If Vegas weren't called the gambling Mecca, it would probably be called the alcohol Mecca...and if it weren't called the alcohol Mecca, it would probably be called the show Mecca. Unbeknownst to a lot of people (even those that live here), there are literally hundreds of different shows going on every single night all across the Vegas valley.
Some of these shows are on the strip and some are in small theaters nestled into the corners of the city. Some are major production shows while some are niche performances. We could continue with these comparisons for about an hour until we're blue in the face probably, but the bottom line is there are a gagillion shows in town and they have a little of everything to satisfy everyone's tastes.
While these shows are mostly pretty awesome (there are some duds), they do all have one thing in common. They cost money. (Yes, we know there are some free "shows" around town, but we like to consider those just free fun things to do as they aren't really shows in a theater setting. Looking at a fountain robot in the mall at Caesars could be considered a show, but not by our definitiion).
Because these shows all cost money, it can get pretty expensive if you want to check out everything in town or like to go out frequently. Since our business is fully intertwined into the show scene in town, we wanted to walk you through how to get the best deal on tickets and how to see the most shows without setting your wallet on fire. Yes, we will have a shameless plug or two for our company as this is the problem we aim to solve, but we're going to fully cover everything so that this is a complete guide.
Scams to Watch Out For
It's no secret that Vegas can be a scary city at times. With such a money drive culture, it's inevitable that a few bad apples are going to float to the top and try and steal your money from you. In the world of show tickets in Las Vegas, this is sadly also the case. Crooks and scumbags are always coming up with new ways to try and separate you from your money. Here we're going to look at a few of the more popular scams that are run in Las Vegas surrounding shows and show tickets.
Vegas has some of the best counterfeit experts in the world. The bigger the event or show, the better forgeries we tend to see. Major concerts and sporting events are the hardest hit by counterfeits as the crooks can usually sell these tickets for more money. Here's a story from a member of our staff that will tell you how easy it is to get caught up in this.
"I was looking for UFC tickets a few years back to one of the big fights in town at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. I was pumped that I had saved up some money to get tickets and was ready to go shopping. I looked online and found tickets for sale via Craig's List. This, of course, should have been red flag number one but this would be a boring story if I wasn't an idiot.
I called and spoke with the guy that was selling the tickets and we negotiated a price for the two tickets. I felt better about the whole thing because he was actually negotiating. I figured a scammer would take anything that I offered. Before I met up with the guy, I did my homework online. I looked up what a fake ticket looked like and ways to test the tickets to see if they were real. I learned that you could hold a certain part of the ticket over light and if it turned green (or blue, can't remember; it's been years), it would be a real ticket.
I met up with the guy at the Aria and he handed me the tickets to inspect. They looked and felt real and passed every test I could find online. The moment of truth was when I put them over the light. They were green! Real...or so I thought. I paid the guy $800 and got ready to head off to the fight.
When we arrived the tickets wouldn't scan at the front for some reason. The lady said her scanning gun was having trouble so she let us in anyway. We headed to our seats and began enjoying the fight. I was a bit apprehensive, though, because something seemed weird about the tickets not scanning. Everything was great until about the third fight of the main card when someone showed up with tickets for the exact same seats.
It took the ushers a while to sort things out but eventually, they came back and told us that our tickets were fake and we had been bamboozled. Luckily, we had watched every fight except for the last two so it wasn't a complete loss. They also gave us free tickets to the UFC viewing party at their hotel which was super nice so we still got to watch the final two fights. It didn't feel great to know that we had been scammed. I guess you could say we were lucky that we at least got in the door and saw a few fights before we had to be removed. The Mandalay Bay also was very hospitable to not just boot us out to the curb. Lessons learned."
Our staff member thought they were being smart and by a lot of people's standards, they were. They did their homework and looked up how to spot a fake ticket and were still scammed. Here are a few takeaway rules that can help you avoid falling into the same fate:
- Buy from a reputable broker site. A lot of the major ticket purchase sites will ensure your tickets if they are ever found to be fake. Yes, you will still miss the event, but at least you won't be out a ton of money. These sites also have methods of recourse against the scammers so it's highly unlikely you will be scammed there.
- Buy directly from the venue. The only thing better than buying from a reputable broker is buying your tickets from the actual venue. In this scenario, there is no way you could ever be scammed.
- If you have to buy from a third party, make them walk to the front of the venue with you and see that the tickets scan. This, of course, only works if you are purchasing right before the event out front, but it does ensure that your tickets are going to be real and work.
- If for whatever reason you HAVE to buy your tickets from a third party a while before the event or not near the entrance, know that you’re doing so at your own risk. The best way you can protect yourself here is to take a picture of the tickets AND the ID of the person who is selling them. If they want to cover up their license number or birthday, that’s fine. But make sure that you have their name and their ID picture saved in case there is an issue. If you say this to a scammer, they will get mad and refuse to do it. This will be your nod that you just saved yourself a lot of money.
- Here are a few more tips from our friends over at Ticketmaster.
Selling Free Tickets
If we didn't think these people were complete scum, we would probably high five them for ingenuity on this one. In reality, though, we'd like to just hit them all in the face for this one. Scammers in town will try and sell you tickets to shows and events that you can just walk right into anyways. This happens a lot with nightclub entry passes as well as very small shows that you might find on the strip in a bar or tiny venue.
