VEGAS BABY! Seriously is there any other city with such a legend—wait for it—dary reputation? People from all over the world and all walks of life flock to this desert oasis to gamble, drink, relax, take in some of the best shows and performances around, and make memories with their friends that they may or not may remember/want to forget. :)
When people head to Nevada for a Las Vegas weekend, they’re most likely referring to the section of South Las Vegas Boulevard known as The Strip. The Strip is a 4.2-mile district is the center of The Entertainment capital of the World with its concentration of mega-resort hotels, casinos, restaurants, bars, and venues. Bright Lights Big City, right?
Fun fact: The majority of The Strip is actually in Paradise, Nevada, not Las Vegas. But tourists and locals alike commonly refer to the entire metro area as Las Vegas.
If this is you’re first trip, don’t forget to check out my Tips For Las Vegas First-Timers. It’s full of tips and observations from our experiences. This way you won’t be caught off guard as Las Vegas is a weird place and you’ll definitely see things you won’t see anywhere else.
If you’re not sure where to start check out my Las Vegas Long Weekend Itinerary! It’s catered to first-timers, but with plenty of flexibility. Adjust it to your schedule and flow.
Designed with entertainment in mind, Las Vegas always has somewhere fun to go, somewhere great to eat, something amazing to see, and something for everyone.
Just remember however you decide to take on The Glitter Gulch, use the buddy system.
Lastly, Las Vegas can be expensive whether you gamble or not so take advantage of the discounts and benefits of the Go Card Las Vegas and save where you can! The cards are offered in 2-5 day increments (something to fit every trip) and help you save at more than 30 top Vegas attractions including the High Roller, bus and walking tours, shows, restaurants, and more!
Las Vegas is more than just The Strip. Head to Old Vegas/Downtown Vegas with my area guide and explore the original city center and gambling district. It’s worth spending at least a few hours in this historic district!
The Fountains at The Bellagio
@bellagio | Address: 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Arguably the most extravagant hotel on the strip, the Bellagio is gorgeous inside and out. It’s a definite MUST for a trip to Vegas, especially if it’s your first time.
Outside you can’t miss the world-famous Bellagio Fountains and their mesmerizing musical water shows. The choreographed fountains perform to popular songs daily at the following times:
- Monday - Friday: Every 30 minutes between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Saturdays and holidays: Every 30 minutes from 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. and every 15 minutes between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m.
- Sundays: Every 30 minutes from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
It’s completely free and consistently one of the most popular attractions in the city.
Plus if you’re staying at the Bellagio and have a fountain view, you can enjoy the music during each show on your tv.
Inside, the lobby’s ceiling features a huge floral glass sculpture by Dale Chihulu called Fiori di Como.
Continue past the front desks to the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens for seasonal displays carefully crafted by their team of 140 horticulturists. The displays typically include thousands of colorful flowers, rare plants, and perfectly manicured bushes. It’s open 24/7 and is a great place for photos.
Take in a Show
Las Vegas is not known as the Entertainment Capital of the World for nothing! Visitors and locals alike are treating to world class music, shows, and more nightly. Tickets can get quite pricey so research in advance, but you can’t leave Vegas without seeing at least one. There are thousands to choose from so we’ve pulled together our favorites.
O by Cirque du Soleil at The Bellagio
This is THE Cirque show to see! Marvel in the fantasy world created as acrobats and synchronized swimmers immerse you in a dazzling display of artistry and choreographed acrobatics. The stage transforms for solid to liquid like the fluidity of water. Simply amazing!
Absinthe by Spiegelworld at Caesars Palace
If you’re looking for something other than an abstract Cirque show, look no further! This raunchy vaudeville variety show takes place in a circus style striped tent on the plaza outside Caesars Palace and features trapeze artists, burlesque dancers, comedians, sideshow-inspired performers, among others. Grab a drink and enjoy a modern-old world entertainment at its finest.
