Harrah's is one of nine Caesars Entertainment owned casino-hotels in Las Vegas and the Northern-most of the cluster of eight on the Vegas Strip. It has a long and colorful history.
The property was originally the Tumbleweed motel back in 1949, after which it became the Riverboat Casino (1971), and then the Holiday Casino (1973) before acquiring its present name in 1992. The property underwent a major renovation and expansion in 1997. Harrah's Las Vegas is now part of the huge conglomerate of Caesars Entertainment owned properties worldwide participating in the highly acclaimed Total Rewards Program. With more than 2,500 rooms and suites, guests can choose from a wide variety of accommodations.
Harrah's Las Vegas does not have a reputation as being particularly child-friendly. However, it is home to three long running shows that are perfect for children. In addition, its fabulous center Strip location puts its guests in easy walking distance of many more family-friendly attractions and entertainment options, both at other Caesars Entertainment owned casino hotels and at other properties such as the Mirage and the Venetian. Harrah's is not the fanciest hotel on the Strip by any means, but considering its exceptional location, the very reasonable room rates make staying there a bargain.
As mentioned, Harrah's is a Total Rewards casino. If you already hold a Total Rewards card, be sure to have it handy when you make your reservation. Even if you have not done much gambling lately, simply having the card will probably give you a better room rate than you would get otherwise. If you don't have a Total Rewards card yet,you should get one as soon as you arrive at the hotel. The card is absolutely free so there is no reason not to get one. Having a Total Rewards card will not only enable you to earn comp points for your casino play at Harrah's and/or any other Caesars-owned properties during your Las Vegas stay, but you can use those comps towards meals, shows, and other expenses. If you already have a card and have unused comp points from play at another Caesars-owned casino near your home, don't forget that you can use those comp points at Harrah's. When you present your card, you also automatically save $1.00 when you eat at most of the participating hotels' restaurants. Lastly, all of the money you spend at any Caesars property on virtually anything contributes to your tier points total.
Harrah's is within walking distance of many other casino hotels on the Vegas Strip. In fact, it is easy to get from Harrah's to almost anywhere in Las Vegas you might want to go by taxi, Deuce bus, or the Las Vegas Monorail, which has a stop at Harrah's.
Harrah's Las Vegas is rated as a 3 star hotel rather than a 5 star hotel, so unless you book a premium suite, you can expect the accommodations to be basic or, in other words, adequate, but not luxurious. If you are a Total Rewards card holder and regular and frequent rated player, you probably already receive offers online or in the mail for free or heavily discounted rooms at Harrah's. Even without a special offer, a standard room at this hotel can frequently be booked for under $50/night. The problem is that these rooms are quite small. They may be okay for two adults and one child, but for larger families you will need a larger room or suite or two separate rooms.
Non-smoking and handicapped and hearing-impaired accessible rooms are available on request. If you wish, you can also request a room with a view of the Strip or the High Roller (the observation wheel at the LINQ next door). Young kids might especially enjoy the High Roller view. All of the rooms come equipped with the following amenities:
- 1 King-size or 2 Queen-size beds with luxury sheets and pillow-top mattress
- TV with Pay Per View movies
- Internet access (for a nominal fee)
- 24/hour room service
- Ironing board and hair dryer
Some rooms have a flat screen TV and marble bathrooms. One important feature that seems to be generally missing, however, is a refrigerator, so if you want one (highly recommended both to store leftovers and keep beverages cold), you will have to order it from Houskeeping. You will be charged extra for the refrigerator, but if you indicate that it is for medical reasons, the charge will be waived. Although it is easy to mistake the mini-bar for a small refrigerator, don't use it for that purpose. Even if you resist the temptation to consume any of the high priced items inside, just opening the door and moving an item to make room for yours, results in a charge.
Suites offer more spacious accommodations. For example, you might consider a 680 square foot Executive Suite, which includes a separate bedroom and living room, along with a marble bathroom and whirlpool tub, starting at $240/night. Larger and more expensive suites, including an entertainment area with stereo system, are also available. You can also upgrade your accommodations by adding a connecting room with 2 queen beds.
