Overview: For many of us when we think “Las Vegas,” our minds drift toward old-school Elvis impersonators, the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, drive-up wedding venues, and even scenes from “The Hangover.” In reality, Sin City offers so much more than just a trip along the Strip these days. While Vegas’ nightclubs and glitzy casinos continue to draw weekend party seekers, the city’s more recent influx of gourmet restaurants, art venues, and Cirque du Soleil and headliner shows also attract music lovers, foodies, and culture hounds. Sitting alongside the likes of the MGM Grand, the Bellagio, Wynn, the Stratosphere, and the Venetian, some newer hotels on the Strip have taken the focus away from gambling and put it on stylish design. And downtown Las Vegas has come back to life with innovative development, hip spots such as the Downtown Container Park, a treasure trove of antique shops, and the resurgence of Fremont Street with attractions like the Fremont Experience. The city also pleases art enthusiasts with the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, and the Neon Museum. Plus adventurers looking to visit other Nevada attractions can take advantage of Vegas’ proximity to Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead, and the Grand Canyon for day trips into nature.
Currency: USD $
Time Zone: UTC (-08:00)
Country Code: +1
Best Time to Visit: Spring, Fall
When to Visit: With temperatures reaching more than 100 degrees in the summertime, spring allows Las Vegas travelers to enjoy the warmer weather while dodging the unbearable heat. Fall’s weather averages highs of about 67 degrees, which is perfect for outdoor activities such as golf or going to a minor league baseball game in Downtown Vegas.
Getting Around: Las Vegas’ can be easily covered by the city’s RTC bus routes, but if you’re sticking to the main drag, the Las Vegas Monorail runs adjacent to the Strip, and the inexpensive Las Vegas Deuce runs from the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas all the way to Mandalay Bay. Taxis and Uber are both efficient if you don’t mind the Vegas traffic, although Vegas taxi drivers, like those in other big cities, tend to drive a longer route to raise fare. If you hop in a cab, say you’re from the area and not to long haul you.
Tipping: If you’re gambling, give the dealer a toke (aka tip) of $5 for every $30 you've won from them, or if you’re at the slots, make sure to tip your cocktail server $1 per drink. Other than that, it’s recommended to tip 15–20% at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
You Might Not Know...If you’re looking for something more family oriented or unexpected, hit up the Pinball Hall of Fame on East Tropicana Avenue, and then grab pizza and an old-fashioned milkshake at Metro Pizza.
The Las Vegas Strip is an All-American road show, home to the most famous hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. With famous spots like Paris, Treasure Island, the Venetian, Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace and the MGM Grand, it’s no wonder that the strip is the most popular destination in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Strip houses entertainment, bright lights, other-worldly architecture, and the city's trendiest clubs and nightlife. It's a Disneyland for adults, a place where fun and fantasy meet. Watch Elvis impersonators or avant-garde performances by Cirque du Soleil, or try your luck on a slot machine. There’s something for everyone in Las Vegas.
Talk about a wedding to remember! The Special Memory Wedding Chapel offers memorable wedding ceremonies in true Las Vegas style: in packages and with Elvis Presley, but minus the grub associated with chapels typically found on the Strip! The chapel is most popular for its famous drive-through weddings, which continue to gather hordes of visitors even today. Visitors wishing to tie the knot should expect all the Las Vegas wedding elements: Elvis impersonator, limousine transportation, rose presentations, photo tour packages in the city and more.
An attraction in its own right, the off-Strip and classy chapel is featured in a dozen guided tours around Las Vegas, and should please even the non-Vegas wedding types.
Home to the Las Vegas 400 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is one of the most exciting racing complexes in the world. Featuring a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) superspeedway and a dirt-track, this is where you can catch the Indy League at its finest.
With over 150,000 seating capacity, there’s nothing like watching a race in this crowd. Then, there’s the Neon Garage, a fan-zone right in front of Winner’s Circle. And with a pit road even closer to the stands, you’ll feel like you are in on the record-breaking.
Who says kids get to have all of the fun? This larger-than-life sandbox is the perfect place for adults to get back to their youth and experience the thrill of operating massive machinery in a model construction site.
After brief safety instructions, travelers choose from a variety of bulldozers or excavators and hop behind the wheel, where a professional guide offers a brief orientation before the earth really starts to move. Learn to dig the ground below, play a round of “Excavator Basketball” or ride a “Bulldozer Teeter-Totter”. This one-of-a-kind experience is one of the best ways to feel like a kid again—even on a trip to Sin City!
For a romantic evening showered in lights, music, and of course, water, check out the Bellagio Fountains in front of the Bellagio Hotel on the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. With choreographed musical numbers ranging from Andrea Bocelli to Madonna, you’ll never see the same show twice.
The fountains are set inside of a man-made lake modeled after the Lake Como Resort in Bellagio, Italy. With the old-world elegance of the Bellagio Hotel as its backdrop, the fountains are an impressive display of beauty and technology.
