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Las Vegas on a budget

You don't have to have big bucks to have big fun in Las Vegas. In fact, a few days in Sin City can be a vacation value if you play your cards right.
BY SEAN CHAFFIN Published: July 14, 2013

Afternoon shows have been a longtime bargain hunter's delight in Vegas. For example, comedian magician Mac King has long been a favorite afternoon show at Harrahs, and admission is just $9.95 when you snag a coupon in the casino and present it at the box office. Other casinos offer similar coupons and promotions, offering an entertaining night out. For fine dining, there are numerous food and drink specials throughout Las Vegas and even on the Strip. From burgers and beer to steaks and seafood, you can find a deal to satisfy any desire. A mainstay in the Las Vegas Advisor's Top 10 Deals is the $7.99 steak dinner at Ellis Island Casino — complete with salad, green beans, choice of potato, and a beer. Similar deals can be found downtown and at small casinos on the Strip — eat up!

Off the beaten Strip

Tired of the Strip and the casino atmosphere? There are some other options. Red Rock Canyon offers up scenic views of the desert and surrounding mountains. Enjoy the scenic drive, or for the adventurous, lace up your boots and hike and climb through the dessert terrain. Access to the park is cheap — only $7 per vehicle.

A visit to Hoover Dam is another option to get away from the Strip's hustle and bustle. Prices range from $9 to $30 for a tour of this engineering marvel. Tourists may also be interested in the Grand Canyon, and bus tours start around $50. And one interesting free spot in Vegas is the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop — home to the hit show Pawn Stars. Snag a bus on the Strip and get off on the pawnshop's stop as it heads downtown. There will be a line out the door, but it moves quickly. The store is a popular destination for many and it is fun to check out some of the items seen on the show.


When looking to save some cash on your Vegas trip, the best advice is to do some research. Think about your expectations for lodging and entertainment in advance. Hopefully, you'll have plenty of fun — and still have some money in your wallet when you leave!

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His new book, RAISING THE STAKES: True Tales of Gambling, Wagering and Poker Faces, is available as an eBook and in paperback at He is also editor of, all about poker history, lore, and people. If you have a gambling or poker story idea, email Follow him on Twitter at @PokerTraditions.


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