The hotel's policy is a maximum of four guests per room. Children are welcome, but up to two additional children or adults are charged an extra $30/person when using existing beds. A maximum of one additional bed or crib is allowed per room, and there is a charge for that as well. There is also a mandatory resort fee of $25 (plus tax) per night. The resort fee covers in-room local and toll free calls and Internet and Wi-Fi access along with access to the Fitness Center. Check-in time is 4 p.m. and check-out time is 11 a.m. Early check-in and/or late check-out can be arranged. Although a $30 fee is assessed for early check-in, the fee might be waived if you have a Total Rewards card.
As you can see, even though a stay at Harrah's will probably cost much less than at many other Las Vegas hotels, there are hidden charges which can add up. So in addition to checking to see if you have any personal offers, be sure to check the Harrah's website for special money-saving deals that are open to all. For example, if you book your stay before 11/24/15 for travel through August, 2016, with the Promotion Code HOT 15, you can save 20% off the stated rates for most nights (except for certain blackout dates).
Another deal you can't afford to pass up is two FREE Buffet of Buffets passes if you book two nights between now and 12/28/15 with the code IHCBF. Each Buffet of Buffet pass is good for any of seven buffets, as many as you can squeeze into a 24 hour period (not the entire length of your stay).
Yet another package deal combines a stay at Harrah's with two tickets to the award-winning musical "Million Dollar Quartet." This promotion is available using the code IHMNQ between now and 12/28/15. Note that the Buffet of Buffets and Million Dollar Quartet packages are for two people only regardless of the total number of guests in your party. Any additional tickets will have to be purchased.
Child Friendly Activities
Although increasing numbers of Vegas vacationers are families with children, Las Vegas is still primarily a playground for adults. Harrah's, like most of the Las Vegas casino hotels, caters far more to adults than to kids. But at the same time, there are plenty of enjoyable things for children and teenagers to do at this hotel. Also, when you take advantage of what the many casino hotels nearby have to offer, the kid-friendly entertainment options multiply considerably. Let's start with the child-friendly activities within Harrah's itself.
Swimming in the Olympic Size Pool
Harrah's Las Vegas has one very large heated outdoor pool that is open seasonally from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, the area gets very crowded and seats are first come first served, so it is best to get there early in the day, like the morning, if possible. Or, if you prefer and don't mind the expense, you can reserve a cabana. With your cabana rental, you get a refrigerator, phone, TV, fruit basket, juice and water, a newspaper, towels, and a raft. For more information and reservations, call 1-702-639-8705. Since Harrah's doesn't offer many family-friendly restaurants, the Café at the pool would be a good place to have lunch.
Carnaval Court is an outdoor congregating spot at Harrah's that is packed with revelers every evening, and the later the hour, the louder the music and the rowdier the atmosphere. With the outdoor bar serving as the center of the action, this is a place intended primarily for grownups, but your kids might enjoy grooving to the upbeat music from the live band and watching the bartenders entertaining the crowd, juggling bottles. Kiosks sell T-shirts and other souvenir items, so look around with your kids and see if they spot something they would like to take home. Late afternoon or early evening might be the best time to visit Carnaval Court with your kids before the partying starts to become crazy.
Shopping at Harrah's
While the shopping possibilities at Harrah's obviously cannot compare to what you will find at huge shopping malls like the Caesars Forum Shops across the street, when you are pressed for time, as long as you are in the hotel anyway, the shops at Harrah's are worth a look. The following have items your kids might like:
This store not only has lots of Harrah's brand items, but also children's items from current Disney productions.
This Las Vegas souvenir shop is packed with items like hats, T-shirts, and Las Vegas keepsakes. It is the perfect go-to place for last minute shopping.
In case your kids need a little pick-me-up between meals, this is where you can buy cereal, fresh fruit, energy bars, and ice cream 24/7.
Mac King Show
So far you might think that Harrah's doesn't offer a whole lot for kids to do, but when you discover the entertainment options, you will change your mind. Harrah's currently offers three long-running shows that the whole family will enjoy. At least one of them, the Mac King Comedy and Magic Show, is such a big hit with kids, it belongs on any family's Vegas vacation must do list, whether you are staying at Harrah's or not.
