It's a little-known fact that just over 60 miles away from the glitz & glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, the US government used to test Atomic Weapons!
Just as the Cold War was starting to heat up, the US Department of Energy began the testing of Nuclear Bombs in the Nevada desert. The blasts would light up the early morning sky and the mushroom clouds could be seen from miles away on the rooftops of the downtown hotels.
Helping to keep this history alive is one of my favourite attractions, The National Atomic Testing Museum.
My guest on this episode is Michael Hall, the museum's Executive Director. Michael and I discussed the United States' Atomic Testing program, the effects it had on Las Vegas as well as the incredible exhibits on display at the museum.
For tickets and information on The National Atomic Testing Museum visit their website & be sure to check them out on Twitter and Instagram.
July 31, 1969 was a day that changed Las Vegas forever.
It was on that day that Elvis Presley stepped onto the stage at the newly-opened International Hotel to kick off a four-week engagement in their massive new 2000-seat showroom. At the time, Elvis was thought to be "over the hill" and "washed up" but the run of concerts didn't just revive the King of Rock N' Roll's career...it helped revive Las Vegas.
My guest for this episode of the podcast is Richard Zoglin, author of the book Elvis In Vegas: How The King Reinvented The Las Vegas Show.
Richard and I talked about Elvis's first appearance in Las Vegas in 1956, the leisure time Elvis spent in Vegas & the "unlikely" friendships he made along the way, the toll Elvis's Las Vegas performances took on his health and the effect that Elvis had on Las Vegas - from the doors he opened for future entertainers to the presence he still maintains in the city.
If you'd like to order your own copy of Elvis In Vegas: How The King Reinvented The Las Vegas Show head to Richard Zoglin's website or visit your favorite bookseller.
I have a very simple question for you: Do you believe in ghosts?
If your answer is "Yes", then you're going to love this episode. Honestly, even if your answer is "No" you're STILL going to love this episode!
With Las Vegas's shady past, it should come as no surprise that Sin City is blessed with its own share of spookiness. A quick Google search reveals multiple spots both on and off the famous strip that are believed to be haunted by the famous, the infamous and the not-so-famous.
Just in time for Halloween, I'm joined by Josef Kruger of Las Vegas Ghost Tours who's here to share some of the creepiest tales of Las Vegas spooks & spectres.
For example...Which hotel was ravaged by a fire that killed 85 of its guests, some of whom haven't quite "checked out"? What resort is haunted by its infamous mobster former owner? And where can you go in Las Vegas to hang out with the ghost of a murdered rap superstar?
For the answers to these - and other - terrifying questions start listening now!
And for tickets to join Las Vegas Ghost Tours, visit their website or start following them on Facebook.
One of the things Las Vegas is perhaps most famous for are the bright neon lights of the World Famous Vegas Strip. But as resorts close down or signs are replaced with massive HD LED video screens, what happens to those iconic neon signs?
Amanda Riley of the Neon Museum Las Vegas joins me on this episode to answer that question!
We talked about museum's mission to preserve Las Vegas' history, some of the unique & interesting signs in the museum's collection, their plans for future expansion and a very special exhibit/collaboration involving a major Hollywood director.
For tickets and information on the Neon Museum Las Vegas you can visit their website. Also, be sure to follow the Neon Museum on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The topic for this episode of the show comes courtesy of listener, Jacob Kehl from Denmark. Jacob really wanted to me to do an episode featuring tips & tricks for the Vegas Low Roller.
Jacob, your wish is my command!
And joining me to talk about the right way to Low Roll in Las Vegas is friend of the show, making his second appearance on the podcast, Sergio Portesan - the creator of the website Viva Las Value! Sergio and I talked about the best websites to find discount Vegas hook-up's, suggestions for low roller hotels, restaurants & bars and how to make your bankroll last longer when hitting the tables & machines.
For all the details, check out Sergio's website, Viva Las Value and be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook! And if you want to learn the story behind the creation of Viva Las Value, go back in the archives and check out EP#14: Viva Las Value.
There's no question that Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world. Every day, an average of 330 couples tie the not - which equals out to approximately 120,000 weddings every year!
But why? How is it that a city known as "Sin City" is also the most popular place on the planet to get hitched?
To answer that question - and many more - I'm joined by a Las Vegas legend: Charolette Richards, the owner of A Little White Wedding Chapel.
There are literally dozens of wedding chapels up and down the Vegas strip but A Little White Wedding Chapel is easily one of the most famous and recognizable. In the almost-60 years that Charolette has been running the place, hundreds of thousands of couples have pledged their love for each other with Charolette herself personally officiating tens of thousands of weddings.
