Although Las Vegas is most definitely known for its gambling above all else, it is also famous for hosting one of the most vibrant party scenes in the world. Travelers come to Sin City from all over the globe for its “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” aesthetic. The city is truly a peak destination for anyone looking for a no-holds-barred good time.
One of the unique things about Vegas, known as “the 702” by some (a slang term derived from the local area code) is that you can pretty much book a room in one casino and experience the best in fine and casual dining, world-class clubbing, live music, casual lounges, and gambling all under one roof. There is no other place in the country where this is really possible. The Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Caesar’s Palace are all great examples of one-stop shop casinos where you can get all your kicks without having to leave the premises.
As previously referenced, Vegas is unusual in that many of the best live music venues are in the hotel/casinos rather than being standalone establishments. If you are looking for live music in the city, you will find that some of the best places to see it are in the casinos. Examples of such venues include the Pearl at the Palms, a midsized hall that hosts acts that often play stadiums. Don’t let the ticket precises deter you, there is not a bad seat in the house and it is a privilege to see some of these bands in such an intimate setting (think Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins, Yes, Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, and Elvis Costello). The House Of Blues in the Mandalay Bay and the Joint in the Hard Rock are other relevant venues to look at for live music in Sin City.
A popular misconception of Vegas is that everything that’s going on is on the strip, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, locals tend to avoid the strip like the plague and find their own less common haunts. A great example would include the infamous Double Down Saloon, known for the dichotomy between its psychedelic wall art and nihilistic punk aesthetic. Another off-strip locals favorite is the Bunkhouse Saloon in downtown Vegas. For the real-deal, seedy, old-school Vegas experience, steer clear of the strip and aim for downtown. If you are more of a rugged individualist, you can even stay at one of the downtown casinos and experience old Vegas for cheap, all within walking distance of the downtown nightlife.
Considering Las Vegas’ general reputation, it is no surprise that it is a great city for adult entertainment. It is a myth that prostitution is legal in Las Vegas (although it is legal and surrounding counties), but it is not a myth the Las Vegas hosts some world-class strip clubs. Spearmint Rhino is one of the best, and features the fortunate policy of waving your cover if you take a limo from your hotel to the club. This is definitely a plus as it is quite likely that you will have had your share of drinks by the time you hit the strip club during your Vegas stay. Déjà Vu is an excellent choice as the strippers are all-nude, but due to Vegas law this means the venue can’t serve alcohol. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you are a drinker be sure to have your fill before you head to Déjà Vu. Sapphire Las Vegas on Industrial is famous for the pure scope of the establishment, and certainly lives up to its claim to be “the world’s largest gentlemen’s club.” This is just a small smattering of the strip club options in Las Vegas which are many and varied.
You can’t discuss Vegas nightlife without discussing the gay scene. The prominent gay district in Las Vegas is known as the “Fruit Loop,” and this is where you will find the majority of the gay friendly bars and clubs in Vegas. These include leather bar the Buffalo, the low-key Freezone, and dance clubs Piranhas and Gipsy. Vegas gay bars are a laid-back, let your hair down affair, and are a key part of Vegas nightlife.
As you would expect from a major entertainment hub like Vegas, there are some great choices for comedy. If looking to catch some laughs during your Sin City stay, you might want to hit up the LA Comedy Club in the Planet Hollywood resort, or the Improv at Harrah’s.
Whether you want to enjoy the high life at an upscale club on the strip, or enjoy a High Life at an off-strip dive bar, Las Vegas is the perfect travel destination for nighttime fun. Pick up a Las Vegas Weekly to get a better feel for the city and see what events are going on locally, and most of all, be safe!