The Beatles LOVE at The Mirage
A psychedelic journey through the 60s interpreted by Cirque performers, this show will keep you dancing in your seats. There is so much happening during LOVE that it’s almost overwhelming yet it’s like your immersed in the music and experiencing the genius that is The Beatles for the first time (again).
Make sure to check out residencies and club performances So many amazing, world-renown artists make their way through Vegas throughout the year so check the local event calendar.
Drink Mimosas Poolside
…Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool, sipping mimosas outside by the pool…
How do you like our Fresh Prince-Vegas remix? The beauty of Vegas is its 24/7/365 entertainment. One activity that is not to be overlooked is lounging poolside sipping mimosas (usually to sure a slight hangover, speaking from experience). Vegas hotels have some of the best pools in the world and their consistently sunny weather offers a slice of paradise during your stay. Note: Just a heads up, the prices of drinks by the pool are NOT for the faint of heart. :)
Some of the best pools in Vegas include Aria, Encore, and Caesars Palace, but if you’re looking for a pool party don’t miss MGM Grand Hotel’s Wet Republic and Encore’s XS Nightclub!
Walk the Strip & Through the Mega Resorts
The city is synonymous with entertainment and there was no expenses spared when it came to development of the mega resorts that line the Strip. You can basically take a trip around the world from the Eiffel Tower to New York City and Italy to Egypt.
Both sides of the Strip are lined with hotels, casinos, restaurants, shops, and attractions galore!
The mega resorts are design to be over the top…an experience in itself. They are also designed to keep people in so navigating these themed labyrinths can be tricky but is worth checking out what each has to offer.
The Strip is pedestrian-friendly and a walk down the Strip enjoying the atmosphere is an EXCELLENT opportunity for people watching. Trust me, the people watching in Las Vegas is perfection! Bonus: You can walk the Strip with your alcoholic beverage!
Do make sure to wear comfortable shoes are the strip clocks in at 4.2 miles in length.
Along the way keep an eye out for:
- The Bellagio Fountains
- The Fall of Atlantis show at The Forum Shoppes
- Flamingo Wildlife Habitat at The Tropicana
- Hershey’s Chocolate World Las Vegas at New York-New York Hotel & Casino
- Volcano Show, Salt Water Aquarium & White Tiger Habitat at The Mirage
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
@vegas | Address: 5100 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89119
No trip to Vegas would be complete without a photo by the iconic 1959 neon Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign! There is a small parking lot in the center divider where the sign is and consistently a small queue for photos, but step to the side to take your photo and avoid the queue. The sign was never copyrighted hence the countless souvenirs in the city and around the world using the design. While most go along with the saying “whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” your photo will the sign will be the one exception.
Alternatively there's a new entryway sign in town featuring a pari of 26-foot tall showgirls, a roulette wheel, stacks of giant poker chips, and large light up letters spelling out Las Vegas! Officially lit up in August 2018, the sign is located just north of The Stratosphere—or The Strat as they are rebranding—on the corner of S. Las Vegas Boulevard, E. St. Louis Avenue and S. Main Street in front of the Denny’s (1822 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104). It’s not near as iconic as the diamond sign on the other end of the Strip, but it’s not yet overrun with tourists so get your selfies while you can! :)
Located across from Caesars Palace, between the Flamingo Las Vegas and the LINQ Hotel & Casino, The LINQ Promenade is a lively laneway connecting Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip) to the High Roller observation wheel. It’s packed with shopping, dining, and entertainment.
For the best panoramic views of the city, especially brilliant during sunset and evening hours, take a ride on the world’s tallest observation wheel, the aptly named High Roller.
A 30 minute spin around the wheel is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a drink with your friends and take some amazing photos.
The area will also soon feature a zipline too!
Enjoy a Drink in A Chandelier
@cosmopolitan_lv | Address: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas - Levels 1, 1.5 and 2, The Boulevard Tower, 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Even if you’re not staying at the Cosmopolitan, it’s worth checking out this beautiful multi-level bar inside a massive chandelier. Enjoy one of the bar’s specialty drinks while surrounded by strands of dripping jewels. On my first trip to Vegas back in 2011, I enjoyed a gin cocktail inspired by Alice in Wonderland called “We’re All Mad Here,” that changed colors! It’s still one of the best drinks I’ve ever had.
