It’s hard to find a destination in the United States or anywhere else in the world with more free information available about it than Las Vegas. You can find pamphlets with dozens or even 100+ pages of info at the front desk of almost any hotel or motel anywhere in the area. These guides include advice on everything you can imagine:
- Where to find transportation from point A to point B
- How to play casino games
- Where to find an all you can eat buffet in your price range
- Which tours are worth booking
- Where to shop for souvenirs or clothes or anything else
- Which lounge acts are worth catching
- Where to see shows
- Where the best places are to bet on sports
- How and where to get discounts on any of the above
But you’re not limited to the promotional brochures you’ll find all over town. You can find this information from the comfort of your home before you ever leave for Vegas.
Below I’ve listed and reviewed the top 10 Las Vegas information sources on the internet:
1. Anthony Curtis’ Las Vegas Advisor
This is probably my favorite guide to Las Vegas, because it focuses on deals with a type of interest bordering on obsession. The print version of Las Vegas Advisor is a 12-page newsletter that you’ll get in your mailbox once a month when you subscribe. They cover the usual subjects, but with a focus on saving money:
- Cocktail deals
- Dining deals
- Entertainment deals
- Gambling deals
- Lodging deals
The newsletter monetizes via subscription fees rather than advertising, so the feel of the publication and the website differs dramatically from most of the other guides you’ll find, online or off. The editorial voice is more casual and less polished than at some of the other sites on this list, which is also a nice change of pace.
It costs $50 to subscribe for a year, but you can get an online-only subscription for $37. You don’t have to spend much time in Vegas to make that worthwhile, either, because you can save a LOT of money with the deals presented at Las Vegas Advisor.
If you’re not interested in a subscription, you can also buy individual issues of the newsletter for just $5 each.
You can find plenty of free information at their website, too, even without a subscription. The Top Ten Values in Las Vegas is probably the most popular page on the site, and with good reason. They list where you can get a complete steak dinner for less than $10, where you can get a draft beer for just a nickel, and where you can get show tickets for less than $15 each.
They also list hot dog deals, shrimp cocktail deals, and $1 blackjack games.
They feature many of the same sections as the other Vegas guides on this list, but the focus remains on the best values for your money. I think Las Vegas Advisor is an indispensable resource even if you don’t subscribe. They even have a user forum, something I think most of the other guides on this list might benefit from.
This is one of the travel guides to Las Vegas that’s been around forever. I used to work for Hotels.com, but I left the company in 2005. Believe it or not, CheapoVegas was a big deal even then. I also like their unique editorial style and focus on getting the most for your money there.
You can find plenty of guides that offer advice for the “frugal” traveler, but CheapoVegas makes no bones about targeting audiences who want to go “cheap.”
Revenue considerations force a lot of websites to feature a hotel booking engine prominently on their homepage, and CheapoVegas is no different. If you want to book your hotel that way, that’s no problem.
But don’t limit your experience at this site to just the booking engine. There’s a lot more to read and learn about here.
I like their cool blog posts. On my 48th birthday, they published this gem: How to have a Vegas birthday, Cheapo style. Another of my favorite features is “the graveyard,” which lists casinos and hotels which used to be in Vegas but are no more.
The site also features user-generated reviews. I like this aspect of the site, especially because I think the reviews here are probably more trustworthy than what I’d expect to see on a site like Yelp.
3. Las Vegas Magazine
The website for Las Vegas Magazine is also organized like a blog, and it contains content organized into the following sections:
You’ll probably notice some coverage overlap from one Las Vegas guide to the next. After all, there are only so many things to see and do in Vegas, and most of them can be lumped into similar categories. After all, most people are interested in eating out, so they all have “dining” sections. Most people are interested in entertainment options, so they all have “entertainment” sections, too.
Where Las Vegas Magazine excels, and what should differentiate one site from another for you, is the quality of the feature articles. With Las Vegas Magazine, the “interviews” and “galleries” sections are the places where you’ll find the content that REALLY differentiates Las Vegas Magazine from its competitors.
