If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to Las Vegas, you have come to the right spot. After having been to Las Vegas nearly 20 times, I know the city pretty well. I think one of the best things about the city is that every time I visit, I try and stay somewhere new and fill my itinerary with things I have not done. Same with dining – I am always trying new restaurants.
The really unique thing about Vegas is that you can spend as little or as much money as you want. The city is dripping in wealth but equally with free things to do too. You can stay in one of the many penthouses or crazy suites, or pay typically under $50 a night to stay at some of the more budget friendly accommodations.
One of the questions I get a lot is about whether or not there are things to do for people who do not like to gamble – and the short answer is yes! You can visit Las Vegas and never gamble and have the best time.
Best tips for visiting Las Vegas
I like to think I learn something after each visit that enriches my next one. After many trips to Vegas, I think I have finally nailed down all the best tips to help your trip planning go smoothly.
Choosing a room – You need to decide upfront how important your hotel is for you. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a room. If you do not gamble, there is no sense staying in a hotel that you have to walk endlessly through the casino to get to your room, stay somewhere like the Waldorf, which is very easy to navigate.
Another thing to consider is what do you want from your room? Some people want a luxe penthouse or suite and some just want a bed to lay in. I would make sure everyone in your party is on board and has the same vision because someone looking for a luxury stay is going to be miserable at Circus Circus.
Cash is king when gambling – if you know you are planning to gamble, bring cash with you or use a bank/debit card that does not charge exorbitant fees. You should never have to pay for your own money, and I can promise you, the ATM fees in Las Vegas can get high plus what your bank will charge you at home.
Dining Reservations – Las Vegas tends to stay busy. If there is a restaurant you really want to eat at – make a reservation. The last few trips I have been on to the city, I made reservations a few weeks before arriving and still did not get a timeslot I wanted and the restaurants were pretty booked. Most restaurants do take reservations.
Renting a car – of all the trips I have done to the city, I have only ever rented a car three times and only one of those times was to use in Vegas, and I hated it. If you are at all planning to drink, having a car may not be the move for you. I know a lot of people come to Las Vegas to party and driving is not a winning combo.
If you have multiple people and you are planning on seeing and doing a lot of things, even off the strip, then yes get a car. Otherwise, I would skip it.
Uber/Lyft/Taxi – it seems wait times have gotten substantially longer. I would plan for up to a 30 minute wait. I usually call for a ride before leaving my room if I am using one of the apps. Some of the bigger hotels tend to have a steady stream of taxis coming through, and sometimes you have to wait. Just plan for this.
Pool Season – if you are looking to party in Las Vegas, you can see pool season start in March and it ends usually in October. Not all pools open at the same date, but you can always call whatever hotel you would like to stay in and ask or check around for parties.
Pack walking shoes – it can be easy to lose track of time and walk the Las Vegas Strip, but it is also 4.2 miles long. The Strips starts at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign and ends at the STRAT Hotel, which you can’t miss because it’s so tall.
Beware: resort fees – staying in a luxury property, this is a normal practice. However, if you think you are getting a great deal by finding a room under $50, just know there is going to be a resort fee as high as $75 per night due upon check in.
Pack sunscreen – the late spring and summer months can be brutal. Even though Las Vegas has dry heat, there is nothing comforting about 100+ degree heat. The sun is out al year and if you are spending a lot of time outside, there is not many places to hide from the sun, so keep that in mind so that you do not get burnt.
Avoid the timeshare presentations – these people are extremely aggressive. It’s very easy to let them suck you into an “easy 60 minute presentation” with tickets to amazing shows. You think you are getting something for free just for listening – but it is very aggressive. I took one for the team and went with my late friend Tony, and we hated every single second of it and the guy would not let us leave. We almost had to buy the timeshare just to leave – it was crazy. Just don’t do it unless you are in the market to buy.
