A visit to Las Vegas for a Canadian is probably no worse a culture shock than for Visitors from elsewhere in the United States.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- The drinking and gambling age is 21. If you are from Alberta, and you are 18, have your last drink at the airport before you leave. If you are 19 or 20, and you like to gamble, stay home.
- This should be obvious – everything is in U.S. dollars. You can get money pretty easily from ATMs, cash advances from your credit cards (with hefty service fees), cash your U.S. dollar traveller’s cheques at any casino cashier. If you have Canadian you need to exchange, best to do it at home. You probably wouldn’t have a problem changing it at the casino cashier either, but why chance it – and the exchange rate probably wouldn’t be stellar.
- In America, Americans drink American beer. If you are a beer snob, stick to hard alcohol (plenty of yard long margaritas are available on the strip). You can also ask for popular imports at most places – like Heineken, for example.
- Note: this one has become much less prevelant in recent years: If you are a coffee snob, you will not find cream in all restaurants and buffets. They seem to think it is really strange when you do not unquestionably put milk substitute in your coffee. If this is an issue for you, you can order a glass of milk at the buffet (and pour it in yourself), or you can get your coffee at a familiar coffee shop like Starbucks.
- We just tried this one. If you are a “Scotch” snob, forget it. J&B is the best you’ll find in most places. Interestingly, if you want “Canadian Club”, just ask for “CC” and they know exactly what you want.
General Cultural Abnormalities
- Prostitution is illegal within the Las Vegas city limits, but there are plenty of people passing out literature advertising such services.
- Drinking in public is illegal, but everybody does it, and it is very tolerated (in fact, you’ll run into lots of official sorts who mistakenly believe it’s legal). I suspect it is on the books for situations where people become unruly. Don’t act like a buffoon, and you can take your drink between resorts (ever wonder why they all use the same drink glasses?).
- Otherwise ordinary people are walking down the Strip at all hours of the day or night.
Keep in mind, Las Vegas is an American city with over one million residents. There are dangerous areas to avoid. For your security, always stay in the tourist areas.