The Fremont Street Experience chronicles the legendary history of Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. Believe it or not, the setting is fairly awe-inspiring. Spanning four entire city-blocks, the Fremont Street Experience is a massive outdoor mall built inside of a barrel vault canopy. Featuring concerts, lights shows, and multiple casinos, it is one of downtown’s biggest attractions.
Fremont Street housed the first casino in Las Vegas, and you could say that the Fremont Street Experience changed and illuminated Vegas in the same ways that the original did.
The Fremont Street Experience offers free concerts and live entertainment, with multiple show performances each day. Ten different casinos have games and tables inside of the Fremont Street Experience, so you can get an idea of what they are all about. The famous canopy is now lit up by an LED Screen, projecting thousands of different color combinations and images all day long.
The Venetian Hotel and Casino is the premier location to catch great shows and indulge in unique experiences. With a booming nightlife and entertainment scene, coupled by the beautiful architecture and world famous gondola rides, this hotel will transport you to the streets of Venice.
Experience a first-class ride on a majestic gondola, painted white and gold with elaborate details and decorations. Then, travel through the canals and ride above a man-made lagoon, which mirrors the sky-painted ceilings. The ride will take you beneath bridges and alongside charming boutiques and cafes, so that you’ll feel only steps away from Italy. For world class entertainment the Venetian offers the most variety and best in Vegas. The Blue Man Group, The Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, and the comedian Joan Rivers play there regularly. Then there’s the nightlife, and the Venetian is home to the world-famous bar Tao Nightclub, where celebrity sightings are an every day occurrence.
Experience a first-class ride on a majestic gondola, painted white and gold with elaborate details and decorations. Then, travel through the canals and ride above a man-made lagoon, which mirrors the incredible, sky-painted ceilings. The ride will take you beneath bridges and alongside charming boutiques and cafes, so that you’ll feel only steps away from Italy.
The Stratosphere Tower is attached to the Stratosphere Hotel and offers 360 degree views of Las Vegas, thrilling amusement park rides, restaurants, and nightlife perched at the Top of the World.
The Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding tower in America, at 1,149 ft (350 meters) above ground. Enjoy panoramic views from the observation deck or explore the amusement park, taking a ride on the Big Shot and Insanity roller coasters or the Sky Jump, a controlled free-fall ride.
Then there’s the romantic Top of the World restaurant and the Air Bar. Both have signature cocktails that you can enjoy while overlooking the city lights and the strip.
Once the thriving gambling district of Las Vegas, the downtown area used to be the city’s busiest locale until the late 1980s, when an entrepreneur gathered the crowds to the Strip – which remains the city’s main thoroughfare today.
Nevertheless, downtown Las Vegas hasn’t been forgotten. For starters, it is now home to the sought-after and historic casinos of Fremont Street, including the Moulin Rouge, the first racially integrated casino-hotel in the city, as well as the Fremont Street Experience, the world’s largest audio-video system which consists of a multisensory light and sound show connecting over two million lights. Downtown Las Vegas also has its own Arts District, encompassing several art galleries, studios and stores offering a vast selection of collectibles. Not to mention the many museums scattered around the neighborhood, like the Natural History Museum, the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum and the Art Deco-inspired Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
Since the early 1980s Harrah’s has operated as a budget-friendly staple of the Las Vegas strip. It’s the perfect place for those who want a taste of Sin City but don’t want to break the bank doing it. This carnival-themed destination has three massive towers which house seven restaurants, plenty of entertainment options, shopping, a full-service spa and even a couple of performance spaces.
With more than 2,500 rooms and close to 90,000 square feet of casino space, guests of this Mardi Gras-themed hotel won’t ever have to leave. The open-air Carnaval Court and indoor piano bar offer travelers two great in-house options for entertainment that’s as inexpensive as it is fun, and while visitors agree the basic rooms are nothing to write home about, they say both the accommodations and the accessibility are tough to beat for the price.
Red Rock Canyon is a network of impressive canyons and surreal rock formations inside the Red Rock National Conservation Area. If you're looking for opportunities to hike, bike or rock climb within easy striking distance of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon is just what you're looking for.
One of the more popular destinations for climbers here is Keystone Thrust, made up of towering red sandstone peaks and walls that reach as high as 3,000 ft (910 meters). Then there’s La Madre Mountain (8,154 ft / 2,485 m), a moderate climb and an optimal spot for mountain biking.
Other highlights include Icebox Canyon (to get here, you start hiking an easy trail through the canyon and then boulder-hop and climb to reach the top) and the Pine Creek Canyon oasis (a running creek surrounded by pine trees).
