The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast

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EP#47: The December Trip Report

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Welcome to another world famous Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report featuring a recap of my most recent trip to Las Vegas - my EIGHTH of the year - from December 15-19, 2019.

My wife was along for this trip and this time around, I've got reviews of our stay at Bally's as well as meals at La Pizza e La Pasta in Eataly at Park MGM, Le Thai on Fremont Street, Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace and the legendary Golden Steer Steakhouse.  We were also lucky enough to take in a few shows including Atomic Saloon at the Venetian, Carrot Top at the Luxor and Bronx Wanderers at the Linq.

I've also got thoughts on three major trends happening in Las Vegas and why/how pigeons are better behaved than the tourists.

EP#46: The Full Reveal - The Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum

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When people think of "Burlesque", they usually think of scantily clad - or perhaps even topless - women, titillating & teasing crowds with their seductive dance moves.  But there's way more to it than that...as you're about to learn.

My guest for this episode of the podcast is Dustin Wax of The Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum in Las Vegas - which, by the way, is the ONLY burlesque museum in the world.  Dustin and I chatted all about the history of the museum, their annual Miss Exotic World Pageant & Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend as well as the history, evolution and recent resurgence in the popularity of burlesque performances.

If you want information about The Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum, be sure to check out their official website and also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

EP#45: My Special Guest - Mark Shunock

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My special guest for this episode of the podcast is someone who I've talked about a lot in past episodes of the show; in fact, some of you think I talk about him a bit too much...but I'm hoping that by having him on, you'll understand why I spend so much time talking about him & the events he puts together.

Mark Shunock is the creator & host of Mondays Dark, a twice-monthly charity event that raises $10,000 in 90 minutes for local Las Vegas charities.  For just $20, people have the chance to head to Mark's off-strip venue, The Space, to see some of Vegas's top talent donate their time for some amazing causes.

More than that though, Mark is a friend.  In fact, in the 6 years that I've known him, he's become one my closest friends.  He's been there to support my wife and I through some tough times and when I told him I wanted to launch this podcast a year ago, without hesitation he offered to help in any way he could.

In fact, without Mark, this podcast might not even exist; many of the conversations I've had on this podcast are because of connections I've made through him, Mondays Dark and The Space.

Mark was kind enough to take time to sit & chat with me to share the story of the origin & evolution of Mondays Dark, talk about how he & his wife Cheryl have made Las Vegas their home and some of the big projects he's been able to put together at The Space.

Mondays Dark will be celebrating its 6th Anniversary on Monday, December 9th at the Pearl Theater at The Palms - but beyond that they'll be reaching a major milestone as they get set to partner with their 100th charity marking ONE MILLION DOLLARS raised for local Las Vegas charities!

For information & tickets to the Mondays Dark 6th Anniversary show, visit the Mondays Dark website.

Be sure to follow Mondays Dark on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates on upcoming shows & events.

Also, follow Mark Shunock on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

EP#43: KABOOM! The National Atomic Testing Museum

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It's a little-known fact that just over 60 miles away from the glitz & glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, the US government used to test Atomic Weapons!

Just as the Cold War was starting to heat up, the US Department of Energy began the testing of Nuclear Bombs in the Nevada desert.  The blasts would light up the early morning sky and the mushroom clouds could be seen from miles away on the rooftops of the downtown hotels.

Helping to keep this history alive is one of my favourite attractions, The National Atomic Testing Museum.

My guest on this episode is Michael Hall, the museum's Executive Director.  Michael and I discussed the United States' Atomic Testing program, the effects it had on Las Vegas as well as the incredible exhibits on display at the museum.

For tickets and information on The National Atomic Testing Museum visit their website & be sure to check them out on Twitter and Instagram.

Also in this episode, Vegas News You Can Use:

- Two big restaurants shut down in Mandalay Bay & The Mirage

- What might be missing from the new Virgin Hotel Las Vegas?

- And Gordon Ramsay gets set to open ANOTHER restaurant on The Strip

And don't forget: I want your feedback...be sure to fill out the Audience Survey!

