Where should I stay during a conference in Vegas?
March 26, 2014 3:17 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in Las Vegas for a conference this summer, and am trying to figure out what my best options are for lodging. I'll have a fair bit of time for fun stuff, and I can't decide whether it's wiser to stay right next to the Convention Center and cab it to the strip/Fremont, or whether it makes more sense to stay on the strip and cab it to the conference (I'm also open to walking, depending on weather/exhaustion levels). I'm also not sure which way would be most beneficial traffic-wise, going into or out of the strip. If you've done this before, which option would you recommend, and are there any particular hotels I should look into?
posted by stellaluna to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't plan to walk in Vegas in the summer. Just... don't. The place isn't built for walking in the first place (the spaces between things are incredible), and it's going to be three digits in June, July, August, and probably September.

If I were you I'd stay near the conference and take cabs to the strip; unless you're a serious gambler, you're likely to find it less fun than you initially think.
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:30 PM on March 26, 2014 [10 favorites]

To support what sonic meat machine said, I've been in Las Vegas when it was 102 degrees (39c)... at 02:00 in the morning. The heat is brutal. You have no idea.
posted by blob at 3:43 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's a Monorail that goes from the Convention Center to the strip; it starts up near the Stratosphere, heads south and then east to the Convention Center, then back to the strip. It will be absolutely packed as the convention gets out (I'm going in 2 weeks to NAB Conference, and have that to look forward to.) Walking from the strip to the monorail is through someone's hotel and casino, so you're sheltered from the hottest of the summer. I recommend being on the strip for that reason. My company used to stay at Planet Hollywood, which meant a 15 minute walk through Paris to the monorail. This year: Flamingo, which has its own attached stop. It's cheap-- a couple bucks per trip, but you'll either save money or break even by getting the week-pass or whatever-- expense it! It wasn't fast-- maybe a dozen minutes (packed in tight) from Convention Center to Paris.

Apparently it's not legal to hail a cab in Vegas; you have to get one dispatched to you. I haven't checked this, but I was told this by someone who was neither in the cab business nor the hotel business. Get some numbers in your phone, and get used to looking for local cab ranks (such as the ones at all hotel receptions on the strip).

You can take shuttles or buses to Downtown/Fremont from the Strip; it's not hard to get there, and cabs will also work.

Bring nasal saline and get a consult from Dr. Scholls if you're going to be manning a booth like me.

If you walk in summer, bring a hat, sunglasses, sunblock, water. Vegas is disorientingly huge near the strip; the casinos look smaller and closer than they really are; I'm absolutely not kidding.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:49 PM on March 26, 2014 [6 favorites]

nthing all that. The blocks are huge, the distances are deceptive, and getting stuck between places on exposed sidewalks at the height of the day because you thought the walk was manageable is no joke. (I walked from the Venetian to the Stratosphere in April, and the last third of the walk was motivated by sheer bloody-mindedness.)

On top of the monorail, the bus system is really not that bad.
posted by holgate at 3:54 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Double nthing the "do not walk" recommendation. The heat is punishing and the distances between hotels are deceptively huge, inside and out. The monorail can be a reasonable option, if that works for you. Traffic around the Strip usually makes me want to tear my hair out, but cabs are do-able and easy to get. Consider renting a car if you're at all interested in investigating Vegas off the Strip. There's a ton of gorgeous nature to be enjoyed around there, in addition to quirky attractions like the Pinball Hall of Fame and the National Atomic Testing Museum. Vegas even has a halfway decent Chinatown with authentic eats; it's just not on the Strip, so people never find it. Deals at the big hotels are generally plentiful if you go looking around, so don't bother looking into little no-name places unless you are seriously strapped for cash.
posted by Diagonalize at 4:13 PM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Message received re: no walking!
posted by stellaluna at 4:28 PM on March 26, 2014

if you're not big on casinos, the vdara at citycenter doesn't have one (there's one in the aria, which is right across from it), and there's a citycenter monorail stop.

it was odd staying in a hotel that didn't have a casino in vegas, but it was really nice and quiet. also, as far as i can remember, it was also completely smoke-free (if that's a thing you like).
posted by koroshiya at 5:00 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Stay close to the Convention Center, take cabs to shows, restaurants, casinos, etc.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:29 PM on March 26, 2014

As long as I've been going to Vegas the Hilton (not a Hilton anymore, now it's called LVH) that's attached to the Convention Center has always been regarded as a tradeoff. Great location, awful hotel.