The one man Mac King Comedy and Magic Show has been performing to a packed house at Harrah's five times a week for what seems like an eternity. Even if you have seen this show before, it is so entertaining you won't mind seeing it again, and your kids will love it, too, as it is one of the few truly kid-friendly shows in Vegas. Show times are Tuesday through Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Mac King is a very funny guy with an engaging personality that children take to readily. Your youngsters will be amazed when he pulls off stunts like making a live goldfish appear on someone's head, for example. Even if your kids are very young, you don't have to worry because the show is squeaky clean and yet thoroughly entertaining. The Dallas Morning News rated it "the best magic show in Vegas."
While the show is worth the $35.15 (plus taxes and fees) that the Harrah's website states as the cost, you don't have to pay that much. In fact, if you are a rated player, you can probably get at least two tickets for free. The hotel might also offer a coupon booklet to registered guests with free or discounted tickets. Or use the coupons in Las Vegas magazines or online or stop by Tix4Tonite where the cost is a little over half price.
Elvis has not left the building, as your kids will happily discover if you take them to the Piano Bar lounge at Harrah's near the Carnaval Court entrance. "Big Elvis" aka Pete Valee performs all of Elvis' hit songs, and he takes requests from the crowd, too. Amazingly, the show is completely free! You can catch Big Elvis Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons at 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. or 5 p.m.
Million Dollar Quartet
If you and your family would like a rocking good time, Harrah's gives you the chance to party like it's 1956. You can hear more Elvis music plus that of Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins in the Tony Award-winning musical "Million Dollar Quartet." Even if the 50s were before your time, you will probably recognize and are certain to enjoy such classics as "Blue Suede Shoes," "Walk the Line," "16 Tons," and "Great Balls of Fire." The show relieves the memorable night when Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Elvis all got together for a rock 'n' roll jam session at a studio in Memphis. The actors who impersonate the four rock 'n' roll legends are so close to the real thing that if you are familiar with these performers, you probably won't be able to tell the difference.
Show times are Monday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday at 7 p.m. Prices start at $62.70 (plus taxes and fees). A dinner-show package is also available including dinner at Flavors Buffet, and a money-saving hotel-show package is available as well. Unfortunately, no discounted show tickets are offered for children, but check online, in local magazines, or at Tix4Tonite for coupons that the whole family can use.
Child Friendly Activities Nearby
One of the big advantages to booking a room for your family at Harrah's is that In addition to the above-mentioned child appropriate activities within Harrah's, there are many more, like the following, that are a short walk away.
- Grand Bazaar Shops featuring 120+ places to shop and eat.
This timeless extravaganza made its debut on the Las Vegas Strip back in 1981 and it is still a big hit. Take your kids to the early show (Sun.-Thurs. at 7 p.m.), since there is no nudity as there is in the 10:30 p.m. show. An optional show/dinner package is available, including the Village Buffet at the Paris Hotel adjacent to Bally's. Another good option for kids is the Jubilee Backstage Tour offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday at 4 p.m. The tour costs $14.75 per person with a Jubilee show ticket.
- Free Dancing Fountains Show outside the hotel
- Botanical Gardens and Conservatory
- "O" by Cirque du Soleil
- Caesars Palace
- Caesars Forum Shops: Even if you only have time for a couple of the 160+ stores and restaurants, be sure to make time for the Fall of Atlantis show.
- Headliner entertainment at the Colosseum: Celine Dion or Mariah Carey
- Flamingo Wild Life Habitat
- Headliner entertainment in the Showroom: Donny and Marie or Olivia Newton-John
- Legends in Concert: Celebrities past and present are expertly portrayed in this long-running tribute show, one of the few shows in Vegas with special reduced pricing for children.
- LINQ (formerly the Imperial Palace)
- High Roller: the world's tallest observation wheel
- LINQ outdoor entertainment, dining, and shopping mall
- Auto Collection featuring more than 250 unusual cars.
- Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
- Terry Fator Show: Ventriloquist Terry Fator, winner of "America's Got Talent," puts on a unique and entertaining show that the whole family will enjoy.
- LOVE by Cirque du Soleil: For anyone who loves the music of the Beatles.
- Planet Hollywood
- More headliner entertainment: Britney Spears on select dates through April, 2016 and Jennifer Lopez starting January, 2016.
