During my stay in Las Vegas, I was housed in Bally's Hotel. It is in between the Flamingo and Paris Hotel (actually, it is attached to the Paris Hotel). While this hotel is a bit dated, it was still a wonderful place to stay. I was within walking distance of several restaurants, casinos (one in the floor of the hotel), clubs, the miracle mile (mall), a bus stop, and many other attractions. I could even watch the Bellagio water show right from my room! The staff was courteous and very helpful, and there was cleaning service that came to the room everyday unless I otherwise stated. I would highly recommend this hotel for first time visitors who also like a great value.
The first day that I arrived I had the entire afternoon to myself, so I walked up and down the strip, taking in all of the sights and sounds, making notes of things that I would like to eventually go back to and see again. I strongly suggest bringing sensible walking shoes! The miracle mile mall was just down the street from my hotel, so that was my first venture of my trip. There are several eateries inside the mall as well as numerous places to shop from lower-end stores up to high-end designers. The mall is also several levels, with several entrances- so you can stay busy in their for a while.
Later in my first evening I went on the hunt to find a good place to eat, nothing to fancy, just somewhere I could sit down. Right along the street (the vegas strip) there are several eateries ranging from carts to bars to actual sit down restaurants. I ended up at Twin Peaks, and had a great pub burger with fries. The service was excellent and the establishment was very clean and organized. Most all of the restaurants along the street also had outdoor patios as well, you usually had to wait to get a spot, but it was worth it!
After my meetings on the second day I was a little more wore out (from being on a 3 hour time difference), so me and a colleague grabbed a bite to eat at the Harley Davidson Cafe. Again, excellent food! But I was quickly realizing that at most every place I ate, the portion sizes were huge! So me and my colleague started splitting entrees, which was more than enough to feed us both. The service and atmosphere at the cafe were stellar, and they even had a little Harley merchandise store where I was able to pick up a few shirts on sale.
Wednesday was our third night on the town, but we decided that we had had enough of the new strip and took an $8 bus ride down to Fremont street, which is considered downtown Las Vegas, it isn't very far at all, however with as many stops as we made, it was a 30 minute trip. Taking a cab would have been faster, but the cost was around 3 times more, and we would have had to take 2 cabs with our larger group.
I will say that going to Fremont was probably the best decision I made while on my trip, I had so much fun! There are a lot of free street performances, a few stages, plenty of casino fun, restaurants, and fun themed shops. Of course, you could purchase all kinds of novelties as well. My favorite part about Fremont is the light show! There is a 90 foot high, 4 block long LED screen that plays music shows on the hour from 6p.m. until midnight. Each show lasts several minutes and is absolutely dazzling. We were able to catch The Who performance, however there are also shows for KISS, Queen, The Doors, George Thoroughgood, and Don McLean. It is an absolute can't miss, totally free show.
On our last night before flying out, Thursday night, a small group of us had a nice dinner on the outdoor patio at Cabo Wabo, which is almost directly across the street from Bellagio, so we were able to watch the water show while enjoying a great mexican dinner. Cabo Wabo also had indoor seating, and held quite a few guests, however the weather was beautiful at night.
After dinner we did a little more walking around, scouting for clubs that we wanted to have a drink in later in the evening (most all of the clubs did not open until 10pm). We found that most of the clubs were a part of various hotels, and that if you visited the hotels early in the evening (around 8-8:30pm)- there were club employees handing out free VIP wrist bands so that you could get into that particular club when it opened without paying cover. We were even able to snag free drinks!! Considering that some of the covers were $20-$40, it was a huge savings! One side note!: when you are walking up and down the strip, there are a lot of "promoters" who say that they can get you on lists of this place or that place, all you have to do is tip them? Don't do it!! They are not tied to the clubs, and will not put you on any VIP lists. I found this out from one of the ACTUAL promoters who are in the hotels that host the respective clubs.
Later on, after 10pm our small group met up and walked over to Caesar's Palace, which hosts Club Pure. We indeed get put in the VIP line, bypassed the waiting line, and even got free drinks for the entire evening (off of a choice drink menu, but it was good enough for us!). The club itself was immaculate, well organized, and visually interesting. You have to walk down a few halls and up some stairs, but it is an outdoor patio directly across from the Flamingo. There was a large crowd, and great music. However, it IS standing room only unless you are willing to shell out "at least $500 for bottle service and a booth" as I was told by one of the very intimidating door men. I did not do much sitting because I was having too much fun dancing, however I recommend wearing sensible shoes unless you plan on shelling out significant cash for a seat!
The next morning I was picked up by my shuttle and taken to the airport a couple hours before my flight.
Overall, for my first visit to Las Vegas, I had a fantastic time- even with having to work during the day. There is a lot to do, and a lot to see!