Once known as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Bally’s Las Vegas is one of the strip’s most famous hotels. With nearly 3,000 guestrooms that are 450 square feet (or larger!)—most of which were recently renovated—Bally’s is quintessential Las Vegas glitz, glam and luxury. A neon-wrapped moving sidewalk, more than 100 shops, a handful of diverse restaurants and even the long-running show Jubilee are among the features that make this Las Vegas strip hotel a favorite among travelers. Theater lovers can check out other in-hotel performances like “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding”, a country superstars musical tribute and even a new adults-only show called “50 Shades! The Parody”. Fitness buffs will love the contemporary gym facilities, championship tennis courts and pool—perfect for relaxing after a night at the casino.
One of the most anticipated Las Vegas attractions, the massive, 550-foot rotating observation tower known as the High Roller has arrived. Far from your normal carnival Ferris wheel, the High Roller is so big that it takes a full 30 minutes for the wheel to complete a 360-degree rotation and is known as the world’s largest observation wheel.
Each 44,000-pound, glass-enclosed pod can hold up to 40 people, includes music and video displays and has been decked out with thousands of LED lights. This big-time attraction serves as a sparkling focal point at the LINQ, one of Vegas’ newest shopping districts.
Battlefield Vegas is a five-acre military-style compound just one block from the Las Vegas strip that gives visitors the chance to both interact with military history and experience the largest collection of weapons available for personal use in the United States. Everything from weapon selection and training (82 percent of employees are veterans with combat experience) is designed for an immersive experience.
On the grounds are both a 25-yard indoor firing range and a 200-acre desert training facility. Over 350 guns are on site, some of which date from World War I or were used recently by NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also a fleet of 25 military vehicles ranging from jeeps to helicopters from both historical and present wartime. All weapon use is instructor-led, and experiences are arranged by weapon type and country or historical place of origin.
Bringing sophistication and elegance to the Las Vegas Strip, the Wynn Hotel stands out against the bright lights and flashing sign. With its golden, concave structure, and perfectly groomed trees out front, you’ll forget that Las Vegas is where all of the action happens, and instead is where the relaxation happens.
Surrounded by lagoons, waterfalls, and terraced landscapes, the effect of the Wynn Hotel and Casino is a peaceful one. The inside of the Wynn is marked by boutique hotels and the finest in restaurant offerings. With restaurants with the acclaimed fare of Daniel Boulud, Masa Ishizawa, and Mark LoRusso, you’ll enjoy a feast of the senses.
A refined take on nightlife and entertainment, the Wynn Hotel offers shows by Cirque Du Soleil and secluded nightclubs like Blush and Tryst that are surrounded by lagoons. Then, there’s the window shopping at the Wynn Esplanade, offering high end clothes by designers like Chanel and Dior.
When it comes to Las Vegas, City of Sin, and a cluster of neon lights, hiking isn’t the very first thing that comes to most people’s minds. The reality, however, is that Vegas is surrounded by dozens of great hiking trails and rung by mystical mountains, with the trail to the top of Fortification Hill offering one of the area’s best views. From the top of this rocky pinnacle inside of Lake Mead National Recreation area, climbers are rewarded with panoramic views of Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. This six-mile trail is for serious hikers who are comfortable with a little bit of bouldering, as sections in the middle can require scrambling for about 10 vertical feet. Most of the trail is straightforward, however, albeit a little steep, as the trail gains approximately 1,400 feet in a little under three miles. While you’re sure to work up a sweat when climbing—especially since there isn’t any shade—the view from the top makes every step completely worth the effort.
Open since 1989, the Mirage is perhaps best known for Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, which features rare breeds of large, white-colored cats as well as several bottlenose dolphins. The resort’s volcano is also well known with more than 150 specially designed fire shooters that blast fireballs choreographed to music nightly every hour on the hour from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Inside the Mirage, guests enjoy more than 100,000 square feet of gaming space including hundreds of slot machines and video poker and a dozen table games. The resort’s 20-table poker room hosts games 24 hours a day, and daily no limit Texas hold ‘em tournaments up the ante for serious players. Those who are new to poker may want to take advantage of the Mirage’s complimentary poker lessons, which are available anytime. Ask inside the poker room about where these lessons are taking place and learn about all aspects of the game.
With more than 5,000 guest rooms, MGM Grand is one of the largest casino hotels in Las Vegas, and part of its draw is the gaming floor. The resort has more than 170,000 square feet of gaming space, which includes more than 2,500 slot machines and video poker. Denominations on these games range from 1¢ to $1,000. Majestic Lions and Lion’s Share are both custom machines found only at MGM Grand; a $1 million payout is the top reward.
Table games include blackjack, craps, baccarat, mini-baccarat, roulette, European roulette, Pai Gow poker, Pai Gow, big six wheel, let it ride, war, crazy for poker and three-card poker. MGM Grand’s race and sports book has seating for 104 guests with several television screens from which to watch the big game. This is also the first race and sports book to offer “skyboxes”—four rooms that host eight to ten guests in 300-325 square feet of space. Each is equipped with 42-inch plasma television, surround sound and CD systems.