Sin City – City of Lost Wages – Disneyland for Adults – Entertainment Capital of the World – call it what you will – it’s Fabulous Las Vegas!

Las Vegas The Strip Entertainment

Casinos. Shows. Rollercoasters and Thrill Rides. Arcades. Zoos. Aquariums. Art galleries. Museums. You name it – you’ll find it all in Las Vegas!

The city of Las Vegas sprang out of Nevada’s Mojave Desert in the USA around a hundred years ago and is famed for its vibrant nightlife and fabulous themed hotels along the focal point of its four-mile-long boulevard affectionately known as ‘The Strip’.

Las Vegas is many things to many people – a Mecca for those who want to chance their luck in the twenty-four-hour gambling casinos, a world-class entertainment centre for those who love music and shows, and a fantasyland for just about everything that your indulgent adult heart might desire.

When a destination offers so much and you can’t possibly see and do it all in a limited amount of time and on a realistic budget, but you want to experience the best that Vegas has to offer, then it’s hard to know where to start and when to finish in Vegas.

Note: This post was written before the Corona Virus Pandemic of 2020/2021. Click HERE for current advice on Las Vegas restrictions

Having experienced for myself – four wonderful fun-filled days and five fabulous nights in Las Vegas – I feel I can offer you some first-timer tips and advice on how to make the most of your own Las Vegas experience!

The Backpacking Housewife in The Venetian Hotel Resort Las Vegas
The Backpacking Housewife in The Venetian Hotel Resort Las Vegas

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO TO LAS VEGAS?

First up, remember that there is no right or wrong time to visit Las Vegas and this is because it is built in the middle of a desert. Springtime (March, April and May) and autumn (September, October and November) are considered the most pleasant times of the year.

But if you are looking for low prices and special deals you may want to look to June, July, and August, when it will be very hot indeed – but if you are going to spend your time inside in air-conditioning or cooling off in your hotel pool – then the extreme temperature might be less of an issue to you.

However, if you really can’t stand the heat, January and February are considerably cooler months with temperatures averaging around 14-17 C or 58-63 F.

WHERE TO STAY IN LAS VEGAS?

The Vegas week is split into two when it comes to hotel prices: that’s weekend and mid-week. So, when looking for your best deals, it pays to be flexible. You’ll often find that airfares work in much the same way. If you want luxury and a five-star experience then you might be looking to stay at hotels like The Bellagio or The Venetian. Or if you are looking for mid-range affordability then maybe the MGM Grand or New York New York.

Las Vegas Hotels The Backpacking Housewife
When looking for your best deals, it pays to be flexible.

If you need a budget accommodation deal then there are plenty to be found.

My husband and I stayed at Palms Place, an apartment hotel just off The Strip and next door to The Palms Casino Resort Hotel with its wonderful outdoor swimming pool and sun terrace at a special mid-week deal price.

The Palms offered us the best of both worlds with a stunning view and a luxury suite.

TOP VEGAS TIP: Just a few blocks up the street from Palms Place there is a big supermarket called Smiths. We went there on our first day to stock up on snacks, beverages and breakfast goodies. We did this to help our budget but also so that we could enjoy late-night movie snacks while watching the huge TV in our room and to have breakfast on our own terms before heading out to The Strip for the day.

Our apart-hotel had a small but fully equipped kitchen. A comfortable seating area. A large bedroom with super-king bed and deluxe bathroom as well as an outside balcony and an amazing view of the whole Strip. It was fabulous!

This was our amazing view of The Las Vegas Strip at night from our room at Palms Place

MY FIRST TIMER ‘TOP 3 MUST DO’ LIST FOR LAS VEGAS

1: The Water Fountains at The Bellagio. The water fountains sway and swish to lights and music and although you will have seen them on TV and in movies there really is nothing quite like seeing these fountains for yourself. The aquatic display starts every 30 minutes from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM Monday to Friday and every 15 minutes from 7:00 PM to midnight.