Typically, these scammers are targeting tourists but that doesn't mean you can't fall victim to them as well. Make sure you use your Google-Fu (like Kung Fu but with Google) and see that the show you are buying tickets to actually has a price attached and isn't free to get in. Again, also make sure that you follow all of the above rules for counterfeit tickets as well. Vegas is rampant with people trying both of these scams every single day.
An Entertainment Club
Normally companies feel bad about shamelessly plugging themselves but that's usually because they aren't offering something that actually fixes the problem at hand. We never feel bad because we are proud of what we offer and know that it solves a big problem for Vegas locals.
Our company, Plug In Vegas, is a membership based service that once you join you get comp tickets to shows and events in town completely free. We have hundreds of different shows and events every month for you to choose from and once you are a member, they are all free. Our two-person membership is $8 per month and our four-person membership is $10 per month.
That means for $10, you and three friends can go to 30 different shows and events a month if you want without ever opening your wallet or purse again.
With us, you can check out a ton of awesome shows in town without breaking the bank. Our shows are always changing and we are always seeking out new and exciting things for you to do. Our shows are a great mix of shows on and off the strip, comedy clubs, concerts, production shows, magic shows, community events, sporting events, community theater, and more.
The best part is that we have no contracts and you can cancel anytime you want. Join for a month and don't like it? No problem, cancel with a few quick button clicks and you're all set. We're pretty sure you're going to want to stick around, though.
If you'd like to find out more information about our awesome entertainment club and how you can experience Vegas how a local should, click below!
When shows are looking to get more people through the door during slower seasons or off-peak times, they look to entice locals to come in and check out the show. The way they'll entice us in the door is usually through some form of discount promotion. This could be a 2 for 1, a percentage off, or even some free stuff around the casino or venue where the show is being held.
Be In The Know
The secret to taking advantage of these promotions is knowing what's going on. They don't have airplanes with big banners flying around over the strip and the Vegas suburbs letting you know they are running a special local's discount. It's ultimately up to you to know what deals and specials are going on.
Ok, good luck! We're kidding...we wouldn't leave you high and dry like that without a clue of where to look. Your best bet for finding these discount promotions is to go to the show or events actual website. Look around all over the page for something that says "Local's Only" or "Local's special rate" or something like that. Click on this and you should get a chance to see what their specials are.
Call and Ask About Promotions
Another popular tactic is to call the venue or box office and ask them if they have any special promotions going for locals. You'd be surprised that sometimes the box office agents will have special promotions that they can issue that aren't even listed on the website. The best advice is to call and be super nice and see what they have. If they don't have anything, ask if they anticipate anything anytime soon. If they don't, don't go nuts and slam the phone down, just say thank you and then either pay the full price for the tickets or look for a different show that might be running a special.
The better the show, the less often they are going to be running special promotions. This should make perfect sense as if they are packed with full price purchases, they have no reason to ever need to offer discounts. That being said, some of the best shows in town with the most expensive tickets still run regular locals promotion tickets. During the summer, you'll usually see a ton of discounts on Cirque shows and things like that.
The bottom line here is keep your eyes open and don't be scared to ask. The worst they could ever say is no.
Connections Through Friends and Family
We all probably have tons of friends and family that work for show venues and major casino properties. These friends and families will sometimes get access to discounted show and event tickets through their work. If you ask nicely, they may be able to help you get access to some of these tickets as well or can take you as their guest.
Remember, though, don't become that obnoxious person that asks every single day if they're able to get you free tickets. If they say no and they can't, most likely they can't or at least they don't want to. They're under no obligation to help you out and putting pressure on them could jeopardize their job. Don't be that guy or gal, please.
This does bring up one more thing to be aware of. Ask around and see what you might be able to get through where you work. Sometimes companies in town have special programs to give their employees discounted tickets to shows, events, or attractions. Heck, ask your boss to buy everyone a Plug In Vegas membership; we'd be happy to oblige 🙂
Peak vs. Off Peak Nights
The price of everything in Vegas fluctuates massively depending on what day of the week it is and whether or not it is a holiday. This is just as true for show tickets. The "rules" are pretty common sense but we'll review them just in case you're brand new here.
- Weekends are ALWAYS going to be more expensive. The weekend includes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
- Weekdays are an awesome time to get cheaper tickets to shows as long as they are running. Some shows only run on the weekends or peak nights, but you'd be surprised how many shows run 6 or 7 days a week.
- Conventions will alter ticket prices and might not be as easy to know when they are. If the town is packed with people for a convention, a lot of shows will raise their ticket prices to affect the change in supply and demand.
- Holidays are typically going to be more expensive as well. They'll also be more challenging to get tickets for because things will book up faster and much further in advance.
Again, a lot of this is probably common sense to you, but we wanted to point it out to make sure you were aware of it. Sometimes you have no choice but to buy the more expensive peak night tickets if you have friends in town or are entertaining people that are just here for the weekend. If you just want to see the show or your friends are here on a few off peak nights, take advantage of that when you do your scheduling. We promise you that the show is going to be just as good on Tuesday night as it is on Friday night.
The best way to see these trends and look at different prices is to pull up the website for the show and input a few dates. Take a look at a weekday and then take a look at what the weekend or peak price is. Once you have an idea of the range of prices, start looking at the specific days you are interested in seeing the show.
Remember, too, call the venue and see if they have any discounts available for locals. You will be pleasantly surprised what all is out there and you can take advantage of if you just do a little homework and ask.