Charolette shared the story of how she ended up in Las Vegas & how she ended up working in the Las Vegas wedding world as well as her tips & tricks to a long and happy marriage.
If you want to plan your own Las Vegas wedding & you've got questions, check out this handy link full of info from the folks at Vegas.com - and when you're ready to tie the knot, get ahold of Charolette and the folks at A Little White Wedding Chapel.
This episode of the podcast is quite different in tone & tenor from any of the previous episodes I've released; there's no fanfare, no music, no sound effects...and there's a reason for that.
I'm releasing this episode on the eve of the second anniversary of the worst mass shooting in US history - the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on October 1, 2017.
In this episode, I share my thoughts & feelings, talk about how the city of Las Vegas came together in the days & weeks following the tragedy and pay tribute to the 58 people who lost their lives enjoying something they loved.
For this episode, I've decided to tackle a topic people have been asking about almost since I started doing the podcast: Sports Gambling. Honestly though, I know absolutely NOTHING about betting on sports...so I decided to call in an expert!
My special guest this time around is Minty Bets. Minty is a Las Vegas local who shares her tips & tricks on her Twitter & Instagram pages and she's also a member of the team at WagerTalk TV, where she - along with the rest of the crew - make their weekly picks.
We talked about how and why Minty got into sports betting, we covered common terminology, the different types of wagers that can be made and she shared some tips & tricks and do's & don't's for first-timers.
Follow Minty Bets on Twitter & Instagram and subscribe to WagerTalk TV on YouTube.
For almost 3 years, Tenors Of Rock have been headlining on the Las Vegas Strip, performing Classic Rock...with a twist. They made their Vegas debut at Harrah's in January 2017 and have since made the move to Planet Hollywood, performing 7 nights per week.
My special guest for this episode of the podcast is Jimmy Denning, one of the founding members of Tenors Of Rock.
Jimmy and I connected backstage at the Sin City Theater before a show where we chatted about his musical career, the formation & history of Tenors of Rock, life in Las Vegas and some of the side projects he's picked up since moving to Vegas - including his jump into the podcast world. He also shared a random David Hasselhoff anecdote and I made things awkward by telling him that my wife loves him.
If you're headed to Las Vegas, be sure to get your tickets to check out Tenors of Rock LIVE! And if you're a boxing fan, check out Jimmy's podcast Sin City Sluggers and follow the show on Twitter to find out which boxing legend he'll be chatting with next.
For this episode of the podcast, I've put together a little something I'm calling Vegas FAQ.
The concept is pretty simple; I've gathered up all the Vegas-related questions that I see asked most frequently on Twitter & Facebook - and even the ones I personally get asked most often - and I'm going to attempt to answer all of them here in this episode.
I'm going to cover a TON of material here - including questions about money & budgets, getting around Las Vegas, what the weather is like at different times of the year and even those totally subjective questions about hotels, restaurants & shows. And you can't have "Sin City" with the "Sin" so I'm even going to discuss liquor laws, marijuana laws & prostitution laws.
And because there's so much info in this episode, I've made my notes available to you - Click here to download the PDF file!
June 22, 2016 was a huge day for sports fans in Vegas - specifically hockey fans. That was the day that the NHL announced they'd approved plans for professional hockey to come to the Nevada desert, paving the way for the Vegas Golden Knights to officially become the first major professional sports franchise to call Las Vegas home.
As the Vegas Golden Knights get set to kick off their third season at T-Mobile Arena, my special guest for this episode of the podcast is Ken Boehlke - one of the creators and hosts of the SinBin Vegas Podcast. Along with his partner Jason, the pair have been podcasting about pro hockey in Vegas since long before there was actually pro hockey in Vegas.
Ken and I talked about the Golden Knights Cinderella-story inaugural season, how & why hockey seems to working in Vegas as compared to other "non-traditional" hockey markets, what effect - if any - the Raiders & the NFL coming to town will have on the Golden Knights and Ken shared his thoughts on the team's chances in the upcoming 2019-2020 NHL season.
Check out the SinBin Vegas Podcast on your favourite podcast platform or via their website at SinBin.Vegas. Also, be sure to follow SinBin Vegas on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
I don't know about you, but one of my favourite ways to pass the time between trips to Las Vegas is to watch movies featuring Las Vegas - and the list of possibilities is pretty much endless! From classics like the original "Oceans 11" & "Viva Las Vegas" to critically acclaimed films like "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas" & "Rain Man" to blockbuster hits like "Honeymoon in Vegas" and "The Hangover".
