and selection is pretty good and the dessert area has a crepe station that I always look forward to.

Red Rock’s Feast Buffet – Located 30 minutes west of the strip in the Red Rock Casino is the Feast Buffet. And a feast it is!! This is one tasty, well appointed, clean buffet. I can’t think of one thing that didn’t taste good. We went for lunch and it was very crowded but service and food item availability surprisingly excellent!

Tip: Excellent weekday pricing (with players card), Breakfast under $7.50, Lunch $9, Dinner $14

Tip: Same quality and pricing can be found at Green Valley Ranch which is also a Stations Casino

MGM (not so) Grand Buffet – Saving the worst for last, you’re welcome. Wow, what a disappointment this buffet was. Went for dinner at around 5pm ($60, $30 each) and lunch was still being served. Talked to the manager as he happened to walk by. He admitted that the kitchen was slow transitioning (lunch ended at 3!) to dinner. I told him food dishes were empty and the place was a mess, and he agreed! Ironically there was plenty of cheap pizza coming out of the kitchen. No Thanks, refund please.

Tip: If something isn’t right, say something. Vegas usually makes things right without hassle

The manager said a buffet remodel is underway and asked us to give them a second chance after completion. Since I’ve had good experiences with the Grand Buffet in the past, I just might do that, but not until the remodel is complete.

 

Plunger, Flippers, Bumpers and Slingshots – The Pinball Hall of Fame

Did you know just a short drive from the strip, just east on Tropicana Ave, sits the Pinball Hall of Fame?  Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t a boring walk through the history of pinball. This is a working pinball arcade! No entrance or parking fees here. Drive up and park, turn your dollars into quarters, then walk the isles in awe at all your options. From the early days of pinball to the latest and greatest, so many options wait.

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With this being said don’t expect much glitz as this is a diamond in the rough and I hope it stays this way. The building is plain Jane with a banner announcing the name. Much like the outside, the inside is bland by appearance but what it contains is what matters. Along with pinball, some old school arcade games can be found. The cost per game is regular quarter play and machines run from a $.25 to $1.00 per game, with most being $.50. I cashed in $4.00 and played for a while, enjoying every minute of it. Pinball Hall of Fame

Tip: Not an easy walk from the strip, drive or take a cab.

If you’re in anyway a fan of pinball, do yourself a favor and visit, you won’t be disappointed.

Address: 1610 E Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Phone Number: (702) 597-2627
Hours: Open Dialy 11A – 11P

#Hashhouse #LasVegas for Some Go Go Lov’n

Hash House Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken with great mash potatoes

I don’t know if it’s “Fresh from the Farm” but it is large and tasty. If you are hungry and strolling mid-strip do yourself a favor and go upstairs of the “new” Linq (Formally the Quad, Aka. Imperial Palace) and belly up for some Go Go lov’n. Keep your eye open as you’re escorted to your table for large, I got to have that, eats. Service was great by our nearly 60 y/o waitress. She was knowledgeable and more than willing to share her thoughts about Hash specialties.

Hash House BBQ Chicken Sandwich

BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Tip: Visit the Las Vegas Hash House of Go Go Facebook site. Give them a like, then E-Club Join under more to receive a coupon for Buy One, Get One Dinner Entrée (coupon good for a year).

Tip: By joining the E-Club you will also receive a Buy One, Get One Dinner Entrée (coupon also good for a year) in your Birthday month.

Food prices were surprisingly much less than other strip options making this a great deal coupon or not. (visited 1/2015)

Oh you bet I will be returning!

The Wonderful World of Casino Buffets

Excalibur buffet

Excalibur BuffetThis was our first ever visit to the Excalibur buffet. Freshly re-opened 12/2014, so everything was shiny new. The buffet itself offered a good selection of breakfast and brunch foods. The made to order omelet was large and delicious. I couldn’t help to indulge in the crepe station. The fresh baked muffin wrapped in a napkin was wonderful on the flight home. The buffet has a self-serve drink station with a nice variety of options. Weekday Buffet price was $17.99 each.  (Visited 1/2015)

 

