Enjoying Las Vegas on a College Student's Budget
November 9, 2010 3:50 PM   Subscribe

How can 10-12 college students have a really cheap but fun time in Las Vegas this weekend?

A bunch of friends and I are going to Las Vegas this weekend and we're curious how we can go out clubbing, drinking, and exploring as cheaply as possible. This would mean avoiding expensive club covers & upscale bars with pricey drinks. Also which free or cheap shows/experiences/attractions should we hit up?

We're a quirky bunch and can make just about anything fun, but we still want to have a "typical" Vegas experience by going out dancing (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights), drinking, and doing new things.

I've tried looking all over the internet but have only come up with 2-3. Does the hivemind know of any hidden gems, insider secrets, deals, or cheap Vegas must-do's?

Thanks so much in advance!

P.S. Anything interesting to do on the drive to Las Vegas from Berkeley, CA? It's 9 hours long and it'd be lovely to stop a few times on the way there to check out some cool attractions.
posted by mahoganyslide to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (11 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, I lived and worked in Vegas for many moons. I worked in fancy pants $30 cover clubs, hip casinos, and neighborhood bars. Here's the only places I ever found worth going:

1) The Artisan

2) Has the stiffest drinks and best blackjack in the city.

3) Drink before hand, but the Center Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel is about the most "happening" place in Las Vegas most nights. It's loud, busy, expensive, and the service is shitty, but it's singularly "Vegasy".

4) The Orleans Hotel bowling alley is fantastic. A little dangerous, STUPID cheap, and always filled with the insane.

5) Green Valley Ranch (which is way South of the strip) has a few very cool bars and an AMAZING pool for morning rehabilitation.

6) The Sahara has a bar in the back (it's a tiny thing, almost a stand) that has $1 beer, they also have $2 blackjack throughout. It's a shithole, but an AWESOME shithole.
posted by lattiboy at 4:10 PM on November 9, 2010 [10 favorites]

Whoops! #2 should've been Ellis Island Casino
posted by lattiboy at 4:11 PM on November 9, 2010

We used this club promoter last time we were in Vegas to get into clubs on the VIP Guest List, and that was great, because we are cheap and like to get to clubs early anyway. A++, would use again. We could text him any time, he was very helpful. Moon Nightclub at the Palms has a phenomenal view.

PS don't be a ding-dong like us and think you can walk from the Strip to the Palms; it is a long-ass walk and you're basically in the gutter on the highway.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:18 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I was a college kid my friends and I would start an evening sitting around some slots and throwing in a quarter or two whenever the waitress was around. That or video poker at the bar with the same idea (video poker is nice because you can slap the buttons without paying and look like you're doing something). You might even make money.
posted by bitdamaged at 4:25 PM on November 9, 2010

Where are you staying?

Most of the cheapest stuff is at the locals casinos, away from the tourist areas, but you have to drive to get there and you don't want to risk drinking and driving.

Instead, I recommend going downtown (Fremont Street) -- you can generally find much better deals there than on the Strip. You can also catch the Deuce bus there and back 24 hours a day, so no need to drink and drive.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:14 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Roller Derby!
posted by Lucinda at 5:28 PM on November 9, 2010

If you decide to stay on the strip Bally's has the best location for the lowest room rates in mid strip area.
posted by WizKid at 6:07 PM on November 9, 2010

In addition to the Center bar at the hard rock there is a side bar near one of entrances thathas a DJ and dancing for no cover.
posted by mmascolino at 6:26 PM on November 9, 2010

Have you checked out CheapoVegas?
posted by mogget at 7:17 PM on November 9, 2010

Seconding the Artisan for great decor and often very good DJs, although if you're looking for girls, that's not the place. NOT seconding Green Valley Ranch if you're on a budget.

A number of friends recently have stayed at Bally's, so I guess it really is among the cheapest places on the Strip. If you don't mind staying a little off the Strip, I've seen rooms at Terrible's on Paradise & Flamingo for as low as $20, although that was awhile back.

Downtown is a better bet than the Strip -- cheaper and more variety. Check out some of the locals bars like the Griffin and Beauty Bar and Downtown Lounge. Prices there are pretty average, but you can take a 3 minute walk up Fremont Street and get beers for $1.

GoldDiggers in the Golden Nugget downtown isn't the most happening club (in fact, it's often cougar-central) but in a group of 12 you could have a lot of fun there super cheap before going somewhere else. It's also the best view of Fremont Street you'll find.

One tip: I've ended many nights in the Golden Nugget hot tub. It's open until 2 a.m. to anyone.

Bonus: A trip to Vegas isn't complete without visiting the Double Down. Even if you only get a chance to go in the morning/afternoon, it's something to remember. But I recommend going at night to get the full experience. Enjoy the bacon martinis!
posted by coolguymichael at 8:01 PM on November 9, 2010

"One tip: I've ended many nights in the Golden Nugget hot tub. It's open until 2 a.m. to anyone."

Pro tip: Security gets mildly annoyed if you jump in naked. Not that I know that from personal experience or anything... [looks innocent]
posted by Jacqueline at 2:41 AM on November 10, 2010

« Older Where can I find dapper, classic baby clothes?   |   Identify these Nike shoes? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.