February 13 – 18, 2017
While we lived in Los Angeles and California we went to vegas at least 10-15 times. Our mission? Awesome food, bright lights and No Limit Texas Hold ’em. We drove, we parked, we played. After we started RVing, this was already our second time there. Can you tell? We love it! This time around though we finally decided that we were going to focus on things to do off the strip. After we researched we concluded that there were no safe RV parks on the strip and so we were located off the strip. We had never. When we mentioned this, most people’s reaction was, “there is an off the strip?” If you are traveling to Vegas on a budget, you can still enjoy the strip but going off the strip is the best thing for you. You can still get everything that the strip offers you, if you are there for the lights, body brushing with drunks and gambling. There is just a little more. This includes food! Most people are under the assumption that Vegas is really expensive, you are just eating at a chain or you are there for the heart attack hamburger. But wait, there is a lot of ethnic food there that is cheap and delicious!
List of fun things to do off the las Vegas strip!
Hoover Dam is definitely something to see. We were not into paying a huge sum for a tour but we wanted to say that we went as we had never in the past and I always think of Vegas Vacation when I think of it. About 45 minutes off the strip to the east, it’s an easy drive with a lot of parking. It is beautiful and taking a walk on the memorial bridge is a must.
Tips: There are three ways to see the Hoover Dam. 1) Pay a lot to a tour company (this is the best of course if you don’t have a vehicle and still want to see it). 2) Drive and park in their garage ($10), pay to see the visitor center ($10 – there are discounts) and pay for a tour (either $15 or $30), and 3) Park on the Arizona side (free) and walk down to the dam and then drive to memorial bridge and park (free) and walk across the bridge.
There is a metal detector to get into the visitor center.
Valley of Fire State Park
This park is about an hour east of the strip. Landscape that you can only see in the southwest of the US, it’s beautiful. Read about our hike and some more information here:
Clark County Shooting Range
About 30 minutes north of the strip is probably the nicest shooting range that i have ever been to. They have an archery course, rifle/pistol range, and their shot gun center which includes 23 trap and skeet fields, one 5-stand field and two sporting courses. You can rent all the equipment or bring your own.We had an amazing afternoon here. There are also RV sites that are $20/night! My favorite was the sporting clay courses. Trying to shoot down the “rabbits” was seriously entertaining. Fee information can be found here: Fee Schedule
Fun fact: Fremont street is actually in Las Vegas, NV and the famous strip is in Paradise, NV.
Fremont Street seems like a mini Las Vegas strip. While much shorter than the actual strip, it still holds its own with things to do and see. In my opinion, it’s where the real craziness happens and the crazy people emerge. It really is the best place to people watch and to gamble for cheap. They have the $1 tables and cheap bets. So hopefully your money can last longer. There is also free parking everywhere, which is nice since all MGM properties on the strip are now charging. WTF?! You want me to pay you to go and lose money at your casino? No thanks!
I haven’t been to an arcade in ages and this one was so much fun. At the end of Fremont street in the little mall there is Fremont Arcade. Regular arcade games and pinball machines! I think it had been 20 years since I played pinball. I had forgotten how much I loved it. It’s $1 a game, so one might think it’s expensive but it was well worth it. We missed out on the pinball museum which apparently has hundreds of machines to choose from.
Best places to get something good to eat off the strip!
Lotus of Siam
Want some amazing Thai food and a seriously impressive wine list to boot? Then this is your place. Well priced, awesome Thai food. There is always a wait, especially on weekends. This place finally has a bar and two new eating areas and we still had a 40 minute wait during the week. If you have a large party, call for a reservation, otherwise, it’s first come first serve.
This was a really cute and unassuming place just east of the strip. Coffee house and farm to table food and pastries. It was a diamond in the rough and had a really good vibe. As I checked for a picture from my phone of what we had, I realized that entire day got deleted and not backed up. Whatever we had was incredible. A day to eat vegan and the right place to do it. The food was tasty, well presented and healthy. We will definitely be back to this place the next time we are in Vegas!
I fell in love with Bachi Burger in Los Angeles. Their Asian infused menu for me was yum yum yum. I couldn’t get enough but didn’t go often because of the calories. Because duh, you have to order their fries and a milk shake! We knew that they started in Vegas so we thought, why not try it. It’s Valentines Day, what’s better than a burger with my hubby and a close family friend? It was good, but not as good as Los Angeles and the service was ridiculously stupid. We also learned that the location in Los Angeles split and changed their name. Hmmm. We don’t need to go back, but it was good for that night.
Gangnam Asian BBQ Dining
One of the great things about Las Vegas is the diversity. There are ethnic restaurants everywhere. Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, etc. We had been craving Korean BBQ since leaving Los Angeles and we came across this place. It was definitely good and we highly suggest it.
Sin City Smokers
We wanted something a little different and so we found a BBQ place. It was in a tiny strip mall, but inside you felt like you were in the south. Decent BBQ, a little expensive, but much cheaper than the strip, it was worth the trip.
After a crazy night out on Fremont street and wearing yourself out at the arcade, have a midnight snack at Pizza Rock. It’s just a couple blocks off Fremont and has large pieces of pizza by the slice. You can sit at the bar and have a beer with it.
Probably by far our favorite Ramen place in Vegas. It’s just good ramen and delicious pot stickers. It’s small and intimate but that’s what we like. Give it a shot.
A close second to Monta is Ramen Sora. Again, intimate, but fun and great tasting ramen.
Veteran Las Vegas goers, this probably isn’t for you. First timers, people on extreme budgets, or people that just didn’t know, this is for you. You can get every single drink you drink for free. You don’t need to go and buy that $10 pint of beer or that $15 cocktail. *Now before I say anything every drink isn’t actually free. You do need to tip $1 per drink at bars or at least 50 cents to the cocktail waiter/ess.*
Tip to Free DRINKS!
So for the cheap beer or non alcoholic just put money into a slot machine and find the first cocktail server or sit at a bar with the video poker and put a $10 bill in. Give the impression that you are gambling and order. Get your drink, tip your $, cash out and go. For non alcoholic drinkers, I would just stop at a Walgreens and grab a 20 oz and carry that around.
For more expensive cocktails or draft beers that aren’t just miller lite, this can be a little more tricky. This happens at a bar with video poker. Sometimes you might have to hit max bet (which is $1.25 if you are playing a .25 bet). Hopefully you can sit down before this and put your money in and just order. My husband drank grey goose martinis, all for free by looking like he was gambling the max bet. (Some casinos are catching on to this, so you won’t be able to just sit here for hours. They have a sensor to make sure you actually are better after so long, so mix it up. Check out a different bar or casino) Even if you have to hit max bet once and tip your $1, that is a $2.25 martini. I also will say that they might not be the best, but at that price and you are in vegas, who cares! I think they make up for this when you go and buy those crazy drinks along the strip or dine at their restaurants. OUCH to the wallet! But if you are truly on a budget, this is a way to still DRINK!
RV Park: We like Las Vegas RV Resort. It is $29/night and that includes their deluxe sites, so call in advance. Big park and 24/7 security. We also like that it is an 18+ park.
I hope your off the strip experience in Las Vegas is amazing! Let me know if you found anything else that we should try!
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