Perfect for a girls weekend or when the weather is simply unbearably hot, head inside for some affordable shopping and (for us) window shopping at some of the world’s most high-end stores. Shopping is scattered across the Strip and the city, but here are a few options.
The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian
@grandcanalshoppes | Address: 3377 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Have you ever been to Italy? Well The Venetian is like that…but not at all. It’s inspired luxurious yet accessible cobblestone walkways of Venice, complete with gondola-filled canal throughout. The walkways are lined with more than 160 galleries, restaurants, and shops. This picturesque shopping mall transports you across the globe, even if just for a couple hours.
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
Address: 3570 Las Vegas Blvd., S., Las Vegas, NV 89109
This multi-level shopping experience is home to more than 160 shops and restaurants (a good mix of affordable and high-end) including Jimmy Choo, Cartier, Christian Louboutin, Lulu Lemon, Bath & Body Works, The Cheesecake Factory, The Palm and Carmine’s Italian. There is also an aquarium and the area is scattered with recreations of famous Roman statues and fountains.
Miracle Mile Shops
@miraclemilelv | Address: 3663 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Intertwined with Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and Elara by Hilton Grand Vacations, more than 200 stores pack the Miracle Mile Shops offering more affordable, mostly chain- shopping, dining, and entertainment retailers like Cabo Wabo Cantina, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sephora, Oakley, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Steve Madden, and The Sugar Factory, a candy, chocolate, sweet store!
The Shops at Crystals
Address: 3720 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89158
One word to describe this shopping experience—luxurious! If you’re looking to splurge, the Shops at Crystals, located between the Aria Resort & Casino, Mandarin Oriental, and The Cosmopolitan, includes couture retailers like Louis Vuitton, Prada, FENDI, D&G, Hermes, and Harry Winston. There are also a couple restaurants as well.
Fashion Show Mall
Address: 3200 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Located on the north end of the Strip just past Treasure Island, Fashion show mall includes department stores like Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Dillard’s as well as huge food court with tons of fast-casual options and several sit-down restaurants.
The Vegas Golden Knights just began their second season, but are already taking the league by storm with their expansion season run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Their home T-Mobile Arena is state-of-the-art and built specifically for entertainment, would you expect anything else from this city? The venue is clean and modern with minimal congestion throughout the concourses and tons of delicious food options. The plaza area outside the arena is perfect for pre-game celebrations and watch parties. Check the website for their event schedule.
On your way to T-Mobile Arena don’t forget to check out The Park, a newly opened urban oasis between New York-New York and recently renamed Monte Carlo. The area and its several open-air restaurants are hopping on game nights.
@topgolflasvegas | Address: 4627 Koval Ln, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Like Dave & Buster’s bowling, but with golf. Top Golfs are popping up across the country and if you’ve never had to the chance to go Top Golf Las Vegas is a great first impression. The four-level venue is clean and like all of their facilities entertainment-driven. Friends can eat, drink, and have fun driving (or attempting) to drive balls into one of the several holes scattered on the range. Top Golf Las Vegas also features two pools, a concert venue and five unique bars. It is located just behind The Signature at The MGM Grand, roughly a 10-minute, half mile walk off the Strip.
Hash House A Go Go
@hashhouseagogo | website | LINQ Address: 3535 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 | Rio Address: 3700 W. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89103 | West Shara Address: 6800 West Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89146 | Plaza Address: 1 South Main Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Hash House A Go Go serves brunch all day, do I really need to say more? I don’t have to but I will because we love Hash House! Their portions are generous and by generous I mean HUGE. Presentation is amazing. Menu selection is amazing. Food is fresh and scrumptious. You really can’t go wrong here.