EP#40: Bright Lights, Big City - The Neon Museum Las Vegas

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One of the things Las Vegas is perhaps most famous for are the bright neon lights of the World Famous Vegas Strip.  But as resorts close down or signs are replaced with massive HD LED video screens, what happens to those iconic neon signs?

Amanda Riley of the Neon Museum Las Vegas joins me on this episode to answer that question!

We talked about museum's mission to preserve Las Vegas' history, some of the unique & interesting signs in the museum's collection, their plans for future expansion and a very special exhibit/collaboration involving a major Hollywood director.

For tickets and information on the Neon Museum Las Vegas you can visit their website.  Also, be sure to follow the Neon Museum on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Also in this episode, Vegas News You Can Use:

- Huge news involving the sale of TWO major Las Vegas Strip resorts

- High-speed rail between Vegas & LA is one step closer to reality

- And there's a delay on a major project to help people get around Las Vegas more safely

And don't forget to take part in the Audience Survey to share your thoughts & opinions on the podcast! 

EP#39: Vegas For The Low Roller

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The topic for this episode of the show comes courtesy of listener, Jacob Kehl from Denmark.  Jacob really wanted to me to do an episode featuring tips & tricks for the Vegas Low Roller.

Jacob, your wish is my command!

And joining me to talk about the right way to Low Roll in Las Vegas is friend of the show, making his second appearance on the podcast, Sergio Portesan - the creator of the website Viva Las Value!  Sergio and I talked about the best websites to find discount Vegas hook-up's, suggestions for low roller hotels, restaurants & bars and how to make your bankroll last longer when hitting the tables & machines.

For all the details, check out Sergio's website, Viva Las Value and be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook! And if you want to learn the story behind the creation of Viva Las Value, go back in the archives and check out EP#14: Viva Las Value.

 

EP#34: Vegas FAQ

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For this episode of the podcast, I've put together a little something I'm calling Vegas FAQ.

The concept is pretty simple; I've gathered up all the Vegas-related questions that I see asked most frequently on Twitter & Facebook - and even the ones I personally get asked most often - and I'm going to attempt to answer all of them here in this episode.

I'm going to cover a TON of material here - including questions about money & budgets, getting around Las Vegas, what the weather is like at different times of the year and even those totally subjective questions about hotels, restaurants & shows.  And you can't have "Sin City" with the "Sin" so I'm even going to discuss liquor laws, marijuana laws & prostitution laws.

And because there's so much info in this episode, I've made my notes available to you - Click here to download the PDF file!

 

EP#31: The August Trip Report

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I'm back from another Las Vegas trip - my fifth of 2019 - it's time for another World Famous Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report!

This time around, I've got a review of my newly renovated Flamingo Room at - you guessed it - The Flamingo as well as meals at Bootlegger Italian Bistro, Flights at Planet Hollywood, Trustworthy Brewing Co & BBQ at the Palazzo and Crack Shack at Park MGM.  I've also got a heads-up for anyone planning on taking sneaky Showgirl photos and some fashion "suggestions" for the guys.

 

EP#30: AirBNB vs Hotels

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With visitors to Las Vegas getting hit with what seems like a never-ending parade of fees, it's no surprise that people are trying to find new ways to avoid getting beaten up in the pocketbook.  And with the recent increase to Resort Fees at several strip-properties, one of the methods being used to save a few bucks is to head off the strip and book with AirBNB.

I personally have never used AirBNB in Las Vegas but I know someone who has: Chris Kim, the host of the Faces And Aces Las Vegas Podcast.

Chris is a frequent Vegas-visitor who's been podcasting about Las Vegas for several years now & he was willing to jump on my podcast talk about the pros & cons of using AirBNB rather than a hotel.  He also shared a few stories of the good, the bad & the ugly of staying in a complete stranger's home.

Take a listen to the Faces and Aces Las Vegas Podcast and be sure to follow Chris on Twitter & Instagram.

And big thanks to Vegas Podtoons for animating Chris & I into our very own episode - Check it out on the Vegas Podtoons YouTube Channel!

