Las Vegas with Less Money

After my Nth time to Las Vegas, I get the odd request for the best things to do and see when first-timers go.

In fact, one came a few weeks after my most recent visit to the Consumer Electronics Show 2011. I duly sent off an email, and got told by reply that I should blog it, so – here you are! My tips on getting the best bang for your Las Vegas Buck.


When you come out of L.V. airport, if there are 3 of you or less (and you’ve not hired a car) consider getting the shared shuttle instead of the taxi. For $6 each or so you get driven to your hotel (if it’s on the strip) with a bunch of other people who are also doing the same – great place to start random conversations.


If it’s your first time, I’d recommend staying on the strip, some bargains can be had if you shop around. You’ll probably be visiting a lot of hotels on your trip, so don’t worry about paying top dollar for a top hotel unless you intend to stay in that one the whole time.


Make a particular effort to see the Wynn and the Cosmopolitan – also mooch through the Bellagio, Venetian and Paris. If you ever watched the series ‘Las Vegas’ pop over to the Montecarlo hotel. There’s a pretty good sushi bar on the ground floor there.

Things you MUST MUST MUST Do in Las Vegas.

0. The best free thing in Las Vegas is the Fountain show at the Bellagio. Every time I watch it, I find it utterly breathtaking. 

1. Eat at the Wicked Spoon in the Cosmopolitan hotel – 29 bucks gets you fed and watered (more if you want booze) – prices are correct as at Jan 2011

2. Go see a show: it may cost a bit, but ‘O’ at the Bellagio is SPECTACULAR. you are best off getting blocks 203 (or 303 on the cheap). Section 10X will be cool, but you’ll be paying a premium for being closer to the stage. You may get wet in the first few rows. go for the insider tour and for $260 you get great seats and a backstage tour – which I haven’t done ! Jan 2011 saw me with a ticket in section 303 at the back costing $100.

3. BARGAIN ALERT: if you gamble at tables in Paris or the Wynn, you will be given complementary drinks while you’re at the tables.

4. Yes, do the Fashion show mall, get 30mins at the oxygen bar but if you’re really into shopping, hit the PREMIUM OUTLET STORES for better prices. There’s an all you can eat japanese which is good value here if you’re not burger-inclined.

5. Other places to eat:

Margaritaville – surf food, and a brilliant evening out on the strip, try the tuna tataki – they also do lots of steaks.

There’s a Japanese restaurant in the MGM grand called Shibuya which is very tasty  – I was taken there for dinner and consequently have no idea about the prices.

I would stock up at breakfast time, generally hotels will have an all-you-can-eat buffet where you can stuff in food to last you the day. If you’re staying on the strip, you can also wander into Denny’s for breakfast 24 hours a day. That’s a LOT of pancakes and hash browns.

6. Ride the Monorail! it gives you a great idea of where things are. It’s a terrible attempt at infrastructure and not actually near that much but it’s fun. $12 day pass.

7. Go to the shops at the Venetian and eat italian food under the fake sky. The gondolas are nice but be warned v. expensive – unless you’ve got a yearning, don’t worry too much about it.

8. If you like roller coasters, then go to New York New York and stick everything you own in a locker near the coaster queue. Buy a re-ride, you’ll want it! Also hit the Stratosphere hotel – have drinks on the nearly-top-floor bar, and go up on the roof for some truly hair raising rides. I highly recommend the drop ride on the top of the tower at night, which gives you incredible views of the strip. Ask nicely to be facing it when you’re hurled into the air.

The rides are not for the faint hearted, but the bar is the nicest part of the hotel, and they do vitamin water Detox/retox cocktails.

9. If you’re into quirky, look up both the Neon Museum and the Pinball Hall of Fame. You could also visit Fremont Street (the old town) although I’ve not had a chance to get down there yet. If you want to shoot things with live ammo, go to American Shooters who will let you fire real guns on their range.

and finally

10. Learn how to play craps!


It looks a lot like a city, so it’s easy to forget that Las Vegas is in the middle of the desert. So drink lots and lots of water. You might want to bring along some throat sweets too – a combination of dry air, lots of cheering and rollercoasters means you might be a bit croaky after a few days. At night it gets cold, so even if the sun is out, it’s worth packing an extra layer.

Have a lovely time, and let me know how you get on – Viva Las Vegas, baby !

