Viva Las Value
Our Vegas challenge: a full day of
entertainment for $50 or less
ANYONE CAN BLOW hundreds of
Treasure Island. Total cost: zero dollars. For dinner we like the “gambler’s
special,” a $7.77 flat iron steak meal at
the Hard Rock Hotel’s Mr. Lucky’s 24-7.
It’s off-menu, so you have to ask, but
this tasty meal, complete with shrimp,
potatoes, and salad, doesn’t disappoint.
Next, we ride the Deuce downtown
to the Fremont Street Experience,
where five city blocks buzz under a
$70 million canopy screen. Every
night, on the hour, a pulsating lightand-sound extravaganza gives
pedestrians their own high-tech floor
show. (If you went to an exclusive
nightclub such as Tao, you’d pay a $20
cover charge for half the wattage and
triple the noise.) Still hungry? Chow
down on the 99-cent shrimp cocktail at
the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino.
Even with tax and tips, we still have
about $5 left for the nickel slots that remain tucked away in downtown casino
corners. For info on Las Vegas call
877-847-4858 or check out www.visit
lasvegas.com. —Laura Daily
AARP JULY&AUGUST 2008
BLACK YELLOW MAGENTA CYAN
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CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP RIGHT: REUTERS/CORBIS; JENNA BODNAR/GETTY IMAGES; PUSH/FOODPIX
dollars at the craps table (trust
us—we know), so we’re attempting a
more unusual Las Vegas challenge:
enjoying a full day of scrumptious food
and glitzy entertainment without
spending more than $50.
Our quest starts at the airport. We skip the cab, since
that’ll cost $10 to $20, plus
tip. Instead, we take a $6
shuttle: several companies
work out of McCarran
International Airport. We
spend another $5 for a 24hour pass on the Deuce, a
city bus that runs along the
Strip to downtown. It’s
much cheaper than a rental
Cheap fun and fare
car, which goes for $25 to
Island, the mono$30 a day, plus gas.
rail, and speedy
Next up: breakfast. Breakbig breakfasts.
fast in Vegas often costs a
third less than lunch or dinner, so fill up. A lot of hotels dish up
Habitat has its fair share of—what
buffets, but our pick is the Mirage and
else?—flamingos, not to mention nearCravings. For $13.95 you get an allly 500 other birds, turtles, and fish.
you-can-eat gourmet breakfast that
Prefer flora to fauna? Check out the
includes crab cake eggs Benedict and
13,500-square-foot indoor Conservatoa French toast bar. Yes, there are
ry and Botanical Garden at Bellagio.
cheaper breakfast spots—downtown’s
By midday, traffic jams the Strip, so
Main Street Station ($6.99 buffet)
we board the Las Vegas Monorail ($5,
and Green Valley Ranch ($7.99), in
one ride), which zips along a four-mile
Henderson, are both popular—but
route. The monorail runs behind most
buffets of this quality, for this price,
of the casinos on the Strip’s east side,
are hard to find on the Strip.
but once it curves toward the Hilton
With our bellies full, it’s showtime.
you get a great view of the city. For a
We start our search for free entertainquick lunch, a Nathan’s hot dog is
ment inside the Forum Shops at
$3.50 from a cart by the monorail’s
Caesars, where every hour two
MGM Grand station.
effects-laden shows bring to life the
As the sun sets, scantily clad
monumental sculptures of Bacchus,
temptresses in the Sirens of TI show
Apollo, Venus, and King Atlas. Across
duel nightly with renegade pirates
the street the Flamingo’s Wildlife
onboard a sinking frigate in front of