Everyone wants to feel that they're a Vegas insider. It might be something as basic as knowing that the airport connector isn't the most direct route from McCarran to the MGM Grand, or it might be something as esoteric as being able to quote, from memory, the names of all of the bouncers at every Vegas nightclub.
Basically, it feels good to know that you're doing Vegas right. There are so many rookie mistakes to be made (and hey, even locals make them all the time) that it's great to know that you didn't waste your time or get ripped off.
After the jump, I'll share a few secrets that probably won't help you save money and might not even be that fun (hey, some of them might actually inconvenience you a little), but rest assured, they will make you feel like a real insider.
1. The secret Cosmopolitan pizza place
I almost didn't put this one on here, since I'm almost positive that everyone who would read this blog already knows about it. But you'd be amazed at how many people don't know about it, considering the amount of pre-opening PR the place got. Then again, not everyone follows this stuff religiously. So next time you've got someone new at the Cosmopolitan, take them in here for a slice. They'll be impressed.
2. Alternate parking for CityCenter
Moving a little to the south, here's a tip that I've used for somewhat easier access to CityCenter.
If you're coming up from Metropolitan Henderson or taking the 215 from the Greater Summerlin Area, you can exit onto Frank Sinatra Drive and park at the Monte Carlo garage. Then it's a quick walk past the Monte Carlo lobby and through its retail area before you hit the monorail stop. In about five minutes, you're right in front of the Aria poker room. It's a longer walk than if you'd parked at Aria, but you don't have to fight Strip traffic to get in or out--which may be a consideration if you're going during peak hours. And you have the off chance of being accosted (in a friendly way) by folks taking the "drink like the village idiot" ad for the Brew Pub literally, which can be fun. And who wouldn't walk a little further just to hear the melodic strains of duelling pianos?
Frankly I don't know why CityCenter doesn't have better access from Frank Sinatra. If it really was going to be a residential hub, they would have needed a way for residents to get to work/school/shopping without driving on the Boulevard.
3. The Batcave exit to Desert Inn from Wynncore
I will confess that there's never I time that I've taken this that I haven't felt like an absolute badass. Even in an aging Honda Civic with car seats in the back.
If you park at Encore, there's a little tunnel that will take you out of Desert Inn East. It's perfect for getting back to Paradise, say, if you want to return to UNLV after meeting people at Wynncore. If you park in the Wynn garage, you can also use this, but you've got to do a quick u-turn.
There's no sign reading "Gotham City Limits" when you pop up on DI (yet!) but whenever I take this route I think of this:
Even when I'm just heading back to the office, I feel, for a few seconds at least, like I'm hauling ass out of Wayne Manor en route to Commissioner Gordon's office in downtown Gotham City.
And now you will too.
4. Drinks at the Eiffel Tower restaurant
Lets say you're showing a guest around town. You want to give them a great view of the Bellagio fountain show but don't want to be accosted by the Super Mario Brothers/CD salesmen/crack dealers as Placido Domingo sings in the background. Lets also assume, for the sake of argument, that you didn't shell out for a fountain-facing terrace suite at the Cosmopolitan, and that you don't have access to John Unwin's office.
For my money, the best place to go to get a nice view of the fountain show without the investment of an entire meal is the bar at the Eiffel Tower restaurant in Paris. For the price of a few drinks, you can see the show from a great vantage point. It's got the added benefit of being a semi-restricted access area (tell the elevator operator you're going up for drinks, not "I want to wander around and gawk), and last time I did this there was a dress code (no sneakers for guys).
You'll look like you've got special insider knowledge, even though you'll be seeing the exact same show as everyone else.
5. Bring a sweater
We all know it's hot in Vegas. Right now it's not even 9AM and it's 86 degrees. Whether you're driving, walking, or taking a cab to get from point A to point B, you're probably be sweating quite a bit. So a t-shirt or other light clothing is really a quite sensible choice for daywear (and nightwear) in Vegas from roughly May to October. Of course, if you're from Wisconsin or UP Michigan you can rock a t-shirt and shorts during the sub-Arctic conditions on New Year's Eve, too, but your average visitor is going to want to dress a little warmer in the Vegas "winter."
Where was I? Oh yeah, wearing t-shirts in the summer heat. Great idea, but not so awesome when you're spending 2-3 inside an air-conditioned casino. One of the worst feelings in the world is getting out of your car, walking into the casino, and having that first blast of cold air hit your backsweat. Uggh.
I'd suggest bringing along a sweater or other layerable garment (if you've got the panache, try a cape!) for putting on when you get inside. It'll prevent you from getting the Vegas AC shakes, and it'll make you look much cooler. The Vegas weather is going to put a major crimp in your stylishness (unless you're MikeE), but you don't have to let it make you look like a schmuck while you're in the casino.
6. The secret entrance to Caesars Palace's self-park garage's elevator lobby.
This is the most pointless, yet most oddly satisfying, insider move yet.
Coming out of the elevators for Caesars Palace's self-park garage, you have two choices. You can make a hard right and walk through a serious-looking door that probably leads someplace where regular guests aren't allowed, or you can walk forward a few paces then make a right and hit the back of the casino. Most visitors choose the latter. Without fail, employees choose the former.
Here's a secret: that door doesn't go anywhere. It opens up right onto the casino floor, about two feet away from where you'd be if you'd just walked around it. Here's a photo from the casino side:
Going through this door isn't a shortcut. In fact, you'll expend more effort pulling the door open than would would walking the extra foot or so to go around it. But it will make you look like you totally know what you're doing. And that's the name of the game, isn't it?