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April 18, 2015

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Seven reasons Las Vegas locals should head to the Strip


Steve Marcus

A view of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

Maybe you haven't been to the Strip in a while. We often hear residents bragging about how long it has been since they've been there.

It’s time to head over.

Even locals need to remember every once in a while what 40 million tourists already know: the Strip is what makes Las Vegas unique.

Think you’ve already been there, done that? Probably not. New hot spots and attractions open on the Strip all the time.

Here are a few little-known gems you may not have tried:

    • A bucking pickle

      Rattlecan is a bit different than other hamburger joints.

      Instead of a mechanical bull, it features a mechanical pickle. But in order to ride it, you must order a “Pickleback,” a shot of Jameson whiskey followed by a pickle juice chaser.

      Murals adorn the walls and ceiling ducts of Rattlecan, named for a slang word for spray paint. The restaurant from Chef Sam DeMarco is at the Venetian, near the sports book.

      Burgers are served with mashed potatoes, goat cheese, coleslaw and arugula. Vegetarians can feast on veggie burgers or roasted portabello mushrooms. Spice up your condiments with a side of sriracha or smokey chipotle mayo.

    • Become a trainer for a day with bottlenose dolphins, one of the featured packages available at the Siegfried & Roy Secret Gardens and habitat at the Mirage.

      Train dolphins

      Why settle for just swimming with dolphins when you can help train them?

      The Mirage offers a "Trainer for the Day" program that allows people to work with animal experts and a family of bottlenose dolphins at the Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden. Participants learn about dolphin health and behavior and dolphins' daily needs.

      A six-hour, $550 program includes breakfast and a three-course poolside lunch, as well as a photo, cap and polo shirt. An observer can watch and eat (but not don a wetsuit) for an extra $150.

      The program is open to people 13 and older.

    • The Petrossian bar at the Bellagio offers afternoon tea from 1 to 4 p.m. daily.

      High tea happy hour

      Relax like a European with a cup of tea at the Bellagio.

      The Petrossian serves afternoon tea from 1 to 4 p.m. daily. Stick your pinky out, sip imported teas from around the world, and snack on open-faced sandwiches, English tea sandwiches, freshly baked scones and miniature pastries.

    • Jeff Civillico performs 2 p.m. shows Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at the Quad casino, formerly the Imperial Palace.

      See a new show

      Jeff Civillico brings juggling to a new level with a high-energy comedy show at the Quad, formerly known as Imperial Palace.

      Civillico started performing there last spring and has received top reviews from Yelp and Trip Advisor.

      He performs at 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Buy discounted tickets online for as little as $10.

    • This Poire Chaude (Hot Pear) cocktail at Payard gets its kick from white wine, and with the black sea salt rim and edible garnish, it's a taste adventure.

      Have a wine cooler

      If you're looking for a drink that's a little different, try the new menu of wine cocktails at Payard Patisserie and Bistro in Caesars Palace.

      Manager Sam Berkley created the concoctions that have no gin or vodka, just wine, champagne and cider.

      The Poire Chaude (Hot Pear) mixes moscato with pear cider. The Mojito Rouge features muddled mint and lime mixed with cabernet sauvignon, agave nectar and soda.

      Drink prices range from $11 to $13, with happy hour specials.

      Or celebrate a rare trip to the Strip with the $50 Grandiose that includes Paul Goerg champagne and Chateau Nairac Deuxieme Crus with white truffle oils. It is garnished with a dehydrated lemon, caviar, an edible flower and gold flake.

    • Appetizer insanity: applewood bacon and jalapeno wrapped prawns with guava barbecue sauce and roasted lemon.

      New offerings at the Stratosphere

      On the north end of the Stratosphere is the new McCall's Heartland Grill.

      It features coffee-rubbed strip steak and potato-crusted salmon and sides of creamed spinach with roasted poblano chilies. The atmosphere is comfortable and homey, and all entrees cost less than $35.

    • A new club

      Bagatelle, a new nightclub at the Tropicana, combines the surroundings of an upscale restaurant with the after-hours vibe of a dance club.

