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Five ways to not gamble away your Las Vegas vacation

After booking a flight and a Las Vegas hotel, you’ve likely already spent a significant amount of your hard-earned to-be-spent-on-vacation dollars.

So, don’t gamble away your vacation — make your Sin City stay a “sure fire bet” by stepping out of the casino.

Walk the Las Vegas Strip

Acquaint yourself with Las Vegas, its hotels, casinos and people with a stroll down the infamous Vegas Strip. Between the people watching, street performers and the dancing Bellagio fountain, there’s plenty to see without setting foot inside a casino.

But certainly step inside for a relief from the arid desert heat to check out each hotel’s unique décor— the colorful glass ceiling at the Bellagio, gondolas floating along shop-lined canals in the Venetian and Roman art and architecture inside Caesars Palace.

The fountain outside the Bellagio is a crowd pleaser and must-see when visiting Vegas.

The fountain outside the Bellagio is a crowd pleaser and must-see when visiting Vegas.

Outside the hotels take in sights of beautiful fountains, Paris’s Eiffel Tower, an erupting volcano at the Mirage and Treasure Island’s pirate ship.

Best of all, this activity is entirely free, but be sure to bring spending money in case you decide to eat a crepe in Paris, visit the top of the Eiffel Tower, shop the designer stores or cool down with an ice-cold beverage — even alcoholic drinks are allowed on the Strip.

Take a ride on the wild side

Each Vegas hotel has an attraction, and at New York-New York it happens to be a roller coaster that whips visitors around Manhattan landmarks at 67 mph and through a 180-degree twist and dive. Atop the 1,149-foot Stratosphere tower, visitors can jump the world’s tallest free fall or play it a bit safer by riding one of several attractions. Single ride tickets for the Big Apple Roller Coaster cost $14, and Stratosphere tower tickets cost $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for children.

Dine at an all-you-can-eat buffet

Sin City has vices for all, including the “I’m on vacation from my diet” gluttons. Indulge at least once at a Vegas buffet. Widely considered the best in Las Vegas, Wynn Buffet diners can visit 15 live cooking stations featuring global flavors and find a large array of delectable desserts. The bright dining room is filled with yellow-and-green striped chairs around white-cloth-covered tables and towering whimsical arrangements of flowers and fruit. It is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch and from 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner.

Soak in the sun poolside

Poolside palm tree at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Every desert has its oasis.

Poolside palm tree at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Every desert has its oasis.

When it comes to poolside fun, Vegas has it all — waterfalls, lazy rivers, European bathing, hot tubs, a Tahitian-themed adult-only oasis, cabanas outfitted with flat-screen TVs, rockin’ parties, swim-up gambling and even family-friendly pools.

Some pools are strictly for hotel guests, while others allow non-hotel guests for a fee ranging on average from $20 to $30. Some pools open to non-hotel guests only do so Friday through Sunday.

Every Sunday the ultimate Vegas pool party hits Hard Rock Hotel’s Rehab when three acres full of swimsuit-clad partiers take to the man-made beaches and lazy river. At the Palms Casino Resort Pool, a young, raucous crowd is literally showered in champagne.

A more relaxed and family friendly poolside experience is offered at the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace, where you’ll find eight pools, 44 cabanas and swim-up blackjack in a Roman oasis.

See a show

A trip to Vegas wouldn’t be complete without a night out on the town to see one of its many shows. Bachelorette parties make up the mostly female crowds at “Thunder from Down Under,” “Chippendales” and other burlesque shows, but Vegas has kid-friendly options, too. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the acrobatic feats in the Cirque du Soleil shows, mind-boggling illusions performed by magicians and the Blue Man Group’s lively percussion show. For a traditional Vegas experience see a tribute to Elvis or the Rat Pack. Comedy shows, hypnosis, musicals, concerts and more round out the city’s diverse show lineup.

Wish you were here,

Erin

Las Vegas

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