Things to Do in Las Vegas
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 Eiffel Tower, a monumental tourist draw connected to the Paris Hotel and Casino, offers views of the valley and a chance to dine on the finest French cuisine Las Vegas has to offer. C'est vrai!
Enjoy a ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower in a glass elevator. At fifty stories above ground and at a height of 460 ft (140 m), the view is impressive. Once you’ve reached the observation deck, you’ll have a vista of the entire valley and the sights of Sin City.
Located below the observation deck is the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, which is a definite feast of the senses. Featuring views of the Bellagio water fountain show, the restaurant showcases both the design of the tower and of its art déco motif. For food, Chef Joho has a classic and updated French menu that you can enjoy with a cocktail or glass of wine.
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.
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.
Las Vegas doesn't do entertainment on the small scale, and one of its newest amusement-park-like rides doesn't disappoint. The VooDoo Zip Line is strung between the Masquerade and Ipanema towers at the Rio Hotel and Casino and stretches almost a third of a mile between the two. The ride takes you from the high point at Rio's VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub down to the lower tower and then back again–you ride backwards on the return trip.
The zipline is also about 400 feet above the ground, and because Rio sits just off the main part of the Strip, you'll get panoramic views of the Strip and beyond in all directions. You'll have to look quickly, though, as the zipline can get reach speeds of more than 30 miles per hour.
Lined with cobblestone walkways and iron street lamps, the Paris Hotel and Casino offers a small taste of Paris in Las Vegas. With its Parisian-style shopping and restaurants, plus a 50-story tall Eiffel Tower out the front, a stay here might just be as good as the real thing.
For shopping, Paris offers a walk down the Bally's-Paris Promenade or Le Boulevard, housing French designs, small boutiques, and the latest fashions. Then there are the shows, featuring the talents of everyone from singer Barry Manilow to the hypnotist Anthony Cools.
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.
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.
Today's Las Vegas is far more family-friendly than the city used to be. A fine example of this is the new addition of a 41-acre Wet 'n' Wild water park within the city limits.
Wet 'n' Wild Las Vegas opened in 2013 and has a total of 25 attractions, including two pools and 10 water slides. These slides were largely designed for adventure seekers, with names like the Tornado and the Rattler, which may be more like a roller coaster on water than a traditional slide. There's also a kid-friendly area with less intimidating slides and wade pools.
More Things to Do in Las Vegas
Modeled after the pyramids of ancient Egypt, the Luxor Hotel and Casino is pointed in the right direction - hey, it's got a Sphinx at its front! The inside of the Luxor Hotel features more than 4,000 hotel rooms, upscale entertainment, modern lounges, and an Egyptian flair for style.
Luxor has made a name for itself thanks to its nightlife and entertainment options: IMAX theatres, posh night clubs, and popular performance spaces. Exclusive nightclubs include LAX, Noir bar, and Flight, all of which are home to constant celebrity sightings. And then there’s the Atrium floor, where performers like Britney Spears have performed.
The Luxor Hotel is also a great place to kick back and relax. There are the elegant pools and spas, and of course luxury suites. With the impressive views and beautiful architecture that surround, it’s no wonder that the Luxur is considered one of the beter hotels in Vegas.
This collection of boutique shops with unique goods was formed from leftover shipping containers. The open air shopping spot is centered around a courtyard, which has a playground for children (with a treehouse!) and a stage with frequent live entertainment and events. Dining options range from high-end restaurants to gourmet hot dog stands and a craft whiskey bar. There are even art galleries to peruse and often concerts and films.
Specialty shops vary from boutique clothing stores to home decor and smaller local goods. The emphasis is on supporting one-of-a-kind products from local Las Vegas businesses and items that cannot be found elsewhere. There are also interesting artistic designs and exhibits throughout, making this a fascinating place to explore with something for everyone.
