Survival guide for enjoying the first weekend of March Madness in Las Vegas

Mar 5, 2018 |

Being a neurotic planner has its benefits. In my case, doing a little work in advance usually leads to more time for fun when I'm ready for it. Hopefully, my neuroses can help make your visit to Las Vegas for the first weekend of March Madness more fun too. This is one of the busiest weekends of the year and planning goes a long way to a great time.

Betting On The Games

I’m a strong proponent of using apps to place wagers at all times of the year. However, during major touristy events like the first weekend of March Madness, they’re even more useful. There will be hundreds of thousands of people betting on the games and lines can be as long as 30 to 60 long throughout the day.

Fund a mobile wagering account at the sportsbook before doing anything and place your wagers throughout the weekend without wasting time standing in line. Some of the apps will even let you fund and withdraw from your account online so you won’t have to wait in line again. You won’t get a drink ticket for your wagers but you’ll save a lot of time and can even get down on some In Play action.

Pregame Viewing Prep

Location scouting is crucial to not wasting time wandering around the casino while the games are on. Something as simple as knowing where restrooms are in relation to the sportsbook or party can save time. Additionally, not every bar or restaurant in a casino has their own private restroom. There’s usually a restroom just off the sportsbook but that might not be the quickest place to go since every guy in the sportsbook will be in there eventually. Find out the closest relief locations for your Madness. You won't be sorry.

Since you’ll be at a sportsbook or party all day, you’ll probably need to charge your mobile device(s). Finding an outlet for a plug or USB cable may not be easy. Look at the viewing location to see if there are outlets available. Casinos have been keen to add USB outlets at all new bars. Some casinos even have USB charging available at gaming tables now. The last place you’ll probably look are the slot machines, but many of the new games have slots for a USB cable.

Food and Refreshments (not booze)

This might not be much of a big deal if you’re at a party with all you can eat and drink, however, if you’re watching the games in a sportsbook you should know where you can easily grab some grub. Some sportsbooks have a deli attached for a quick bite. You’ll have to run to a restaurant outside of the sportsbook at other casinos. Save time and find a place to grab a bite or two during the day. See if you can order online or by phone and save even more time.

It’s important to stay hydrated even if you’re not at March Madness to drink booze for 12 hours a day. Water is crucial for a day out in the dry air of Las Vegas. You can find cheap water at drug stores or malls around the casinos. Gift shops are cheaper than bars for a bottle of refreshing water.

Coffee drinkers like me should also know where the best cup of coffee is located. Casino coffee is usually pretty awful so finding a coffee shop is crucial. I prefer iced coffee for March Madness because it's easier to drink fast than hot coffee.

Dining

This is separate from food because I’m talking about a delicious dinner after the games are done - or after you're done with the games. The best restaurants - especially steakhouses - will be booked throughout the first weekend of March Madness. Make a reservation even if you only think that you might want to end the day with a great meal. You can always cancel the reservation if you can’t make it. Walk-ins at the best restaurants are nearly impossible during this weekend.

The OpenTable app is great for Las Vegas. Not only are restaurant reservations a breeze but it will show you if/when tables are available. Say you’re at The Venetian with 3 other people and don’t know where to eat and don’t feel like wandering. You can easily find seating info right from the app for all restaurants in the casino.

Party

St. Patrick’s Day falls on Saturday during the first weekend of March Madness. There’s always a party at New York-New York at Nine Fine Irishmen and the Brooklyn Bridge for the day. There will be green beer flowing all around town if you want to take a break from the games. O’Sheas at The Linq also has a block party for the day.

Dayclubs are open during the first weekend of March Madness. If you’re looking to take the party to another level you might want to rent out a cabana so you can watch the games and enjoy the poolside fun. I recommend saving this for Saturday or Sunday since there are fewer games. The mobile wagering apps come in very handy when you’re at the pools.

Las Vegas will have so much entertainment between concerts, residencies, and nightclubs for the long weekend of March Madness. Pollstar is a great resource to find something that best suits your entertainment. Some big names in Vegas for the weekend include Tiesto, Lionel Richie, and Kenny Chesney. Shows will sell out in advance so you might want to get tickets now if you really want to see someone.