CES 2009 – more pictures

A few pics from the last few days at CES – I’ve got a couple of great interviews in the can including one from a guy at Microsoft who was on the development team for Windows 7, and Akon – although I’ll edit these on the plane home tomorrow (if I don’t sleep, that is).

fatal1ty at the creative stand ces 2009

Fatal1ty kicking butt at the Creative Stand CES 2009


look at the thickness of those babies!

Said like Comic Book Man from the Simpsons: thickest.... cables.... ever!!!!!


where all the proper work gets done

CES 2009 Networking centre


ces 2009 - after closing!

Emptying the floor at the end of the day, CES 2009


bbc click shoot the stevie wonder interview at ces 2009

Stevie Wonder and the BBC Click team - shooting the interview


diana ross singing at the monster party ces 2009

Diana Ross singing at the Monster Party, CES 2009 - I'm at the front!


lamborghini on a stand at ces 2009

Lamborghini at CES 2009

Las Vegas CES 09

Good morning  – at least, it’s morning here in Las Vegas.  It’s the day before CES 2009, the world’s largest trade show for Consumer Technology, and the largest annual trade show in the USA according to the data sheet next to me. 

070120091224 by LJRich

Las Vegas CES 2009

Apparently, people from over 140 countries attend the show, and its popularity is reflected by the packed plane I arrived on yesterday, where, believe it or not, the person sitting in the seat next to me ate my food whilst I was asleep – why? Because apparently, she didn’t like the chicken. 

here comes the monorail! Las vegas

Las Vegas Monorail - $5 a ride

CES debuts from years past include the VCR in 1970, the Camcorder in 1981, HDTV in 1998, Microsoft’s XBox in 2001 and OLED TV in 2008.  Consequently, this morning I awoke with 2 intentions – 1) get up early and have a look round and 2) hit the all-you-can-eat buffet with a vengeance.

all you can eat at las vegas buffet - 1st one to explode wins by LJRich

There are more stations behind me - a shrine to gluttony. Yippee!

So, after a filling meal of pancakes, french toast, potatoes, eggs, fruit and a cinnamon bun, I’m ready for some serious gadget input. 

lj rich blogging in the press room at ces 2009, las vegas  blogging this in the Press Room!Tonight’s party is the Pepcom Digital Experience, where many exhibitors are showing off their new stuff. I shall be bringing my trusty camcorder with me to record anything utterly bonkers or incredibly useful.


Please let me know if you’d like me to look up something for you.

Back in Blighty – Back to Work

So I’ve finally returned back to the UK, absolutely tired out, and completely and totally culture shocked by the craziness that is Las Vegas and the ridiculousness that was CES.

I found out that there were 2 million square feet of exhibition space of which I probably only managed to get across a fraction- and even then that was with incredibly hard work and very, very, very comfortable shoes.

For now I’m back in the UK – once I’ve finished unpacking and sorting through my email, I’ll be spending time getting ready to talk about JVC’s MG330 HD camcorder on QVC UK . For the purposes of this blog, and for general curiosity, I’ve found out that a) QVC is the biggest electronics retailer in the world, b) Marco Polo House, where the studio is, was named after real broadcasting Satellites in Space and c) the UK arm reaches 21 million households, which explains why people come and chat to me in really odd places like Milton Keynes British Rail Station.

Actually, it’s great fun when people come and say hello most of the time – although I once got recognised at a certain large 24hour supermarket at 3am buying Imodium – that’s the not-so-glamorous side of life in the public eye – “Hi LJ, how are you? Oh, not too well I see” was the gist of that particular conversation.

On the plus side, when I was flown over to QVC in America, where it’s the 5th most watched channel in the States, I went to the mall the day after the show, and someone came up to me and said “Wow, you’re that videogame girl from England!” – that made my week!

So I’ll be broadcasting live for 24 hours on the 27th January and it will feature JVC’s hard drive camcorder that I took around CES with me to Vegas. So that should be quite fun. It’s still quite surreal chatting away to my phone and I really am enjoying this blogging service, it has to be said. SpinVox might even come over and film me doing this which should be even more fun, although I don’t think it will be very telegenic to have SpinVox film me doing what I’m doing right now which, at the moment, is my laundry 🙂

I can’t believe it’s already halfway through January… I’m in the studio with Graham Wood working on some exciting music projects, and this week I’ll pop over after the initial recording session to do what is known in the trade as “Tweakage” – I’ll also be composing a mini ident (that’s about 3 seconds of music) for a digital device, which is always exciting, as I love to take into account the acoustics of the device, and what it looks like before working out what tune it should have!

spoken through SpinVox tweaked by LJ

Lost at The Venetian in Vegas

Take a look at the picture on the left – what really got me is that I wasn’t outside, I was on the 3rd floor of the gargantuan Sands Expo / Venetian Mutant-Sized Hotel Complex.