Monte Carlo buffet

Monte Carlo 1This is a middle of the road buffet option in the land of buffets. Went for a weekday brunch and the breakfast items were of decent temperature and quality. Lunch items were disappointingly cold, when they were supposed to be hot. Selection was limited but adequate. It was very slow when we visited so maybe this contributed to our experience. Neither a fan, nor a hater on this one but the Excalibur, Orleans down the road, and Palms has it beat hands down with price and quality. (Visited 1/2015)

Valley of Fire, A Must See

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PictureRocks  WP_20141003_021

Visiting the Valley of Fire State Park has been on my Las Vegas to-do list for many years now. Though I’ve only heard wonderful things about the park, for one reason or another I always failed to visit until our October 2014 trip. Getting there from the strip took just over an hour. Once there, plan on at least two hours to drive through the park and getting out at most stops. To really explore, and there is a lot to see, plan on more time. Walk out and see some of the petrified wood, really cool! Take the time and walk the steps to the Indian petroglyphs. The traveler cabins are also another must see. Many, many, wonderful photo opportunities can be found.

I would recommend turning around at the exit of the park and returning to the strip the way you came. The alternative is beautiful, but takes much longer and there is literally nothing or no-one around for miles and miles. We didn’t have cell service for the majority of the return trip.

petrifiedWLogI will definitely return to further explore the valley on future visits.


Tip
: make sure you have plenty of gas and water before entering the park!

January 2014 Trip – Reviewed – Old and New Again

With our January 24, 2014 Vegas trip fast approaching I can’t help but find myself getting excited. Leading up to each trip I always try to loosely plan out things I want to see and do. Here’s what I have planned this time around, I guess you could call it, old and new again.

O’Sheas

osheas

The new O’Sheas, after being closed for over a year and a half it has reopened and from the sound of it better than ever. I’m really looking forward to drinking an Irish beer in this dark stained wood casino.

Flamingo

For this trip our new hotel to stay at is the Flamingo, yeah I’ve wrote bad things about this hotel in the past but this time around I have high hopes for their newly updated FAB rooms. They look great from the pictures and for the price at $26 per night just couldn’t be beat. Well not so fast, they now add an $18/night resort fee but overall still a FABulous deal.

Last time we stopped in the Flamingo it was absolutely hopping with a surprisingly younger crowd. Maybe it’s the Jimmy Buffet “casino” that’s doing it, whatever it is I’m looking forward to staying and playing here.

Downtown: Downtown Grand and Container Park

fabulous-downtown-las-vegasThe Downtown Grand  opened in late 2013, noted as the first new hotel to open downtown in 30 years, this off Fremont Street, former part Lady Luck Casino looks great from the pictures. On paper this place sounds like a winner though early reviews suggest otherwise. From what I’ve read gaming is less than stellar with poor video poker and black jack odds and slots tighter than a hungry boa constrictor, never the less I am eager to see for myself.

Downtown Container Park opened in November 2013, personally I’m not a shopper or remotely interested in shopping but this unique idea sparks my curiosity enough to go check it out. Located on Fremont Street, kiddy corner from El Cortez Hotel Casino, is the new 34 outlet style mall made up of all steel prefab shipping containers, some even stacked three tall.

To be honest I’ve never been a fan of downtown, but I’m starting to have a change of heart. With so many improvements going on, better video poker odds and lower table game minimums than the strip plus an overall fun atmosphere I foresee myself spending more time in this forming, much improved, playground.

Cirque du Soleil

ZumanityShow selection for this trip was an easy one, we are seeing Zumanity at New York New York. Simply could not pass up the fantastic deal we got from MyVegas.com, $53 (tax included) + 4k in MyVegas points for TWO tickets. Zumanity will be our 4th Cirque show and I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

Tip: Have a Facebook account? Play MyVegas.com and earn REAL points

We had a GREAT trip, here are my REVIEWS

Zumanity

Best Cirque du Soleil show ever? No, but it was truly enjoyable. I’ve seen KA, Mystere, and Zarkana, all of these share commonality. Zumanity the edgy side of Cirque is well… that. Unlike other Cirque shows where sitting a little farther back is better, Zumanity is intimate so sitting closer is a plus. Nudity, profanity, sexuality, yes all here. In bad taste? Well that’s subjective. Sitting in the front row was an elderly (late 70’s/early 80’s) couple. I kind of watched them to see their reaction and from what I saw they held hands, laughed, and enjoyed the show along with everyone else.  