Note: The LINQ location is by far the busiest so expect lines during prime times, but a short ride to another location will have you eating Hash House before your name would have been called on the Strip.
What to Order: Fried Chicken Egg Benedict, Chicken & Waffles, Big O’ Chicken Pot Pie, and Johnny’s Famous B.L.T. Mary (Yup, that’s a B.L.T.-inspired Bloody Mary)
Nobu is what we like to call a splurge, like a four dollar sign splurge, but when it’s Nobu it’s worth it! Celebrity chef Nobuyaki Matsuhisa’s signature Japanese dishes with Peruvian flair are insanely good. Whenever we are in a city with a Nobu, we make sure to enjoy it. Plus their Caesars Palace location is the only U.S. location to offer teppan tables (that’s hibachi-style grills).
What to Order: Yellowtail Sashimi with jalapeño, Rock shrimp tempura, and Mushroom Toban-yaki
A modern interpretation of a supper club with live music and performances, almost like dinner theater. Rose. Rabbit. Lie. feels like a secret. It’s intimate and unique making every visit new and different. The seasonally updated menu offers surprising twists on American classic.
What to Order: Anything on the menu paired with the Whiskey Smash + Cookie Jar for dessert
Website | @nachodaddylv | The Strip Address: 3663 S Las Vegas Blvd #595, Las Vegas, NV 89109 | Downtown Address: 113 N 4th St, Las Vegas, NV 89101 | Summerlin Address: Village Square - 9560 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89117
Their slogan is “Never a dry chip” as in your nachos will be smothered with all the goodness of cheese, sour cream, guac and other toppings! Win-win! Plus they offer fajitas, burritos, bowls, tacos and other Mexican favorites. AND They’ve got a vegan menu! They’ve got a vegan menu! We’re talking vegan queso, chik’n, and more! Sorry for all the exclamation points, but everything was so good we ate there two days in a row on our last visit.
What to Order: Lobster & Crab Nacho, Flaming Shrimp, Grilled Corn Off The Cobb, and Vegan Loaded Nachos
If you’re in need of a late night sweet treat, check out Milk Bar located on the second floor of The Cosmopolitan. This bakery puts playful spins on desserts and is famous for their Cereal Milk Soft Serve. You know when you have cereal and the best part is drinking the sweetened milk after…yeah it’s like that! Right now they don’t serve dairy-free soft serve at any of their locations, but they do have assorted gluten-free Birthday Cake Truffles, cake-cake, and cookies.
Garrett Popcorn Shops
@garrettpopcorn | Address: Miracle Mile Shops - 3663 S Las Vegas Blvd #50, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Secret’s out—it’s delicious!! My family is obsessed with Garrett despite the fact that we’re dairy-free, sometimes you gotta go for it though and this is one of those times. Originally a Chicago delicacy, Garrett has slowly been opening shops in select cities around the country. Note: If we had to fly indirect, we used to make sure it was through Chicago to get popcorn for their shop in O’Hare. Well there is one in Las Vegas so get yourself a bag of the Garrett Mix and know that everything is going to be good!
What to Order: Garrett Mix (cheese + caramel popcorn may sound strange, but the combination is perfection!)
Pizza joint offering a vegan menu? Sign us up. They’ve got the usually pizza, salad, pasta and more with gluten-free options available as well. Boom Shaka Laka!
What to Order: Bowtie Mac and Cheese, Toasted Cheese Ravioli, Not Your Mama’s Garlic Bread (vegan), Garden Faux Pie (vegan)
@innout | Address: 3545 S Las Vegas Blvd Suite L24, Las Vegas, NV 89109
What’s you’re order—Animal Style Fries, 3x3, Flying Dutchman, Monkey Style Burger? If you know what I’m talking about then you know In-N-Out Burger!