I'd recommend Harrah's or Flamingo, both are smaller properties and an easy monorail trip to the LVCC. Unless it's changed, Harrah's and Flamingo had a free shuttle to take you to some of their other sister properties (like Bally's and Rio) if you wanted a free change of pace without paying for a cab.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:59 PM on March 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Came by to also suggest Harrah's. It's a great spot, mid-strip, is right next to the Venetian (which has some great restaurants in it), across from the Bellagio for the fountain show, and it has a monorail stop right behind the hotel that takes you to the Convention Center. It's also totally reasonably priced.

I'll be there this summer as well (American Library Association conference is there! Prepare for 20K librarians, Las Vegas), and Harrah's is always my hotel of choice just for location. Staying at the LVH is convenient to the convention center and NOTHING else. Not worth it, IMHO.
posted by griffey at 7:25 PM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you do take cabs, long hauling is sometimes an issue here. Especially from the airport. It's helpful if you know the quicker routes. I'm on a phone right now, so memail if you want more info on that.

If it weren't mid summer I'd suggest staying at the quad. There's also tons more to do close to the strip depending on what you like. Feel free to shoot me a memail and I can give you some ideas.
posted by BenevolentActor at 5:33 AM on March 27, 2014

Best answer: It's hard to make a suggestion without knowing what you're looking for during this trip, besides attending the convention. If that's it, then definitely stay as close as possible.

If you want to stay at a casino, any of them along the monorail line would be fine. We prefer to stay at the Signature at MGMGrand when we go to Vegas (1 to 2 times per year). It's connected to MGM by an air conditioned walkway, so easy access to food, gambling, and the monorail. But it's more like a luxury hotel/condo - no BLING! BLING! BLING! or hiking across the smokey casino floor when you check in/out, the rooms are much bigger and very nice (even the lowest level room), and you can relax and get away from the over-stimulation of the Strip.
posted by jshort at 5:34 AM on March 27, 2014

Best answer: I would second the Flamingo if you can find a decent deal - it's recently renovated and right on the Strip AND the monorail, making it easy to get to the convention center. The bus trip from the Strip to Fremont is also pleasant and easy. I'm less of a fan of Harrah's just because it's got a lot of that dark, dank, baked-in despair vibe, but it is similarly well-located. It's really nice to be able to wander out of your hotel at night and get dinner at an adjacent casino, or see the fountains/conservatory at the Bellagio.

Also, if you can get a deal, maybe consider renting a car? Valet parking is plentiful and free (they want you to come in and lose money!), and that gets you access to anything off the Strip-Fremont Street backbone. It'll probably be cheaper to pick up and drop off said car at a hotel, instead of an airport, but even if you only have it for a couple of days, that gives you the opportunity to see things like the Pinball Hall of Fame or the Neon Museum, or even main sights farther afield (the Welcome to Las Vegas sign and Mandalay Bay are STUNNINGLY far away from everything else and I got a nasty sunburn navigating that area by foot in May) without being forced to constantly phone for cabs or navigate the local cross-street bus system in the heat of the summer.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 5:37 AM on March 27, 2014

If you do want to get a car, don't stay on the Strip. There are more affordable and decent places off-strip that are easier to get to by car. I've stayed at Palace Station and was able to park my car and walk to my room in less than 60 seconds when I got a motor court room.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:29 AM on March 27, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you so much for all the advice--not sure which option I'll take, yet, but at least now I have a lot more information (I'd completely forgotten about the monorail)!
posted by stellaluna at 12:36 PM on March 27, 2014

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