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The 7 Best Las Vegas Alternatives For a Fun Weekend Trip

Want to skip out on Sin City? We get it. These seven cities will give you more bang for your buck without skimping on the fun.

By Emily Handy on January 20, 2022

Las Vegas NV
Las Vegas / iStock/Onfokus

Picture this: You want to get the whole gang together and indulge in all things Sin City has to offer — sans the extremely pricey airfare and accommodations along the strip. Or maybe you’ve recently been to Vegas and are seeking a new place to explore. Where to go? Lucky for you, we have rounded up a list of our top Las Vegas alternatives with similar vibes where you and your crew can head for a weekend of fun and debauchery. 

1. Niagara Falls, NY 

You know Niagara Falls for, well, the falls. But did you know that this New York city nestled along the Canadian border is home to several glittering casinos? Take a stroll along Old Falls Street, a three-block entertainment district and try your luck at one of the casinos, or enjoy a live concert at the historic Rapids Theater. Of course, don’t miss taking in the majesty of Niagara Falls. We recommend the Cave of the Winds tour that takes guests donned in hooded raincoats through a cave and along the foot of the thundering falls. 

2. Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs makes our cut because, while much more laid back than Vegas, it does have numerous golf courses, world-class cuisine, beautiful desert surroundings, and luxurious resorts and spas in the same fashion as Vegas. Try to win big at the Agua Caliente Casino, a small yet upscale casino. Palm Springs is also home to the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway house, where the king himself spent his honeymoon with Priscilla in 1967. Tourists to Palm Springs can indulge in the finer things in life and enjoy the city’s stunning natural surroundings. If you visit, be sure to take a drive down the beautiful Palm Canyon Drive through downtown Palm Springs to check out all the city has to offer.

Atlantic City NJ
Atlantic City / iStock/AUDREY SCRIPP

3. Atlantic City, NJ 

What’s better than Vegas? Vegas with beaches! While undoubtedly second in line to Vegas in terms of gambling meccas in America, Atlantic City does boast free beaches along the casino-studded Boardwalk. Although the city took a hit during COVID, there isn’t a shortage of things to do along the six-mile-long nostalgic Atlantic City Boardwalk, including two piers with attractions and rides, restaurants, music venues, and of course, seven casinos. Some favorite casinos include the iconic Golden Nugget and Caesars Atlantic City. For a more upscale casino and resort experience, be sure to book the Borgata, an MGM Resorts property with world-class restaurants and entertainment. 

4. Biloxi, MS

Located along the Gulf of Mexico, Biloxi is a beach town known for its casinos. It’s home to the Forbes Travel Guide recommended Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, which is often called the “Baby Bellagio” due to its immense size and beautiful interiors. Up the road sits the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino — also recommended by the Forbes Travel Guide. Be sure to visit in the warmer months to take advantage of the Gulf and all it has to offer. Just a heads up: Biloxi’s casinos aren’t as walkable as some other gambling destinations, so be aware that you may need a car to get around. A quick drive across the bridge takes you to D’Iberville, where you will find the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, a newer addition to the Mississippi casino scene with award-winning dining and beautiful views of the Gulf. 

5. Reno, NV 

While Vegas is certainly flashy, Reno sets itself apart as a gambling city with history and soul. In fact, Reno’s mining town history actually predates Vegas by 50 years. The “Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno is touted as a more relaxed and friendlier city than Las Vegas. Another plus? Reno’s weather is much more palatable than Vegas and boasts all four seasons. Of course, Reno is home to more than 20 casinos, including The Atlantis, dubbed the best casino outside of Vegas by USA Today Travel, and the glittering Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino that defines the Reno skyline. The city is also super close to Lake Tahoe and all it offers (skiing anyone?!). 

6. St. Louis, MO

A city known for its sports teams, giant Gateway Arch, and soul food, St. Louis has also made a name for itself as a Midwest gambling destination. The city boasts five riverboat casinos (Missouri state laws state that all casinos have to be on the water), with the newer River City Casino Hotel being a fan favorite. But, like Vegas, this city isn’t short on entertainment and nightlife. Bar hop around the Delmar Loop, explore the blues scene in Soulard, or head to Ballpark Village to catch a game and have a drink at the Budweiser Brew House

New Orleans
Courtesy of Lars Plougmann under a CC 2.0 license.

7. New Orleans, LA

Last, but certainly not least, is the party city of New Orleans. Nightlife in the Big Easy is unparalleled. Of course, visitors have to stroll down the raucous Bourbon Street and sip on a Hurricane before heading to jazzy Frenchmen Street, where musicians often start dance parties in the street. For even more late-night entertainment, burlesque and cabaret clubs dot the streets in the French Quarter. Feeling lucky? Head to the only land-based casino in Louisiana, Harrah’s Casino, for more than 2,000 slot machines, 100 table games, and a poker room. Make your way across the river to the smaller (yet still impressive) Boomtown New Orleans Casino for even more chances at winning big.

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