My guest for this episode of the show is David Rosen, the host of Piecing It Together, a movie podcast with a bit of a twist (which David explains in our conversation). I asked David to join me on my podcast to talk about Vegas movies; we discussed the best & worst of Vegas-related movies and shared some of our own personal favourites.
Be sure to follow David & Piecing It Together on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram
With visitors to Las Vegas getting hit with what seems like a never-ending parade of fees, it's no surprise that people are trying to find new ways to avoid getting beaten up in the pocketbook. And with the recent increase to Resort Fees at several strip-properties, one of the methods being used to save a few bucks is to head off the strip and book with AirBNB.
I personally have never used AirBNB in Las Vegas but I know someone who has: Chris Kim, the host of the Faces And Aces Las Vegas Podcast.
Chris is a frequent Vegas-visitor who's been podcasting about Las Vegas for several years now & he was willing to jump on my podcast talk about the pros & cons of using AirBNB rather than a hotel. He also shared a few stories of the good, the bad & the ugly of staying in a complete stranger's home.
Take a listen to the Faces and Aces Las Vegas Podcast and be sure to follow Chris on Twitter & Instagram.
And big thanks to Vegas Podtoons for animating Chris & I into our very own episode - Check it out on the Vegas Podtoons YouTube Channel!
My guest for this episode of the show is my very good friend & fellow frequent Vegas visitor, Adam West. Adam is the Midday Host & Program Director for Hot 100.5 FM in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Adam & I have been friends for over 20 years now; we worked together - and against each other - in the world of radio, we were temporary roommates at one time and we've even travelled to Las Vegas together.
Adam also has the distinct honour of being the first "repeat guest" on the podcast; he was one of the people I talked to back on Episode #8 of the show where we discussed the topic of bringing kids to Vegas.
Since appearing on the podcast, Adam and his wife took their kids to Las Vegas and I asked him to share the experience with me. We talked about the decision to do Las Vegas as a family vacation, the planning process involved in organizing the trip and he shared some great tips & tricks for attractions, accommodations and budget-friendly meals.
"Opinions are like a**holes...everyone has one."
For this episode of the podcast, I'm playing a little game called Unpopular Vegas Opinions, where I'll share some of my own personal opinions about Las Vegas that other people - LOTS of other people - don't seem to share. The genesis of this episode came from me sharing my thoughts on a well-known restaurant on a Vegas-related Facebook page and getting absolutely crucified for it.
While licking my wounds, I thought to myself, "Hey...this might make a fun podcast episode!" So, here we are!
Hash House A Go Go, tipping, Secret Pizza and resort fees are all targets of my Unpopular Vegas Opinions...enjoy! Plus, I share some of YOUR Unpopular Vegas Opinions as posted on Twitter!
My special guest for this episode of the podcast is Christina Ellis, the Director of Marketing for Ellis Island Casino & Brewery in Las Vegas.
Ellis Island is one of the coolest spots in Las Vegas & a favourite for both locals and tourists alike. Located a block east of the strip on Koval Lane, it's been a landmark in Las Vegas for just over 50 years. Ellis Island is unique in that it's a family-owned & family-run and in being so, they've been able to keep it "all about the customer".
Christina & I talked about the history of Ellis Island, the challenges of working with family, how Ellis Island has survived the ups & downs Las Vegas has faced in the last several years and plans for the future of Ellis Island. And of course, we also talked about the amazing food & drinks they serve including their famous Prime Rib, the $6.99 Steak & Eggs special and the $2.50 beers.
We've all heard the stories and seen it depicted in movies & television. If pop culture & rumours are to be believed, it's a top secret installation in the Nevada desert where the United States military conducts classified activities - including research on alien spacecraft & technology as well as extraterrestrial beings.
What's the Las Vegas connection to Area 51? It's two-fold:
First, it's well known that many Las Vegas residents work at Area 51, making the commute via Janet Airlines (they're the non-descript white planes with a red stripe that you've probably seen taking off & landing at McCarran International Airport).
Secondly, due to Area 51's proximity to Las Vegas (it's only a 2-3 hour drive away), thousands of people each year make the drive out to see the gates and maybe get a glimpse of something...bizarre.
Friend of the show & fellow Vegas Podcaster, Chris Kim, the host of Faces and Aces Las Vegas had the opportunity to talk to Braden & Dan who are the hosts of the Alien Theorists Theorizing Podcast about their journey to Area 51...as well as some of the "weirdness" they experienced on their trek to the gates.
Chris was gracious enough to allow me to share the interview on my podcast...enjoy!
Be sure to follow Alien Theorists Theorizing on Twitter & Instagram and take a listen to their show.
For even more Vegas-related content, follow Faces And Aces Las Vegas on Twitter & Instagram and be sure to listen to the podcast.
