10 Best Things To Do In Las Vegas, Nevada
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Las Vegas, aka Sin City, is a one-of-a-kind experience. It is said that there is nothing you cannot do in Las Vegas, and it is probably true, depending only on how much money you want to spend. You can have a dreamy, luxury vacation in a fancy suite with a private pool or a balcony with fabulous views. Or you can be on a budget and still enjoy the adventures of this magical city. There is so much to experience here. The amazing hotels, the lights, and the slots machines that welcome you already at the airport. The shopping, the restaurants, the bars, and clubs. Also, the sightseeing, fun activities, and the desert around it.
And then there’s the casino. 24/7 non-stop experience for those who like to play, and for those who don’t, just absorb the atmosphere. For me, enjoying walking between the tables and the slot machines, hearing the coins-drop sound or people shouting when they hit Blackjack or 7 on the dice is fascinating. My game now is craps, so next time you walk between the craps tables, I might be the one shouting.
With all the excitement of this city, you still want to make sure you are not missing the important places to visit in Las Vegas. Here are the best things to do in Las Vegas:
Explore the strip
The strip is the main Vegas boulevard. This is where the famous hotels are, and this is where you probably will spend most of your time. The south of the strip starts with Mandalay Bay which has a huge pool and a Shark Reef Aquarium. Going up north, each of the hotels you see is impressive, though some are only from the outside, and from the inside they are just old and less exciting. This is my Las Vegas hotel attractions list:
- The Luxor is a jump to ancient Egypt with the Pyramid and the Sphynx outside.
- Planet Hollywood is rocking it and it’s full of celebrity dust. This place is super fun the moment you walk in.
- In The Venetian, you can take a ride in a gondola or just walk between the canals
- Caesars Palace is one of my favorites since I was a kid. The Caesars Palace has a marvelous shopping mall under a blue-sky-with-clouds ceiling and some Roman-style performances.
- The Mirage has my favorite casino (I made some money there) and the Volcano mountain on the outside is one of the best free attractions in Las Vegas.
- For more information on other hotels, keep on reading.
For lunch or dinner stop in one of the fancy restaurants or food courts that are all around – some are on the main street and many are inside the hotels. I recommend Gordon Ramsey’s Burger in Planet Hollywood and TAO in The Venetian.
Tip 1: The Hotels on the strip are huge, and strolling from one to the other and exploring them can take a full day, or even more. If you want to skip the walk, there is a bus running on the strip with stops next to most hotels. It also goes to the farther ones like Circus-Circus, The Strat, and Downtown Vegas. Tickets can be purchased in vending machines at some stop or on the bus with exact change.
Tip 2: Don’t miss the big M&M store and the Coca-Cola store, one next to the other on the strip, at the back of the MGM Grand Hotel. The M&M store is the place for chocolate and souvenirs, and in the Coca-Cola store, you can taste unique flavors from around the world. These are touristic stores and part of the fun things to do on the strip in Las Vegas.
Ride the roller coaster at New York-New York Hotel
The Roller coaster of the New York-New York Hotel is hard to miss. It is built in front of the hotel and is easily seen when you walk down the strip. This works the other way too – once you are up on the train you get to see a stunning view of the strip below you. The train is shaped like the famous yellow cabs of NYC, and it is surrounded by Manhattan’s popular buildings on one side and the 150 ft (46m) Statue of Liberty on the other side. Once you finish your ride, stroll in the NYC-style passageways of the hotel. Grab a hot dog or sandwich at the Deli and have a beer at the Irish bar.
Tip: For a more adventurous experience, you can take the VR option of the roller coaster. You get a VR headset and you watch a 4k video while enjoying your ride.
Watch the view from Paris Eiffel Tower
If you have never been to Paris, this hotel is the place to feel the Parisian chic in Las Vegas. The reception area of this hotel is designed like a Renaissance French palace with beautiful paintings and chandeliers. The main path makes you feel like you are walking in a small street in Paris, between restaurants and baguette stores.
While the casino here is not that impressive, it is hard not to notice the massive legs of the Eiffel Tower between the slots machines, and tables. The tower here is a half-scale replica of the original tower from Paris, reaching 540 ft (165m) high. The viewing deck is at 460 ft (140m) and it has 360 degrees view of the strip and the city around you. It’s better to book your ticket in advance to avoid the lines.
Adore the Bellagio Fountain
One of the most famous landmarks of Las Vegas is the Fountain of The Bellagio. The hotel is one of the best in the city, with a luxury shopping mall, great restaurants, a fancy swimming pool, and a big casino. But the highlight of the Bellagio is outside of the hotel, on the strip.
The Bellagio fountain catches the eyes of everyone on the street with the mesmerizing performance of water, lights, and music. Each performance is different so don’t hesitate to see it more than once. In the afternoon there is a performance every 30 minutes and at nights every 15 minutes. This is one of the best Las Vegas attractions.
Ride the Grand wheel at the LINQ
The LINQ has a great location at the center of the strip. It is relatively new with modern design and has a promenade for shopping and dining. The biggest attraction of this hotel, and one of the most special of Las Vegas, right at the end of the Linq promenade, is the Grand Wheel behind it. You would be surprised to discover that this is the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, reaching 550 ft (167 m) high – even taller than the famous London Eye.
The 28 pods are air-conditioned, and a ride takes 30 minutes, which allows you to enjoy the beautiful view of the city. Sunset and night rides have a better view of the strip lights, and you can add an open bar in the sky for a happy half-hour. Buy your ticket in advance to make sure you don’t miss it.
