LAS VEGAS, also known as “Sin City”, is known as one of the most famous places for gambling in the world. The famous Las Vegas “Strip” is known for its lengthy stretch of casinos and resorts lit up by glowing neon lights; however Vegas is NOT all casinos and gambling. Among many names, Las Vegas is known as “The Entertainment Capital of the World”, and has something to offer for everyone. Las Vegas provides an incredible variety of shows, phenomenal dining, world class golf courses, endless shopping, pool parties, nightlife and even a man made beach.
If you’re planning a trip to Vegas, below I have listed some things to do. This list is in no way inclusive of everything you could plan during a Las Vegas vacation, nevertheless, it includes some of the most iconic attractions and top things to do.
1. Take a photo by The Las Vegas Sign
Need I say more? Taking a picture with this famous sign is completely necessary.
2. Bellagio Fountain & Gardens
The Bellagio water show and botanical gardens is a MUST! The fountain includes 1200 water launchers in an 8 acre lake that create a stunning dancing water show choreographed to music. This photo was taken from my hotel room at The Cosmopolitan. I recommend seeing the show at night since it offers such a beautiful view. The show runs 7 days a week.
The gardens in the lobby are exquisitely decorated and maintained for each season with some of the most unique plants and flowers in the world.
3. Tour the World
You will notice that most of the hotels are based on a theme or particular city. The Paris Hotel & Casino features its own Eiffel tower with an observation deck with 360 degrees views of the city, the Luxor is based off of ancient Egypt, Caesar’s Palace is based off classic Rome, the Imperial Palace shouts out to Imperial Japan, and New York, New York is pretty self-explanatory. The New York, New York hotel even has its very own roller coaster named “The Big Apple Coaster”.
The Venetian is a luxury resort based off of Venice, Italy. Canals were built throughout the ground floor and mall of the casino, and offer gondola rides while you get serenaded by your very own gondolier. If you don’t have the opportunity to actually visit Venice, Italy, then this is the next best thing.
I recommend walking around and exploring as many hotels as you can during your stay, as they all have something different to offer.
4. Attend a Show
There are so many different shows, from Cirque de Soleil to Celine Dion or Chippendales. Personally, I needed to see the Queen of Pop, Britney Spears! Come on, It’s Britney, Bitch!
5. Go Shopping
Whether you like high end shopping or touristy shopping, Vegas has it all. I personally love The Forum Shops at Caesar’s. They combine high-end window shopping with more affordable stores. You will find Tory Burch, Valentino, Christian Louboutin, and Dior next to Banana Republic, Zara and H&M. If you get lucky at the slot machines or black jack table and can buy yourself something REALLY nice, you can go shopping at Via Bellagio. Here you will find stores like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Fendi just to name a few.
6. Visit the Stratosphere
The Stratosphere is hotel and casino, famous for its views of “The Strip” and it’s adventurous rides. During my visit, I visited the observation deck, which had an amazing view of the North end of the strip.
While being on the top of the tallest building in the world, I decided to participate in some of the thrill rides. My favorite is the Big Shot, which shoots your seat straight up the top of the tower and into the sky. It is the tallest thrill ride in the world. I also rode X-Scream. This ride Catapulted headfirst 27ft. over the tower edge, while dangling weightlessly 109 stories in the air. I would recommend visiting the Stratosphere to anyone who is not afraid of heights.
7. Visit Fremont Street
Explore Old Vegas and The Fremont Experience. Fremont Street was recommended to me by a local and I’m so glad I went. It’s not somewhere that many people think of heading to, but it’s worth the trip. The street stretches 5 blocks between main street and Las Vegas Blvd. A 90 foot canopy stretches over four blocks. Decked out with 12.5 million LED lights and a half million watt system. Within this area you will find SlotZilla, a 12-story, slot machine-inspired zip line attraction and it’s one of the best things to do in Las Vegas.It’s crazy.
8. Night Life
You can’t go to Vegas and not experience the night life. Within most hotels you will find a nightclub. Whether you’re into table service or just want to dance and experience some of the best clubs, Vegas is the place. I would recommend Tao, Marquee, OMNIA, Hakkasan or Hyde. My friends and I were in Vegas during Labor Day weekend and we had a great time at all these places. We were able to see Steve Aoki among several other DJs perform that weekend.
9. Go to a Pool Party
Vegas pools typically open in April. During this time, world famous DJs will perform and entertain many people, who are having cocktails by the pool. My friends and I attended the Marquee Day Club (in The Cosmopolitan) and Wet Republic (in MGM Grand) while on our trip. We were able to see Avicii perform at the Marquee Day Club and it was a great experience. Whether you like to relax in a cabana by the water or turn up, a pool party should not be missed when in Vegas.
10. Eat and Drink!
Vegas is known for its dining scene. With such a variety of restaurants, there is no reason not to dine well on any budget. You will find plenty of celebrity owned restaurants, hidden gems and even buffets. The buffet scene is completely part of the Vegas experience. Trust me, the buffets in Vegas are not like anything you have ever experienced. I would recommend picking one buffet to dine at for a brunch or lunch meal. I highly recommend Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan and The Buffet at Wynn at The Wynn.
When it comes to dinner options, below I have listed some of my favorite Las Vegas restaurants. Most of these places are pricey, however it’s an experience you will remember for a long time. Make sure to plan ahead and make reservations well in advance.
- Scarpetta, located in The Cosmopolitan, is the Italian restaurant of celebrity chef, Scott Conant. Their wine selection is on point. Scarpetta has an amazing view overlooking the Fountains at the Bellagio. I recommend you try the spaghetti with tomato and basil.
- Yardbird, located in the Venetian, has some of the best fried chicken that comes with a honey hot sauce, or you can up the ante and ask for the Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles. This dish comes with the honey hot sauce and bourbon maple syrup to pour over your Vermont sharp cheddar waffles. You should also try a side of spicy, cold watermelon. You will also find a great selection of Southern and Bourbon inspired cocktails.
- Joe’s, located in The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, is known for its prime steak and stone crab, and one of the most popular restaurants on the strip.
- Nobu, located in the Hard Rock Hotel, combines Japanese cuisine with South American and Western flavors.
- Beauty and Essex, located in The Cosmopolitan, just opened is a multi-level restaurant and lounge, where chef personality and restaurateur Chris Santos creates innovative dishes. Cocktails include an eclectic variety of international influences.
- STK, located in The Cosmopolitan, is a contemporary steakhouse. I would recommend the Lil’ BRGs and don’t pass up the bread. By far, one of the best breads I have ever had. It is a pull apart bread served with fresh chive oil.
If you have cocktails at one bar, I highly recommend The Chandelier Bar in The Cosmopolitan. If you like to dress up and enjoy the finer things in life, this is your spot. It is absolutely breath taking and luxurious with a multi-level sparkling chandelier. Make sure to try one of their signature cocktails. You will not be disappointed with this choice.
Hope this guide to Sin City helps you plan an unforgettable trip.