Downtown vs. the Strip

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Las Vegas has two distinct casino areas (well, three if you count the “local” casinos that are scattered all over the outskirts of the tourist district): Downtown and “the Strip”. These two areas are distinctly different from one another. The distance between their geographical borders, once immense, is now becoming smaller and smaller as the Strip continues to expand north towards downtown. But even though they are only separated by a few hundred yards at this point, their differences are quite vast. Here is a little table to characterize the differences between Downtown Vegas and the Strip:

Downtown The Strip
Atmosphere Quaint, Intimate Action-Packed
Hotel Prices $20-$70 $100+
Snacks Fried Oreos Kobe Beef Sliders
Girls Is that you, Grandma? Drunk party type
Casinos Small, Value-Oriented Billion Dollar Mega-Resorts
Attractions Fremont Street Experience Bellagio Fountains and more
Top Restaurants $12.99 Steak Dinner 5 Star Fine Dining
Best Poker Binion’s Bellagio, Venetian, Caesars Palace
Cost of Party Beverage $4 $12
Walking Time 15-30 minutes 2 hours +
Dress Code Shirt Requested Shirt Required
Celeb Hangout Haha… yea right Any number of top nightclubs
Marque Property Golden Nugget Wynn or Venetian
Best Dive Casino All of them (except Golden Nugget) Casino Royale or Slots o Fun
Cheapest Blackjack $3 $5 weeknights, $10 weekends
Craps Odds 20x fairly common 3x,4x,5x standard (100x at Casino Royale!)
World Series of Poker Started at Binion’s Now held at Rio
Transportation Walkable Monorail, taxis
Clientele Low to Lower-Middle Lower-Middle to High

Realize that this table isn’t meant to provide hard-and-fast rules for what you can expect as much as characterize the differences between Downtown and the Strip. You can find plenty of dumpy areas on the Strip and at least one (Golden Nugget) completely respectable property Downtown. But by and large, Downtown is kind of a relic from the past. It’s development has largely been neglected over the past few decades while the Strip has been constantly expanding.

Downtown Vegas is kind of like that old, reliable dog. It might not have much hop left in it’s step, but you can count on it to be there for you when you need it… until it dies. The Strip is like that crazy new puppy with lots of energy. It’s fun and fast but can wear you out pretty quickly too.

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