I’ve often advocated skipping organized ground tours within the city of Las Vegas, because from my perspective, they just aren’t necessary. You can easily get around Las Vegas on your own, and everything you’d want to see on your first trip is in two condensed areas: The Strip and Downtown. However, after reading Janice Miller‘s story of her experience on a three-hour Vegas City tour, I’m starting to rethink my position. Here is Janice’s take on the Champagne Night Tour of Las Vegas:
I decided that kicking off my first trip to Vegas with a tour of the city would be a great way to see the strip and stop at a few places without having to walk to them all or take taxis everywhere. Celebrity Coaches Las Vegas has a champagne night tour priced at $69.99 at their website; I booked this tour through Viator and somehow also found a discount code that dropped the price down to $43. They have a list of hotels they will only pick up/drop off at, so book at the nearest hotel pick up location. Since I was staying at the Paris hotel, my pickup was at Bally’s.
I arrived at the shuttle location around 6:10pm for a 6:30 pickup, and the limo bus arrived between 6:15 and 6:20 pm. After everyone had been picked up at the various stops, Rick, our driver, made it a point to introduce everyone. We had people from Detroit, Canada, Australia, England, India, and of course, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (where I’m from).
We had a champagne toast on board our bus on the way to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Rick was more than happy to take pictures of everyone – which for a solo traveler like me was especially great! Rick then drove us to Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. Our first stop was the Golden Nugget, where we saw the pool–including a slide that goes right through a shark tank. Next, we went to Binion’s where everyone had their picture taken with the $1 million dollar display of cash. Finally we were given about 45 minutes of free time to explore Fremont Street. Rick gave us the location where we would meet up afterwards and a phone number in case anyone needed it.
I explored Fremont street on my own. I saw a few people zip lining; that looked like a lot of fun! I absolutely loved watching the street performers. I did get busted trying to take a few candid pictures of impersonators. I suppose they don’t like that, because it’s how they make their money. Needless to say, I got talked into having my picture taken with “Michael Jackson,” “Bret Michaels,” and “Austin Powers.” They were fun to chat with.
The whole group met up together to enjoy the light show, receive our “million dollar photos”, and head back to the Strip to check out the Bellagio. We watched a fountain show, and took some pictures with the Eiffel Tower in the background. We then walked through the the Atrium. The scent from all of the flowers just hit me immediately as soon as I entered. It was absolutely wonderful. If only cameras could capture smells….
We ended the tour by checking out the largest chocolate fountain at Jean-Philippe Patisserie. Again, our driver Rick, took some great photos here – making sure we all got one where it looked like we were drinking from the fountain. I loved it.
I would definitely recommend this tour. For $43, I got a three-hour tour of Las Vegas, including a limo bus ride and champagne; I got to meet people from around the world; I have photos of myself from several spots around Las Vegas–photos I wouldn’t have gotten on my own, as a solo traveler. And along the way, we learned quite a bit about Vegas from Rick. My favorite thing about the tour was definitely the free time on Fremont street, though.
Thanks very much for sharing your experience on this tour, Janice! The reason Janice’s story has made me rethink my position on ground tours in Vegas is this: A small group tour can provide the solo traveler with a built-in opportunity to socialize with others. If you’re particularly shy, this can be very helpful. I also loved the fact that she was able to get photos of herself around town taken by the tour driver. I have hardly any photos of myself in Las Vegas from over 10 years of visits because I suck at the arm stretch method of self-photography and most of the photos I’ve asked strangers to take of me have turned out blurry. Paying someone else to photograph me around town might just be worth the price of admission right there.
Finally, when your time is limited, as Janice’s was, and you want an overview of Las Vegas, a tour might be the way to go. Someone else is doing the driving, so you don’t have to figure out where you need to go; just sit back and enjoy the ride. Now, I’ll add that the $43 Janice paid for 3 hours and all of these things seems totally worth it to me. I’m not sure I’d pay the usual rate of $69.99. But your mileage may vary, and the only one who will know if it’s worth it is you. (And for the record, neither Janice nor I were paid to promote this particular tour.)