Whether it’s your first show in Las Vegas or your 100th show, there are always things that you can do to make your experience that much more fun. This guide is specifically written for Vegas locals and with their unique needs in mind. This doesn’t mean if you’re a tourist you shouldn’t read on. For those of you that have stumbled here and are visitors to our lovely city, you will still get a lot of value out of this guide.
We’re going to assume as well that you’ve already gotten your tickets to the show purchased or reserved through us. If you haven’t, we do have an awesome guide to walk you through the show ticket buying process and how to get the best bang for your buck and avoid scammers. We highly recommend you take a minute and read our Show Ticket Buying Guide for Locals if you haven’t yet; there’s a lot of good information packed in there.
So you’ve got your tickets and are ready to try and make your show night the most fun possible. Here are some of the tips and tricks we have specifically for locals that can really make for a super fun night.
Plan For Parking
Remember the 5 P’s of parking in Las Vegas. Prior Planning Prevents Pissed-off Parkers. Depending on what show you’re going to, how big it is, and what night of the week it’s on, this will range from being a big issue to being a huge issue.
If you’re going to see a major concert or sporting event on a holiday weekend, this will be the difference of a fun show experience or a nightmare. If you’re catching a comedy club early evening during the week, it won’t be as important, but you can still do quite a bit to make it much more painless and save yourself a few bucks.
Below are a few parking tips to help make that show a much more enjoyable experience from the start.
1. Know Where You’re Planning to Park
Sometimes, it can be smarter to park at a different casino and walk over to the show. If you’ve ever been in one of the parking garages here when a major concert lets out, you know why we’re suggesting this. It can sometimes take you hours just to get down to the bottom of the garage, not to mention it shaves about five years of your life from stress.
This is also important if you’re looking to save a few bucks because a lot of the strip properties are now charging for parking and it’s not just a couple of dollars. Luckily, some of the casinos are still showing some love for locals and giving them either completely free parking or free parking for the first 24 hours.
If you’d like to know where is charging and where isn’t, we’ve put together our Casino Parking Guide for Las Vegas Locals to help you out. It’s a quick and dirty guide to where you can park for free and what it’s going to cost you everywhere else.
2. Don’t Forget About Uber and Lyft
We usually just think about using these ride sharing services when we plan on drinking. The thing that people forget is they can also be extremely convenient when you’re looking to get to a show even if you don’t plan on drinking.
The Uber and Lyft drivers can just drop you off and don’t have to fight through the parking. They’re insanely cheaper than cabs (usually), and they usually show up within a couple of minutes which is an amazing convenience. Personally, our staff uses them just about every time we go to a show because it’s that much easier.
Sometimes there can be a surge price added on an Uber or a Lyft if the town is insanely busy or it’s super late at night (like after 2 am). This will make the fare more expensive but in our opinions is still worth it. The good news is you can see this before you opt to book a ride and once you book, you’re locked in, and the rate can’t change.
3. Time Time Time
This may seem self-explanatory, but we can tell you from being in the industry, people constantly under estimate just how long it takes to park. They forget that not only do they have to fight the traffic to get to the venue, but they also have to find a spot, walk from the spot to the venue, find the box office, and then pick up their tickets and still get to the show and find their seat.
We would give you a guesstimate on time, but it’s really going to depend on so many different factors. Your best bet is to overestimate and get there earlier than later. That way, you don’t have to wait in line at the box office and then you can go grab a drink or some food and relax before the show starts.
Picking Up Tickets
Whether you purchased your tickets or got them through us, you will be given instructions on the who, what, when, and where of picking those tickets up. 99% of the time you will be picking them up from the box office which will be located somewhere fairly close to the show theater or venue.
Bring Your Credentials
When you go to pick up your tickets, you’re going to want to have a few things with you. You’ll want your confirmation of purchase or reservation and a picture ID card. These are necessary pretty much anywhere you pick up tickets to make sure the box office is giving them to the correct person.
The actual process of picking them up is easy. Find the correct box office and hop in line. When you are called to the front by one of the agents, tell them you are picking up tickets and show them your confirmation and your ID. If you don’t have a printer or have one of those fancy ones you can never get to work, pulling up your confirmation on your smart phone is usually plenty good enough. We’ve never heard reports of a venue requiring the paper copy if the guest has a copy on their phone.
