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VegasChatter Questions: When Normal Just Won't Do

December 21, 2011 at 12:14 PM | by | ()

For your first few Vegas vacations, there's more than enough must do's to be found. And, to do again. But, what if you've been coming for years... and years?

VegasChatter fan DR wrote to us recently about this very common Vegas dilemma -- what do you do when the obvious has already been done?

Normally on a trip I make my way up/down the strip gambling at a mix of new/old casinos, intermingled with some shopping for the wife/kids at the usual malls/outlets, and I usually end up back at wherever i'm staying playing roulette/poker/slots into the small hours before heading(stumbling) to bed to fight a mainly losing battle with jet lag.

I'm looking for a few tips for my next trip Vegas in Feb 2012, but not the normal shopping and strip based things to do, something a bit off-beat, off-strip, off the usual tourist route etc.

How to do Vegas without doing Vegas? First, head Downtown. Seriously. It's really come into its own and is one helluva good time. There's a Mob Bar with employees dressed in period flair. Insert Coins beckons to those who love Frogger... and bottles. Check out Rick's Restoration. Hang with Pawn Stars. And, did we mention the deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos? Oh, and don't forget about Vegas StrEATS.

And, First Friday! By February 2012, there will also be a new Mob Museum to explore (knock on wood) and a bar that's a real drag (but, in a good way). There's even more than this so you might just want to bookmark our Downtown Guide now.

A short drive from downtown, there's the amazing Boneyard where old neon signs shed light on Vegas past. Head in the opposite direction and find the Pinball Hall of Fame, the Atomic Testing Museum, the scenic Springs Preserve, and the newly relocated Nevada State Museum.

Venture even further afield and check out the natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon (try the scooter rentals!), Valley of Fire, or Lake Mead.

DR also sought suggestions on where to stay in Vegas, having booked a stay at Palazzo but being open to a change. He has previously stayed at The Cosmopolitan, ARIA, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood and Sahara. whew! Continuing on the off-beat vein, why not consider staying off-Strip? Head downtown to try out Golden Nugget's Rush Tower or El Cortez's Cabana Suites.

But, unfortunately, we're not able to help with DR's last query:

I must admit that all the lookalikes (especially) and pan handlers got to me on my last trip, is it just me or is this becoming more of an issue every year?

Nope, it's not you. It's just another day on the circus that is now The Strip.

Do you have a question about Vegas? Send it to us and if we deem it clean enough, we'll post it here on VegasChatter!

(Photo: Rachaelle Larsen-Grimsrud on Facebook)

Archived Comments:

New Strip Annoyance

I saw more strip club promoters than porn slappers that ever before. They were annoying because they'd actually speak. Haha.

Casey M. on Facebook

"go off the strip and see what you can find"

Michealle G.W. on Facebook

"red rock and resale shops"


I stayed at the El Cortez two years ago for March Madness.  I was terrified but the room was $25 bucks total for the two nights.  When I checked in they upgraded me to a cabana suite at no charge & they constantly send me free room offers.  Roll the dice, chance downtown.  If it sucks at least it will be cheap!

Lots to think about ....

Thanks for all the great suggestions, please keep them coming. Its certainly given me a lot to think about, and being a big fan of Ricks Restorations & Pawn Stars I'll definitely try check those out. Is staying downtown worth a shot, or is just visiting a better option?

Staying Downtown

DrKildare, since you've been visiting Vegas for years I'd definitely recommend giving a downtown stay a shot, unless you intend to spend a lot of time on the Strip still (ie rack up cabfare).  It's in many ways a bit more relaxing as it doesn't take 10 minutes to get to and from your room when you want to go out.

Another suggestion: If you will be visiting for several days and are hesitant about staying downtown, reserve a DT room for the duration of your stay.  Then also make a Strip hotel reservation for the latter part of your stay.  If you like DT, cancel the Strip hotel, otherwise you have the option to check out early and head to the Strip.

Just make sure you're aware of the cancellation policies on both reservations so that you don't end up paying for two hotels.

Or go ahead and book only a couple nights DT and plan to move to the Strip.  That way you'll get a taste of DT and know for next time what you like.

Good luck!

I love clean

Is it me or does downtown AND the strip need some outside housekeeping? We visit often and it seems dirtier. Sidewalks, gutters, common areas.
As Deniro says in Casino "page Mr. Clean".

Try Buffalo Bills

We will be visiting Buffalo Bills in Primm, Nevada which is very close to the California state line. We are excited to try the rollercoaster which looks awesome and ride the water ride. They also have a small outlet mall i believe.

If you have children visiting Vegas, beware of Downtown. There are some interesting characters. I witnessed a man wearing nothing but a g-string and a huge busted lazy would pull down her top with only pasties covering.

Always wanted to get to...

Spinettis Gaming Supplies (in downtown area), to pick up some nice Copaq playing cards, maybe some dice, and check out other stuff they sell.

Panhandler topic: Kotton Kandy (near Coke World) is the only one who any visitor should be sure to get a picture, or better yet, a video with - a TO DO for sure. He customizes his song to your hometown. The most fun sometimes is getting a video of him singing his song to one of your friends who couldn't make the trip. I laugh out loud every time I walk by him.


Name the resorts whose signage was used to create the NEON sign above?  I'm pretty sure we have Golden Nugget, Caesars, Binions, Desert Inn.  Agree??