Known for crazy partying, gambling, and endless nights out, the city of Las Vegas is one of America’s favorite destinations for bachelor parties, bridal showers and spur-of-the-moment weddings. Whether you are looking for your own The Hangover-style adventure or you just want to see what the fuss is all about, it doesn’t matter, you’ll hear it and say it yourself a thousand times: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”! Perhaps nobody summed up the essence of the city better than the King himself with the lyrics “Viva Las Vegas with you neon flashin’ and your one armbandits crashin’ all those hopes down the drain… Viva Las Vegas turnin’ day into nighttime, turnin’ night into daytime, if you see it once you’ll never be the same again!”
WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT LAS VEGAS?
With its endless hotels, restaurants, and bars, the Entertainment Capital of the World welcomes visitors year-round. However, Las Vegas is located in the heart of Nevada’s Mojave Desert. The scorching heat during the summer months will make you wish for a nuclear winter, so it’s safe to say that July is not really the best time to visit Vegas. Instead, you will want to visit during the months that bring the most moderate weather. If you have a choice, plan your visit from March-May or from September-November. That way, you will also get better deals and avoid the crowds associated with the rush around New Year’s Eve. If you don’t mind that, then the holidays are arguably the best time to visit Las Vegas, with Christmas trees on display inside every hotel property.
A FEW FACTS ABOUT LAS VEGAS
Disneyland for Adults, City of Lights, The Lady, Sin City: One thing is for sure, Las Vegas has no shortage of nicknames. Internationally acclaimed as one of the greatest if not the greatest resort city in the world, Las Vegas is the county seat of Clark County and the most populous city in Nevada. Although the city is primarily famous for its nightlife and gambling, many people visit Las Vegas for its shopping, fine dining, and entertainment. Of the twenty largest hotels in the United Sates, seventeen are located in Las Vegas. When it comes to other records, Vegas is also one of the cities with the most weddings, with 315 couples tying the knot each day. And as for its bright city lights, it’s almost impossible to beat Las Vegas, with 15 thousand miles of neon tubing illuminating the streets each night. If you are dying to see Las Vegas at night, don’t worry, you are not alone. You will be joining the 41 million visitors a year that spend at least one night in Vegas.
ONE DAY IN LAS VEGAS ITINERARY
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Las Vegas.
Start Your Trip at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum
While Las Vegas at night is what most people have in mind when it comes to visiting Vegas, there are several things that are worth seeing during the day, as well. The Las Vegas Natural History Museum, located between Heritage Park and Lions Memorial Park, is a modern museum that uses dioramas, classes, and interactive displays to bring history to life. With recreations and replicas authorized by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the museum allows its visitors to explore a realistic entrance to the tomb of Tutankhamun and see how state of the art technology can be used to scan mummies and create medical imaging. Among other artifacts, visitors can admire replicas of King Tut’s outer sarcophagus, the Golden Shrine, chariots, and the Golden Throne. In a city that is primarily focused on entertainment for adults, visiting this museum is certainly one of the best things to do in Vegas with kids. Admission rates vary from 12$ for adults to 10$ for seniors, military, and students, and $6 for children older than 3.
Follow It up by Visiting the Neon Museum
After the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, you can take a short 4-minute walk south down Las Vegas Boulevard past the huge parking lot and visit the rather unique Neon Museum. With exhibits that include vintage Vegas neon signs all the way back from the 1930s, you can roam the sprawling outdoor exhibition and event area and experience this unique piece of Las Vegas frozen in time. Although the museum is more impressive during the nighttime, it is less crowded during the day. And you will probably want to spend your one night in Vegas partying and having the time of your life anyway.
Explore Fremont Street
Continuing down the Boulevard, you can go for a 15-minute walk until you reach Fremont Street, or you can take the bus 113 from Las Vegas @ Cashman to Las Vegas @ Carson (every 15 minutes). Attractions include the Downtown Container Park, an unusual shopping center made from actual shipping containers – with a large courtyard, a children’s playground, and numerous galleries. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, you can visit the nearby SlotZilla Zip Line, a popular thrill attraction with two levels that is definitely worth a try. Later, explore the rest of Fremont street – a pedestrian-only area filled with street performers, music and video shows.
