Vegas is the ultimate long weekend destination. Within minutes of exiting the airport you could be partying under the Eiffel Tower, whilst being serenaded by Elvis and browsing menus for several award winning restaurants from top chefs.
The city is a bizarre cocktail of sin and sophistication, garishness and yet grandeur. The gambling, yard long margaritas and barely dressed showgirls can be found coexisting with designer boutiques, opulent hotels and incredible hikes at the Red Rock Canyon on the outskirts of the city.
Las Vegas can fit the needs of your adventure, you just have to choose what kind of trip you are wanting to take.
If you decide that a journey to Sin City is on the cards for you, here are some tips for getting the most from your adventure.
Sightseeing on the Las Vegas Strip.
No trip to the city would be complete without exploring the 4.5 mile long Las Vegas Strip. It is lined with an array of sophisticated, novelty and classic hotels and casinos which contain enough free entertainment to fill any long weekend on a budget.
From the Luxor hotel shaped like a pyramid, to the Venetian Hotel and it’s own Grand Canal on which you can enjoy a Gondola ride whilst being serenaded, and the luxury contained within the Wynn and Bellagio hotels, you will be spoilt for sights and for choice.
We regularly would walk each day from one end of the strip beginning at Las Vegas Bvld, to the other. It might seem a lot, but the 9 mile round trip goes quickly when you have so much to take in. Just make sure you pack comfortable shoes.
If walking isn’t on your agenda for the trip, Uber is incredibly affordable out there and was our go-to service for airport transfers and late night trips back to the hotel.
TOP VEGAS TIP: If you haven’t signed up before, and use the code lyndsayw240ue and get your first ride free, especially good for your airport to hotel ride.
Top Vegas hotel and casino attractions
- Botanical Gardens – Bellagio. Free to visit, gorgeous sights and smells, and themed and changed each season. We have seen two different displays now, a must visit.
- Bellagio Fountains – For a free live show set to music every 15 minutes in the evening. It is magical.
- Flamingo Hotel – Inside the Flamingo hotel you can explore gardens home to tropical birds and fish for free (the Koi are particularly beautiful)
- Luxor Hotel – This whole hotel is a sight to be seen and wander around. Within here is also the Titanic exhibition which is worth a walk around – tickets can be purchased at the Tix for Tonight stands lining the strip for less than at the entrance.
- Venetian Hotel – The grand canal, the fake ceilings which match the outdoors, and the mini Rialto Bridge show the incredible attention to detail by this resort to the hotel theme.
- Shopping in Bellagio and Caesar’s Palace. If you want high-end designer stores to splurge your winnings on, look no further.
- Paris Las Vegas – This hotel was one of our favourites because it was just so well themed and contained some brilliant restaurants and bars. I would recommend eating at the Hexx Restaurant, and try to get a patio table in the evening for great views of the Bellagio Fountains.
- New York New York – Great for the Coyote Ugly Bar if you love that film, though do be warned, they are very generous with their spirits and will pour them down your throat during the evening, and the Rollercoaster if you dare.
- Stratosphere – This one is quite a way down the strip but gives you great views from the top of the tower. Some of our group also rode the rides at the top of the tower – not for the faint hearted!
- Mandarin Oriental – A luxurious hotel with bar that has unrestricted views up and down the strip, and award winning cocktails. I would advise you book a table though as it can get very busy.
- The Volcano – Mirage Hotel – watch it erupt in this very over the top but entertaining show twice an evening.
- The Shows – There are SO many to choose from, and a Vegas show must be done. If you want discounted tickets, try to stay in the hotel with the show you want to see as they often provide money off. Otherwise, visit one of the Tix4Tonight booths alongside the strip for great deals.
Downtown and Further Afield
Don’t just limited your visit to the glitz and glam of the strip. A visit to Downtown to see Freemont Street and some of the oldest casinos is a must. Especially at night when it is all lit up.
You can get your photo with a million dollars, see the world’s largest Golden Nugget, zip wire down Freemont Street or seriously indulge at the Heart Attack Café.
Oh, and the hotels and casinos there have much more reasonable restaurants and better odds for gaming.
TOP VEGAS TIP: If your feet can’t handle the walk, hop on the Deuce Bus from any stop lining the strip – it’s much cheaper than the hop on / off tour bus at just £6 for 24 hours.
The arts district in downtown is also home to several independent art, antique and collectable stores. They contain everything from vintage casino matchsticks and chips, to (I am not kidding) a pickled human foot.
We spent hours, and too many dollars here, and broke up the browsing with a beer at the local bar, which also doubles as an antiques store, ReBAR.
For once in a lifetime adventures, a visit to the Grand Canyon from Vegas is a must-do. You can get bus tours in advance from sites such as Viator for a little as £60 per person, or luxury helicopter tours for a little more. I would recommend pre-booking as although you can buy from various places on the strip, it’s more expensive out there.
Red Rock Canyon is also gorgeous and a great place for hikes and escaping the opulence of the strip for a day.
Where to Eat
If you are wanting something special, Mr Chow in Caesars Palace is well worth a visit. For light bites over incredible cocktails, visit the Mandarin Bar. For a great breakfast or dinner whilst watching the fountains, Mon Ami Gabi is wonderful.
For cheaper (but no less delicious eats) PBR Rockbar on the strip is delicious and the portions very generous, and Chayo, a Mexican restaurant by the Linq High Roller is well worth a visit.
The buffets are a must-try, and if you can, do a brunch with bottomless mimosas like we did, it was well-worth the money.
TOP VEGAS TIP – download and check out Groupon whilst there, we found some incredible deals for food and excursions via this app.
There’s no shortage of places to grab a drink on the strip, as you can expect, but it can be pretty expensive compared to European prices.
TOP VEGAS TIP: For five free drinks a day, we downloaded the CityZen app which gave us five beers or frozen margaritas a day from a series of bars who just want you to discover them. We thought there must be a catch – there wasn’t! But we did go back and eat in two of them as the menu and atmosphere was amazing, so there you go.
Vegas is a city filled with sights, attractions but also adventure, art and world-class dining if you know where to look. You will leave knowing you had the trip of a lifetime.