Eat at a buffet
The dining options in Las Vegas are amazing. Famous chefs and brands opened their restaurants here, and it’s not hard to find a good place for an upscale, rich, and delicious dinner. However, most Las Vegas hotels offer an all-you-can-eat buffet which is part of the Vegas experience. I think that when you visit sin city, you must eat like a sinner at least once. You can choose from Italian pasta, Asian noodles, American meat, soups, salads, and more. Don’t forget to leave room for the desserts. It’s hard to resist the wide selection, and it’s also hard to eat it all. But at least you have to try.
The quality of the food differs in each hotel, and so does the price. My best recommendation for delicious food, amazing selection, and a decent price is the Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan.
Tip: Most buffets open for lunch and dinner with a 2 or 3 hours break between them. If you want to enjoy both and pay only once – you can do it. Arrive right before they close to lunch, eat from the lunch menu, spend your mid-day break here and be the first to enjoy the dinner buffet.
Watch a Cirque de Soleil show
There are many shows to watch in Las Vegas. They are an integral part of the experience of this city – from magic shows to concerts of the biggest artists and others. However, there is one that outperforms all the other Las Vegas shows – Cirque Du Soleil “O”. It is, with no doubt, one of the best things to do in vegas.
Cirque Du Soleil is an acrobat performance that has never heard of gravity or other physical rules. They run six shows in Vegas, each in a dedicated venue in a different hotel. While all the shows are special and entertaining, “O” is the best of them. It is the combination of people jumping and flying in the air and then diving into a pool under the stage. It’s hard to describe in words what you are seeing on that stage, but one thing is for sure – it’s mesmerizing!
Purchase your tickets in advance to guarantee a good seat. The closest you get to the stage, the better you see the actors’ faces, which empowers the experience.
|Show||Hotel||What it’s about|
|KÀ||MGM grand||The glory of battle, the rush of victory|
|ONE||Mandalay Bay||Michael Jackson|
|Mystère||Treasure Island||Laugh along with life|
|Zumanity||New York New York||Burlesque and cabaret. Adults only|
|LOVE||The Mirage||The Beatles|
|O||Bellagio||An aquatic Masterpiece|
Visit Downtown Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas is the historic heart of the city. It is the location of some classic hotels and casinos like the Golden Nugget, and surprisingly many other attractions too.
The main attraction here is Fremont street, which is covered with a canopy for a few blocks, and also called the Fremont street experience. At nights it turns into a big party – lights and colors decorate the canopy from the inside, and stages offer old-style street shows. If you look up, you will see people “flying” above you from one side of the street to the other. The zip line is one of the fun things to do in Vegas and you want to do it. It’s pricey but where else do you get to “fly” 11 stories high above a street party along 5 blocks? Book your tickets in advance to avoid the line
Tip: The plant base scene in Las Vegas is on the rise, and one of the good vegan restaurants is in Downtown Las Vegas – Vegenation. They offer an interesting menu, with a delicious cheeseboard, which is worth trying even if you are not vegan.
Explore the desert at Red Rock Park
One of the best places to visit near Las Vegas is the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The park is right outside the city and within 30 minutes drive, you arrive at the visitor center. You can do the Scenic Drive around the park with multiple stops on the way, or you can choose to hike on some of the trails around the park. They go from easy to difficult, but one thing is for sure whichever you choose – carry enough drinking water and keep yourself hydrated.
The Strat Hotel experience
The Strat hotel is located outside of the main area of the strip, about 10 minutes cab ride up north. As the location might make it less attractive for accommodation, their prices are relatively lower than on the strip. To increase their attractiveness, they came up with a great idea – building a tower. And not just a tower, it’s the tallest observation deck in the US, and the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere (only CN Tower in Toronto is taller).
The 360 degrees observation deck on the tallest tower in the US is already a great reason to come here. There’s a restaurant and bar on the 106th and 107th floors to make your experience not just stunning by the view but also delicious. However, if this is not enough, you can go further up for a more extreme experience.
On the top floors of the tower, The Strat operates a small adventure park with 3 rides. The Big Shot goes up 160 ft (49m) and down at 45 mph. The Insanity takes you over the edge to a spinning session in the open air while you are 70 degrees facing down. The X-Scream is a roller coaster ride of 27 ft (8m) going over the edge of the tower, feels like it’s about to fall down. And if all of these are not enough, You can jump your way down in the SkyJump on the 108th floor. Are you ready for some extreme?
The $20 bill trick is a way to get an upgrade for your hotel room at only $20. All you need to do is to slip a $20 note between your ID and your credit card and ask for a complimentary upgrade. Search “$20 bill trick Las Vegas” on YouTube to see how people do it. I have done that successfully two times. Once I got a massive room at The Paris, facing the Eiffel Tower and the Bellagio fountain. The second time at the Mirage, I got a nice upgrade to a room with a view of the strip, rather than facing the back.
If you want to go shopping, Las Vegas offers 2 outlet malls and a shopping mall on the strip. The latter was disappointing, but the northern outlet is my favorite.
Another means of transportation in Las Vegas is the Monorail. It is a fast train that comes every 4-8 minutes and is going above the ground. As cool as it gets, it goes behind the hotels, not on the strip, but it connects to the other hotels that are farther, like Westgate and Sahara.
A famous Instagram point is the Seven Magic Mountains. It’s a neon-colored totem – a work of art by Ugo Rondinone, located right outside of the city on Nevada road I-15.
While so many people just think about this city as a place for casinos and parties, there are so many fun things to do in Las Vegas. The casino is indeed part of the experience, but Las Vegas for me is much more than that, and it’s one of my favorite vacation destinations in the United States.
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Photo credit: Red Rock – Olenka Kotyk