Visit the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum
In case you are visiting Las Vegas with children, after Fremont Street, you can hop aboard the SDX (Strip and Downtown Express) northbound at Casino Center @ Carson and get off at Grand Central @ Symphony Park. The DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, just across the park, is filled with interactive displays to stimulate learning about science, art, food, music, and so much more. Highlights include a model helicopter with a flight simulator, as well as small stores, banks, and hospitals where children can play and learn about a number of exciting professions. Needless to say, spending a couple of hours at the museum is among the best things to do in Vegas with kids, so make sure to take advantage of its valuable learning resources.
Take in the Sights Along the Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip, known simply as The Strip, is the central section of Las Vegas Boulevard, running through the city for two and a half miles from northeast to southwest. Lined with performance venues, luxury hotels, entertainment hubs, and fine dining haunts, the Strip is best experienced on foot, with most visitors choosing to stay on the Strip and go for long walks to get a feel for the true spirit of Las Vegas. Among the wide variety of attractions, don’t miss the High Roller observation wheel and the beautiful, towering Fountains of Bellagio. At the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, check out the iconic neon sign from the 1950s, “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada”. You may also want to visit Madame Tussauds Las Vegas with its selection of life-size wax figures of famous icons, or make the time to see the extensive collection of more than 250 artifacts recovered from the Titanic at the Luxor Hotel and Casino, with a large section of the ship’s original hull in addition to meticulous replicas its Grand Staircase and several cabins.
Grab a Bite to Eat
For lunch, you should try some of Las Vegas’ high-end burgers, a mixture of high-end luxury and simple thrills that is so typically Vegas. Try Hard Rock Café near MGM Grand or Gordon Ramsay Burger, across the street from The Chelsea. A must-visit for fans of the famous chef, the Gordon Ramsay Burger is stylish and colorful, yet less snobbish and exclusive than you might expect. Even though you will immediately notice Ramsey’s legendary attention to detail and top-drawer quality, no reservations are needed. You can ask for a table and go out for a walk while you wait. The staff will text you as soon as your table is ready. The burgers are delicious, with the option of making a to order personalized burger just for you.
Tour the City’s Theme Hotels on the Strip
After lunch, you can take the bus up or down the boulevard and check out all of the major hotels along the Strip. The properties and attractions listed here are merely a suggestion, so feel free to stop and admire any of the other sights and places you may come across. Among Vegas’ famous theme hotels, you will love the medieval-style Excalibur Hotel and Casino with actual turrets, as well as the Luxor Hotel & Casino, shaped like a pyramid, with the sphynx in front of the hotel being one of the most recognizable landmarks in Las Vegas.
Treat Yourself to a Gondola Ride
While sightseeing is perfectly fine, The Venetian, located on the Strip near Madame Tussauds, features a particularly impressive attraction that you do not want to miss. Apart from being one of the finest resorts in Las Vegas, The Venetian also has a themed shopping mall inside resembling the city of Venice, with replicas of its famous bridges (e.g. the Rialto Bridge) amid actual canals and gondoliers. The Outdoor Gondola Rides are a really exciting and fun way to experience the complex and the shopping arcade inside – a real extravagant treat with Italian music in the background to set the mood.
Climb the Stratosphere Tower
As you make your way around Las Vegas, you will undoubtedly notice The Stratosphere Tower rising over the city’s skyline. The Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower calls the structure “the tallest freestanding observation tower” in the country. On the rooftop, 1,149 feet above the city, you can enjoy several heart-stopping thrill rides such as Insanity, Big Shot, SkyJump, and others. If that sound like too much for you, you can just go to one of the observation decks (outdoor or indoor) and enjoy breathtaking views of the city. If you time it right, you can get there at sunset and watch as the city lights slowly drown out the last remaining red-tinged rays of sunlight over Las Vegas at night.