Recent interviews on the site include:
- Jon Gray, the general manager for The Palms
- Tenile Pritchard, a cocktail waitress at Tropicana
- Steve Sagan, the general manager for the swimming pools at Flamingo
- Wolfgang Puck, chef—you probably know who he is already
You might not see Las Vegas Magazine mentioned on as many lists of Las Vegas guides as some other sites, but trust me—it’s worth the visit.
4. Las Vegas Weekly
The #1 source for information about the nightlife in Sin City is Las Vegas Weekly. The content on their site is divided into these categories: events, news, nightlife, A&E, food & drink, photos, magazine, marijuana, and Best of Vegas 2018. (They’re the 1st guide I’ve written about that has an entire section devoted to marijuana, by the way.)
The Best of Vegas 2018 is categorized into 6 broad sections. Each of those categories is then divided into subcategories. The broad categories are:
- Arts & Entertainment
- Booze & Bars
- This & That
For example, the “food” category is broken down into subcategories. And they’re not the usual “best burger,” “best brunch,” and “best buffet” categories. Instead, they have unique categories, like:
- Best New Strip Mindblower: Onace
- Best New Neighborhood Mindblower: Esther’s Kitchen
- Best Restaurant Revival: Michael Mina
- Best New Way to Eat a Burger: Burgerim
- Reader’s Choice – Best Burger Joint: In-N-Out Burger
- Best New Lunch Deal: Thailicious
- Best Tacos from the Earth: Mushroom Tacos at Bomb Tacos
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more detailed guide to the nightlife in Las Vegas than this.
LasVegas.com is the official website for the Convention and Visitors Authority in Las Vegas. You can find direct links to almost any major business a tourist to Vegas might be interested in:
- The airport website
- Casino websites
- Hotel websites
- Restaurant sites
- Transportation providers
The homepage of the site features a search engine you can use to book shows, air+hotel packages, tours, and attractions.
The amount of “informational guide” content on this site is more limited than on some of the other guides on this page, because it’s run by the CVA. Their job is to drive revenue to these businesses, so the site’s focus is on actually being able to book these attractions.
I love the old-school web design that SmarterVegas.com uses. This is a Vegas travel guide that focuses on promotional and coupon codes. Their primary emphasis is on hotels and casinos, but they have plenty of coupons and promotions available for attractions and show tickets, too.
When I visited SmarterVegas.com on August 14, 2018, I found some of the following deals:
- Aria had a promotional code available for a $50 rebate.
- Ballys had a code good for 20% off your stay.
- Bellagio had a 25% off promotional code available.
- CSI: The Experience had $10 off coupons available.
- Le Reve had $15 off tickets available.
- Michael Jackson One had 20% off tickets available.
And those barely scratch the surface of what I saw available at SmarterVegas.com. Some of the listings they had, like the ones for the museums, didn’t include coupon codes or promotions–presumably because they don’t offer such discounts.
Keep in mind that the availability of any of these offers is subject to change at any time. Please don’t leave nasty messages in the comments about how I saw something was available and that it was a bait and switch. I haven’t been paid anything at all to mention these sites here. I just thought they might be useful to my readers.
And availability changes constantly.
I’ve tried to restrict this list of Las Vegas guides to websites that focus entirely and exclusively on Vegas, but the Thrillist guide is so well-written and so well-organized that I couldn’t leave it off the list. Thrillist, by the way, offers all kinds of great content about various destinations.
In fact, when I owned a bookstore near Dallas, it was featured as one of the cool things to see and do in the area.
The organization of this guide is simplicity itself. It’s a single blog post organized into sections, and each of those sections link to additional blog posts with well-written, entertaining guides to what’s available in Sin City.
