Guest blog post by Eavan:
As with any Los Angeles resident, the weekend jaunt to Las Vegas is a staple of the getaway repertoire. It’s an easy flight or drive, there are often promotions for California residents, and everyone has a friend or a bachelorette looking to celebrate an occasion by being drunk, full of buffet fare, and broke from belligerent gambling decisions.
I won’t lie – I’ve been the girl “woooooo” – ing at the blackjack table at 3 a.m., but after many trips to the city of sin and indigestion I have discovered one crucial way to maintain small ounces of sanity. Choose to stay at a hotel near Fremont Street. Downtown Vegas is lots of fun and has a completely different aura in comparison to the Strip. You won’t find girls in skin-tight dresses and heels getting ready to hit the clubs. The Midwest frat boys pounding yard-long frozen alcoholic concoctions are much sparser and replaced instead by locals, families, and a more relaxed crowd of humans just looking to have a good time. Walking down Fremont Street you’ll see the most amusing cast of characters from Mr. T impersonators to retired showgirls who fanagled an old costume for photo opportunities with passers-by. You can wander from casino to souvenir shop to classic Las Vegas hotels like The Golden Nugget while being serenaded by a myriad of cover bands stationed throughout the Fremont Street Experience.
While the hotel selection might not be as posh as the Strip, there are some diamonds in the rough that your wallet will really appreciate. I cannot recommend Plaza, a hotel I unknowingly booked via Priceline bidding for $40 a night. It’s essentially a glorified Super 8 motel with a Subway in the lobby. (*This hotel is scheduled for a remodel later this year!) But, El Cortez, recommended by my savvy big sister of course, is everything you could ask for in an old Vegas hotel. The lobby and casino embody the original Vegas – bright flashing lights outside, warm rich colors in the lobby, small floor plan, and friendly staff in uniforms that likely haven’t been updated in this century. Best of all – it’s incredibly affordable. I stayed in a “Vintage Room” on the floor right above the casino. The room was tiny, accessible by stairs only, and a bit noisy due to its proximity to the casino, but for $35 on a Saturday night I have no complaints. It was clean, had character, and all the amenities you’d expect. If you want to “splurge” (I use this term loosely based on the affordable prices) you can get a suite or a deluxe room at their new sister hotel “Cabana Suites” for $85-110 a night. The amenities at the suites are brand new, sleek, and comparable to what you’d find on the strip for a fraction of the price.
Keep in mind: There are a couple of bars at the end of the Fremont Street Experience called The Beauty Bar and The Griffin. Beyond the hotel lounges, casinos, and outdoor boozing, these are some of the few ‘nightspots’ in walking distance. If you want to go big with bottle service at the club, this might not be the area for you.
Bonus tip(s): If being thrifty is on the agenda, check out www.goldstar.com for half price tickets to Vegas shows. Goldstar doesn’t offer discounts to the top-shelf shows, but you can see the Blue Man Group or Thunder From Down Under for half the usual price!
Photo via expedia.com