- Street performers: The Grand Canal Shoppes are not just a place to go shopping and have a meal. Stilt walkers, dancers, and even living statues provide continuous entertainment. Also, every hour on the hour from noon to 6 p.m., a free 15 minute show called Carnevale di Venezia takes place on St. Mark's Square in which the costumed performers interact with the children in the audience.
- Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum: Discounted prices for kids and more discounts available online.
* Entertainment in Las Vegas can be very costly. However, these shows have been running for a very long time, which means with a little bit of effort, you can save a lot of money. Discount coupons can be easily found online, in magazines and coupon booklets, and at discount ticket outlets like Tix4Tonite. There are two Tix4Tonite locations in walking distance of Harrah's, one in the Bally's Showcase Mall and one in the Fashion Show Mall.
The Harrah's Concierge Desk powered by vegas.com can assist you with restaurant and show reservations at any of the Caesars owned casino hotels as well as with sightseeing tours. However, there will probably be times when you will need a babysitter or nanny to watch your kids, and there is no childcare facility on the premises, nor is there any indication that the concierge can help you find a suitable outside service. In other words, if you stay at Harrah's you can assume that it will be your own responsibility to locate an affordable and trustworthy individual or service meeting your needs and to make the necessary arrangements. See the separate section of this website for practical suggestions to make this process go more smoothly and help you make the right decision.
A few years ago visitors to Harrah's and other Caesars-owed casino hotels in Las Vegas could take for granted the availability of a 24-hour full-service coffee shop. This type of restaurant is most convenient since it is the perfect place for early risers and late risers alike to have breakfast or any other meal either during traditional serving times or in off hours. No more. All of these places, including the Café at Harrah's, have been closed down and replaced with food courts and snack bars, presumably because management finds them much more cost effective.
While some people may find all of these grab and go eateries convenient, this reviewer finds many things wrong with them. A family on vacation should be able to enjoy a leisurely, relaxing meal, especially breakfast, in comfortable surroundings conducive to a sense of togetherness without feeling rushed. They should also not have oversized portions of unhealthy food forced on them at inflated prices. Unfortunately, buffets and food courts generally fail on both counts. However, at Harrah's, there are currently no breakfast options at all other than the buffet and food court. The lunch and dinner options, unfortunately, are not much better, especially if you are looking for simple, healthy, child-friendly food. The following are the various restaurants at Harrah's for which you might consider a family meal. The prices shown are the Total Rewards members' discounted prices where applicable.
Flavors, The Buffet
Most Las Vegas casino hotels offer a buffet, and Flavors at Harrah's is one of the better ones. It is a good choice for families on a budget because children ages 4-10 eat for a substantially reduced price and children under age 4 eat for free. However, because of the abundance of heavy fare and rich desserts and natural tendency to overeat at a buffet, it is not advisable for all of your meals.
The prices for children for the above meals are not reported on the Harrah's website, but reported elsewhere as $10.99, $12.99, $15.99, and $12.99. Be sure to present your Total Rewards card to get the best prices for everyone in your family. Additional discounts may be available online, in local magazines and coupon books, and at Tix4Tonite.
Fulton Street Food Hall
Fulton Street Food Hall, which is named after Fulton Street in New Orleans, is an upscale food court that is open round the clock. The food is primarily dispensed cafeteria style although one section of the restaurant is set aside at breakfast time for those who prefer a sit down breakfast with table service. Fulton Street Hall was added in September, 2014 in the space formerly occupied by the now shuttered Café and a Chinese restaurant called Ming's Table.
Breakfast is served between 6 a.m. and 1130 a.m. The cafeteria style offerings are limited to pastries, pies, muffins, and cake, clearly not the makings of a nutritious breakfast. The items are also overpriced. For example, one traveler commented on Yelp that four orders of just a croissant and coffee cost $37. You can order a full breakfast from the breakfast menu in the designated seating area, but there, too, the prices are high and the options are not particularly child-friendly. For example, while plain French toast with maple syrup would probably get a resounding thumbs up from most kids, the Fulton Street Food Hall version of "white chocolate and raspberry swirl French toast with blueberry basil syrup" would probably not. The American breakfast, consisting of 2 eggs with bacon or sausage, hash browns, and pastry at $14.99 is a possibility for older children and teenagers, but probably too much food for a young child. Or another possibility might be "organic steel cut oatmeal with raisins and raspberries" for $6.99. There are no special prices for children. After adding beverages, tax and tip, the cost of breakfast per person will probably be between $20 and $25.
