Gary’s guide to Las Vegas, 2nd edition
Las Vegas ? I wrote a lengthy, detailed travel guide to Las Vegas in September 2002, advising Kansas University fans on places to go, things to do and see in Glitter City besides the Kansas-UNLV football game, which the Jayhawks lost, 31-20.
That piece elicited only a handful of comments – from the media relations directors, attorneys, broadcasters, Busch executives and writers who for the past 10 summers have gathered with me for three days of summer fun in the desert.
Rather than make the same mistake twice – and write a travel dissertation nobody but my pals wants to read – let me take a slightly different approach as KU supporters head to Vegas again, this time for a holiday basketball weekend at the Las Vegas Invitational.
I’ll offer some quickie recommendations – for those on a limited budget like me – catered to those of you staying at nice but not extravagant places like Bally’s, New York-New York, Mirage, Monte Carlo, rather than the upscale Bellagio or Venetian.
Follow these suggestions, and you KU fans in Vegas will have fun even when you are not in Orleans Arena watching the Jayhawks play Ball State on Friday and Florida on Saturday.
Sports books: If you want to get up early Saturday (9 a.m. Vegas time) and watch the KU-Missouri football game, do so at either Mirage, Caesars Palace, Mandalay Bay or MGM Grand. They all have huge sports books with a plethora of big screen TVs on the walls.
Of course, you may have to bribe the sports book hosts to show the KU-MU game. That contest may be the game of choice in the Midwest but will draw yawns out West.
By the way, do yourself a favor and turn off your cell phone upon stepping into any sports book, lest some large security guard do it for you. It’s illegal to talk on a cell phone in a sports book.
Yes, I said illegal.
Food: Obviously you can wine and dine at some of the finest restaurants in the world in Vegas. Ask your hotel concierge for suggestions for such places with dress codes.
As for quicker, less expensive meals … the breakfast brunch at the Bellagio is a must-eat. Sample the crab legs. For Mexican food venture to Pink Taco at the Hard Rock. For a full course German dinner, make reservations at Hofbrauhaus across the street from the Hard Rock. For a burger, it’s the foodcourt at Caesars Palace, Brew Pub at Monte Carlo or ESPN Sports Zone unless you want to cab it to IN-N-OUT-Burger.
Gambling: For low minimum ($5 and $10) blackjack and craps tables, join me in the Barbary Coast, just north of Bally’s.
It’s one of the few places that still has a lounge act playing in vicinity of the tables. Imperial Palace, Casino Royale, Aladdin, New York-New York also are fun places to play. It’s OK to take a trip downtown to see the Fremont Street lights show, but the only place worth gambling down there is Golden Nugget. OK, maybe Binion’s too.
Pool: I’m guessing it’s too chilly this time of year to take a dip with highs in the 60s, but in the summer kids and adults alike love the Lazy River and wave pool at Mandalay Bay. Mirage, Caesar’s, Hard Rock, Palms and Flamingo also have legendary pools.
Clubs: TMZ.com says you can find celebrities hanging out at the Palms. Other than that, you are on your own there.
Shows: Second City at Flamingo Hilton is great. Howie Mandel and George Carlin … yes, if they are in town. I haven’t seen Elton John yet and am not a Celine Dion fan.
Worship: The Guardian Angel cathedral behind the massive Wynn hotel will be a perfect place to visit on Thanksgiving morning. The music is outstanding – don’t applaud after the hymns – and feel free to leave a casino chip as a donation. Yes, chips are accepted.
That’s it for the Bedore guide to LV. Only bring as much money as you can afford to lose. You’ve heard that one before, I’m sure.