According to Caesars Palace’s website, more $1,000,000+ casino slot machine jackpots have been won on the resort’s casino floor than in any other casino in the world. Guests can play anything from 1¢ to $500 on traditional reel-type slot machines, video reels machines, video poker games, video blackjack and keno.
The resort features several popular table games as well including blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, Spanish 21, mini-baccarat, Pai Gow and Pai Gow poker. The 8,500-square-foot poker room has 62 tables and 24-hours games including a full daily schedule of poker tournaments. Caesars Palace’s race and sports book has 65 private booths, each with a 12-inch flat-screen television, and several oversized screens.
Though all Las Vegas resorts are packed with action, Caesars Palace offers one of the best opportunities to get the best of everything in a single place. Several award-winning restaurants and the new Bacchanal Buffet never leave guests hungry.
Bringing the sleek city and bright-lights aspect of New York to Vegas, the New York - New York Hotel and Casino does an admirable job transporting you to the Big Apple. With recreations of landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Brooklyn Bridge, New Yorkers will feel strangely at home.
With a Coney Island-themed amusement Park, Time Square like bar, and Central Park Casino, you’ll get a bite of New York’s biggest attractions in Vegas. Keeping in line with the diversity of NYC, New York New York features multi-ethnic restaurants, there’s something to fit everyone’s taste. From Mexican, to Italian, to Contemporary American, you won’t know if you’re in Little Italy or Little New York. New York New York is also a great place for entertainment. With live performances by Cirque du Soleil and popular nightclubs like Coyote Ugly, you’ll have plenty to keep you awake at night.
Lovers of fast cars may think the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the place to be, but those in the know say it’s Count’s Kustoms in Las Vegas that’s really worth the visit. Travelers can wander the incredible showroom filled with custom hotrods, cars, choppers and more. In addition to these stunning works of automotive art, visitors have a chance to pop by the on-site tattoo parlor after touring the floor and may even have a chance encounter with Rollie, the man who heads up the entire operation and stars in one of the TV shows that’s filmed at this dynamic location.
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!
Nothing says laid back quite like Flamingo Las Vegas’ 15,000-square-foot Margaritaville Casino. Located within the resort at Flamingo, this marriage between a Las Vegas casino and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville brand creates a uniquely fun energy. The casino includes 22 gaming tables, 220 slot machines and the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar.
Elsewhere in the resort are more than 1,600 other slot machines, including a multi-line two-cent progressive game that is a favorite with guests. The first craps roll on the Las Vegas Strip happened in the Flamingo casino, and tossing a pair of hot dice is a popular pastime here. Blackjack, mini baccarat, Caribbean stud, roulette, Pai Gow poker and other table games are also found on the casino floor. A comfortable poker room lures gamblers as well. When the casino becomes a bit too much to handle, step out into Flamingo’s wildlife habitat. This open-air courtyard is a relaxing, popular and free attraction that many visitors overlook.
The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas is the star of one of the History Channel’s most popular shows, Pawn Stars. The cast members, and real life owners and operators of the shop, are Rick, the Old Man, Big Hoss and Chumlee, who are known for buying and appraising collectors items, including historic firearms, antique toys, classic cars and much more. A Pawn Stars Tour of Las Vegas is the best way to see the shop and other filming locations from the show. Tour groups can skip the line, get VIP access to the stars, and even see the show getting filmed.
In the middle of the Las Vegas desert, you can find this collection of artifacts comprising the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. Everything from a whale jaw bone to a wooly mammoth tooth is on display, with the chance to learn about animals from both the past and present. There are exhibits of dinosaurs and replicas of ancient Egyptian artifacts, as well as sections dedicated to marine and African safari life. The Egyptian historical exhibit is particularly interesting, as it is focused on the life of Tutankhamun (it was formerly part of the Luxor Resort.)
Don’t miss the international wildlife gallery nor the sections focused on local Nevada plants and animals. There is also a geology gallery, a young scientist center, and an ocean discovery aquarium with sharks and rays, as well as exotic fish from around the world. Each collection has thorough descriptions and engaging, informative displays.
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