If you’re easily offended or prudish choose another Cirque show otherwise buy a ticket and enjoy the show.

Tips: The stage was small as was the theater itself. The best seats are definitely surrounding the stage. Get a drink before you enter the theater, but ask for it in a cup, yes they let you bring it in.

Click to EXPAND FULL REVIEW

Ellis Island Steak Special and Other Budget Conscious Dining Options

It’s funny, when many people think of Las Vegas they think of cheap buffets and eats. Unfortunately those days are long gone from the strip. Instead celebrity chef named and other fantastic restaurants dominate Sin City these days. But not all is lost. Here are a couple places and ways to eat well and save some money.

Ellis Island

Looking for a good steak dinner at a fantastic price? If so, then read on because this little gem just might be one of the best deals going. If you rent a car (click for rent a car tips post) while in town then it should be a no brainer. Located just off the strip, on Koval (behind Bally’s/Paris) a block or so south of East Flamingo Rd is Ellis Island Casino and Brewery.

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This is a no thrills local’s casino near the big boys. This place offers great black jack and video poker payouts and wide selection of good food.  Okay so here’s the deal, for $9.99 (as of 1/2014) you get a 10 oz steak, choice of potato, vegetable of the day, salad, and a 22 oz Beer or Root Beer! Also, don’t expect to see this special on the menu or advertised anywhere in or around the casino because you won’t find it, just ask for it. I’m not a steak expert or pretend to be so I’m not sure of the cut. But what I do know that of the 4 or so times I’ve had it, it’s been good every time.

Warning Be warned this is not your Bellagio/ Steve Wynn property crowd here. This is a blue-collar working man’s casino that offer’s big bang for the buck.

Idea!: While you’re there why not sample some of their micro brews while playing 3-2 Black Jack or 9/6 Video poker or check out their highly rated karaoke nights?

Like this?: Check out my Mr. Lucky’s $7.77 Gambler’s Steak Special post

Buffets

Craving a buffet? Here’s a few that will satisfy your hunger and budget. All are off strip but offer breakfast and lunch buffets for under $10 with player’s card. Just another reason renting a car in Vegas for me is essential.

  • Palms Hotel and Casino just off the strip on Flamingo.  Besides a fantastic room, you can get a very good buffet and food court offerings.
  • South Point Hotel and Casino, several miles south on Las Vegas Blvd. Good buffet, good sports book, and lots of cheap table games.
  • Green Valley Ranch Hotel and Casino, okay this is a personal favorite all around, I just plain out like this place. Located in Henderson 12 miles from the Strip.
  • Orleans Hotel and Casino just off the strip on Tropicana, solid buffet and not a bad place to stay and play at either.

Tip: You can almost always save a few bucks at Casino buffets/restaurants by showing your players card

More, more, more…

Don’t have a car while in Vegas, no worries, check out these tips.

  • Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com – Possibly the best way to save on meals and entertainment.  I subscribe to both and regularly receive email announcing offerings.  Like with anything, always read the fine print before you buy.

Tip: Start watching a couple months before your trip and purchase deals as they pop up. Usually deals go like, get $40 for $20.

  • Restaurant.com – Many, many, opportunities to save money here. sign-up for email and receive discounts off certificates. Here you buy gift certificates at a discount.

Note: before you buy review the menu and minimum purchase requirements

  • Happy Hours – Nearly all restaurants have some type of happy hour specials that discount food and drinks.  Check out my Get Happier in Las Vegas with Happy Hour Specials! post
  • Casino food courts – Most casinos on the strip offer food courts with your usual fast food fare and some decent offerings for example, Earl of Sandwich (our go-to quick fix place) in Planet Hollywood, delicious!
  • Split a deal! Most portion sizes are huge, instead of stuffing yourself, consider splitting a meal with someone. Besides it’s hard to drink all that “free” booze on a full stomach.
  • Eat a late lunch and save. Lunch is cheaper than dinner and often goes until 4pm.

Why not?

Now that you saved a few dollars why not splurge and treat yourself and that special person to a fabulous meal. Like I said, there are plenty of wonderful, world-class restaurants to choose from in Fabulous Las Vegas!

Bon appetite!

