Las Vegas is the original entertainment capital. With a glittering Strip, casinos galore, sprawling mega-resorts and year-round sunshine, Las Vegas is somewhere everyone has to visit at least once, especially if you’re after a wild weekend, USA-style.
Vegas is more than just neon lights and slot machines. From all the Las Vegas attractions you just can’t miss to the shopping, dining, fountain shows and family fun, here’s everything you need to know. Sin City is calling your name.
The Strip: What To Do (And Where To Go)
There are a million things to do in Las Vegas. Most of the activity centres around the 3.5-mile stretch of the Las Vegas Boulevard (better known as The Strip). People who haven’t been may assume it’ll be a touch tacky, but it’s pure Vegas glam. Think palm-lined boulevards filled with giant hotels, carved marbles, towering statues and iconic signs. Most importantly, every hotel forms its own casino complex. The Mirage has an erupting volcano and an aquarium, Bellagio has dancing fountains and a botanical garden and the entertainment is 24/7.
A snapshot of yourself at “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” is probably worth it, but the fun is exploring The Strip. The Park’s open-air restaurants and walk-through water features are less in-your-face than Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops, winged-dragon shows or the LINQ Promenade, but you’ll find great experiences here. Where else can you buy Sprinkles cupcakes from an ATM? Make the most of the Venetian canals and The Eiffel Tower in the daytime- the evenings are best saved for the Las Vegas shows. Expect sprawling plazas, high-end and buffet restaurants, amusement rides and the sheer buzz of 70,000 hotel rooms packed into one fun-fuelled strip. It’s worth stopping by hotels for an afternoon pool party, although there’s generally a charge to access them.
Casino-wise, you’ve landed in heaven. They’re 100% designed for you to stay, so don’t expect any clocks or windows inside, but the atmosphere is totally worth it. You’ll be alongside pros and novices here, so whether you’re betting the world or just tinkering the slots, you’ll have fun.
You’re Here To Eat (And You’re Spoiled For Choice)
Dining-wise, Las Vegas has everything. Many casinos offer discounted buffet dining (they are getting you through the door, after all). A high number of Michelin-starred and celebrity chefs also have residency here- Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud and Joel Robuchon all have restaurants here. The steaks don’t disappoint, the buffets could literally feed the whole of Britain and The Strip offers everything from Mexican, Chinese and traditional American to gourmet Japanese.
Las Vegas Shows
Vegas is as famous for its shows as it is for casino culture. The most famous are the Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group and The Lion King, but come sundown, you’re looking at an entire city’s worth. The Monte Carlo (now Park MGM), Stratosphere, Luxor and Wynn hotels all put on staggering shows. Nightly fountain displays at Bellagio are free, as is the World-Class Circus Acts. Whether it’s dancing, singing, cabaret, burlesque (or a major superstar), you won’t be bored. Expect it to be a bit tacky a times- drag shows and magic will do that, but the quality of performance is really high.
Old Vegas: The Downtown Guide
Casinos started popping up in Vegas in 1906- don’t think it’s all new. Old Vegas (or “Glitter Clutch”) is the downtown zone that’s full of vintage lights, the “Vegas Vic” cowboy and all the heyday charm in the world. You’re here for the Fremont Experience, which is packed with LED screens, street performers, cheap eats and memorabilia stands. Music and video shows here are nightly, and with just half a mile compared to the bigger Strip, Old Vegas is also more compact. There’s also a zip-wire, the Viva Vision screen covering the whole of Fremont Street, lots of free gigs and surprisingly good shrimp for 99 cents.
Shop Til You Drop, Head Further Afield (Or Get Married!)
Vegas chapels aren’t for everyone, but they did the trick for Angelina Jolie and Jon Bon Jovi. Graceland and Chapel of the Flowers are the most famous, but there are 50 to choose from. If you want to visit Vegas (without getting hitched), there’s still boutique and mall shopping, colourful stands selling just about everything and a surprising amount of extra stuff.
For 200 neon signs that tell the “Boneyard” history of Vegas, head to the outdoor Neon Museum. Over 40 shipping containers here have been turned into shops, bars and restaurants at the Downtown Container Park, and there’s even ice-skating. For Nevada’s red-rock natural beauty and the extra-terrestrial Area 51, head to nearby Summerlin. For man-made lakes and golf, head to Henderson. We absolutely recommend taking a trip out to the Grand Canyon, where you can fly over the Hoover Dam, take in the staggering scenery and return to The Strip just in time for cocktail hour.
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