Founded in Baldwin Park, California, in 1948, it’s since become a West Coast cult classic and must-try stop for all out-of-towners. From humble beginnings as the first drive-thru hamburger stand in California via a two-way speaker system, In-N-Out Burger has developed a highly loyal customer base, expanded to several Pacific and Southwest locations, is consistently rated one of the top fast food chains, and boosts secret menus, and now you can find it right on the Strip…well towards the back end the Linq Promenade just to the right of the fountains. :) And their collectable shop is right next to it.
Bruxie is a fast casual, affordable eatery right on the Strip serving up delicious waffle sandwiches. Yes you heard me right, WAFFLE SANDWICHES! When we went, everything tasted fresh and the wide range of toppings…or fillings since it’s a sandwich means there is something for everyone.
What to Order: The Original, Southern BBQ, and Roasted Mushroom + Goat Cheese Waffle Sandwich
Delicious, nutritious, affordable cold-reseed juices, shots, and freeze, AKA their plant-based soft serve! Freeze is perfect for cooling down after time in the hot Vegas sun, and they have toppings!
What to Order: Juices depend of your taste preference, but I enjoyed their Roots 3 (beet, apple, lemon, ginger), Roots 2 (carrot, kale, romaine, spinach, parsley, apple, lemon, ginger), vitality shot, Vanilla Almond milk blend, and Vanilla freeze during our last stay.
Some of the best seafood in the desert, Herringbone’s brunch was awesome. It’s quiet patio overlooks the pools with plenty of shade and the staff was friendly. Of course we got the bottomless mimosas and some delightful fresh California coastal cuisine.
What to Order: We ate there for brunch so would recommend the Lobster Roll and Chilaquiles & Eggs
Meaning “lucky peach,” Chef David Chang’s American-Asian fusion restaurant offers family style or sized plates meant to be shared. If you can snag a seat at the counter, do it and watch the kitchen work! It’s pretty neat. The atmosphere is hip and everything always smells delicious!
What to Order: Pork Belly Buns, Roasted Corn, Grilled Jidori Chicken, Ginger Scallion Noodles, and Chickpea Ramen
The thing that sells TAO is the atmosphere. It’s glitzy, open, with modern Asian architectural elements, and feels like you’re with the “cool” crowd. The food was delicious and the portions were large. Out server was hard to track down, but our food came out hot and that’s what counts! Plus the venue turns into a nightclub later in the evening.
What to Order: Thai Crab Cakes, Rock Shrimp Lettuce Cups, Drunken Lobster Pad Thai, Sea Bass, and rolls of choice
This casual but elegant restaurant inside the Bellagio is great for pre-show dinner and drinks. The dishes were flavorful, the menu wasn’t extensive but they had something for everyone, and the staff was excellent at answer questions about allergen details in the dishes and I needed up with a filling and tasty gluten-free, dairy-free pasta dish.
What to Order: Hot Rocks + Crispy Mac & Cheese Bites
Website | Address: Caesars Palace - 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
This buzzy, casual eatery offers American dishes in a retro roadside diner with an upscale twist interior. LeBraun’s got the filet mignon which he enjoyed the glaze and they were able to whip up a roasted cauliflower steak for me which was delicious!
Specializing in American bar food with a twist, Holsteins will satisfy that not-the-best-for-you food craving in a tasty way! Their signature crafted burgers use kobe beef and they offer chicken and veggie burgers as well, but the real draw is their Bam-Boozled shakes, alcohol-infused milkshakes! We saw someone order The Fat Boy Bam-Boozled Shake and it looked amazing (albeit like a sugar coma waiting to happen).
What to Order: CCB, Fried Cheese Curds, and A-Chocolypse Now Bam-Boozled Shake
BLOCK 16 at The Cosmo
Website | Address: 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd 2nd floor, Las Vegas, NV 89109
An easy one-stop, fast-casual dining experience with something for everyone in your group, this mini food hall is located on the second level of The Cosmopolitan. The selection includes options from everywhere brought to you by award-winning chefs and restauranteurs. New York City, New Orleans, Nashville, Portland and Las Vegas are all represented. Block 16 includes Ghost Donkey Tequila and Mezcal Bar - tasty flights, crafted cocktails and Mexican favorites, District: Donuts. Sliders. Brew. - upscale bar comforts like savory doughnut sandwiches, breakfast biscuits, and waffle cheese fries, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken - Nashville Hot Chicken served with Southern sides, Lardo - pork sandwiches, Pos Pos Wing - Thai-inspired dishes, and Tekka Bar: Handroll & Sake - tuna roll anyone?