 

 

EP#29: Kids In Las Vegas 2 - The Sequel

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My guest for this episode of the show is my very good friend & fellow frequent Vegas visitor, Adam West.  Adam is the Midday Host & Program Director for Hot 100.5 FM in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  Adam & I have been friends for over 20 years now; we worked together - and against each other - in the world of radio, we were temporary roommates at one time and we've even travelled to Las Vegas together.

Adam also has the distinct honour of being the first "repeat guest" on the podcast; he was one of the people I talked to back on Episode #8 of the show where we discussed the topic of bringing kids to Vegas.

Since appearing on the podcast, Adam and his wife took their kids to Las Vegas and I asked him to share the experience with me.  We talked about the decision to do Las Vegas as a family vacation, the planning process involved in organizing the trip and he shared some great tips & tricks for attractions, accommodations and budget-friendly meals. 

EP#28: Unpopular Vegas Opinions

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"Opinions are like a**holes...everyone has one."

For this episode of the podcast, I'm playing a little game called Unpopular Vegas Opinions, where I'll share some of my own personal opinions about Las Vegas that other people - LOTS of other people - don't seem to share.  The genesis of this episode came from me sharing my thoughts on a well-known restaurant on a Vegas-related Facebook page and getting absolutely crucified for it.

While licking my wounds, I thought to myself, "Hey...this might make a fun podcast episode!"  So, here we are!

Hash House A Go Go, tipping, Secret Pizza and resort fees are all targets of my Unpopular Vegas Opinions...enjoy!  Plus, I share some of YOUR Unpopular Vegas Opinions as posted on Twitter!

 

EP#27: My Special Guest - Christina Ellis

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My special guest for this episode of the podcast is Christina Ellis, the Director of Marketing for Ellis Island Casino & Brewery in Las Vegas.

Ellis Island is one of the coolest spots in Las Vegas & a favourite for both locals and tourists alike.  Located a block east of the strip on Koval Lane, it's been a landmark in Las Vegas for just over 50 years.  Ellis Island is unique in that it's a family-owned & family-run and in being so, they've been able to keep it "all about the customer".

Christina & I talked about the history of Ellis Island, the challenges of working with family, how Ellis Island has survived the ups & downs Las Vegas has faced in the last several years and plans for the future of Ellis Island.  And of course, we also talked about the amazing food & drinks they serve including their famous Prime Rib, the $6.99 Steak & Eggs special and the $2.50 beers.

EP#26: The Truth Is Out There - Las Vegas & Area 51

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Area 51...

We've all heard the stories and seen it depicted in movies & television.  If pop culture & rumours are to be believed, it's a top secret installation in the Nevada desert where the United States military conducts classified activities - including research on alien spacecraft & technology as well as extraterrestrial beings.

What's the Las Vegas connection to Area 51?  It's two-fold:

First, it's well known that many Las Vegas residents work at Area 51, making the commute via Janet Airlines (they're the non-descript white planes with a red stripe that you've probably seen taking off & landing at McCarran International Airport).

Secondly, due to Area 51's proximity to Las Vegas (it's only a 2-3 hour drive away), thousands of people each year make the drive out to see the gates and maybe get a glimpse of something...bizarre.

Friend of the show & fellow Vegas Podcaster, Chris Kim, the host of Faces and Aces Las Vegas had the opportunity to talk to Braden & Dan who are the hosts of the Alien Theorists Theorizing Podcast about their journey to Area 51...as well as some of the "weirdness" they experienced on their trek to the gates.

Chris was gracious enough to allow me to share the interview on my podcast...enjoy!

Be sure to follow Alien Theorists Theorizing on Twitter & Instagram and take a listen to their show.

For even more Vegas-related content, follow Faces And Aces Las Vegas on Twitter & Instagram and be sure to listen to the podcast.

If you want to plan your own trek out to the fabled Area 51, check out this great article that outlines the best way to get to & from the back gate...and what to see along the way.

 

EP#24: The June Trip Report

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I've freshly returned from trip #4 of 2019 and it's time for another world famous Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report!

