Billed as The Entertainment Capital of the World, you can’t fail to keep yourself amused in Las Vegas. With so much to do and so many sights to see, we’ve put together a summary of what to do on your Las Vegas holiday, to make sure you get a full taste of all that the city has to offer.
When choosing where to stay in Las Vegas, the first question to ask yourself is whether you want to be in the thick of it or slightly out of the action for a 'relatively' quieter holiday. In other words, do you want to stay on or off The Strip? The Las Vegas Strip is a dramatic hub of hotels, casinos, amusement parks, shops and entertainment, which stretches for over four miles. With over 60,000 hotel rooms available, there’s something for everyone, whether you prefer high concept, luxury or boutique hotels, and there’s also a room for every budget.
Many Las Vegas hotels are on such a massive scale that they not only have their own pools, but also their own casinos, shopping malls and restaurants. At the Venetian, you can even take a gondola ride on a canal. There are a lot of themed hotels in Vegas while they’re mainly, like the Venetian, inspired by famous international locations. Explore the replica of Lake Como at the Bellagio or visit the Empire State Building, Central Park and Statue of Liberty at the New York-New York. Even if you don't stay at these hotels, they are definitely worth a visit during your trip, simply to take in the spectacle.
For those who are not tempted by the more 'themey' side of Vegas, there are also luxury and boutique hotels which offer slightly more sedate décor (as sedate as Vegas gets!). There's a myriad of choice including the Wynn Las Vegas, Caesar's Palace and The Cosmopolitan. If you're on a budget, Las Vegas has many cheaper rooms as well, like those at the Golden Gate with its vintage appeal; the Miami feel at Tropicana and the motel styled Rumor.
Las Vegas offers a huge variety of world cuisines, so there’s something to satisfy everyone's taste buds, no matter what you fancy. For those who can afford it, then there are Michelin starred restaurants serving some of the world’s top rated food. Joёl Robuchon Restaurant has three Michelin Stars to its name and is a fine dining must, featuring a menu full of the best of French cuisine. If you would like to eat French but want an option easier on your pocket, then Bardot Brasserie is a great choice, with its modern twist on the classics. There are also plenty of other places to dine whatever your budget.
Many restaurants are heavy on meat, and in particular, steaks. The aptly named, Cut, serves up delicious 100% Wagyu steaks and is the Wolfgang Pucks brain child. While there's also Bazaar Meat by Josѐ Andrѐs which prefers to be called a 'meathouse' rather than steakhouse, where beef sits alongside fine cuts of pork, caviar and foie gras. Carnevino is an Italian-influenced and prides itself equally on providing great steaks and fine wine to wash them down with. Continuing on the Italian theme, get a table at Portofino where Chef Michael LaPlaca is busy serving his unique interpretation of Italian classics, and you won’t regret it.
There's also a host of Asian inspired restaurants in Vegas. Try Raku, Kabuto Edomae Sushi, Chada Thai & Wine; Yusho (serving street food), and Lotus of Siam, which may not have Michelin Stars but has had food bloggers raving for years and has been rated one of the best Thai restaurants in the USA.
There are plenty of spots to choose from, whether you prefer a cold beer or a heady cocktail. Atomic Liquors has the honour of being known as the oldest surviving bar, and takes its name from the fact that it used to be a viewing point for atomic tests in the desert. A rooftop option is available at Commonwealth, a speakeasy where you’ll also find live music alongside the hipster crowd.
Another place for cocktails is Herbs & Rye which has a 1920s ambience, harking back to the golden age of the mixing drinks. Parasol Up gives away its tipple of focus, serving cocktails to a chic clientele, while if you prefer a simpler selection then Pub 1842 takes its name from the year Pilsner beer was first brewed, and is more of a gastropub. Other places to check out include VDKA, serving what it suggests; Vesper, inspired by the James Bond cocktail, with its sophisticated crowd and PBR Rock Bar & Grill for its all-out-fun rodeo theme, complete with cowgirls and mechanic bull.
If sipping cocktails is a bit tame for you, then there are plenty of places for an out and out club night. Hakkasan is a must do for any clubbing fan. It’s a massive space with world famous DJs in residence. Other ‘big night’ clubs include Light which was created by the team behind Cirque Du Soleil; Marquee is also a clubbers club while it has the addition of chill out venue inside called the Library and a smaller club called Boombox; Omnia, even just for the sight of its giant, supersized, futurist 'chandelier' and then there’s Tao for is cheesy décor, that will remind you that you are definitely in the Las Vegas that you’ve seen in all the films. For a more chilled out party night then Sayers Club is a great option with its great live music.