@beerhauslv | Address: The Park, 3784 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Fancy some corn hole on a spacious patio with your friends? This is the place. They've got craft beer, music, and games on the television. Their kitchen serves up burgers, sandwiches, sausages, quesadillas, pretzels, mac & cheese, tater tots, and more! Plus their vegan offerings include vegan sausages and the Impossible burger, among other things.
@eatalylasvegas | Address: 3770 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Pizza! Pasta! Cannolis! The short and short—Italian goodness galore! Eataly is one of our favorite spots in NYC and I’m so excited they now have one in Las Vegas. If you’ve never been, head there while you’re in Vegas. It’s like a large Italian marketplace with little, fast causal “restaurants, or like a food hall/grocery. It’s perfect for lunch as everyone can grab what they’ve craving and meet in the middle to enjoy.
Located on the front facade of New York New York, Tom’s Urban is a lively and vibrant tavern that serves an extensive menu of quick, quality food. We loved happy hour on their shaded porch (they have misters too!) Oh did I mention they also serve breakfast all day? Yup, they do. And if you’re looking for gluten-free or vegan options, they can make adjustments to their offerings and deliver you something yummy!
Address: 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd Level 1, Las Vegas, NV 89109
The Henry may be known as a popular late night eatery, but it actually serves its elevated comfort food 24-hour a day. Enjoy twists on classics like their signature Short Rib Benedict and Big Brioche French Toast…yum! And yes they do have gluten-free bread. Hooray! Really you cant go wrong with any selection off their menu.
Eiffel Tower Restaurant
Website | Address: Paris, 3655 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
In my opinion the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, on the 11th floor of Paris’ Eiffel Tower, is one of the most romantic places on The Strip. With sweeping views of the Strip, Bellagio Fountains, the Arc de Triomphe replica, and resort’s pool, the view alone is worth every penny. The restaurant is more than a restaurant, it’s an experience. From the moment you step on the elevator inside the Paris casino, you’re transported across the pond to the City of Lights. Fabulous French cuisine, outstanding service, and fresh BREAD! :) The Eiffel Tower’s kitchen was also able to accommodate a vegan in the three-course meal offering. I enjoyed a delicious salad, a quinoa/veggie appetizer, cauliflower steak, and fresh fruit for dessert.
Las Vegas-Style Buffets
Get your brunch on—buffet style! Vegas is known for over-the-top, must-see-to-believe buffets and they can be found up and down the Strip, but Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace is the holy grail, serving more than 500 dishes daily.
For a first time visitor I’d recommend staying on the strip to get the most out of your short time in the city, specifically in "the heart" of the Strip, around the intersection of S Las Vegas Blouveard & W Flamingo Road.
We’ve stayed at Aria several times and each time is just as fantastic! The location is hard to beat, especially if you’re interested in exploring The Park or seeing a show at T.Mobile Arena.
Rising above The Strip like a gleaming tower mirage, Aria is a contemporary, sleek and clean property with high ceilings, wonderful restaurants, and modern integration. Enjoy mobile check-in upon arrival to avoid the lines, then use the in-room panel to control everything—watch tv, shut the curtains, adjust the temperature, turn on lights, and even preorder Starbucks for pick up downstairs! (Although their Aria Cafe/Patisserie features one of LeBraun’s top favorites iced coffees and amazing parties too!)
The beds were comfy, the rooms are a decent size, and the bathrooms are spacious featuring huge soaking tub, marble shower, and separate toilet room.
The pools are awesome and there is plenty of seating. Their poolside food offerings are yummy and the staff is very attentive.