The water fountains at The Bellagio sway and swish to lights and music
The water fountains at The Bellagio sway and swish to lights and music

2: Gondola Ride on The Grand Canal at The Venetian Resort: Be serenaded by a singing operatic Gondolier as you glide serenely along winding waterways past café’s and under bridges and balconies on a Grand Canal both within and outside the Venetian Hotel in a romantic and authentic Venetian gondola.

Be serenaded by a singing Gondolier on The Grand Canal at the Venetian Resort
Be serenaded by a singing Gondolier on The Grand Canal at the Venetian Resort

The Venetian Gondolas are The Most Romantic Thing to Do in Las Vegas!”

USA TODAY

3: Ride The High Roller Observation Wheel: Most iconic cities have an observation wheel but the one in Las Vegas is the world’s tallest. The 28-cabin wheel takes 30 minutes to complete one revolution and offers 360 degree views 550 feet above the Las Vegas Strip and what a view!

Ride The High Roller in Las Vegas
Ride The High Roller in Las Vegas

CASINOS

Casino hotels dominate the Las Vegas Strip and can also be found in old ‘downtown’ Vegas on Fremont Street. If you are a true gambler then you just found your Casino Mecca. But if you only have a few spare dollars in your pocket and you want to have some fun – and free drinks while you play – then a stint on the slot machines in a casino is a lot of fun. And, you never know, you just might get lucky!

Check out this interactive map of The Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Casinos -You never know... you just might get lucky!
You never know… you just might get lucky!

RESTAURANTS

You’ll never go hungry in Las Vegas because the place is a culinary wonder of affordable excesses and you’ll never have to go far to find something delicious to eat. There are high-end restaurants, mid-range family-style diners and brand-name burger joints and everything in between.

A WORD ABOUT THE VEGAS BUFFET SCENE: My own preference for a pre-show dining experience is for one of the high-end hotel buffets because this is something that Vegas does like nowhere else. The buffet is where you can buy endless pours of wine and champagne and eat and drink every type of cuisine to your heart’s content.

If you are not a ‘buffet person’ you might change your mind when you experience the astonishing quality and the eye-popping variety of food and opulent desserts on offer.

Some may want to buffet for variety and value, whatever your reason, the Las Vegas buffet is a staple Vegas experience.

It’s impossible to say which of the top hotels offers the ‘Number One’ buffet, as competition between them is fierce and their chefs are constantly sourcing the world’s finest foods to offer their distinguished diners; but I can certainly recommend The Wynn to you, as it takes the buffet experience up a notch by offering what feels like a fine dining experience. It was my personal favourite.

You might also want to explore the buffet at The Bellagio, The Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace and The Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan and the MGM Buffet at Aria, to suggest just a few of the high-end buffet options on offer.

ATTRACTIONS AND EXPERIENCES

Las Vegas is billed as a fantasyland for adults and so the most unique bucket-list experiences are to be found there. Do you want to cruise The Strip in a shiny Ferrari or drive a fast car at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway or even a full-size bulldozer or excavator at the heavy equipment playground at Dig This Vegas?

Why not add a visit to a fun and quirky museum? Explore The Pinball Hall of Fame or The Mob Museum or Madame Tussauds?

If all that’s not adventurous enough for you? Why not zip line from a giant slot machine or even get fired out of it on the ‘zoom line’ at SlotZilla Zip Lines at The Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Vegas.

Those seeking even more in the way of thrills might ride a roller coaster at the 5 acre amusement park Adventure Dome at Circus Circus or the Big Apple rollercoaster at New York New York.

Do your research and choose your fun or fantasy!

Shows

Las Vegas is truly the entertainment capital of the world for live acts and dinner shows and attracts world-class entertainers and epic headliners as well as lounge musicians, top magicians, and spellbinding circus entertainers and dazzling tribute acts.

Top Vegas Tip: check who’s headlining and on showtimes and the availability of tickets before you go as part of your pre-vacation trip planning.

Weddings

Thousands of couples come to Las Vegas to get married and weddings here can be romantic, traditional, fun or formal. You can marry in a hotel, a traditional chapel, a drive-through chapel or even in the shark tank at Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay.

