If you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas during March Madness, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority two of the three busiest weekends (based on Friday and Saturday hotel occupancy) in Las Vegas over the last three years were during the NCAA Tournament. Vegas is a haven for basketball fans and those who like to gamble on the games.

For starters, March Madness begins on March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) with Selection Sunday. For those of you who just like to gamble on the games, but may not know all the ins and outs of the game, Selection Sunday is when the selection committee announces all 68 tournament teams. It essentially kicks off the basketball madness which ends three weeks later with the Final Four and the championship game.

The first and second rounds, March 21 through March 24, are often the most action-packed in Vegas. We’ve put together a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning to watch March Madness live in Vegas.

  • Expect lots of people. This is one of the busiest time in Vegas. There will be crowds upon crowds, especially in the Vegas sportsbooks.
  • Hotel prices will be higher so book now. If you’re waiting to see if hotel rates will go down, they won’t. You may still be able to find hotel offers though like Hard Rock Hotel’s up to 25% off room special.
  • Like everywhere else, sports-books will be packed, so arrive early. Know your sports books and where you plan to watch the game and then get there early.
  • Consider going off-the-strip. There are plenty of hotels and sportsbooks just a few miles from the Las Vegas Boulevard that offer great viewing, service and betting opportunities.

For the music-loving sports fans, there’s no better place to watch the games than at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. With 25 HDTVs, the sportsbook offers a more intimate experience than most other books in Vegas. If a party experience is more your style where you can hoot and holler for your team, the Hard Rock will host a viewing party inside Vinyl with an unlimited open bar. Tickets start at $135. Remember, planning is key to making sure your March Madness viewing experience is one to remember. Make your travel plans now, check the NCAA basketball schedule, and make sure you do your homework to find a sportsbook or viewing venue that delivers on the atmosphere you’re looking for.