Vegas Escapes: How not to be a jerk about tipping

The Bellagio water show will host an unusual performance in its fountains.
The Bellagio water show will host an unusual performance in its fountains. Meanwhile, if you’re visiting Las Vegas, we also offer a primer on gratuities.
(George Rose / Getty Images)

Of course you know how to tip. You’re no rube. So, quickly: How much do you give the concierge for getting you tough-to-score show tickets?

Your days as a classless act may be over, thanks to our guide to gratuities in our favorite Nevada playground. And speaking of playing, check out who will be playing in the Bellagio fountains this weekend and next month, where to get valet parking for free, why Elvis was unusual (as if we didn’t think he had some quirks before) and what’s the biggest draw at an oyster bar.

My name is Catharine Hamm, and I’m the travel editor for the Los Angeles Times. All of this and more from the city that rarely sleeps and hardly ever snoozes. Let’s get crackin’!

Some pennies for your tipping thoughts

Tipping is supposed to be a reward for a job well done, yet sometimes it seems like a financial gun to your head. Never mind that. If you receive good service, showing your appreciation is not only appropriate but appreciated by those who rely on tips to make a living. Jay Jones’ article tells you what’s right and what’s rude.

Acrobatic artists at play ... in Bellagio’s fountains

“But you’re not supposed to be in those fountains,” you might say in outrage, and you would be correct — unless of course you have an invitation to do so. Fortunately, the Cirque du Soleil’s performers from its “O” show have permission and will help the fountains and the show celebrate their 21st birthdays. Cheers!


Cast members from "O" during a performance inside Bellagio.
Cast members from “O” demonstrate their balancing skills during a performance inside Bellagio. They will take their talents outdoors during upcoming acts beside the resort’s famous fountains.
(Tomasz Rossa)

No car in Vegas? No problem

It’s Saturday on the Strip, and you need to go somewhere. Why not just get your car out of the parking garage? Maybe because you’d rather poke both eyes out with a sharp stick than grapple with the traffic. If that’s you, check out this guide to getting around without your private vehicle. Besides saving wear and tear on your nerves, it just might save you time.

But if you do have a car?

You’ll be pleased to know that you won’t have to pay valet parking fees if you’re a guest at the Wynn or Encore. And by guest, we don’t mean you have to stay at those resorts; you just have to be “visiting” them. This is a turn-back-the-clock moment for those who remember when parking was free everywhere all the time.

Charges to park will totally disappear when Wynn-Encore rolls back valet parking fees Sept. 30.
Charges to park will totally disappear when Wynn-Encore rolls back valet parking fees Sept. 30. That’s right, you will be able to self- or valet-park for free.
(Jay Jones)

16½ million reasons to be a casino exec

Taking a break from our “things to know, places to go,” we offer you a peek at the now-for-sale home of a Las Vegas casino executive whose neighbors are Steve Wynn and David Copperfield. The 14,000-square-foot manse is listed for $16.5 million, but at least you’ll get a seven-car garage and 10 bathrooms.

Go for the oysters; stay for the pan roasts

Here’s why you visit an oyster bar in Vegas: oysters, of course. Well, yes, but many people go for the pan roasts, which writer Michael Hiller describes as an “alchemy of seafood, roasted tomatoes, clam juice and a kick of spice, all bubbled in cream.” Here are three places where you’ll find this little bit of heaven.

Jacqueline McMillion has been cooking pan roasts at the Oyster Bar at Harrah's Las Vegas since the restaurant opened 13 years ago.
(Michael Hiller)

The shorter the better? Some think so

Elvis did 636 concerts in a row. Today’s artists? Not even close. The good news is that you may be able to choose from among several superstars on any trip to Las Vegas. When you read through Jay Jones’ lists of some of the residencies, it’s pretty astounding. And it also makes it easier to plan a weekend around a certain performance.

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Until next time, we wish you all the fun you can find and all the cash you need to have it.