However you might decide to do it, your ceremony can be both simple and sentimental and, as long as you are both over eighteen then a marriage licence is all you need and there is no waiting period.

There are so many themed ways to say ‘I do’ in Vegas or even to renew your vows.

The backpacking husband and I ‘did it again’ in Vegas with a fabulous Elvis themed service at the Graceland Chapel on our wedding anniversary.

Renewing our wedding vows was a wonderful and crazy fun highlight of our Las Vegas trip. We said ‘I do’ again in Vegas with Elvis as our minister!

Excursions

There are so many fabulous places to explore from Las Vegas that many visitors add excursions to their Las Vegas experience.

Trips include the Mojave Desert and Red Rock CanyonThe Valley of Fire State Park, Lake Mead and the Hoover DamRoute 66 and the historic towns of Kingman and Seligman, all on route to the sight that everyone wants to see – The Grand Canyon.

The Backpacking Housewife on Route 66
The Backpacking Housewife on Route 66

You can read all about our fabulous experiences at The Hoover Dam, Route 66 and Kingman and Seligman in my post HERE.

How far it is from Las Vegas to The Grand Canyon?

The answer depends on which part of the Grand Canyon you wish to visit. The Grand Canyon West (not actually part of the Grand Canyon National Park but a part of the Hualapai Indian Reservation) is only 130 miles away from Las Vegas and this is where you will find the popular glass bridge Sky Walk.

The Grand Canyon National Park South Rim is the most visited rim and is 280 miles from Vegas or around a 5-hour road trip. This is the excursion that the backpacking househusband and I chose to take form Las Vegas and you can read all about it HERE.

The Grand Canyon National Park North Rim is more remote and is only open seasonally. It is 270 miles away from Vegas and on the Utah State border.

Top Vegas Tip: allow an extra day or two to allow for bucket-list day trips.

Big Bucket list Smiles At The South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The Backpacking Housewife
Big Bucket list Smiles At The South Rim of the Grand Canyon

There really is nowhere in the world like Las Vegas. As an adult playground it has something for everyone. Adult in the USA means aged twenty-one and over. If you want to drink and gamble in the casinos and if you look younger than your age then you’ll certainly want to carry an I.D.

The Strip is home to twenty or more of the world’s largest hotel and casino resorts and their architecture alone is a sight to behold; from the Luxor pyramid and its laser beam to the over-the-top luxury of The Bellagio and its music fountains. By night, its all twinkling lights and glitz and glamour and total extravagance mixed together with decadence and dingy and seedy.

I loved Las Vegas. I wanted to experience so much more of it and I had to remind myself that you always have to leave in order to go back again.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas or are you planning a trip?

I’d love to hear from you so leave me a comment and do sign up for my occasional newsletter.

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5 comments

JuliaProofreader -

Very interesting, thanks. I’ve been to Vegas a few times, and this makes me want to go again very soon! Last time I went was 10 years ago, staying at the Riviera, sadly no longer there. And my friend and I used to go for 1 drink every day at the Wynn.

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JANICE HORTON -

Hi Julia – thanks for reading my post on Las Vegas and for your lovely comment. Vegas is a fascinating place and I’d love to go again someday as I loved the fun atmosphere and also the history of the place and the famous hotels. We more recently went to Macau ‘known as the Vegas of Asia’ and it was interesting to compare the two cities. Macau still has ‘The Sands’ which of course is long gone from Vegas. Janice xx

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Jonno -

Great post. Sounds like you loved Vegas. We spent a similar amount of time there and it just wasn’t really our type of place. Interesting to see and experience the place but we were so pleased to get out into Nevada and Arizona. Crazy city!

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JANICE HORTON -

It really is a crazy place, but yes, we absolutely loved it. We lost and won $100 in the casinos and had lots of free drinks and laughs. I’m going to write a post soon about our recent trip to Macau – the Las Vegas of Asia – where we were really interested to do it all again and compare!

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Jonno -

Winning a bit of cash makes it much better. Hope you continued your winning streak in Macau.

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