Things to do in Las Vegas, NV

Get Your Bearings in Las Vegas

By Heather Turk
Las Vegas Expert

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Things to See

Las Vegas may be known for its extravagant shows, but there are plenty of things for visitors on a budget to enjoy, too. In fact, some of the city's top attractions, like the Fountains of Bellagio and the volcano at The Mirage, don't cost a thing to watch! Other attractions, like Madame Tussauds with its wax figures, are reasonably priced so families can enjoy them together. Cultural attractions are thriving thanks to various art galleries and museums, and let's not forget the desert playground itself. From hiking to zip-lining, there's no shortage of fun activities for visitors to partake in.

Caution:

When hiking, remember to bring lots of water and sunscreen. It's easy to get dehydrated in the desert.

Where to Stay

Las Vegas is home to some of the world's best hotels, many of which are found on the Las Vegas Strip. However, while staying on the Strip is a convenient option, there are also several luxurious resorts off-Strip. For those planning on reconnecting with the great outdoors while they're in town, Red Rock Resort is one of the city's most lavish retreats and located just minutes from Red Rock Canyon. Downtown Las Vegas has several luxurious options, too, and usually at a fraction of the cost of Strip hotels.

Avoid:

Visiting during a major convention or holiday, if possible, as hotel rates will be much higher.

Hot Tips:

If you plan on visiting often, be sure to join a players club for future offers on hotel stays. Joining is free, and several clubs, like MGM Resorts International's M life, are linked to numerous properties.

What to Eat

There's more to Las Vegas than just all-you-can-eat buffets—although the city is home to some of the country's best! Over the past few years, Las Vegas has become a gourmand's destination thanks to its many celebrity chef restaurants. Everyone from Wolfgang Puck to Gordon Ramsay has a restaurant on the Strip. There are plenty of delectable dining choices off-Strip as well, like the beautiful lakefront Marche Bacchus French Bistro & Wine Shop. And speaking of restaurants with a view, be sure to check out the Eiffel Tower Restaurant and rotating Top of the World—both are tops with taste buds!

Be Sure to Sample:

The Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace. With more than 500 items prepared daily, there's sure to be something for even the most discerning diner to enjoy.

Places to Party

Some of the country's best nightclubs call the Vegas Strip home. Seven of the country's top 10 nightclubs and bars (based on revenue) are located right here in Sin City, with XS at Encore Las Vegas coming in at No. 1. Considering only the best DJs spin here, though, it's easy to see why. Throw in some of Hollywood's hottest celebs letting loose on any given night and those extravagant bottle service charges seem a bit more worth it. After all, you're partying with the rich and famous!

Avoid:

Paying a cover. Almost every club on the Strip has promoters passing out free cover coupons. If you can't find anyone, go to your hotel concierge--they may have a few.

Hot Tips:

Dress to impress. This isn't your neighborhood club. One of the Kardashians may be at a table next to you, so look like you belong on the A-list.

Where to Shop

Sorry Rodeo Drive—Las Vegas is the new shopping mecca when it comes to designer brands. Whether you want to spruce up your wardrobe with a little Prada or drive home in a brand new Ferrari, the many high-end shopping centers on the Vegas Strip have got you covered. There are plenty of affordable stores, too, like the world's largest H&M, located inside The Forum Shops at Caesars. If you're hungry for a real bargain, though, venture off-Strip to the Las Vegas Premium Outlets — North and South where shoppers can save anywhere from 25 to 65 percent.

Hot Tips:

Every Tuesday, shoppers ages 50 and older can save an extra 10 percent at participating stores inside the Las Vegas Premium Outlets — North and South simply by presenting their photo ID to the cashier.

Best Local Souvenir:

A box of Ethel M chocolates from the Ethel M Chocolate Factory in Henderson. Yum!

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Things to do in Las Vegas


Las Vegas is known for...

Five of Las Vegas's most unique features and characteristics.

1. Gambling:

Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, and Las Vegas went on to make a name for itself as one of the most thrilling places in the world to place a bet. Gambling isn't restricted to casinos - you'll find slot machines and poker machines in convenience stores and at the airport. The casinos along the Strip (the city’s iconic thoroughfare) offer every type of gaming: table games, sports books, machines. Some of the best odds in the casino are blackjack and craps.  The worst? Roulette and Keno. If you don't know how to gamble, don't worry. Most of the machines are easy to learn if you've ever played a video game or used a computer. Many of the hotels offer tutorials in their rooms. Just remember that the smartest gamblers know when to walk away and that they should limit their drinking, even though you can get free drinks while you're playing. 

2. Heat:

Las Vegas is in the Mojave Desert, which means temperatures during the summer are routinely in the triple digits. One of the oldest jokes about Las Vegas is that while it's hot, "It's a dry heat," which is supposedly easier to bear than humidity.  Temps can still reach 110, though. Las Vegas buildings are universally air conditioned, and most visitors will either spend their time in the casino or at the pool. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids—all that dry heat can dehydrate you—and if you're here in summer, limit your outside activities to early morning and after sunset. In winter, however, while the rest of the country is shoveling snow, Las Vegas is a perfect temperature for almost any outdoor activity. 

3. Showgirls:

Gracefully walking a stage with a gigantic feathered head dress, wearing high heels and a sequined bikini, the Las Vegas show girl is emblematic of the city. Made famous in classic productions like the Lido de Paris and the Follies Bergere - both shows that have closed - showgirls can still be found in abundance on the stage of the Strip's grandest production show still going, Jubiliee! 

4. The Strip:

Officially known as Las Vegas Boulevard, this five-mile stretch of road is home to some of the world's largest hotels. Back in 1946 when the famous mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel opened the Flamingo Hotel Casino, most of the hotels in Las Vegas were downtown. Over the years, the hotel casinos sprang up like wildfire along the Strip, creating a concentrated area dedicated to tourism—and most visitors never leave the Strip. Only a few of the original hotel casinos remain, but the Strip continues to add all kinds of attractions:  luxury shopping malls, upscale restaurants, and curb-side entertainment. 

5. Celebrities:

They come to town for all kinds of events, host parties at nightclubs, and grace the stages of fantastic hotels. Celebrities, from the A-list to the reality show stars, love to come to Vegas to hit the tables and strike a pose for the paparazzi. Visitors flocking to local hot spots in hopes of catching a glimpse of the famous are often rewarded.