The lunch offerings offer more possibilities like soup, sandwiches, baked potatoes with fixings, a do it yourself salad bar, and a comfort food station with dishes like meatloaf and lasagna. If you go for dinner, pizza and frozen yogurt might be your best bets for a kid-friendly meal. We doubt that the Sushi bar, Bento boxes, and noodle bar offering ramen and udon will be met with enthusiasm by most children.
Figure on spending between $11 and $15 for a pizza, $5 for soup, and about $10 for the meatloaf, lasagna, or a fancy sandwich. After you walk around to the different stations to select your dishes, everything is paid for together at a central cashier.
Based on an online picture of this restaurant, this reviewer was unimpressed with the stark minimalist décor. Harrah's for the most part is a very bright and colorful place, but this restaurant, devoid of decoration, with tile floors, very uncomfortable looking chairs with no cushioning, and tables placed very close together, does not appear to be particularly inviting. There are also TVs blaring all over the restaurant so it is difficult to carry on a conversation. There are many other restaurants nearby that offer better value and an atmosphere and food choice that are far more family-friendly.
None of the other restaurants at Harrah's: Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill, the Oyster Bar, or Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is recommended for children. However, in between meals, if your kids are screaming for ice cream, this is where you can take them:
Ice Pan is a far cry from a typical ice cream parlor because the ice cream they serve is not only delicious but organic, healthy, all-natural, and low calorie, and much lower in sugar, fat, and cholesterol than conventional ice cream. It is a hit with kids because first, they get to choose the flavor, type of milk, and mix-ins themselves, and then they watch the ice cream being made instantly from scratch to finish. Soymilk ice cream is available for those who cannot tolerate regular milk.
Ice Pan is open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. It is a perfect place to take your kids after Million Dollar Quartet, Big Elvis, or the Mac King Show.
Now that you know the restaurant options with Harrah's, you also need to know what alternatives you have. For breakfast, we highly recommend McDonald's and Denny's, both located just north of Harrah's. Instead of spending over $20 for each person's breakfast, you can have an equally good or better breakfast for less than $10 per person. Or, for a more upscale atmosphere, that is still bargain priced, try Serendipity 3 at Caesars Palace. Your kids can order off the special kid's menu and have a delicious full breakfast for just $8.95. For your other meals, Caesars Palace offers an abundance of reasonably priced kid-friendly restaurants. Serendipity 3 has a kids' menu for lunch and dinner, too, and the ice cream sundaes are spectacular. Some of the other Caesars restaurants that would make a great choice for your family are the Cheesecake Factory, Spago, and Trevi. Johnny Rockets at the Flamingo and California Pizza Kitchen and Carnegie Deli at the Mirage are also excellent choices.
Summing Up; Is Harrah's Las Vegas Child-Friendly?
Harrah's Las Vegas isn't for everyone, but when you carefully weigh the pros and cons, you will see that overall it would probably be a very good choice for most families traveling to Las Vegas with their children. We will summarize the hotel's shortcomings first, then the longer list of advantages, and let you decide.
What could be Better about Harrah's Las Vegas
- This is not a 5 star hotel. The rooms are small, dimly lit, and lack some important amenities like a refrigerator.
- The family-friendly dining options at Harrah's are extremely limited.
- Guests have complained about the smell of smoke in the casino.
- It may be impossible to avoid exposing your kids to the omnipresent solicitors congregating on the Strip very close to the hotel at night.
- The hotel offers little or no help in arranging babysitting or nanny services, so you will have to make all the arrangements yourself.
What is Great about Harrah's Las Vegas
- Very reasonably priced accommodations
- Ideal central Strip location
- Choice of top quality family-friendly entertainment without leaving the property.
- Very lively place, always crowded and buzzing with activity
- Close proximity to other casino hotels, giving Harrah's guests a tremendous choice of things to do and many restaurant and entertainment options
- Total Rewards Program
- Excellent buffet
- Very friendly staff and superior customer service