VEGAS FREE SHOW
No matter the reason of your visit, one thing is for sure: you already know that Vegas is anything but cheap. The city that was designed to make sure that visitors spend their last dime there offers a lot in terms of entertainment, but the glamorous lights and spectacular shows are there to lure people in and always offer them more to see, try, taste, and experience. That said, here are several interesting (and free) Vegas daytime activities that you will absolutely love.
Visit the Ethel M Chocolate Factory
While technically in Henderson (18 minutes from the city center by car or 50 minutes with public transport) the Ethel M Chocolate Factory is one of the free Vegas attractions that is definitely worth a visit. The factory, which produces gourmet premium chocolate, is open to the public, with self-guided tours available for all visitors. There is also an outlet on site with different types of chocolate and a large four-acre botanical garden with hundreds upon hundreds of species of cacti. If you are a chocolate enthusiast, watching the delicious sweets being made is one Vegas free show you don’t want to miss. While there are free samples as well, the full gourmet tasting experience will set you back $15 for adults or $6 for children – not to mention that you will be seriously tempted to buy tons of chocolate after the tour.
Check out the Free Mermaid Show at the Silverton Hotel and Casino
Seeing the Free Mermaid Show at the Silverton Hotel and Casino is definitely among the best things to do in Vegas with kids. Although not exactly on the Strip, this Vegas free show is only five miles away, and it is absolutely worth checking out. After performing breathtaking tricks, the mermaids will pose for photos and interact with children. Accompanying the mermaids, there is also a stingray feeding show every day at 1:30 and 4:30 PM, which is both free and actually quite educational.
All the other things you can see on the Las Vegas Strip are free to check out and explore, unless you are looking for a special experience like the aforementioned gondola ride.
ONE NIGHT IN VEGAS
While there’s never a shortage of things to do in Las Vegas at night, you certainly don’t want to spend your one night in Vegas wandering around aimlessly, wondering what to do. So here are some suggestions to get you right on track.
For a Regular Night Out, Consider One of These Clubs
The good thing about nightclubs in Las Vegas is that all of the good ones are mostly located on the Las Vegas Strip, so getting from one to the other is usually easy and convenient. That said, on your one night in Vegas you still probably won’t be able to visit them all, so pick a few that suit your style and taste in music the most. If you like Asian-inspired décor and EDM, then the Tao Nightclub at The Venetian is the right choice for you. Pair that with the excellent spicy tuna from the nearby Tao Restaurant and you have yourself an excellent night out.
Omnia at Caesars Palace features great DJs, a chandelier that looks like a spaceship, and a beautiful outdoor patio where you can take a short breather and enjoy great views of Las Vegas at night. If you are looking for something a bit more refined, or if you just want to try some perfect handcrafted cocktails, then you should check out Hyde Bellagio at Bellagio, a charming club with Italian-inspired décor. For a chance to see (and hear) some of the world’s most famous DJs, you should definitely go to Hakkasan at MGM Grand, frequented by big names such as Calvin Harris and Tiesto.
Consider these Las Vegas Adults Only Shows
If you want to make your one night in Vegas really special, you may want to check out some of these classic Las Vegas adult shows. After all, they don’t call it Sin City for nothing! For some sexy rock ‘n’ roll adult fun in Vegas, check out X Rocks at Bally’s Hotel and Casino. Beautiful girls clad in leather, high heels and studded lingerie perform for 75 minutes with some of the greatest rock hits playing in the background. The show is a bit on the light side, with stand-up comedy acts during the intermission.
X-Burlesque at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino features a classic “Las Vegas adults only” show, with feather boas and a series of routines reminiscent of the can-can and the French cabaret. Lastly, there is the ‘Zombie Burlesque’ at Planet Hollywood’s V Theater with sexy zombies doing classic burlesque, in addition to a number of comedy and variety acts. Just remember, although a bit of adult fun in Vegas is to be expected, don’t overdo it and turn your one night in Vegas from a night you’ll never forget into the one night you’d do anything to forget.
WHERE TO STAY IN LAS VEGAS?
