The Las Vegas Strip at night. You will find most casinos and clubs on this road.

I say Las Vegas, you think of The Hangover or perhaps even Ocean’s Eleven. It’s all about the bright lights, parties, gambling and strippers. I’m going to give you a guide on how to survive Vegas with your dignity in tact. Whatever happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, it goes on Facebook or comes home as an S.T.D.

Best time to go?
The best time to go is based on my party science calculations using factors like the weather and the number of tourists.

This a desert tree of some sort.

Vegas is situated in a desert. Your worry isn’t sand storms and battling scorpions like Indiana Jones, it’s the heat and water rationing when the city starts to run out of water. It can easily reach 40°C in summer which is over our June/July holiday months. At that time the city and surrounding areas start to ration water because they get most of their water from the drying Hoover Dam. It will be unpleasant to walk outside with those kind of temperatures, a hangover and having to pay for every drop of water you drink.

I recently went in the March/April holidays and although the temperatures were nice it was the wrong time to go. I mentioned in This “Top Music Festivals in 2012” List Does Not Include Oppikoppi that live acts shut down in America before Coachella. Many artists were either taking a break before Coachella or on international tours. Perhaps combine your Las Vegas trip with a visit to Indio, California which is where Coachella is held. You could do one week in Vegas and then spend your next week at Coachella, one of the most insane music festivals in the world.

Public Transport

Insert comments about needing comfortable shoes.
Photo: Deji Dada

It’s really easy to get around Vegas. In the beginning you will choose to walk but you will soon realise that although everything looks so nearby, everything is in fact very far away. Why? The buildings are that big. My suggestion is that you use the bus transit system* and perhaps even the Las Vegas Monorail if you don’t want to use cabs to go everywhere. They are both really easy to navigate. The bus system was the most effective because it took me to uptown and downtown Vegas so I didn’t have to spend all of my time at the Strip.The Las Vegas Monorail, the train system, only operates on the Strip.

*The bus transit system works on a system that they hope that you paid for your bus ticket. Nobody actually checks if you have it on you. However, just pay for your ticket, just in case.

Partying in Las Vegas
I must admit that I am biased. A very long time ago I got over killing my feet with high heels and wearing fancy outfits when I wanted a night out. All of the clubs situated on the Strip require smart casual clothes and an appreciation for mainstream, hip-hop, house and progressive house music. If that is your scene then you literally have stumbled into heaven.

Those of us who prefer hard-bashing beats, indie bands and doc martens will be hard-pressed to find something. I spent a very long time trying to determine what alternative partying Vegas had to offer. The Arts District, downtown Las Vegas, indicated that not all was lost but their dubstep and drum and bass scene is not just underground, it’s literally by the core of the Earth. I did go to a few of the parties. It made me slightly homesick because although all of the DJs were brilliant there were not enough people. I missed getting shoved about in the electro moshing crowds.

Funktion! Las Vegas – Play Me Records Takeover at Hard Rock Cafe
Photo: Deji Dada

Vegas is expensive. You need lots of money or luck at the casinos to party there. This specifically applies to the Strip. I found it a bit unnerving to notice that one night I had spent $80, ≈ R640, on drinks. You’re going to ask me what I had bought. I will tell you. In my opinion, I shouldn’t remember at all if I’m spending that amount. I had: a pre-mixed margarita, a Pepsi with a single brandy, two Pabst Blue Ribbon beers and two shots of tequila. If I was getting expensive, high quality drinks then I wouldn’t care because I’m paying for that. However, when a really friendly bartender whips out a margarita from a slushie machine, Jose Cuervo and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer I feel slightly cheated. Just consider that Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer is famous for being a cheap but awesome beer! The only way to beat this is to drink as much as you can in your hotel room and hope that you don’t lose it in the beginning of your party evening.
 

Pre-drink like a boss!
Photo: Deji Dada

If you’re looking for alternative parties then I suggest you head to:
– Double Down Saloon because they have indie/rock live acts and cheap drinks (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Double-Down-Saloon-Las-Vegas/43793799630)
– The Arts District for the bars around there that play electro and serve designer cocktails (http://www.vegas.com/traveltips/guide/hipster.html). Specifically look out for Artifice and Insert Coin(s) for an epic jam.
– Surrender at Wynn, even though it’s ridiculously expensive ($20 for a shot of Vodka) it has some of the best in house DJs in the world. You like Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Dada Life and Deadmau5? (https://www.facebook.com/surrendernightclub). You will have to dress up for this place because it’s one of those places on the Strip.
– Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas Strip because they organise some pretty insane parties (https://www.facebook.com/hardrockcafelasvegasstrip) and even though it’s on the Strip it has cheaper drinks and no dress-code rules.

General Comments

  • Public drinking is allowed! You will see people walking around 2L tubes of Margarita or 750mL cans of beer, and smoking away because all of the sins are allowed. South Africa really has cracked down on us with regards to smoking and drinking, you only realise how much this has happened when you go to a place as free as Vegas.
  • You’re more likely to meet foreigners, as tourists from other countries, than actual people from Vegas if you party on the Strip. Las Vegas locals know the drinks and entrance to clubs are over-priced and party elsewhere.
  • The outside Las Vegas looks just like the movie versions. However, I found a lot of the interiors a bit familiar and not in a good way. The insides of the hotels reminded me of Sun City, you know, the fake rocks, fake plants, casino carpets, fake gold furnishing and fake animals. It must have been amazing back in the day but not so much now. On that note a lot of the things we have here were copied from Vegas. Sun City, Monte Casino, Emperor’s Palace are all examples of this. From the architecture of the buildings, to the fountains and even the sky ceilings.
  • I liked that there were less tourists in Las Vegas, when compared to New York. I hate tourists even though I was one. You can read the New York Guide here: http://ourfriends.co/?p=619
  • Go do the touristy things like heading to the Grand Canyon and going to see shows. I watched Jabbawockeez and really enjoyed them. There are shows for all kinds of people. You aren’t limited to magic, Motown or Las Vegas show girls.
Native America Reserve at the Grand Canyon. It’s not racist at all.
Photo: Deji Dada

So that’s Las Vegas in a nutshell. It’s a once in a lifetime experience so I hope you stop by Las Vegas (after New York of course) and come back with an awesome set of memories. I do apologise if you were looking for references to “Gentleman’s Clubs” or the embarrassing “Chipendales” but that’s for another post, a post about my distant Bachorlette party.

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