I visited Las Vegas 6 years ago with my then-girlfriend, now-wife. It was an eye-opening place. You hear accounts and stories about Sin City from those who love it, those who hate it and those who've never even seen it, but you really can't understand it until you've been there and experienced it for yourself.
Our first visit was magical. We stayed for a week, didn't gamble, and spent the whole time wandering around, taking pictures, checking out the shows and enjoying the over-the-top splendour of it all. This time around a lot had changed.
The Strip isn't what it once was. At the moment there's a whole lot of construction going on for starters, which means that it's very dirty, very noisy and the famous skyline is somewhat marred by half finished buildings and cranes. It's not just the construction though. The last time I visited the Strip was very separate to the rest of Las Vegas. There was almost no litter, no police presence, excellent customer service everywhere, no crime ... you could walk around the streets at 4am and feel very safe and secure. That atmosphere has gone somewhat, unfortunately. I saw several arrests around the street in the week I was there this time, there was litter everywhere, customer service had gone downhill rapidly the price of everything had crept alarmingly upwards. Vegas used to be place you could stay and eat very cheaply - because they wanted you to stay and gamble - but the gambling has taken more of a back seat and there's more selling, more unreasonably priced food, more expensive room prices.
There is a broad range of options to choose from though, and particularly if you can drive around a little, there is still cheap accommodation to be had. There is a dizzying array of shows to choose from, many of them quite reasonably priced for what they are; and although the cheap food options have gone up in price, there's a lot of mid-range priced food that is a serious bargain for the quality you get.
If you are going to Vegas, look for specials. Useful websites are vegas-specials.com and expedia.com. They have a lot of really good deals on offer. The best way to get good deals is to look well ahead of time (at least 30 days in advance) and to go during the week. The price of rooms triples on Friday/Saturday, as do the crowds. If you have the means to go Sun-Thurs or during the offseason then it's well worth doing so.