I managed to squeeze a lot of activity into three days in Las Vegas this past May. Here’s my summary of what not to miss in Sin City (in no particular order).
1. FREE Entertainment
Vegas might be one of the most over-priced cities I’ve ever visited… and that’s saying a lot with my resume (I’m looking at you London). But, that being said, it does have a plethora of free activities to enjoy that are actually many of the most iconic. Let’s start with the infamous Welcome to Las Vegas sign at the beginning of the strip. Visitors can pull off Las Vegas Boulevard and snap a pic under the famous sign absolutely free. Now… the same can’t be said for photos with the countless street performers you will find dressed as everything from Spiderman to Minnie Mouse… but still the sign is free. Then you absolutely cannot miss the Bellagio Fountains! The choreographed music and fountain show is always a highlight – I just love pretending to be a part of the Ocean’s 11 gang! And to give you a top 3, I would also recommend checking out the evening Mirage Volcano eruption… that’s as close as I ever want to get to a real eruption… you could really feel the heat!
2. Thrill Rides
I love heights. I love jumping from heights. I love the view from the top of tall buildings. I love roller coasters. So basically what I’m saying is that the Stratosphere was built with me in mind. If you are also a thrill seeker then I would definitely recommend checking out the rides atop the Stratosphere hotel. You can shoot into the air on the Big Shot (think Tower of Terror in reverse). You can launch off the edge of the building on X-Scream. Or you can spin in the air on a mechanical arm on Insanity (think Toy Story’s the Claw on steroids). And if you’ve got some extra cash then you can even Sky Jump off the building!
3. See a Show
I want to go ahead and throw out a statistic that might be entirely false but I think is probably true. Vegas has to have more hotel rooms per capita than any other place on earth. And each of these monstrous hotels has a theatre with a show, which means that the toughest decision of your trip might be narrowing down which amazing show to see. On my most recent trip, I couldn’t choose just one and was able to see Cirque du Soleil’s O as well as Jersey Boys. Both were incredibly well done and worth every penny.
4. Pool Party!
One thing you learn tout de suite upon touching down in Vegas is that it’s a desert. And if you are visiting anytime between March and November that also means it is H O T! It was 100 + degrees every day of my last trip, which meant that the pools were packed and for good reason. There’s no better way to beat the heat then with a cold drink in hand while sitting in the pool. Some hotels even throw lavish and exclusive pool parties with DJs and celebrity guests. I prefer a more relaxing environment but that’s the beauty of Vegas, there really is something for everyone.
5. Shop Till you Drop
I don’t know why this surprised me but Vegas has gooooood shopping. Not only does it have high end designers and boutiques in every hotel, but it also has huge malls and outlets on either end of the strip. You will also find very unique shopping, such as the 4-story M&M store with it’s own 3D movie. If you need to escape the heat, then there is probably a mall a few steps away that can entertain you for as long as your credit limit allows.
6. Cruise the Strip
Dealing with traffic jams and getting stuck at painfully long lights is not my idea of a vacation so my preferred way to cruise the strip is on foot. But, beware; Las Vegas Boulevard is deceptively long. It doesn’t look that far on the map but trust me; you will need comfortable walking shoes to make the trek. But, it is worth your while to take in the city from below. The streets are filled with street performers and it’s the best way to get your fill of people watching. If walking isn’t your cup of tea or the heat gets to be too much then try out the monorail or walk through the hotels instead.
Whether you like to gamble or not… everyone should toss at least a few coins into a Vegas slot machine (or feed a few bills as it turns out). I didn’t end up a big winner but at least I could cross this one off my bucket list. Plus, if you catch a servers attention, you can get free drinks while you play! My advice… play slow. Drink Fast!
8. Eat somewhere famous!
Vegas is known for so many things and food is definitely one of them. It seems like all the famous chefs have opened at least one, if not several, restaurants in Sin City. Do your research and fulfill your fantasy feast by splurging on a good meal.
9. Enjoy the Night Life
Most of my friends know that I’m not really into the club scene but if you are going to go out… Vegas is the place to do it. With many of the top night clubs in the world it’s no wonder that so many bachelor and bachelorette parties make their way to Sin City. Best of all – ladies can jump the line and get free cover (and often free drinks) by getting on a VIP list earlier that day. Promoters are everywhere! If you’re like me and don’t love the club scene then Vegas still has great bars, including some fun karaoke and dueling piano bars. We checked out the one at Harrah’s but I hear that the New York New York has a good one too.
10. High Roller
Las Vegas’ newest attraction is the world’s largest ferris wheel at a staggering 550 feet tall. Take the 30 minute ride in an air conditioned capsule by day or night to see panoramic views of the strip. I prefer to ride at night to see the city lights. This is fun to do with groups or a special someone and of course, drinks are allowed!