Best things to do in Las Vegas
Activities + Tours
Las Vegas itself has much to offer its visitors that it would take a lifetime of trips to see and do everything, especially since new things come and go. Personally I love to try and see and do new things every time I am in the city as it gives me a deeper understand of what makes the city tick.
Below are some of my favorite things to do in Las Vegas and what I recommend to family and friends who visit as well. Don’t worry if you can’t fit everything into your schedule – it has taken me many trips to see everything.
High Roller at the LINQ – If you want to see Las Vegas from above but don’t want to take a helicopter tour, this is one of the best ways to see the city. The High Roller moves very slowly. In fact, you won’t even feel it moving most likely. I’m terrified of heights and I have done this many times. It is easy for a group of friends to get into the same enclosed pod together to enjoy.
Sunset at the Eiffel Tower Viewing – Personally, I think this is the BEST place to see a sunset in all of Las Vegas! But – you have to time it out just right. When you get this ticket, it allows you to skip the line. You will want to make sure you get up there at least 30 minutes before sunset so you can scope out what spot you want.
My favorite spot is looking down the strip to the left, but you can look down the right, at the Bellagio Fountains, at the High Roller, or anywhere over the 360 degree viewing platform.
Meow Wolf’s OMEGA Mart – I first fell in love with Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico back in 2018 and I love what they have done with the brand. This is a very unique immersive art experience. It’s definitely out there but I think it is worth the visit.
Shark Reef Aquarium – Located in Mandalay Bay, the shark reef aquarium only took me about 15 minutes to get through but it was beautiful and there were so many sharks to see. Definitely bring your camera.
3 Hour Night Tour on an Open Air Bus – This is a great way to see Las Vegas on an open air bus at nigh and marvel at the lights and glam of the city. You will also get to see popular Freemont Street.
Hoover Dam Mini Tour – The Hoover Dam is about 30-45 minutes outside the city, so it is pretty easy to get to. I did it once with a friend and then on an easy tour – and the tour was 100% more valuable and I didn’t have to rent a car or drive. Highly recommend this mini tour.
7 Magic Mountains + Las Vegas Sign – Arguably these are the two most popular places for photos in the Las Vegas area and should not be missed. What I like about this tour is that 7 Magic Mountains is about 25 minutes outside the city and you do not need to rent a car to visit AND you will also get to see the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign and get photos. Super easy, fun and you can get “the shot.”
This is a private tour – which means you and your group have full run of the car.
STRAT Sky Jump – This is not for the faint of heart, but if you want to jump off something, let it be the STRAT!
STRAT Tower Thrill Ride – Also not for the faint of heart, this rollercoaster ride shoots of the side of the STRAT from an extremely high vantage point.
Valley of Fire State Park – small group tour to see Valley of Fire State Park! Arguably one of the most beautiful state parks and you will get to see some of the parks most iconic stops.
Skip the Line Pool Party Tour – skip the line access to two of the hottest pool parties on the strip!
Secret Food Tour – If you love food and are interested in learning about the cities food scene, this is a fantastic tour.
Grand Canyon – If you plan to be in Las Vegas for more than a couple days, I HIGHLY recommend visiting one of the National Parks. You could rent a car and drive, but it is 100% easier taking a tour because it removes all the stress and having to figure anything out. This is an 11 hour tour door to door and at least half of it is on the bus coming and going – but the views are so worth it.
I have been to the Grand Canyon a few times and I have never felt like I needed to stay overnight or for days (not really my style) – so this tour is great for people who want to experience the Grand Canyon without all the fuss and logistics.
VIP Club Crawl and Party Bus – if you want to party and take all the hassle out of planning – this is the way to go.
Bryce + Zion National Park Tour – if you are feeling super adventurous and want to see TWO National Parks in one day, this is the tour for you. Both Bryce and Zion are in Utah and pretty easy to get to, but I highly recommend taking the tour as they will know exactly where to go for the best views and you don’t have to do drive.
Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour – this is a roundtrip tour from Las Vegas! This tour is only four hours and you will be flying there and back, verses driving. Definitely a top bucket list experience.
Big Apple Coaster at New York New York – you cannot drive or walk down the Las Vegas Strip without seeing the massive rollercoaster on top of New York New York. Its one of those things that you just have to do.
Neon Museum – this is a 50/50 activity. I LOVE IT – but everyone I have taken here either loves or hates it. I think you have to have a true appreciation for Las Vegas to enjoy it. It’s a graveyard of all the signs that used to be on buildings in the city. A lot of famous signs from the 80’s and 90’s that you see in movies and TV shows. Personally, I love it – both day and night.
David Copperfield – a master illusionist, this is a show you won’t want to miss while visiting Vegas!
Las Vegas “O” by Cirque du Soleil – this show is based around water and sure to blow you away.
MINDFREAK Magic Show – remember when Criss Angel was the “it guy” – well he still is!
Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil – this show is a little less of the acrobats but the music and scenery is outstanding. There is not a bad seat in the house.
Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil – if you are a Michael Jackson fan, the costumes, the lights, and the glitz paired with his music is just the show for you.
Shin Lim Magic – if you saw Shin Lim on America’s Got Talent, you know how incredible he is with up close magic. Absolutely brilliant.
Blue Man Group – this show is iconic!
Thunder from Down Under – arguably one of the best raunchy shows in town – perfect for bachelorette trips.
Magic Mike – if you have seen the movies, then do NOT miss this show. It is so hot!
Where to stay
Cosmopolitan Las Vegas – I talk about the Cosmopolitan a lot and firmly believe their terrace rooms with a strip view are the BEST view in Las Vegas. These room types overlook the strip and iconic Bellagio Fountains, where a show performs all day and night. You can also see the Paris Eiffel Tower light up and a sunrise.
In addition to having the best view and only balcony rooms in Las Vegas, the hotel also offers a bevy of restaurants, bars and pools. My favorite restaurants are: Eggslut, Secret Pizza, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, and Bang Bar by Momofuku. If you happen to get room service, get some of their homemade ice cream – and thank me later!
If you have spent any time online or in Las Vegas, you already know what an icon The Chandelier is. It’s an absolutely stunning bar with even better cocktails.
Aria Sky Suites – I really enjoyed this hotel. It is massive, so there is a lot to offer from casino, shows, restaurants, shopping, etc. I booked a penthouse when I stayed here and the room was beautiful (as expected) but I think it is one of the most beautiful in Las Vegas I have stayed in. I also love that Aria is right in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip – so you can kind of get everywhere easily.
Four Seasons – Four Seasons is a great luxury property if you do not want a casino and want a more relaxing stay. The hotel is family friendly and shares a building with Mandalay Bay on certain floors. I highly recommend renting one of their cabanas by the pool for a day.
Mandalay Bay – It took me a long time to stay here and I regret not having stayed sooner. First, I lucked out with an insane deal on hotels.com for a Reef Suite under $200! The room was insane. Second, after surveying the property – you could easily stay here and never leave if you didn’t want to. Tons of pools (even a lazy river and wave pool), shark aquarium, tons of restaurants, casino, etc. This property really does have it all.
Tahiti Village – If you want a family friendly, off the strip, no casino, lazy river + pool, and more like a condo style room. This is for you. Whenever I want to stay slightly off the strip, this is usually where I go. Some of the units have washers and dryers, there is a shuttle down the Las Vegas Strip and it feels a little less chaotic.
Waldorf Astoria (formerly the Mandarin Oriental) – The Waldorf Astoria acquired the property a couple years ago and has not made many significant changes, so I linked my review of when I stayed there. One thing I will say that I love about this property is that it is a non-gaming, non-smoking hotel and therefore, you do not have to walk a mile through smoke and crowds of gamblers to get to your room. In addition, the pool is amazing and not one of the “party pools” so you can enjoy a more relaxing stay.
Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa – I love this resort because it is off the strip but still has everything you would find at a hotel on the Vegas Strip. The property is huge and has beautiful pools, lots of great dining, a very large casino, and it feels like a vacation and not so much go-go-go.
Nobu Hotel – Located inside of Caesars Palace and right next door to the Nobu Restaurant, this hotel is a hotel within a hotel. Fortunately, it is not far from the main entrance door of Caesars Palace and it has it’s own private check in. I found the rooms to be absolutely beautiful and felt a little different than the typical Las Vegas hotel.
Caesars Palace – When I stayed at Caesars Palace over a decade ago, it was hot off the release of “The Hangover” and I had high expectations. I remember checking in and asking if this was “the REAL Caesars Palace” and the person behind the counter rolling their eyes because I was clearly the millionth person to ask that day. One thing that stood out to me was the counter agent asking us if we wanted to upgrade our room for a small fee. We initially had a good room, and we were convinced to upgrade to a suite. Ultimate we said yes since there was four of us – and the room had two windows that looked at walls.
Overall the stay was good and I love all that Caesars has to offer (Forum Shops, restaurants galore, a massive casino, tons of bars and activities, etc).
Where to dine in Las Vegas
I have eaten at so many places over the years in Las Vegas, but I do not want to overwhelm you! So I am just going to share some of my top favorites.
Sadelle’s – located in the Bellagio, and you do need a reservation or you could miss out or wait forever. Highly recommend their omelets. I have never been in wow over a breakfast dish the way I was here.
Eggslut – located in the Cosmopolitan, this place is an institution. You will most likely wait to get food to go here (I have waited up to an hour) but it is worth the wait. While they are known for their sandwiches, do not sleep on their salted chocolate chip cookies!
Bardot Brasserie – located in Aria, you cannot go wrong with a French brunch. My go to is almost always French onion soup.
Giada – located in the Cromwell and overlooking the strip, the food here is divine. I remember having eggs benedict but the show stopper was the BROWNIE CART that came through.
Tea Lounge – located in the Waldorf, formerly Mandarin Oriental, the afternoon tea here is sensational. I have done it on a few occasions and it is pretty much the same since the hotel became a Waldorf. You will need a reservation, so plan in advance.
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken – Located in the Cosmopolitan, this is one of those places, if you know, you know. But more than the chicken, the banana pudding is incredible.
The Bazaar – Located in the Sahara, this is my favorite restaurant in all of Las Vegas and it is pricey. I love what Jose Andres has done here with smaller dishes so that you can try a lot of different things. My stand out favorites were the air salt margarita (this will change how you consume a margarita), chicharron, caviar cone, potato puree (ordered 2), and the wagyu. This is a meal you will not forget!
Casa Calavera – Located in the Virgin Hotel, this Mexican restaurant is amazing and off the strip. I came to this restaurant sort of on accident and it ended up being incredible. Do not miss the elote – we ordered a few.
Black Tap – Located at the Venetian, Black Tap is known for their crazy milkshakes. Highly recommend splitting it because it is a lot. The food was good as well – the fried pickles and burgers are amazing. Pro tip – sit outside in the cooler months and you can see the gondolas.
Nobu – Located in Caesars Palace, even though this is a chain restaurant, I stand by my decision that this is one of the best. Until you eat their wagyu tacos, you will not understand the hype. And that is just the beginning.
White Castle – I am from Detroit and I have lived in the DC area for almost 17 years now. White Castle being in Las Vegas just makes sense and its great after a night of partying. I usually Uber Eats it and get it delivered to my hotel on my way going back.
Secret Pizza – located in the Cosmopolitan, this is a secret. Part of the journey is finding it. Here is a hint – it is unmarked, but look for records.
Pin for Pinterest
This article has affiliate links to products and services we love, which we may make commission from.