The agent will then hand you your tickets and usually give you a little information about when you can go into the theater and where. If you’re like us, you usually zone out several times a day. This is one moment we recommend tuning back in and listening to what the agent has to say. They will let you know what time you can get to your seats and where you should go.
Double Check Your Tix
One other thing we recommend is taking a minute to double check that your tickets are for the correct show, correct time, and correct seats. This is a lot easier to fix while you’re still up at the counter and will ensure you don’t have to wait in line again.
We also recommend getting to the box office a bit early if you can because the closer you get to show time, the busier that line is going to get. At some venues, the process flies but at some, it can delay things, and you might miss the beginning of the show.
How Seating Works
If you purchased your tickets for a specific seat, that seat will be printed on your ticket. With tickets like this, you can walk into the venue right before the show, and you are guaranteed to get those seats. Some venues will have general admission seating where it will be first come and first serve or may be standing room only. Again, this will be printed on your ticket.
The best way to figure out how to get a great seat is to ask that agent when you are picking up your tickets. They’re the experts on that particular show and will have all of the information including any tips and tricks. A lot of times, it’s just a matter of lining up outside the venue first or tossing a few bucks to an usher to get you somewhere nicer. We cover that in the Maximizing Fun section below.
Remember, seating is almost always up to the discretion of the show. This is almost always put in the fine print of your tickets which means they can move you around if they so choose. While this does not usually happen, you need to know that in extremely rare circumstances it can. This is not a Vegas special thing; this happens at every show in the world.
If your tickets are general admission, don’t expect to get a refund if you don’t like the seats you end up getting. The good news is most venues in Vegas do a great job at delivering the “no bad seat in the house” promise. Even “the worst” seats in these theaters are still great. Nowhere is it like getting nosebleed seats where you’re going to need binoculars to see the performers.
Know the Venue Rules
As a business that sends thousands of Vegas locals to shows every month, we have seen and heard it all. We get to interface with box office managers and agents on a daily basis, and if we had a nickel for every story they told us about people getting turned away for not following venue rules, we would be opening a nickel farm. To be honest, we have no idea what would go on at a nickel farm; it just sounded cool.
All kidding aside, if you don’t follow the rules of the venue, you’re either not going to get let in, going to get kicked out, or you’re at best going to have a subpar time. This is the reason that on all of our show listings we have any and all venue and show rules posted as clearly as possible. Now, getting people to read those, sometimes that’s another story.
This information is usually clearly posted on the venue’s or show’s websites. It might be listed under “rules” or “code of conduct, ” or it will be prominently plastered all over the event page.
Here are some popular things to keep an eye out for.
1. Dress Code
Yes, some venues have dress codes and usually for safety purposes. This might be things like no chain wallets or no baggy pants. Some shows might have dress codes to keep up a certain quality standard and might ban things like jerseys or tennis shoes.
Whether you agree with the dress code or not, it WILL be enforced. We’ve personally had a ton of friends that have gone places thinking “oh, they just put that on there for the heck of it. I look good. They’ll let me in.” Guess what happened…They didn’t get let it regardless of “how good they looked”.
This is Vegas, and they don’t care if you’re a tourist or a local or whatever. There are a gagillion other people that can fill your seat, and they’ll gladly move along to the next person and not be issuing you a refund. It may sound harsh, but we’re just trying to save you from a disaster.
2. Items You Can Bring
Some shows are going to have specific rules about what you can and cannot bring with you. This may have to do with outside food and beverages, cameras, weapons, etc. We’ve seen some pretty squirrely things on these lists before so definitely take a few seconds and check it out.
One of our staff members went to a show once that did not allow cameras. Well, as you can imagine a ton of people showed up with cameras, so they forced them all to check their cameras at like a coat check. It was free, but it took forever to get them checked and was a nightmare at the end of the show. They were even making people check iPads and tablets they had with them because technically they were considering those cameras.
3. Most Venues Have Specific Rules On How You Can Conduct Yourself
Sometimes the shows will have specific rules about whether you can stand or not or when you are allowed to leave or go to the bathroom. This is popular in shows with high flying or dangerous acts where they don’t want you distracting the performers which could cause them to hurt themselves.
Anything that important will probably be reiterated to you plenty of times at the show. Everything else should be common sense. Just act like an adult, don’t get too drunk, don’t try and fight the staff, and you should be pretty well covered.