Las Vegas Area Thrills by Land and Air

For most, the Las Vegas strip itself offers enough excitement with all its gambling and entertainment possibilities. Plus if you factor in all the colorful characters that inhabit the area, well, do you really need more excitement? But if you’re looking to kick it up a notch and go beyond the usual, you just might find the following off-strip thrills right for you.

Fremont Street Flightlinez

Looking to sample zip-lining? If so, then why not head down to Fremont Street where you can glide 800 feet down Fremont Street, 67 feet in the air, while reaching speeds up to 30 mph. Don’t let the short ride fool you, trust me, it’s a blast. After harnessing up, the leap off the platform takes a little nerve after you realize you’re placing your life in the hands of some nylon straps and a cable!  But once in flight you’ll appreciate this smooth and easy ride, you’ll be glad you did it.

Flightlinez is open daily with rates as low as $15, see website for details.

Tip: While downtown, take a walk around. You’ll find lower table minimums, better blackjack odds, and a variety dining options.

Tip: The American Casino Guide has many coupons for downtown properties. Coupons include food discounts, free Play (slots) and match play (tables) offers

Bootleg Canyon Flightlines

Looking for the ultimate zip-line adventure? Then head 25 miles southeast to Boulder City where you will find multi-run, multi-line series of zip-lines that range in length from 1150 to 2550 feet and speeds that reach 50 mph! The total length of zip-lining fun is 1.56 miles. The cost is $149 (as of this writing) and lasts approximately 2.5 hours.

See Bootleg Canyon Flightlines website for details

Tip: Hoover Dam is only 7 miles from Bootleg Canyon Flightlines or 35 miles from the Las Vegas strip.  Not in a hurry? do a Dam drive by. Have more time? Take the Dam Tour!

Land Sailing

Looking to try something totally different? Well here’s your chance to sail a land yacht (think 3 wheeled cart with a sail) across 6 miles of wide open smooth desert space and reach speeds of 60 mph!! The website claims its “fast, fun, easy & safe – anyone can do it”.

The cost is $125 (as of this writing) for 2 hour regattas. It’s located just 40 miles south of Las vegas (all highway), see the website for details

Tip: Find Go Land Sailing money saving coupons here

I first saw Go Land Sailing advertised on Groupon. After looking it up I instantly became interested as something I would love to try.

Tip: Check out Primm Valley Casino Resorts and Outlet Mall

Primm Valley

If you decide to go land sailing, then why not plan to spend some time at Primm Valley Casinos and the Outlet Mall. After all, the meet up point for the Land Sailing Regatta begins in the outlet mall parking lot.

Primm Valley Casino Resorts and Outlet Mall is located 40 miles south of Las Vegas right off the highway. Though I wouldn’t make a special trip again, the area does offer a variety of attractions to warrant a stop if passing through. Three casino’s make up this area, Buffalo Bill’s, Primm Valley, and Whiskey Pete’s. These locals style casinos do offer lower table minimums with better odds then the Las Vegas strip and buffet food prices are very reasonable.  Surprisingly some quality entertainment visits this complex (check schedule here) and the recently updated room rates are very low.

Primm Valley Area Attractions:

  • Desperado Roller Coaster, Adventure Canyon Log Flume Ride, and other theme park style rides
  • Carolee Movie Theatre
  • 3 Casinos with monorail service to all properties.
  • Famous Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm. Over 100 Designer Outlets including Polo, Coach, Kenneth Cole and more.
  • Two Golf Courses designed by renowned golf architect Tom Fazio.

As a frequent Las Vegas visitor I always rent a car to do some off strip exploring, usually in the mornings. Rental cars are very reasonable in Las Vegas and once off the strip navigation is rather easy. So if you’re up for a little adventure, get out and explore the other side of Las Vegas!

Check out these other related posts:

Las Vegas Rent A Car Tips
Up, Up and Away! Stratosphere Las Vegas
Pawn Stars in Las Vegas?
Red Rock Canyon Excursion
What is a player’s card? What are comps?

Las Vegas Porn Slappers or Card Flippers if you prefer..

Las Vegas is a one of a kind place that’s why I and millions of others like to frequent it as much as possible. Sure the strip is home to some of the world’s best hotels, shopping, dining, entertainment, and of course gaming. But did you know it’s also one of the best people watching spots too? Opportunities are abundant just about everywhere you go in the city of sin. But as the sun and temperature starts to go down the freak-o-meter begins to rise.

