When I work as a Tradeshow Presenter Las Vegas is the city I find myself in most often. I figure I’ve been there over 80 separate times. So, sufficed to say, I have that city down on where to stay & eat and what to do on the nights I’m not exhausted from standing and talking all day.
STUFF TO DO:
When I first started going to Las Vegas I would always book tickets to see a big show ahead of time for 2 reasons: a lot of the shows sell out and I like good seats. I’ve seen all the Cirque shows (“O” was the best to me), Tony Bennett, Blue Man Group, Ray Charles, George Carlin (3 times), Jay Leno, David Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, Penn & Teller, Rich Little, etc. Check the calendar as some really big stars might be doing one night, on the night you have free.
But about 5 years ago I decided to venture to the “B” list of shows. And you know what? I haven’t been disappointed in that decision. One caveat; if you can, do this with a friend. My pal and partner for most of these outings is my good friend (magician and infotainer from Winnipeg) Anders Boulanger. Some of our favorites include:
Mac King: A pro magician that only does matinees M-F, but seriously so funny and not expensive at all. mackingshow.com
V for Variety: A talent show on steroids. Every act was different, most were funny, and all were great! vtheshow.com
Absinthe: If you’re easily offend DO NOT GO to this! I am not, and I almost wet myself laughing. My favorite show of this whole list. Absinthe Show
Zombie Burlesque: Ok, I got what I paid for, and I knew it going in…but it was still fun. zombieburlesqueshow.com
Two of my other favorite things to do in Las Vegas are…
Walking the Strip: Grab a frozen drink, start walking and you’ll have fun watching the sidewalk acts & tourists (sometimes one in the same). The drink costs about $10-15 but it’s a full night’s entertainment. Plus, you can stop and see pirate ships attacking (Treasure Island), volcanoes erupting fire (Mirage), an incredible fountain and music show (Bellagio)…all for free!
Downtown Las Vegas: This is the semi-seedy side of Las Vegas (redundant?). The main drag is Freemont Street (but don’t wander too far off the center of downtown…two words: scary locals). There is so much to do down here it’s amazing, but it’s really touristy (again, redundant?) Like walking The Strip, I like to grab a frozen drink and just wander around. The streets are alive with bands, costumed characters (un-costumed characters), street artists & vendors, racy ladies and studly men (mostly dressed like they’re right out of a “Sexy Halloween Costume” catalog asking to pose for pictures…then for a buck or two.
WHERE TO STAY:
Most of the times I prefer the Mandalay Bay as it’s attached to the convention center where most big Trade Shows I’m hired to work take place. It’s a nice, clean place with a friendly enough staff and easy to navigate. They have a great poker room which is the only respite from the casino smoke, plus you get to meet and talk with a bunch of characters right out of central casting.
Hands-down, my favorite hotel is the Four Seasons. Oddly enough, it too is attached to the Mandalay Bay (the top 6 floors actually) but has a separate lobby, entrance, pool, restaurants, etc. The rooms are by far the plushest and the staff is first rate all the way. They do not have a casino, but the Mandalay Bays’ is a 2-minute walk. The best part is when you leave the outside world and reenter the Four Seasons you don’t feel like you’re still in Las Vegas, but a private resort instead.
If you’re on a budget I think the MGM is the best bang for your buck. The rooms are nice, relatively inexpensive but very far away sometimes. I guess that makes sense as it’s the biggest hotel in the world with 5,001 rooms. Also, the casino floor is huge. Really! It seems to go on forever.
Other top choices…if you have a choice: Aria, Cosmopolitan, Wynn & Encore.
WHERE TO EAT:
It seems the majority of the time after standing A LOT and walking around to chat with others who are working as a tradeshow presenter Las Vegas it pretty big, so I end up eating close by to save steps. If you’re not tired and have a BIG budget there are literally 100s of places to get an incredible meal. The list of celebrity chefs is unmatched: Guy Fieri, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Gordon Ramsay, Michael Mina, Giada de Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, Nobu Matsuhisa and many more. And there are even more restaurants and steak houses that don’t have a celebs name on them that serve delicious cuisine. And if you like sushi…go to any casino, you won’t be disappointed.
Me? I like to find the places that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and I still walk out happy and full. My list includes: Burger Bar (Mandalay Bay), FIVE50 Pizza Bar (Aria), Shake Shack (New York, New York), La cave (Wynn), Spago (Caesars) …look around, you’ll be surprised how many good places there are to eat within stone’s throw of where you’re standing.
After working, talking and standing all day as a tradeshow presenter Las Vegas makes it difficult to go anywhere without A LOT of walking (and much of that is through second-hand smoke). My favorite thing to do is grab a seat in the Mandalay Bay poker room at the ‘1-2 no limit hold ‘em’ table and just sit and talk to the folks you meet at the table while playing low-stakes poker. There’s no smoking allowed in the poker room AND behind the room is a small little take-out deli with the best Ruben west of the Mississippi! And, you can roll over a little side table and eat while you’re playing.
Hope the above was helpful. I think the bottom line is: try and make a plan to see something out of the ordinary, and if that’s not possible, you can always just go out and let the city open up to you. I love what I do, so having a plan ahead of time makes may job/destination of Tradeshow Presenter Las Vegas that much more enjoyable.
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