Screw Vegas, here's where to gamble in San Diego

Published On 10/16/2013 Published On 10/16/2013
Viejas Casino and Resort
Valley View Casino
Barona Casino
Pala Casino
Harrah's Rincon Casino & Resort
Sycuan Casino
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1. Viejas Casino and Resort 5000 Willows Rd, Alpine, CA 91901

Viejas Casino offers a condensed version of the Vegas Strip -- gambling, shows, outlet shopping, and an arcade -- but is conveniently located in Alpine. Throw in a bowling alley, five restaurants, and one killer buffet with unlimited beer, wine, and champagne, and that trip to Nevada is looking pretty unnecessary.

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2. Valley View Casino 16300 Nyemii Pass Rd, Valley Center, CA 92082

You’ll most definitely want to get your picture taken with Valley View’s mascots: a giant lobster named Larry and two women bedazzled in money. Don't get too attached to Larry though -- this is the home of SD’s only all-you-can-eat lobster buffet -- Maine lobster available seven nights a week and all day on the weekends, in addition to 200 other dishes and a 100ft dessert bar.

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3. Barona Casino 1932 Wildcat Canyon Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040

Looking like some sort of majestic castle amongst rolling hills, Barona's been voted best casino and buffet by the people of San Diego three years in a row. A great service offered by Barona helps keep you in the game: go ahead and order a slice of pizza or some taquitos from their Gameside Dining menu and have it delivered right to the table -- no need to end your hot streak prematurely, after all.

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4. Pala Casino 11154 Highway 76, Pala, CA 92059

Not only is this a casino with 2,000 slots, 87 table games, a feng shui designed high-limit game room, and 10 restaurants -- it’s also a luxury spa resort. Blowing all of that away is their buffet called Choices, which offers over 200 options and features a chicken wing sauté station with about 20 different sauces. 20. Different. Sauces.

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5. Harrah's Rincon Casino & Resort 777 Harrahs Rincon Way, Valley Center, CA 92082

Harrah’s Rincon does it right with several top-notch restaurants on the property, a lazy river, and SD’s only swim-up bar. Now that Fall is here, you can hit up 1st & Dive on Sundays to tailgate poolside. Reserve a cabana with your own personal TV to watch the game, plus there are drink specials, a bloody mary bar, and Charger-inspired Bolt–‘ritas.

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6. Sycuan Casino 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon, CA 92019

This casino is right in El Cajon, and if you join Club Sycuan for free, you can catch a ride on one of their shuttles at spots all over town. Also, Sycuan's GameDay Sports Bar & Grill might be the best place anywhere near SD to watch a game, with 39 big screens and five 100in projection TVs. Even cooler: GameDay's also got bar top video poker, 12 beers on tap, and a huge menu full of bar food staples like a Build-A-Burger with 32 customizable options.