This is a fairly obvious one when it comes to what to do in Las Vegas. Whether you’re a high roller or just want to dip your toe into the scene, Las Vegas is a gambling mecca! Many of the resorts and hotels will have a casino, so you may not have to go far to place a bet. There’s also some must see casinos no matter where you're laying your head.
The MGM Grand is a definite visit even just for its scale; the Venetian has stunning design; go to Caesars Palace for the atmosphere; The Cosmopolitan is modern and hip; the Aria is renowned for its sophistication; Palms Casino Resort is a trendy celebrity hang out; you also can try out on the 70-Lane bowling alley between bets at the Gold Coast Casino and then there is the tropical habitat that surrounds the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino. The list is extensive, so your best bet is to take a walk and try to check out as many as you can.
Money is made and lost in Vegas, and there are plenty of places to spend your newly acquired funds, if you get lucky… There are a few must visit shopping centres whether you’re just browsing or looking to purchase, and these include Crystals at City Center, which is known for its high-end stores being packed full of all of the designer labels that you could wish for. Another plush set of retailers can be found at The Forum Shops at Caesers, which is considered to be the best of the Casino shopping malls, and is worth visiting even just to see its Roman theme.
For a more unique shopping experience, Trivoli Village offers a set of luxurious stores that feature less familiar brands, contained within this European themed mall. While it’s easy to spend big in Las Vegas’ luxury shops, if you are after a bargain try Las Vegas Premium Outlets, which is divided into two shopping centres; the South Centre near the strip and the larger North Centre near Downtown. Premium Outlets is packed with brands from Hugo Boss, to Calvin Klein and Nike at discounted prices.
If you have time after all that, it’s well worth a short taxi ride to Town Square which is about one and half miles away from Mandalay Bay. Popular with locals, Town Square offers just about everything and has a more laid back vibe than the lavish Strip.
Vegas is renowned for its lavish shows and catching at least one is a must do. What's on will depend on when you choose to go, while a Cirque Du Soleil will no doubt be a top ticket. The Blue Man Group is another great option, and has, for many years, been entertaining Vegas audiences with its mixture of comedy, theatre and rock concert. Britney Spears is currently in residence having been reincarnated as a Vegas superstar, and there are also a host of comedy shows and musicals to choose from.
Don't forget that it's not just about The Strip and surrounding streets, as Las Vegas has some beautiful desert scenery and getting out there is a must do. The most famous sight is the Grand Canyon and there are many helicopter tours available for a full, sky-high view, you can also take a bus/walking tour around one of the rims, for those of you who like the terraferma! If you prefer the water you can take a cruise on Lake Mead and visit the Hoover Dam along the way. There’s also horseback riding, hot air balloon tours, kayaking on the Colorado River, and various hiking and cycling trails.
Las Vegas is truly a playground and there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself after you’ve eaten, drunk, visited the casinos and partied! A popular adaptation of 'partying' in Vegas is the pool party, and the top spots to check into for a dip with your drink include Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan, Foxtail Pool Club at the SLS, Drai’s Beach Club at The Cromwell, Wet Republic at the MGM Grand, Encore Beach Club at Wynn and Rehab at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
After cooling off in the pool, don’t forget that, while you may be in the middle of the desert, there are still plush golf courses for those who fancy a round with their clubs. Another popular way to entertain yourself is racing cars, and this can be done on tracks or out in the dessert in dune buggies. For extreme sports activities, ski diving off the Stratosphere Tower and zip-lining in Bootleg Canyon may be for you. Last, but definitely most impressive, is the fact that despite all of the heat and dusty landscape, there’s a snow covered mountain, Mount Charleston, about an hour’s drive from The Strip, with resorts opening for skiers and snowboards from late November to early April.
While people tend to go to Las Vegas to pack in the maximum amount of high-octane fun, there are also some very pleasing ways to unwind after a hard day on The Strip. Vegas is all about indulgence and there is no better way to pamper yourself than to check into a spa for a decadent few hours. Most of the main resorts will have their own spa, so a venue for a massage, or facial, or steam may not be too far away from your hotel room. Aria, The Venetian, MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, The Cosmopolitan and Encore are just a few of the hotels that have a spa attached, and with so much choice, you are bound to find a treatment perfect for your down time.
It’s not just in the movies, people really do get married in Las Vegas, and in such quantities that Vegas is the wedding capital of the USA. It’s a one-stop shop for a wedding and honeymoon, and it doesn’t have to be Elvis themed, unless you want it to be of course! If you���re looking to tie the knot you can get married in one of the many luxury hotels in Vegas, while there are also traditional New England style chapels. For those who want high concept, get married on a helicopter; outdoors at The Valley of Fire or Grand Canyon and there are even drive-thru chapels!