So I spent today at the Billboard Digital Music Seminar at CES. If you add 8 hours of interesting interviews about the state of the music industry, together with (for some reason) air conditioners in the conference room set to “superconducting”, and a quite frankly impressive amount of coffee, I was not just disoriented, I was M&S disoriented.

Just to give you an idea of how odd it is to happen upon a mini Venice, this is the back view that I came from. It’s not enough that you’re wandering around St Mark’s Square, eating gelato and hearing opera music piped through the hidden speakers – to make it even more italian, the gondoliers are all accomplished singers, warbling sweetly as they punt you around the man-made canal.The more I see of this city, the more I’m falling in love with it. It’s so bonkers, I feel more normal.

Last night, I bumped into a whole bunch of female gamers, one of whom had the same birthday as me. We’re chatting in the taxi queue, and then we’re in a taxi to Caesar’s Palace, where we go to a place called Pure, a very exclusive club. I wish I could have stayed there, but, dear reader, I had to get back to do some editing, dedicated as I am to the cause.

I tried my hand at Craps tonight, and appear to have quite the knack of throwing the dice – I’m still amusingly foggy over the rules of this baffling game, but I put 20 bucks on the table, and walked away with 32 – yes, the last of the big spenders, but I’d rather spend my money on the coffee so I can make the most of my last few hours here. By the way, today’s vid is TV with a twist. Catch it at, or type “LJ Does Vegas” into Youtube and do please write something nice after you’ve seen it!

p.s. Here I am at 2am watching FileZilla do its thing from the hotel. I love the fact that because there are over 180,000 geeky tech folk converged in one place, myself included, we’re all trying to get online, all the time. The internet connection is pitiful 🙂 I also love the fact that the queue for Starbucks downstairs in the morning is amusingly long – every time I stand in it, I wonder if there would be the same queue for coffee if there was some kind of holistic health show on instead. I swear, caffeine is the drug of choice for the tech industry. Apparently, the coffee place in the convention centre actually ran out of beans on the first day of the conference, they’d underestimated the caffeine consumption of a bunch of techies by quite a large margin ! Right, I’m *really* going to bed now. Goodnight.

PC Building, Overclocking and CES Mania

It’s Day 2 of CES, and I am still shellshocked by the whole thing… not only did I attend Tiger Direct’s annual PC building race last night – I left there with a PC building apron and a great bit of footage! That’s already on Virgin’s site. This was like a modern-day gladiatorial event, with some of the audience shouting so loudly, I could feel the sound vibration going right through my camcorder!

I then went on to Corsair’s Pirate Party, which was even more surreal that I expected – there I got to chat with Fugger and Kingpin, two of the world’s premier overclocking afficionados.

They talked me through exactly what overclocking involves, and then showed me a computer that looked like it might have been built by the Borg. I’m FTP-ing the footage across right now, while I’m in the “Blog Pit” in the Sands Convention Center, Vegas, before recording some audio voiceover material in the booth to go with the piece.

To have a look at the video footage, which will probably be available tomorrow, UK time, just head on over to

Vegas or Bust

It’s crazy out here! I’m at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show – and it hasn’t even started yet, and I’m already overwhelmed. Nothing you see on the telly can truly prepare you for the opulent experience that is Las Vegas. Mix that with gadgets and I’m in a very happy place indeed. That, plus the fact that the hotel I’m in has a sushi bar downstairs that is absolutely incredible.


I’ve just been trimming footage for my video blog with Virgin Media, which should be reachable here: and it’s taking a lot longer than I thought – I got off the plane and haven’t stopped since, there’s so much to look at, and hopefully the vid will give you a taster of the gadget banquet that is CES.
Tomorrow (today!) I’m going to the Yahoo! keynote speech, and visiting Gibson to see their self-tuning guitar, which sounds heavenly. I once tuned someone’s guitar at Stratford Platform 8 because their B string was so painfully flat, tuning was the only non-violent solution.


Currently I should be asleep, but I want to ftp those files over to Virgin so you get to see the vid at around 5pm UK time – too excited about “nearly live reporting” to sleep a full night, so I’m going to finish sending these files over, and see if I can get a quick bath and snooze in before Yahoo’s keynote speech at 11am. Back soon!