      It also features music different than most clubs. The set list on a recent night included tunes from Tom Jones as well as a live saxophone player who strolled through the crowd.

      Better yet, getting in and out is easy because Bagatelle has its own valet just off of Tropicana Avenue, so guests don't have to walk through the casino to get to their cars.

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    1. There are some great shows in town and great deals for locals if you take the time to find them.

      Most/Many offer very good deals for locals.

      We spend more time in locals places and downtown but some of the shows are worth going to on the strip.

    2. I agree, visit the strip once in awhile, we did and enjoyed it. Took a lot of pictures, put $20 into mega bucks and changed it to $120. There really is a lot to see and enjoy.

    3. Enjoyed the article and all the various and asundry reasons why I should hang out on the Strip.

      But I have one reason, and one reason only, why we shouldn't.

      To this day, and this is a carry over from immediately after the mob lost control of Las Vegas after discovery and prosecution for skim job operations and subsequent takeover by corporations (who are just as bad)...there is a belief by everyone that works in casinos that locals don't tip.

      They don't want us in there.

      We're not tourists. They believe deep down in their souls they are not going to get a tip out of any of us.

      It's a vague generality that may be a mistaken perception, but they believe it's true.

      So, I'm not gonna get served if they find out I'm a local. I will get substandard service.

      If you don't believe me, let me back up to right around after the time of the economic meltdown of 2007/2008.

      The casinos, especially the ones on the Strip, couldn't get tourists here. Because the rest of the nation was hurting, and hurting bad. So they weren't coming here.

      The Las Vegas Convention Visitor's Authority (LCVCA) then came up with this rocket science idea they would attract locals in. To make up for shortfalls in tourism numbers.

      But the problem was the casinos were offering the same "comp's" they would provide tourists. And it was lame. They weren't providing much.

      Plus, because the casino workers believed to their soul that locals don't tip, they were treated horribly. Even the ones who did get sucked into that malarky.

      Anyways, that ad campaign failed miserably. It failed so badly that they didn't announce that it was over with. The LCVCA and the casinos on the Strip acted like it didn't happen.

      To this day, it's still true.

      Casinos on the Strip don't want us in there. Not even to look around. Period. End of story.

      Like I say, enjoyed the article, but it's just a pipedream.

    4. I only go to the strip when someone comes to visit. Still to pricy for me. I tried to get tickets for the 23rd to see Cirque du Soleil, the one with the Beetles. More than $600 plus $29 to print the tickets, for 3 people. If that is the locals bonus they can keep it. They must mean RICH locals. Maybe when I win the lottery in CA we will be able to afford a show on the strip.

    5. All these reasons are enough to keep any local off the Strip. I hated going down there. It was crowded, expensive. The Ex and I used to spend a couple of weekends every summer down at the Rio, primarily to hang out at the pool during the day and do some gambling at night. It was always comped thanks to the Ex's Diamond Club status. But we never ventured onto the Strip. IF we did, it was to go to Harrah's and just to gamble.

      However, there is something about getting some deals being a local. One summer my friends came in and they had tickets to see Jersey Boys. So I bought a cheap ticket at the last minute. Got to the box office to pick up the ticket, showed my ID and was told to hold on a minute. The gal came back with a front row ticket!! Not bad for just paying $65! She said it was because I was a local and there were a few seats availble up front. But this only works if you only need one or two tix max.

    6. @Jazzy:
      We saw "Love" (that Cique/Beatles show you mention!!) twice and NEVER paid that much for tickets!! For this particular show, you get tickets right in the middle (the best) or a little higher - never near the ground floor.

    7. jazzy13,

      Not sure what you tried to see but that show the tickets start at $79 and there are deals at times for locals that make them cheaper than that.

    8. for LV rescuers: Still to much for my pocketbook. I have seen some great show and concerts in my 60 years. They all had two things in common. 1. much lower in price. 2. not in Las Vegas.

    9. As a local, I also don't generally go to the strip unless we are having visitors or I am comped ( which is rarely ). But there is a certain comfort in knowing that all the attractions are close by and occasionally I will venture from Henderson to see them, but never on holidays or weekends :)