Their Express tram allows you to get to other MGM properties easily. I really appreciated a way to avoid the heat without waiting for a taxi or ride-share.
My only negative note is that I run hot and although the thermostat was set to 66 degrees each of our visits, the room never reached it. We even kept the curtains shut for a few days to help and it still never made it lower than 72.
Elara by Hilton Grand Vacations
Website | Address: 80 E Harmon Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Tucked around the corner from the heart of the Strip, is the contemporary haven that is Elara. You can even avoid the heat by cutting directly through the Miracle Mile Shops to the Strip. The hotel was clean and bright, lots of windows and natural light. Check in went smoothly and the staff was very friendly.
Our room had fantastic views over Top Golf and towards the Eiffel Tower. The A/C worked great considering it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the full coverage blinds were appreciated when we wanted to sleep in late. Seriously blinds that block the sun well are harder to come by than one would think.
We booked a junior suite and enjoyed a small separate sitting room with a kitchenette that included a microwave, mini fridge, and dishwasher. The kitchenette was perfect for saving some money by reheating leftovers and relaxing before heading out for the evening.
The pool deck was more intimate than the mega-resorts, but it was clean and got direct sun the majority of the day. The cabanas were reasonably priced for a group as well.
We would definitely stay at the Elara again. Price-wise, we were able to book a junior suite for a similar price of a smaller room at other resorts on the Strip.
Bellagio Hotel and Casino
Website | @bellagio | Address: 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Set behind its world-famous dancing fountains, The Bellagio can only be described as “grand!” Even from the street you can tell that the Bellagio is something special. It emphasizes luxury and elegance.
Guests can expect a top-notch, upscale experience from the moment they step into the lobby. It’s a tranquil escape from the chaos of the Strip.
The rooms are richly decorated, the beds are comfy + piled with pillows, and the bathrobes are so soft! If your room overlooks the fountains, you can enjoy the show form your room streaming the soundtrack from your tv. The fountains are fabulous and having a different perspective really showcases their beauty.
The location is the heart of the Strip, though not geographically the center. Being here you'll be surrounded by the best restaurants, nightlife, and shopping the Strip has to offer.
Essentially the Bellagio is a one-stop-shop. You really don't have leave the property if you don't want too. It’s packed with fabulous restaurants, upscale retailers, elite entertainment, world-renown art, a wide-range of gambling options, and views to boast about!
The Bellagio is what is considered a mega-resort. The hotel has 5 courtyard pools perfect for soaking in that Vegas sun and recovering from the night before. :)
The Bellagio is also home to “O” by Cirque de Soleil, which is honestly the best show in Vegas. I can’t speak highly enough of it. We (and everyone else who has seen it) was blown away by the beauty, athleticism, and creativity of all the performers. It’s well worth the ticket price!
If you’re looking for a reprise from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the strip, you’re looking for The Waldorf Astoria. Acquired by Hilton/Waldorf in Fall 2018 the property is still in transition and the Asian influence of the former Mandarin Oriental are still prevalent, but it’s somewhat hidden location makes it the perfect low-key retreat.
Located in front of the Aria and next to high-end shopping in The Shops at Crystals, The WA offers a luxurious, non-gaming, non-smoking environment with three pools, gorgeous spa, fitness center, and even a 23rd floor lobby with views down South Las Vegas Boulevard.
The rooms are spacious and well-laid out. Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, desk, sitting area, and bathrooms with soaking tubs, separate shower rooms, and makeup counter divided by frosted glass. It feels like a mini spa in your room.
Poolside and room service was delicious! They even have vegan options like the Impossible Burger and açaí bowls. And their afternoon tea in the lobby can accommodate vegan/gluten-free with 24-hour advance notice! :)
The property’s vibe is relaxed and calming. It’s a peaceful retreat in the heart of it all.
