For those of you who don’t know me personally, I spent the better part of August on a roadtrip from Virginia to Las Vegas with my fabulous girlfriend Abby. It took us seven days to drive across the country before we finally arrived in the City of Lights. From conversations I had with friends before the trip, it seemed almost everyone had a strong opinion (mostly negative) of Las Vegas, even from those who had never been! But after moseying around this strange town for the past few days, I feel obliged to provide a few recommendations for anyone considering a visit. Here are my top 5 Favorite Spots in Las Vegas.
1) Westgate SuperBook
If you’re a fan of the site, you know we love sports. If you’re a fan of my show Wager Vision, which airs Wednesdays at 11pm ET, you know we love sports gambling. And perhaps no place on earth welcomes the hobby/occupation/degenerative activity quite like the Westgate SuperBook, home of the Super Contest (the Super Bowl of sports gambling). As you can see, it’s essentially the ultimate man cave — gigantic TVs showing all sports all the time, comfy reclining chairs, and a game area with pool tables and darts for the less inclined. I made the voyage to the Westgate so that I could get down my first legal wager (I normally use offshore books), but even if you don’t gamble, no worries! Go ahead and grab lunch (the tacos are on point) and people-watch; this should convince you to find a more productive use of your time anyways.
2. Mt. Charleston
Las Vegas sits within the Mojave desert, but just a 45 minute drive from the Strip lies the Spring Mountains. As you begin the assent towards the visitors center, Mt. Charleston will emerge from the arid wasteland and greet you with wildflowers and Bristlecone Pine, which some believe to be the oldest living organisms on the planet. If you’re in shape, I recommend the Trail Canyon trail, a 4 mile out-and-back hike which brings you to a wonderful peak where you can see miles in either direction. No need to worry about picking a cool day to hike, because you’ll find the temperature to be 20+ degrees cooler than down on the strip!
3. Neon Museum
If you’ve seen the movies or know anything at all about Vegas, you know how mobbed up the place was throughout its development. One fantastic place to learn more about the city’s history is from the Neon Museum, a boneyard of neon signs from various casinos. My girlfriend and I had done the Mob Museum a few days early and it’s amazing how connected the histories were. If you decide to see it, make sure you sign up for the guided tour at night. That last part’s important because not only will you miss the oppressive heat, but it’s also just a lot nicer seeing these lit up at night.
4. Golden Nugget Poker Room
If you’re a poker fan like me, you can’t help but nerd out at some of the history behind these rooms in Old Vegas (Old Vegas being Fremont Street, New Vegas being the Strip). Perhaps no room in town has more history than The Golden Nugget, home to NBC’s Poker After Dark show where legends like Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, and Daniel Negreanu traded jabs for six-figure pots on national TV. I skipped the cash game and opted for one of their daily tournaments where buy-ins run you about $60 bucks. They’ve got all the amenities too — TVs displaying tournament info, phone chargers underneath the tables, and a decent comp policy if you’re drinking. My only complaint was my Ace-Queen shove being sucked out by Jack-Eight off-suit! I guess my bubble play could use some work…
5. Fremont Street
Wikipedia describes the Fremont Street Experience as a “sprawling 24-hour mall featuring a huge LED canopy, casino & restaurant access & free entertainment”. It’s all of that and so much more. Fremont Street, to me, felt like the most Vegasy thing we did all week. You’ll walk under a million and a half LED lights that burn holes in your brain. Showgirls and male strippers hang out on every corner. Drinking and smoking in front of cops is the least of their worries. As someone who doesn’t gamble (except on sports and poker), I got my money’s worth moseying through the casinos and observing what happens when freedom and temptation meet. Stay with your group and keep your wallet up front and you’ll have a fantastic time.
Well, there you have it, my Top 5 Favorite Spots in Las Vegas. This city has a reputation that precedes it, but what I learned more than anything was that you can carve out your own fun no matter what makes you tick.