For example, the first section is titled “Where to Eat and Drink.” The first 3 posts linked to from this section were:
- The Hottest Restaurants in Las Vegas Right Now
- How to Eat Like Royalty without Breaking the Bank
- The Hottest Bars in Las Vegas Right Now
The next section is titled “Vegas 101,” and it includes links to posts like:
- The Biggest Mistakes Tourists Make in Las Vegas
- 16 Sneaky Ways Casinos Separate You from Your Money
- Penn & Teller’s Penn Jillette Reveals His Favorite Vegas Secrets
In the interview with Penn Jillette, he mentions that in the time he and Teller have been performing in Vegas, the revenue model in Las Vegas has reversed. It used to be all about making money from gambling, and the food and entertainment were just there to drive that revenue. Now the casinos and resorts make at least as much money from the entertainment as they do the gambling.
I love the editorial team at Thrillist. They’re doing a great job with their Vegas guide and all their other content.
8. Vegas Seven
Vegas Seven is a weekly magazine that was founded in 2010. Their goal is to provide cutting-edge, attractive content for both Vegas locals and tourists. They cover all niches related to being in Vegas, and not just the obvious stuff like which shows to see, which buffets to eat, and where to gamble.
They also feature information about education, health, and politics. (Some of that will be less helpful to tourists than to locals.)
Unlike many information sites about Las Vegas, the content at Vegas Seven is detailed and delves beneath just the shallow surface details of the subjects they cover.
The website is organized like a blog, and to give you an idea of what kind of topics are covered, here’s some of what I found when I visited the Vegas Seven site before writing this post:
- An Oral History of Ellis Island Casino
- This Week in Music: Stevie Wonder
- Just Announced: The 2018 Life Is Beautiful Music & Art Festival
- Best of the City 2017
When I mention in-depth content, here’s an example: An Oral History of Ellis Island Casino is 3000 words of fascinating, old-school Las Vegas history. Good luck finding another blog post on this subject at even half that length, and even then, it probably won’t contain the kind of detailed reporting that this post does.
Like the Convention and Visitors Authority website, Vegas.com focuses on enabling you to book various types of entertainment in the city. They have a slightly different focus, though, with some additional booking options that aren’t available there.
Sure, you can book hotels, show tickets, and tours at Vegas.com, but you can do that at LasVegas.com, too.
But Vegas.com also offers bookings for golf courses and weddings.
The site features a Las Vegas news blog, but it’s anemic. I checked the blog on August 14, and it hadn’t been updated with any new posts since July 20. It’s hard to imagine that you can’t find more frequent news than this in a town like Las Vegas.
Nonetheless, for a privately-run website, Vegas.com has a lot to offer a prospective visitor to Sin City.
With the rise of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has come the fall of traditional niche forums and message boards. It’s a shame, too, because for years, my favorite kind of content was user-generated content on these kinds of sites.
Luckily, there are still a few great forums about Las Vegas to choose from. And I enjoy reading this kind of content, because what it lacks in polish, it makes up for in authenticity. This doesn’t mean that every forum user’s opinion is worth listening to.
But it’s definitely worth seeking out the perspectives of average users who are interested in Las Vegas, rather than sites which seem to have a vested interest in driving business to these companies there.
I love the way the forum is organized into categories. The broad, top-level categories include:
- Hotels & Casinos
- Casino Gaming
- Things to Do
- And the Rest
These are further sub-divided into narrower topics. The Hotels & Casinos section, for example, has subsections based on location—like Strip Hotels & Casinos, Downtown Hotels & Casinos, and Off-Strip Hotels & Casinos.
I especially enjoy reading the Trip Reports sub-section of the Trips section, and also the Las Vegas for the Frugal subsection of And the Rest.
If you enjoy socializing on the web, and you’re interested in Las Vegas, you’ll probably lose a lot of hours going down this rabbit hole of a website.
You can find more free information about traveling to Las Vegas on the internet than you could ever hope to read. By providing you with a curated list of the 10 best guides to Las Vegas online, I think maybe I can help make your vacation planning go a little more smoothly.
I know these sites on the list helped me figure out where to stay, how to get to and from the various attractions, and which shows to see. I also have several ideas for where to eat with my friends while we’re there.
I tend to prefer the sites that are less promotional, the ones with fewer advertisements and in-your-face-attempts to sell you something.
But all the sites on this list are worth a visit, even the ones like that.