One unique “freaky” thing to Vegas is the porn slappers or card flippers as their also known. It’s interesting to hear what Vegas virgins have to say after they encounter porn slappers for the first time. In fact, I love watching unsuspecting passerby’s accept a card, look at it with a shocked expression, pass it to the person they’re with, see their shocked expression, then see them both eagerly discuss their unexpected experience.

People who’ve been before are well aware of the special cards low paying Mexican emigrants attempt to hand out to just about everyone who walks past them. The cards are baseball card sized, with pictures of one or more nude woman on them with a slogan such as, a girl to your door for a specific price.

Tip: Be warned the girls on the cards are not the girls who arrive at the door.

See porn slappers in action:

Here are some interesting facts about Las Vegas Porn Slappers:

  • Another name for porn slappers or flippers is hawkers
  • Many slappers work 12 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Surprisingly some flippers are very dedicated as some have distributed their material for over ten years!
  • Pay is low at only about $75 a day, or $6.25 an hour, less than minimum wage.
  • Many flippers are illegal immigrants
  • People who hand out handbills must have a permit to distribute them

Oh and one last thing, in case you get intrigued:

WARNING: Contrary to common belief prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas!

Although illegal inside the city of Las Vegas, prostitution is legal in many surrounding counties. In fact, Nevada is the ONLY US State to have some form of legalized prostitution.

As Gomer Pyle would say:

Surprise..Surprise Surprise….

Check out these other related posts:

Bring your children to Vegas…. NOT!

Up, Up and Away! Stratosphere Las Vegas


X-Scream

Originally uploaded by scottyvegas2

Have you ever been to the Stratosphere? You know, that tall needle like structure way north on the strip? Funny how most people I talk to say they’ve never been there. Yet the Stratosphere seems to always be in the background of every Las Vegas ad you see. The problem with the Stratosphere is that nothing is close to it and it takes effort to get there.

But if you’ve never been there before maybe you should consider it, why, you ask? Well if anything else it has several unique attractions that no other hotel in Vegas has. The first and most obvious is that it is the tallest building in Las Vegas and offers spectacular views of the whole city and the surrounding mountains. The amount of Air traffic in the Las Vegas air space is unreal. Blimps, helicopters, and planes are everywhere all day, every day. It’s a neat experience to be at level with a flying blimp or helicopter. If that isn’t enough in itself the top of the Stratosphere is home to three record breaking thrill rides.

  • X-Scream – Is like a giant teeter-totter 866 feet above ground and 27 feet over the edge!
  • Insanity – Will spin you at a 70 degree angle 64 feet over the edge at up to 3G’s!
  • Big Shot – Shoot’s you up 160 feet at 45 mph to a total height of 1081 feet above ground!

(I’ve been on X-Scream, The Roller Coaster (removed 12/2005), and Big Shot. Let me tell you the Big Shot is a trip.)

As you would imagine there is also a restaurant at the top of the tower that revolves 360 degrees. Though I’ve heard mixed reviews regarding food quality the view/experience gets thumbs up.

I’ve only been to the Stratosphere once back in 01/2005 and I really don’t remember too much about the casino floor but do recall having to go through a cheesy “mall” like area before getting to the elevators that takes you to the observation decks. The shops in the “mall” area were not very appealing, flee market type stuff. I also recall the whole place being kind of a dirty dump. But don’t let this stop you. If you’re feeling adventurous to experience Vegas a little different, consider visiting the Stratosphere because the rides and observations decks won’t disappoint!

Cost (as of 11/09):

TOWER TICKETS (Observation Deck)
Adult – $15.95
Child – $10.00
RIDE TICKETS
Big Shot -$13.00
xScream – $12.00
Insanity – $12.00
EXTREME VALUE PACKAGES
Tower Admission + All Rides $35.95 (Extreme All Day Unlimited Package)
Tower Admission + 3 Rides – $29.95
Tower Admission + 2 Rides – $25.95
Tower Admission +1 ride – $21.95

Interesting fact: Since its opening in 1996, five people have jumped to their deaths from the top of the tower.