Vdara Hotel & Spa at ARIA Las Vegas
This exclusive resort on the Las Vegas Strip is among the most popular and highest rated properties in Las Vegas. With a full-service spa, a magnificent rooftop pool, a boutique grocery store, and a contemporary lounge serving a great selection of cocktails, the Vdara Hotel & Spa at ARIA Las Vegas truly has it all. In addition, all of the most popular shopping, dining, and casino venues in Las Vegas are mere minutes away. If you are spending only 24 hours in Vegas, this hotel will make you want to extend your stay.
The Cromwell Hotel & Casino
A charming boutique hotel with Paris-inspired design features, The Cromwell Hotel & Casino offers a unique blend of contemporary and vintage motifs in its well-furnished rooms. Guests staying at the hotel have a special reserved room at the Cromwell’s casino, as well as unrestricted VIP access at Drai’s Night Club and. Foodies will enjoy the gourmet experience offered by Giada De Laurentis Restaurant with its authentic Italian cuisine with a Californian twist.
Palms Place Hotel and Spa (Free Parking)
The Palms Place Hotel and Spa is more than just a hotel. It is a luxury resort with its own spa, gaming clubs, nightclubs, and restaurants. The rooms are the real highlight of the property, however, with floor-to-ceiling windows, a small kitchen, and a bathroom covered in marble. If you ever get bored of exploring the Las Vegas Strip, only 3 blocks away, you can relax at the modern 50,000-square-foot pool on the 6th floor, with beautiful stone gardens and waterfalls, or the 2-acre pool at the ground level, with live concerts during the summer and an adjoined Turkish bath.
Hampton Inn & Suites Las Vegas South
Located in Henderson, only a 15-minute drive from the Strip, the Hampton Inn & Suites Las Vegas South offers its guests free Wi-Fi, a daily hot breakfast buffet, an on-site hot tub, and a heated outside pool open 24 hours. With access to the hotel’s fitness center and business center, as well as the free shuttle service, there is no reason not to choose the Hampton Inn & Suites Las Vegas South if you’re looking to spend a day in Las Vegas sightseeing, enjoying great food, and partying.
DAY TRIPS FROM LAS VEGAS
Grand Canyon 4-in-1 Helicopter Tour
If you are planning on going from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon, you might as well do in in style. On this 6.5-hour tour, enjoy scenic views on an exciting flight from Las Vegas, with several stops to take in the scenery from iconic viewpoints on the ground. The helicopter will bring you down to the canyon floor, where you can go on a picturesque boat ride down the Colorado River. To make things as convenient as possible, the tour includes lunch at Guano Point and pick-up and drop-off by limousine from any hotel in Las Vegas.
Grand Canyon West Rim and Hoover Dam Tour
If you’d rather go from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon the old-fashioned way, however, then your best bet it to go for a relaxing day trip in an air-conditioned bus with a scenic ride through the gorgeous Nevada desert, a Joshua tree forest, and impressive dry riverbeds. The tour includes a stop at the colossal Hoover Dam for some amazing photos, hiking opportunities both at Eagle Point and Guano Point, and a fun wild west show at Hualapai Ranch.
Los Angeles and Hollywood Day Trip from Las Vegas
For something a little bit different, get a taste of South California and the City of Angels on a tour that includes legendary attractions in Hollywood and iconic LA locations such as Beverly Hills and the Santa Monica Pier. After a light breakfast and a ride through the beautiful Mojave Desert landscapes, enjoy day in La-La Land, go for a walk down Sunset Strip and the Hollywood Walk of Fame and take photos of the legendary Hollywood sign.
EXTRA TIPS FOR VISITING LAS VEGAS
-On your one night out in Vegas, it’s OK if you have a few drinks, just make sure not to carry any open containers and drink in public spaces, especially not close to schools, places of worship, and hospitals. Doing so is against the law and could get you in trouble.
-Some casinos will offer free cocktails in an effort to keep you gaming. If you plan on playing slots or table games, you don’t have to buy a drink right away. Wait a little until a waitress approaches you and offers you a drink. You could save quite a bit of money that way.
-For dinner, the busiest time in Vegas is between 6 and 8 PM. If you don’t want to wait in line, plan your dinner either before or after that time.
PIN FOR LATER!
If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Las Vegas Itinerary, feel free to share them in the comments below!