Don’t Neglect Safety
Shows on and off the strip are so much fun. Sometimes they can be so much fun that we have a tendency to let our guards down and make ourselves vulnerable to criminals and those that wish to do us harm.
While this section is not meant to scare you or deter you from attending shows, we do want to be real and make sure you’re aware of the threats out there so you can have a great time that doesn’t get ruined by some…well, we can’t think of any nice names for them.
While this is not a complete list of safety tips, these are a few great ones to help keep you safe.
- Men - wallet goes in the front pocket and turned long ways (your wallet should sit in your pocket longer than it is tall). This makes it much more challenging for any pick pockets to get their hands on your wallet.
- Ladies - when you walk, keep your purse in front of you. Backpack purses are becoming much more popular, and when they’re behind you, you can’t see what is going on. Criminals are bringing knives and just cutting them open from the bottom to get the stuff inside out without you even knowing. If you have a purse over your arm, just swing it to the front while you walk or while you stand anywhere. Small changes can be the difference between a great night or a disastrous one.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Criminals look for crimes of opportunity, and the best opportunities are people that are oblivious. This allows the crooks to “get the drop on you” meaning they can sneak up and do what they want before you have time to react.
- Don’t get too drunk. Same as number four…you become an unaware, easy target when you’re too drunk and you can’t take care of yourself or fight back if you need to.
- Lock your car doors if you drive. This may sound insanely common sense, but most of the auto burglaries in this town are from people forgetting to lock their cars or even leaving the keys inside because they don’t want to carry them. Yes, they don’t always fit well into skinny jeans, but skinny jeans are much more uncomfortable when you have to walk home in 100-degree weather because your car got stolen.
- Post that you’re at the show or going AFTER the show, not before or during. Yes, we all love to share our lives on social media, but the problem is that criminals are using this to know when you are or are not home. If you post that you’re at a concert with all of your roommates, a criminal knows that most likely no one is home and they have free reign over your house or apartment. We promise you’ll get just as much social media love AFTER the show.
- Use find my iPhone or any tracking software you can put on your phone. Smart phones get stolen way too frequently on the strip or at shows, sometimes right out of people’s pockets. Do yourself a favor and put the adequate software on there that will allow you and the police to track things down if they happen to grow legs and walk off thanks to a scummy criminal.
- Watch your drinks. It’s sad that this is still a thing but people are still drugging people to take advantage of them. If you have to get up, take your drink with you. If you are going to turn away from your drink for an extended period of time, put a napkin over it. Don’t trust a drink from a stranger especially if you didn’t see it come straight from the bartender. It’s all about being aware.
- If something seems off, don’t take chances. This is our catch all safety tip for everything. If you think something doesn’t feel right or you are ever uncomfortable somewhere or around someone, get away from them. It’s MUCH better to look awkward if nothing was really going on then to end up robbed or worse because you didn’t listen to your gut.
Maximize Your Fun
While all this talk about rules and safety might sound like a buzzkill, they’re just aimed to make you have a much better time. Ultimately, going to a show in Vegas is about having fun. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you should enjoy your time and feel like you got your money’s worth.
Here are a few random tips to maximize the fun experience when you attend a show in Las Vegas.
- Get into it. Shows in Vegas are not the time to pretend you’re too cool to have fun. If the entertainers want you to sing along and dance or come on stage, let your hair down and get after it. It might feel silly at the time, but it makes for some of the most awesome lasting memories.
- Make an evening out of it. Shows are a blast, but they can be more fun when you make a full evening out of it. We personally love to group our shows with either dinner or drinks or sometimes both. A nice perk about doing dinner or drinks before the show is that you get there well before the traffic and can get your tickets before there is a line at the box office.
- Tip for better seats. Sometimes you’ll get into a show and realize there are some killer seats up front with no one sitting in them. Usually, if you toss the usher a few bucks (we’ve found $20 for the whole party to work), they can help to get you moved up to those seats if they aren’t occupied by other guests. They’ll also help to get you involved in the show if there are some audience participation moments.
Remember, they are NOT obligated to do this and they may reject your offer or may not be able to help out at all. Be discreet and if they aren’t down to help, don’t get upset and start flipping over chairs and tables. The show will still be awesome from your original seats.