This episode features reviews of my stay at Bally's as well as meals at Village Cafe at Ellis Island, PizzaRev, Yard House at Linq Promenade, The Still at The Mirage and Ri-Ra at Mandalay Bay.  I also managed to (finally) check out Don't Tell Mama on Fremont Street and - of course - I took in another awesome Mondays Dark at The Space.

 

EP#23: A Cut Above The Rest

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If you're not drooling by the end of this episode, you should probably check your pulse to see if you're still alive.  This time around, we're talking about a Las Vegas staple: PRIME RIB!

My guest for this episode of the show is Kristen DeSilva.  By day, she's a content producer for a Las Vegas TV station...but off the clock, she's a Prime Rib aficionado who's made it her goal to eat as many different Prime Rib dinners around Las Vegas as possible.  If you follow Kristen on Twitter or Instagram, you can track her progress with photos of her amazing meals.

If you want to share in Kristen's experience, here's her list of Prime Rib picks:

Primarily Prime Rib at South Point Hotel & Casino, Lawry's Las Vegas, Village Pub & Cafe at Ellis Island, Bob Taylor's Original Ranch House, Siegel's 1941 at El Cortez Hotel & Casino, Marilyn's Cafe at Tuscany Suites & Casino, Golden Steer Steakhouse and Jerry's Famous Coffeeshop at Jerry's Nugget Casino.

Also in this episode...Vegas News You Can Use:

- Lots of rumours floating around surrounding the SLS including new entertainment & a possible name change

- A big winner at the Venetian becomes Vegas' latest millionaire

- And the Neon Museum is set to undergo a big expansion

 

EP#22: Mob Rules

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It's no secret that Las Vegas has a somewhat shady past...and that can pretty much 100% be attributed to the Mob's history in Las Vegas.

There are a lot of myths & legends surrounding Vegas' association with the world of organized crime and I wanted to get to the bottom of it all, so I turned to the experts.

The Mob Museum is one of my favorite Las Vegas attractions.  It's the definitive authority on Mob history, not just in Las Vegas but all across the US & around the world.  The Mob Museum is always on my to-do list when I'm in town and it's always one of my top recommendations for people travelling to Las Vegas.

My guest on this episode of the podcast is Geoff Schumacher, the Senior Director of Content for The Mob Museum.  We talked about Las Vegas' humble history as a stop on the railway line, the growth of gambling & the connection to organized crime and Geoff helped to separate fact from fiction when it comes to some of those legendary stories of the mob's involvement in the building of Las Vegas.

Keep up with the Mob Museum by following them on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.  Get your tickets to visit the Mob Museum here.

 

EP#20: My Special Guest - Lisa Marie Smith

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My special guest for this episode is Lisa Marie Smith.  Lisa is a Las Vegas-based singer, dancer & model.  She's appeared as a headliner in shows on the Vegas strip at the Stratosphere and the Palazzo.  In late-2017, she signed her first record deal with Fervor Records and in November 2018, she released her debut self-titled EP featuring her single, "Get Closer To Me".  Lisa is currently in the process of launching her new band project, LMS.

Lisa is also one of my closest friends.  In the time we've known each other, she's become like a sister to me.  I've introduced her to Canadian delicacies like All-Dressed & Ketchup Chips, Buttertarts and Nanaimo Bars and she's taken me and my wife out to some awesome Vegas restaurants, bars and shows.  Lisa has been there for me during some very tough times and I've been fortunate enough to be able to do the same for her.

During our podcast conversation we talked about growing up in Las Vegas, touring around the world performing on cruise ships, her charity work, her vocal teaching and we also talked about some of her recent personal physical struggles.

Follow Lisa on FacebookTwitter & Instagram.  Stream her EP on Apple Music and Spotify or download from iTunes

EP#17: The April Trip Report

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Back home from trip #3 of 2019, I've got another Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report all ready to go!

(Don't adjust your podcast player...the nasally sound of my voice on this episode is the result of a massive head cold that decided to hit me right before recording, so I do apologize!)