If you want to plan your own trek out to the fabled Area 51, check out this great article that outlines the best way to get to & from the back gate...and what to see along the way.
My special guest for this episode of the podcast is Steve Cyr.
Steve is a Casino Host in Las Vegas, but he's not just any Casino Host. Steve Cyr is a member of a very elite group of Casino Hosts who deal exclusively with "Whales".
For the uninitiated, "Whales" are the people who come to Sin City to gamble massive sums of money; it's not uncommon for them to drop upwards of a million dollars over the course of a weekend in Vegas. To get them to come to town - along with their giant bank accounts - Casino Hosts will hook them up with lavish comps...like flights on private jets, limo service to & from the casino, high-end suites & villas, ringside seats to UFC fights and pretty much anything else you can imagine.
Steve Cyr is the guy makes all of that happen - and so much more.
Steve was gracious enough to invite me into his home for our conversation. We talked about everything from his start in the casino business to how he re-invented the way hosting was being done to some of the more bizarre requests he's gotten from his Whales.
If you want to know more about Steve Cyr, check out his website and be sure to follow him on Twitter & Instagram. Also, be sure to pick up a copy of the book, "Whale Hunting In The Desert: Secrets of a Vegas Superhost" by Deke Castleman, which chronicles Steve's rise to become one of the top hosts in Las Vegas.
If you're not drooling by the end of this episode, you should probably check your pulse to see if you're still alive. This time around, we're talking about a Las Vegas staple: PRIME RIB!
My guest for this episode of the show is Kristen DeSilva. By day, she's a content producer for a Las Vegas TV station...but off the clock, she's a Prime Rib aficionado who's made it her goal to eat as many different Prime Rib dinners around Las Vegas as possible. If you follow Kristen on Twitter or Instagram, you can track her progress with photos of her amazing meals.
If you want to share in Kristen's experience, here's her list of Prime Rib picks:
Primarily Prime Rib at South Point Hotel & Casino, Lawry's Las Vegas, Village Pub & Cafe at Ellis Island, Bob Taylor's Original Ranch House, Siegel's 1941 at El Cortez Hotel & Casino, Marilyn's Cafe at Tuscany Suites & Casino, Golden Steer Steakhouse and Jerry's Famous Coffeeshop at Jerry's Nugget Casino.
It's no secret that Las Vegas has a somewhat shady past...and that can pretty much 100% be attributed to the Mob's history in Las Vegas.
There are a lot of myths & legends surrounding Vegas' association with the world of organized crime and I wanted to get to the bottom of it all, so I turned to the experts.
The Mob Museum is one of my favorite Las Vegas attractions. It's the definitive authority on Mob history, not just in Las Vegas but all across the US & around the world. The Mob Museum is always on my to-do list when I'm in town and it's always one of my top recommendations for people travelling to Las Vegas.
My guest on this episode of the podcast is Geoff Schumacher, the Senior Director of Content for The Mob Museum. We talked about Las Vegas' humble history as a stop on the railway line, the growth of gambling & the connection to organized crime and Geoff helped to separate fact from fiction when it comes to some of those legendary stories of the mob's involvement in the building of Las Vegas.
Keep up with the Mob Museum by following them on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Get your tickets to visit the Mob Museum here.
The topic of discussion for this episode of the podcast is one that affects pretty much anyone who visits Las Vegas: RESORT FEES!
For those unfamiliar with the concept, "Resort Fees" are extra fees that most Vegas hotels will charge guests in addition to the actual room rate. Depending on the hotel you're staying at, those fees range anywhere from an additional $25-$45 per night and for lower-end hotels, the resort fee is actually HIGHER than the published room rate.
And what do you get for that extra cash? The hotels try to claim they're giving you access to the pool, resort wi-fi, the fitness center, free local calls and other goodies. In fact, what they're actually giving you is nothing.
Joining me for this episode of the podcast is Lauren Wolfe, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who, like a lot of other who travel to Las Vegas - and elsewhere in the US where the Resort Fee Plague is spreading - got tired of paying this so-called mandatory fee in exchange for, essentially, nothing. So, she decided to do something about it.
Lauren is the founder & creator of Kill Resort Fees, a website not only devoted to eliminating resort fees entirely, but educating people on how to avoid resort fees, how to get their resort fees refunded and how to force the government to take action against this illegal practice.
In addition to checking out the website, you can follow Kill Resort Fees on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
My special guest for this episode is Lisa Marie Smith. Lisa is a Las Vegas-based singer, dancer & model. She's appeared as a headliner in shows on the Vegas strip at the Stratosphere and the Palazzo. In late-2017, she signed her first record deal with Fervor Records and in November 2018, she released her debut self-titled EP featuring her single, "Get Closer To Me". Lisa is currently in the process of launching her new band project, LMS.
