Wondering what to do, where to go, where to stay and what to eat and drink in Las Vegas? This mini-guide has got you covered with all the details.
Explore Las Vegas Beyond the Tables
Forget about spending your entire time at the casino tables – this guide isn’t about that. Las Vegas has evolved far beyond being just the capital of the gambling world. It hosts the planet’s coolest shows, sports events from world-class boxing to Formula 1 races (they started hosting it in Vegas on November 19 this year and drew over 100,000 motorsport enthusiasts).
Apart from the city and its entertainment, there are classic attractions in the surroundings that I’ll tell you about later. So, buckle up for a journey through the Sin City!
Where to Stay in Las Vegas
After several trips to Vegas over the years, we’ve tried a bunch of options – from the budget-friendly New York New York and mid-priced Mandalay Bay to the luxurious Wynn and Encore, where you can truly indulge in luxury. The best and most expensive resorts line the famous Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as the Strip – the central street around which the city’s life and main attractions revolve. Staying outside it doesn’t make much sense unless you see Vegas as a transit point for a brief stopover.
Mandalay Bay, once a new and cool hotel, is now considered a relatively budget-friendly 4-star option. It boasts several large pools, including one with an artificial wave and a sandy beach. It’s located at the far end of the Strip, almost next to the airport. Great value for your money, though you’ll either need to walk 20-30 minutes to the main attractions or take a taxi. Ideal for those who want to be close to the nightlife without overspending on accommodation.
Cosmopolitan is an excellent choice, offering some rooms with a view of the fountain and a fitness center with panoramic views. The real gem here is the food hall, offering endless gastronomic delights.
Feel free to explore other options on the main boulevard in Las Vegas.
Where to Eat in Las Vegas
The popular dining format in Vegas is the buffet with an “eat as much as you can” option for a fixed fee, typically ranging from $30 to $50. You’ll find buffets in many well-known hotels, such as Bellagio or Mandalay Bay, as well as in Cosmopolitan or Wynn. Buffets are great for a hearty lunch; for dinner, consider one of the restaurants.
Restaurants in Vegas change constantly, with new ones popping up and old ones fading away. Some, however, have stood the test of time and earned a well-deserved reputation. Classics like Peppermill and Fireside Lounge exude Vegas-style flamboyance, offering delicious food.
Among newer recommendations are Retro by Voltaggio and SpaghettiOs with a décor reminiscent of the ’80s and ’90s, the typically New York Sadelle’s, and the farm-to-table restaurant The Bedford.
Beyond the Strip, Vegas regulars recommend The Black Sheep and Salt & Spoon, as well as Chengdu Taste and Lamaii in Chinatown. If you love Japanese cuisine, don’t miss Mizumi and Wakuda. Other excellent places include Best Friend, The Mayfair, Amalfi, Matteo’s, and the Oyster Bar at the Palace Station hotel.
One of the trendiest spots today is the lounge Delilah, but booking in advance is a must.
Where to Drink in Las Vegas
You can combine a drink with a visit to one of the nightclubs like XS, Omnia, or Marquee for a high-quality club atmosphere. If you prefer bars over clubs for a relaxed evening of drinking, Las Vegas has some fantastic speakeasy-style bars.
Speakeasy-style bars recreate the ambiance of prohibition-era bars, featuring retro décor with vintage furniture and even secret entrances to enhance the sense of secrecy. The menus in these bars are carefully crafted, offering classic cocktails of that era or modern interpretations using traditional ingredients.
Several such bars are located in the Cosmopolitan hotel. Ghost Donkey, situated in the food hall, specializes in tequila and mezcal. Another notable spot is The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails, located right behind the barbershop.
An excellent bar worth checking out is Ski Lodge – the theme is evident from the name. If you’re looking to not only drink but also grab a bite, head to Secret Pizza.
The Arts District in Las Vegas is a hub of antique exhibitions, art galleries, and excellent bars. Don’t miss it! A couple of places where you can enjoy a cocktail include the atmospheric Velveteen Rabbit, the flamboyant ReBAR, which is also a vintage shop.
For a unique experience combining drinks and various dart games, Flight Club is the place to go.
So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just someone who loves to explore, Las Vegas has something for everyone. Make the most of your time in the city of lights, entertainment, and non-stop excitement!
More Things to Do in Las Vegas
Get ready for a surprise, as I suggest checking out a museum. It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Las Vegas, but there are a couple of places worth a visit. This year, a punk rock museum opened in Vegas – the tours are led by the musicians themselves, and it’s filled with instruments, old posters, costumes, and other artifacts. A truly atmospheric spot!
Another interesting place, especially if you’re into the history of the British royal family, is an exhibition on Princess Diana at the Crystals shopping center. Rumor has it that the Neon Museum and Mob Museum are also captivating.
Of course, everyone’s intrigued by the history of the city of sins. To experience old Vegas, head to Fremont Street and take a leisurely stroll. The street and the park there are like an oasis of typical old Vegas.
If you have the time and desire to venture beyond the city, head to the desert in the vicinity of Vegas to see the Seven Magic Mountains installation. Just a 40-minute drive away, at the Nevada-Arizona state line, you’ll find the impressive Hoover Dam. If you continue driving for another 3 hours, you’ll reach the Grand Canyon, but that’s a whole different story.
A must-do in Las Vegas for many is a photoshoot by the “Welcome to FAbulous Las Vegas” sign.
Whether you’ve been to the real Venice or not, I recommend taking a gondola ride at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino along authentic Venetian-style canals.
Las Vegas is a major venue for world-class shows, concerts, and sports events. One of the most renowned is the Cirque du Soleil show. Competitions or concerts by global stars are practically constant here. Just plan ahead and purchase your tickets in advance.
The coolest concerts and the most technologically innovative shows take place in the new Sphere venue. In November 2023, the legendary U2 performed here – an event that happens once in a lifetime. Planning to attend events in this venue should be done months in advance, but it’s worth it. To understand what it’s all about, just read the reviews.
If you miss out on a top-tier show, don’t worry. Las Vegas hosts dozens of shows daily, slightly lower in rank but equally fantastic.
And don’t waste your time at the casinos!