This trip report features reviews of my stay at Luxor, meals at Tilted Kilt, Dick's Last Resort at the Excalibur and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at the Flamingo as well my horrible experience with Robert Irvine's Public House at the Tropicana.

I share my thoughts on attending conventions in Las Vegas (I was in town for NABShow 2019) and I also happened to be in town for a Mondays Dark, so I was able to take in that show and spend time with my Vegas family.

From the Vegas News You Can Use desk:

- Caesars Palace Colosseum will be shutting down in the summer months to do some massive renovations

- Rumors are flying that P!nk is getting set for a Vegas residency at the Park Theater at ParkMGM

- And Mr. Las Vegas, Wayne Newton is taking time off to recover from back surgery

 

EP#16: Classic Vegas Mistakes

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Las Vegas attracts over 42 million visitors every year from all over the world with a good number of those people making their first ever trip to Sin City.  Las Vegas is one of those places that can be very overwhelming for a first-timer.  But don't worry...your friends will help with suggestions on places to stay, where to eat, what shows to see and what attractions to go to.  

What your friends probably won't tell you about are all the things they did WRONG on their trips to Las Vegas; mistakes that can literally make or break your vacation.  To do that, I've enlisted the help of an expert who - quite literally - wrote the book on "Classic Vegas Mistakes."

This episode, I chat with David Demontmollin, a 20-year casino industry veteran who's worked for both Strip and Off-Strip properties in Las Vegas.  He starred in Discovery Channel's smash hit, "American Casino" and has appeared on multiple TV & radio shows, talking about casino travel.  David has also channeled his expertise into several books including "Las Vegas' Little Black Book: A Guys Guide To The Perfect Vegas Weekend" and "Classic Vegas Mistakes" - both of which are available on Amazon.

David and I talked about his experience in the industry, recent changes in the casino & gaming business - including those dreaded Resort Fees - and those Classic Vegas Mistakes.  If you want more Classic Vegas Mistakes, head over and follow David on Twitter.

 

EP#15: The March Trip Report

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Freshly back from Vegas Trip #2 of 2019, it's time for another Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report!

And I'm trying something a little different for the trip report this time around; rather than a blow-by-blow, day-by-day report, I'm going to hit the high spots of the trip, share some reviews and share my experiences with you.  You know that feeling of dread you get when your friends drag out the photo album and make you look at every single vacation photo?  Yeah...that's what I'm trying to avoid.

This Trip Report features reviews of The Park MGM, Tom's Urban at New York New York, The Henry at The Cosmopolitan and Marilyn's Cafe at The Tuscany.  My wife and I also had the pleasure of hanging out at the Piazza Lounge in The Tuscany for Kenny Davidsen's Celebrity Piano Bar and we took in some NHL Hockey action at T-Mobile Arena as the Vegas Golden Knights played host to the Winnipeg Jets.  Also in this episode...

Vegas News You Can Use:

- Donnie & Marie announce the end of their residency at The Flamingo

- Cirque Du Soleil faces layoffs at their MGM Resort shows

- And some Vegas resorts make changes in the face of backlash over resort fees

 

EP#14: Viva Las Value!

Money is always a tricky topic when it comes to planning for a Las Vegas trip or when giving advice to Vegas visitors.  As I've talked about in previous episodes, Vegas is one of those rare vacation destinations where you can literally make it whatever you want it to be; whether you want to play "high roller" and drop stacks of cash wherever you go or you want to play it sensible and actually take some of your money home with you, both are viable options.

Viva Las Value is a new website designed to help you do Vegas like a high roller...without breaking the bank.  The site is jammed full of amazing tips & tricks for the Vegas visitor including everything from how to score free drinks while playing slots to how to NOT be overwhelmed on your first trip to the casino to how to earn comps just for playing "pretend" slots on Facebook.  I tracked down Sergio Portesan, the founder and creator of Viva Las Value to get his story & find out the inspiration behind creating the site.

Be sure to give Viva Las Value a follow on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to interact.

