One of the great things about Las Vegas is that it offers many fantastic experiences for those on a limited bankroll. In their never ending quest to lure potential gamblers through their doors, the casinos have found it beneficial to tempt potential patrons with low-priced deals: food, accommodations, alcohol, and entertainment. Further, as Las Vegas has become a popular retirement option, and as the “locals” places have to compete with the major casinos for their residents’ business, the rest of the region has to appeal to cost-conscious customers as well. Information on some of the best values in Las Vegas is available from many sources. One of these is the book, Las Vegas on the Dime.
The book begins with a big section on Las Vegas travel, both on how to get to Las Vegas, and how to get around. A good introduction to Las Vegas’ CAT bus system is provided, and some other travel tips are included as well, such as information on the extra tax on airport car rentals. Next, Toole discusses some of the cheaper places to stay in Las Vegas. Many suggestions are mentioned, but some that I would have expected to hear about are omitted. Regarding Las Vegas motels, the author does a fair job in pointing out the potential trade-off between price and neighborhood quality, which may be very useful to those who aren’t familiar with all parts of the city.
As one would expect, another large section covers cheap food. I was surprised that while many of the long-running casino food deals were mentioned, many good ones were not. I don’t consider this to be a major fault with the book as, (a) these other deals are well chronicled by many other authors, and (b) Toole makes up for this by providing a lot of information about eating establishments that are located away from the strip. This does point out, though, that while Las Vegas on the Dime does contain a lot of good information, it isn’t comprehensive, nor does it try to be.
Many sources of budget entertainment are available, and here Toole mentions most, but not all, of the more popular free and low-cost shows the ligaz11 casinos have to offer. Also included are some of the options that occur away from casinos. All in all, these recommendations are probably geared more for Las Vegas residents than vacationers, but there will be several good suggestions for just about any set of interests.
Scattered throughout the book are several smaller chapters that cover other things to do in Las Vegas, including shopping, bar hopping, and, of course, getting married. As with other parts of the book, I get the sense that the author is far more interested in a restaurant’s decor and in flea markets than I am, but to each their own. I consider myself to be more than passingly familiar with Las Vegas, yet many of the suggestions Toole makes were new and intriguing to me.
While Las Vegas on the Dime probably won’t be as useful for first-time or occasional visitors as, say, Frommer’s or Sehlinger’s or the other popular guides to the city, it does have some interesting ideas. If you’re a new resident or have become a bit jaded with the more familiar Las Vegas strip experience, Toole’s book will likely provide some additional good ideas for places to go and things to do. It contains enough recommendations that were new to me to make me willing to recommend it to those who are already pretty familiar with the city and looking to expand their horizons.
Those who are relatively new to Las Vegas probably would be better served by one of the larger, more popular vacation guides such as Frommer’s or Sehlinger’s. Those who have worked their way through most of what the megaresorts have to offer, however, may enjoy some of the off-strip suggestions provided Las Vegas on the Dime. While it’s hardly a comprehensive guide to Las Vegas, it contains enough different ideas to almost certainly be of use to either an adventurous, experienced Las Vegas visitor, or a relatively new resident. As a supplemental vacation guide, I recommend it.