Casino Trekking – Vegas Style!

Las Vegas

One of my favorite fun and free activities on the Las Vegas Strip is casino trekking – in and out of a series of casinos to check out the sights and themes plus log some exercise time.

Mandalay Bay to MGM Grand Casino Trek

Mandalay Bay to the MGM Grand and Back

Mandalay Bay to the MGM Grand and Back

Start at the elegant Mandalay Bay where, after a spin around some interesting decor, you can walk through the shopping arcades over to the Luxor and then Excalibur. At Excalibur you’ll have a brief excursion outside on the pedestrian bridge to cross over to New York New York, then another pedestrian bridge to MGM Grand. When you’ve had your fill of casinos, backtrack to the Excalibur to get the Express Tram back to Mandalay Bay.

Mandalay Bay

The Mandalay Bay casino has a manly vibe inside, dark good looks in tones of chocolate brown with a kind of Asian fusion theme going on. It used to be my favorite casino just for its futuristic glass restrooms hidden behind curtains of chain beads and dancing fountains. Those terrific restrooms are gone along with China Grill where they were located, but Mandalay Bay still has some fun sights.

Mandalay Bay glass restrooms

Don’t look for these futuristic glass restrooms – they’re no longer there since China Grill closed in 2012. Too bad!

The entry from the self-parking structure to the casino leads right to the statue of the beheaded Lenin and the Red Square restaurant and lounge. Make sure you take a look at the Russian themed interior of the restaurant – love that onion dome chandelier.

Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay headless Lenin, Red Square restaurant, followed by a picturesque fountain

Turn right at the fountain to head to the Aureole restaurant to see the spectacular four story Wine Tower. If you’re lucky you might see the staff in action when a diner orders a bottle for them to retrieve. On a huge wall to the right of the wine tower is the Body Parts wall. That torso within hands reach looks a little polished…

Aureole restaurant

Aureole restaurant wine tower and the Body Parts Wall

Head through the casino to the northern end in the direction of the House of Blues to check out the fun exterior.

Mandalay Bay House of Blues

House of Blues fun exterior

Luxor

Luxor

Luxor

You can take the free tram from Mandalay Bay to the Luxor, but the Mandalay Bay Shopping arcade starts right next to the House of Blues and leads directly to the mezzanine level of the Luxor.

Tip: Don’t miss the Peter Lik gallery in the Mandalay Shopping arcade! Gorgeous photography printed on silver-halide paper, many of these landscape pieces make you feel like you can walk right into them.

The Luxor has never been a favorite of mine, but your first sight on entering from the shopping arcade is a Wow. Egyptian theme of course, this is the pyramid shaped casino with the piercing spotlight shooting straight up from the top that you can see from all over Vegas every night. The fascinating “Bodies” exhibition is here (fitting, hmm?) and a Titanic artifacts exhibition. If you haven’t seen Bodies, well – don’t miss it!

The mezzanine of the Luxor is above the gaming area, head down the escalator or elevator and find the shopping arcade connecting the Luxor and Excalibur.

Excalibur

One of the more kid-friendly casinos with lots of toy stores, arcade games, fast food eateries and a Tournament show, the Excalibur isn’t interesting inside. Trek on through to the opposite end and the pedestrian bridge to New York New York.

New York New York exterior

New York New York exterior from the Excalibur

New York New York

The pedestrian bridge lands you on the mezzanine level of the New York New York casino. Walk by shops to the escalator and down to the gaming level. This casino has a fun “neighborhood” theme – lots to look at and fun to walk through. The fabulous show Zumanity is in the theater here – if you want something quintessentially Las Vegas, go see Zumanity. But make sure you know what you’re getting into…

Good Stop: Fulton Fish Frye is a good stop for fish and chips, not expensive and 2 big pieces of fish.

New York interior

New York New York fun neighborhood theme

Fun stuff: You’ll probably get a glimpse of the roller coaster as it screams through a section inside the casino.

Find your way back to the escalator and up and out to the pedestrian bridge leading to the MGM Grand.

MGM Grand

The MGM Grand is enormous. You’d think it would have a Hollywood theme, but no. It’s not really interesting inside except for the really cool Rainforest Cafe with huge fish tanks, quirky fun decor and yes, even sound affects! The Rainforest Cafe is a chain, done the BEST right here.

September Update: The Rainforest Cafe closed its 20 year run at the MGM in September, but you can still see the fun characters and sound affects at the new location on the Strip close to Planet Hollywood.

MGM

MGM Rainforest Cafe

Back to Mandalay Bay

Had enough Casino Treking? Head back over the pedestrian bridge to the Excalibur, but turn left to get to the tram. The free and fast express tram will whisk you directly back to Mandalay Bay in about 2 minutes with only a 5 minute wait.

Excalibur

Pedestrian bridge from New York New York to Excalibur, head left for the tram

There’s something for everyone in the variety of casinos and doing a casino trek is a fun way to experience them. You can have a great time in Vegas even if you don’t gamble (like me!)

Parking Update: Free parking, a long time tradition at the Strip casinos, has disappeared at all the MGM Resorts properties (including Mandalay Bay) and at other casinos – be prepared to pay to park anywhere around $7-8 for 4 hours or $10-$14 for 4 to 24 hours. But there may still be free parking at some casinos, best to google for the latest info.

What else do you do in Las Vegas when you don’t gamble? How to Love Las Vegas When You Don’t Gamble

Have you been casino trekking in Las Vegas? What’s your favorite casino?

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah (Jetsetting Fools)

    My sister and I did this once in Vegas! We actually tied in an itty bitty amount of gambling (just so we could say we played at all the casinos) and decided to spend $1 in each casino. It was like a game to find the best slot machine then we would tour the ‘sights’ of each casino. We spent about 8 hours doing this one day. Great exercise, lots of Seester time and tons of laughs.- and we saw more casinos than any other time I’ve been to Vegas!

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      Sister fun! I had a ball with MY sis and mama on this casino trek, always such fun to experience everything with someone who hasn’t been there before. I could do it all again, and I think I will – next year!

      Reply

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