Las Vegas can be expensive whether you gamble or not so why wouldn’t you save where you can with the Go Card Las Vegas! With cards offered in 2, 3, 4, or 5 day increments, visitors can select the card that benefit them with discounts at more than 30 top Vegas attractions including the High Roller, Hop-on Hop-off bus tours, the Stratosphere Observation Deck, the mob museum, walking tours, and several shows and restaurants. Check the website for the pass that is right for you.
There is so much more to do once you’re outside the city limits and thankfully with “entertainment” being the city’s middle name, there are several companies that will take you on the adventure of your choice. Some of the most popular options include the following:
Grand Canyon Tour
There are day-trip helicopter and bus tours to the Grand Canyon; however, most go to the south rim of the canyon only. Unless you have a couple days to spare I wouldn’t recommend a day-trip to the Grand Canyon because you’ll spend twice as much time driving to the park than actually at the park. For something as special as this immense geological feature, I personally wouldn't rush it.
Vegas Vacation, anyone? A much more reasonable day-trip check out the Hoover Dam, one go the seven engineering wonders of the modern world, as it’s only 45 minutes from the Strip. Hoover Dam was the tallest dam when it opened in 1930 and took 6.6 million tons of concrete to construct! The tour is educational and entertaining, and the views over Lake Mead are picturesque. Any dam questions?
Red Rock Canyon National Park
Located roughly 20 minutes east of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon is part of the Mojave Desert and is brimming with unique and unusual plant, mammal, and aviary species. There are scenic driving tours, hikes, campgrounds, rock climbing, off roading, horseback riding and several other options for exploring the park—something for everyone. All with fantastic views back at the metropolitan center of Las Vegas.
Museum of Atomic Testing
Nevada was selected as a nuclear weapons test site because the weather is predictable, the geological features provided security from spies, and facilities were already established a mere 65-miles northwest of Las Vegas. Between 1951 and 1993, there were 928 documented atmospheric and underground nuclear tests conducted on the Nevada Test Site. While the museum covers the history portion with tons of hands-on exhibits, it also offers monthly tours to the test site itself.
Las Vegas North & South Premium Outlets
With more than 175 stores in its outdoor village-style shopping center, Las Vegas North Premium Outlets offers discounts on merchandise from stores like Coach, Nike, Neiman Marcus, Michael Kors, and more. The North Outlets are a couple miles north of the Strip and the South Outlets are just off the south end of the Strip.
Dream Racing Las Vegas
At Dream Racing Las Vegas, you can get behind the wheel of a huge selection of exotic supercars and test them on the track at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. My husband and brothers did this on one of our trip and has the greatest time! You’re coached through a simulator and then let loose of the speedway. Plus laps are timed for fun. If you’re not driving, you are allowed to come and enjoy the experience from the grandstands.
Vegas Indoor Skydiving
Everyone wants to the super ability to fly, right? So live your dream in Vegas Indoor Skydiving’s vertical wind tunnel. It’s a greta bonding experience, and you can enjoy the adrenaline rush without the risk.
Take A Class
Never turn down a chance to learn something new. Why should that be different in Vegas?
If you a beginner or simply tired of the house always winning, take some galling lessons. Several casinos like the Venetian, Palazzo, Golden nugget, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and Stratosphere offer free gambling class on games including craps, poker, blackjack, and roulette. Check their websites for the latest schedules and arrive early as the classes are popular.
Run away and join a class at Shine Alternative Fitness taught by cirque performers like aerial silks, aerial hoop (lyra), acrobalance, handstands, and hula hoop. Or take your adventure to new heights with a flying class at Trapeze Las Vegas.
Pole Dance Class
Despite the studio’s name, pole fitness is a fabulous way to get in shape and gain confidence as a woman. I have been practicing pole for almost 5 years now and love every minute of it. The classes are super empowering—though don't expect to be hanging upside down and spinning in your first class—but you can count on having a blast. Stripper 101 offer single classes and parties which are perfect for a bachelorette weekend in Sin City.
- Red Rock Canyon National Park
- Seven Magic Mountains
- Black Out: Plant-based dining in the dark
- Las Vegas Springs Preserve