From party-rocking on the Strip to premier entertainment and sightseeing, here are some must-do Vegas activities for first timers.
Between supersized resorts towering over the Las Vegas Strip, architecture designed to trick the eye, and nightlife beckoning around every neon-lit corner, it can be hard to know where to start on your first visit to Las Vegas. Whether you want to try your luck at the casinos, be dazzled at a show, or hightail it to the desert, here are the classic Sin City experiences for your first Vegas vacation.
Explore the resorts
New York - New York Hotel & Casino lit up at night on the Las Vegas Strip. Photo: Anthony Cruz / Viator
You could easily spend your entire time in Vegas inside, hopping between the megaresorts that line the famous Strip. Many hotels have elaborate themes, so you can travel from the pyramids of Luxor to ancient Rome and the streets of Paris all in one afternoon. If gambling isn't your thing, there’s plenty of diversion outside the casinos in the form of pools, spas, shopping, dining, and even rides such as the roller coaster at New York - New York Hotel & Casino and the High Roller Observation Wheel.
Wayne Newton on stage at Bally's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Photo: Eustacio Humphrey / Viator
Las Vegas shows are in a class of their own, with a full lineup of acts and headliners—from popstars like Christina Aguilera and J.Lo to Vegas mainstays such as Celine Dion and Wayne Newton—ready to entertain any night of the week. Whether you're into acrobatics, show tunes, pop ballads, or adults-only revues, there’s something for every taste. Buy your tickets well in advance to avoid sellouts and score the best seats.
The Fremont Street Experience in downtown Vegas is a popular nighttime spot. Photo: Eustacio Humphrey / Viator
The nightlife in Las Vegas is legendary, with sleek, cavernous bars and clubs that cater to celebrities and anyone looking for an unforgettable night out. Get the VIP experience and learn where the hottest spots are on a nightclub tour that gets you past the ropes, or cruise the Strip in style on a limo ride. And for those in search of a party before the sun goes down, the Las Vegas pool party scene is not to be missed.
A view of the Grand Canyon from the West Rim. Photo: Anthony Cruz / Viator
One of Las Vegas’ must-see attractions is actually miles away from the Strip in the Arizona desert. An enormous natural ravine carved through the landscape over millions of years, the Grand Canyon offers different views from above, below, and along the gravity-defying Grand Canyon Skywalk. To truly appreciate the canyon’s size, get a bird’s-eye view on a helicopter tour. Many tours also fit in a visit to the Hoover Dam, a neighboring man-made marvel.
Madigan Talmage-Bowers is a writer based in Denver, Colorado. She has also lived in Italy, San Francisco, and New York City, where she studied media theory at the New School. She loves introducing her kids to ancient history, local art, hiking trails, and new foods on adventures around the globe.