Your Trip to Las Vegas: The Complete Guide

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Excitement is always in the air on any flight to Las Vegas with travelers getting giddy about the shows they’ll see, meals they’ll eat, and millions they’ll win while gambling. And Las Vegas makes it easy to find fun at every turn, whether for a business, family fun, a weekend getaway, or even a wedding or honeymoon.

Explore all there is to do in Las Vegas through this guide that showcases some of the fun activities, great hotels, over-the-top dining experiences, and more.

Planning Your Trip

Best Time to Visit: The weather is mild in January through April and again from October to November in Las Vegas. Summer temperatures typically hit triple digits, but also offer the bigger discounts. December, especially after the National Finals Rodeo early in the month, also offers discounts, but note that some shows and restaurants close during this slow period.

Language: English is the main language in Las Vegas, but most hotels employ staff who speak a variety of languages.

Currency: U.S. Dollar ($)

Getting Around: Rideshare is typically the easiest way to get around Las Vegas, while taxis queue up in front of every resort. The Monorail that snakes behind the resorts on the east side of the Strip, and the Deuce, the RTC bus that stops every 15 to 20 minutes along the Strip, offer easy ways to jump from one resort to the next.

Travel Tip: Casinos are farther apart than they appear. Double that distance in the summer in the heat. Plan ahead before setting out on foot with plenty of water and good walking shoes.

Things to Do

The Entertainment Capital of the World features more than 100 shows ranging from magic and Cirque du Soleil to comedy and resident shows from superstar singers. You can have an adventure with fast race cars, helicopter rides above the Strip, and even ziplines and jumps from 800 feet above the Strip. Kids have a blast seeing tigers, dolphins, flamingos, and more. And when the weather gets hot, the pools open with everything from outrageous parties to water parks.

  • No trip to Las Vegas is complete without seeing a show. Top picks include “The Beatles Love” at the Mirage, a mix of classic hits from the Fab Four paired with the acrobats of Cirque du Soleil; “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace, a naughty vaudeville-type show that will have you laughing front to back, and Mac King Comedy Magic Show at Harrah’s, a great pick for kids and adults alike with goldfish, a magic tent, and a magician wearing a plaid suit. Don’t be fooled.
  • You can check out some of the top attractions the city has to offer, such as the Neon Museum, dedicated to the signs of the past, or the Mob Museum, an ode to all things related to organized crime. Toss in some free attractions, such as the Fountains at Bellagio or the volcano erupting in front of the Mirage to fill in the day.
  • Kid-friendly attractions include the Springs Preserve with its gardens, interactive exhibits, and Nevada State Museum, as well as Adventuredome, a theme park inside Circus Circus with roller coasters, water rides, and carnival games.
  • Vegas is also a jumping off point for trips to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and Lake Mean and the Hoover Dam in Nevada.

What to Eat and Drink

More than 40 celebrity chefs call Las Vegas home, serving their famous fare up and down the Strip. As a top dining destination, Vegas caters to the finest of dining along with international cuisines and inexpensive bites.

Television personality Giada De Laurentiis opened her first restaurant specializing in Italian fare at The Cromwell, while “Hell’s Kitchen” host Gordon Ramsay has five restaurants, including Hell’s Kitchen, complete with a red and blue open kitchen, just like the show.

For Asian fare, David Chang has Momofuku, his Korean restaurant at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas that’s always packed, while Morimoto’s eponymous restaurant at the MGM Grand specializes in sushi and Japanese dishes.

Of course, Las Vegas practically specializes in steakhouses, with a different one in every resort. For game changers, try the Kobe beef at José Andrés’ Bazaar Meat at SLS Las Vegas or a chile-rubbed double rib eye steak at SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas.

Where to Stay

Las Vegas brings in 42.9 million visitors a year from all around the world, and the city offers about 150,000 hotel rooms catering to every need, budget, and taste, ranging from cheap hotels to premium luxury hotels, and everywhere in between.
For views of Las Vegas Boulevard, consider staying at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, located in the center of the Strip. Request a room with a view of the Fountains at Bellagio. Family-friendly hotels offer amenities such as bowling alleys and movie theaters to keep the kids entertained.

Las Vegas even caters to pets with a variety of dog-friendly hotels.

On a budget? Las Vegas has its share of inexpensive hotels as well, both on the Strip and off. Explore the different neighborhoods you can stay in, and our recommendations on the best hotels.

Getting There

McCarran International Airport serves Las Vegas, with 49.7 million passengers arriving and departing in 2018. The airport sits just five minutes from the south end of the Strip. Hotels run by Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts, and Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas charge for parking, so keep that in mind if you need to rent a car or drive to Las Vegas.

Culture and Customs

While Las Vegas seems like any other tourist destination, the tipping traditions here keep the city running. Everyone from the casino dealers and servers to the bellman, spas, and restaurants expect a tip. Check out our handy guide to tipping in Las Vegas for specific advice.

Money Saving Tips

  • Stay mid-week and avoid holidays. Hotels tend to up their rates on the weekends and during holidays, including Presidents’ Day, Columbus Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Rates go up when big conventions such as CES and MAGIC are in town, as well.
  • Sign up for player's cards, especially if you plan to gamble. Every resort has one, and signing up is free. Some offer rewards after a certain dollar amount of play while others can be used at restaurants and while shopping for a discount.
  • Stay off Strip or Downtown. Resorts in the downtown Fremont Street Experience area and just off the Strip (think Palace Station, the Hard Rock Hotel, Rio, Gold Coast, and the Palms) all have lower rates compared to resorts along Las Vegas Boulevard.
  • Ask for free upgrades. You never know. The hotel staff at the check-in desk can move you up to a higher floor, offer a better view, or even move you into a bigger room.
  • Use hotel reward points when booking your room. If your credit card points go toward travel, definitely look for offers before booking a hotel room.
  • Ask to have your resort fee waived. Every hotel charges a resort fee for amenities ranging from a free newspaper and Wi-Fi to access to the hotel gym and local phone calls, whether you use them or not. Ask if the fee can be waived.
  • Book show and attraction tickets at discount outlets. Tix4Tonight and Tickets on Demand are just two outlets that offer discounted tickets. Arrive early for the best shows.
  • Ride the Monorail or Deuce. The Monorail runs from SLS to the MGM Grand, stopping at the Las Vegas Convention Center along the way, on the east side of the Strip. Single ride tickets cost $5, while an unlimited 24-hour pass is $13, and an unlimited three-day pass goes for $29. The Deuce, the RTC bus, stops every 15 to 20 minutes along the Strip, and also has the SDX that runs from the Strip to downtown Las Vegas. A two-hour Strip pass goes for $6, while a 24-hour Strip pass includes unlimited rides for $8. A free tram connects Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur at the south end of the Strip, while another free tram connects Treasure Island and Mirage.

    Learn more about the cheapest ways to have fun by exploring the best free things to do in Las Vegas.

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