Lisa is also one of my closest friends. In the time we've known each other, she's become like a sister to me. I've introduced her to Canadian delicacies like All-Dressed & Ketchup Chips, Buttertarts and Nanaimo Bars and she's taken me and my wife out to some awesome Vegas restaurants, bars and shows. Lisa has been there for me during some very tough times and I've been fortunate enough to be able to do the same for her.
During our podcast conversation we talked about growing up in Las Vegas, touring around the world performing on cruise ships, her charity work, her vocal teaching and we also talked about some of her recent personal physical struggles.
Follow Lisa on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Stream her EP on Apple Music and Spotify or download from iTunes.
Here's the scenario: You're walking down the strip with your significant other enjoying the scenery, taking in the sights and sounds just minding your own business when a total stranger approaches you and says, "What a lovely couple! How'd you like free tickets to a show?"
The first-timers and newbies are thinking, "Sure...I'd LOVE free tickets to a show!" meanwhile the Vegas veterans are thinking, "RUN! RUN AS FAST YOU CAN! DON'T ENGAGE! DON'T TALK! JUST RUN!" Nothing in Vegas is free...and the price for those "free tickets" is sitting through the dreaded TIME SHARE PRESENTATION!
To navigate the murky waters of Time Shares, I've enlisted the help of an expert: Lisa Ann Schreier - aka The Time Share Crusader - is a consumer advocate who's been involved in the time share community for over 20 years. She's an author & blogger who works to keep people up to date on the time share industry as well as the questionable companies and practices out there.
My special guest for this episode of the podcast is John Di Domenico. John is a Las Vegas-based actor & performer who specializes in character impersonation. John does this on stage all over the world, on TV, in movies and at corporate events all over the world.
He has an impressive roster of about 30 different characters he portrays but one particular character has been keeping him very VERY busy as of late...
John is recognized as the best Donald Trump impersonator in the world (or as Donald himself might say, "Tremendous"). You've likely seen him as Trump in one of his multiple appearances on Fox News, late night talk shows (including Conan O'Brien) or in his Facebook Watch series, "The Trump Show." John also landed his first Vegas headlining gig in "Esther Goldberg's Totally Outrageous Brunch" at the SLS and recently released an Amazon Prime special, "Fake News: A Trump Story" which is now streaming.
John was kind enough to invite me into his home where we talked about his start in acting & character work, the changing landscape of comedy and his charity work. And of course, when you're talking to the number one Trump impersonator in the world, you're going to talk a bit of politics too.
Las Vegas attracts over 42 million visitors every year from all over the world with a good number of those people making their first ever trip to Sin City. Las Vegas is one of those places that can be very overwhelming for a first-timer. But don't worry...your friends will help with suggestions on places to stay, where to eat, what shows to see and what attractions to go to.
What your friends probably won't tell you about are all the things they did WRONG on their trips to Las Vegas; mistakes that can literally make or break your vacation. To do that, I've enlisted the help of an expert who - quite literally - wrote the book on "Classic Vegas Mistakes."
This episode, I chat with David Demontmollin, a 20-year casino industry veteran who's worked for both Strip and Off-Strip properties in Las Vegas. He starred in Discovery Channel's smash hit, "American Casino" and has appeared on multiple TV & radio shows, talking about casino travel. David has also channeled his expertise into several books including "Las Vegas' Little Black Book: A Guys Guide To The Perfect Vegas Weekend" and "Classic Vegas Mistakes" - both of which are available on Amazon.
David and I talked about his experience in the industry, recent changes in the casino & gaming business - including those dreaded Resort Fees - and those Classic Vegas Mistakes. If you want more Classic Vegas Mistakes, head over and follow David on Twitter.
Freshly back from Vegas Trip #2 of 2019, it's time for another Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report!
And I'm trying something a little different for the trip report this time around; rather than a blow-by-blow, day-by-day report, I'm going to hit the high spots of the trip, share some reviews and share my experiences with you. You know that feeling of dread you get when your friends drag out the photo album and make you look at every single vacation photo? Yeah...that's what I'm trying to avoid.
This Trip Report features reviews of The Park MGM, Tom's Urban at New York New York, The Henry at The Cosmopolitan and Marilyn's Cafe at The Tuscany. My wife and I also had the pleasure of hanging out at the Piazza Lounge in The Tuscany for Kenny Davidsen's Celebrity Piano Bar and we took in some NHL Hockey action at T-Mobile Arena as the Vegas Golden Knights played host to the Winnipeg Jets.