Also In This Episode:

- Updates on a few big-name comedians who are coming to Vegas over the next couple of months including Craig Ferguson, Kevin McDonald, Jim Gaffigan and Sebastian Maniscalo

- And POOL SEASON IS HERE!  Resorts up and down the strip are gearing up for the summer of 2019 with exciting announcements for poolside entertainment!

 

EP#12: Vegas’ Most Overrated & Underrated

Las Vegas is the official city of HYPE!  Everything in Sin City is EXCITING AND AMAZING...or is it?

There's nothing worse than being amped up for an experience only to end up being horribly disappointed.  But at the same time, it's always fun to come across those "hidden gems" that nobody else knows about.

That's what this episode is all about - Vegas' Most Overrated and Underrated!  

Are those celebrity chef restaurants worth the hype?  Should you stay at one of the big-name mega-resorts...or pick a smaller off-strip spot?  How many Cirque shows is TOO MANY Cirque Shows?  This episode will answer those questions - and more!

Thanks to this week's guest contributors:

 - Sam Novak from "Vegas Unfiltered", the Las Vegas blog that's just that - unfiltered!  Sam is never afraid to speak his mind on the goings-on in Sin City...and he gives us his picks for Vegas' Most Overrated & Underrated.  Be sure to follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter.

 - Jenna Nye from "Off The Strip", where the motto is "There's More To Vegas".  Jenna joins us live from Las Vegas and shares some of her favourite underrated hidden gems away from the insanity of the Vegas strip.  Find Off The Strip on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Also included in this week's episode:

- Updates on several Vegas residencies including announcements from Christina Aguilera, Def Leppard and Janet Jackson

 - Info on a new show coming to Vegas in the Fall of 2019, a current show moving down the strip and rave review for a brand new brunch/show

 - And Chef Gordon Ramsay with an announcement about Hell's Kitchen

 

EP#10: The February Trip Report

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This episode features an in-depth trip report of my most recent getaway to Las Vegas, from February 3rd-6th, 2019 featuring:

- Meal reviews including Wahlburger's at Bally's Grand Bazaar, Virgil's Real BBQ at Linq Promenade, Gordon Ramsay Burger at Planet Hollywood, Sake Rok at The Park and Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian

- Off-strip visits to dive bars The Hard Hat Lounge & Dino's Lounge, drinks and pizza at Corduroy & Evel Pie on Fremont Street and an EPIC Prime Rib Dinner from Ellis Island Casino & Brewery

- The pros and cons of landing in Las Vegas during the Super Bowl (aka "The Big Game")

- Thoughts on the current state of the GO Rooms at The Flamingo

- And a safety tip/PSA on how to correctly cross the street in Las Vegas

 

EP#9: Staying On The Strip vs Staying Off The Strip

The topic for this episode comes from one of our listeners: Brandon dropped me a note on Facebook wondering about my thoughts on staying on at a hotel/resort ON The Strip vs staying at a hotel/resort OFF The Strip.  I thought that was a great idea...so here we go!

EP#8: Bringing Kids To Vegas

This week's episode is about a topic that always manages to get people going online - whether it's on Facebook, TripAdvisor or any of the thousands of other Vegas-related blogs or websites out there:

BRINGING KIDS TO VEGAS 

Big thanks to my guests who joined me to talk about this very polarizing topic:

  • Jessica aka "Vegas Princess Bella" - She's a long-time Las Vegas visitor who runs Las Vegas Pics and Tricks on Facebook and a mom, who recently took her 8 & 10 year-old children to Vegas.

 

 

  • And Maria-Leena Kerr - She's the owner of DanishTourGuide.com, an online concierge platform and sightseeing company.  Maria also provides tour services in Las Vegas and helps families organize their trips to Vegas.  Reach out to her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Listen in for great insight on bringing children to Las Vegas.

And don't forget: I'm coming to Vegas from February 3rd to 6th/2019!  I'll be at the SOLD-OUT Mondays Dark on February 4th and I'll be bouncing around town throughout those days.  If you're in town and want to connect, please feel free to reach out via Twitter or Facebook!