Julie United States 8 Comments

Las Vegas…also known as Sin City, Lost Wages, the Gambling Capital of the World, the City that Never Sleeps, and the Entertainment Capital of the World, is one of the top vacation destinations in the USA.

Las Vegas makes a great weekend getaway destination but it is also the perfect place to start and/or end a road trip through the American Southwest.

We have been visiting Las Vegas on a regular basis for the past 15 years. Our first few visits were weekend getaways and in more recent years, Las Vegas has been the starting point for road trips through the American Southwest.

We have visited Las Vegas both with and without kids and have lots of valuable information to share with you (if you plan to visit Las Vegas with kids, take a look at our guide to visiting Las Vegas with teenagers for suggestions on what to do in town).

In this Las Vegas travel guide, we cover what you need to know to plan your trip…the best things to do in Las Vegas, when to plan your visit, where to eat, where to stay, and more.

Let’s get started.

Interesting Facts about Las Vegas

Las Vegas was founded in 1905 and grew rapidly throughout the 20th century. At the start of the Great Depression, Nevada legalized gambling and construction of the nearby Hoover Dam attracted both workers and visitors to Las Vegas. After the Great Depression, Las Vegas became a popular vacation destination, a trend that continues today.

Initially, the hotels and casinos were built on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. Hotels on this list include the Golden Nugget and the Golden Gate Casino. This area is now sometimes referred to as “old Vegas.”

In the 1980’s, the Strip became the “place to be.” In 1989, the Mirage was constructed on the Strip, and this would start the trend of building mega-casinos and hotels in this area, including The Venetian, the Bellagio, The Cosmopolitan, and New York New York, just to name a few. Walking the Strip to visit these hotels is one of the best things to do in Las Vegas.

With its enormous hotels and convention centers, Las Vegas is one of the top spots in the USA for business conventions. This city is home to more AAA Five Diamond Hotels than any other city in the world. It’s also renowned for its restaurants and live entertainment.

Las Vegas is also one of the most rapidly growing cities in the USA and it nearly doubled its population from 1990 to 2000.

Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

1. The Strip

“The Strip” refers to the hotels and casinos that are located along Las Vegas Boulevard. This stretch of mega-resorts, shops and restaurants is about 5 miles long and includes some of the most recognizable hotels in the world.

One of the best things to do in Las Vegas is to visit the hotels and casinos on the Strip. More hotels are added every few years, so this experience, and the Las Vegas skyline, is constantly changing. To visit the hotels, you can zip through them in one very long and busy day or break them up over several days.

Each hotel offers a different experience, whether it’s a gondola ride at the Venetian, a ride on a roller coaster in New York New York, or a visit to the Botanical Garden at the Bellagio.

Here is a list of the most popular hotels and casinos along the Strip, starting in the north with the Stratosphere.

The Stratosphere, aka The Strat

The Stratosphere is the highest observation tower in the United States. It opened in 1996 and it is home to a revolving restaurant, an outdoor observation deck, and several thrill rides. Blast off on the Big Shot or dangle over the side of the Stratosphere on the Insanity or the X-Scream.

Insanity Stratosphere best things to do in Las Vegas

Insanity at the Stratosphere | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Wynn Las Vegas

The Wynn is one of the most luxurious hotels on The Strip. Go window shopping at the high-end shops, stroll through the Conservatory, go golfing, and go to a pool party at Encore Beach Club. At night, the XS Nightclub is one of the hottest spots in Las Vegas and features performances by popular music artists.

The Wynn

The Wynn at Christmas | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Treasure Island

Treasure Island opened in 1993 and it features a pirate show, which is put on in front of the resort. It is also home to Mystére, a Cirque du Soleil Show (it’s very good!) and the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit.

The Venetian

The Venetian is one of the largest hotels on the Strip and definitely worth the visit. Ride a gondola and stroll along the canals…at the Grand Canal Shoppes, it looks like you are walking through the streets Venice.

You can also have a drink at the Minus5 Ice Bar, take a photo in front of the LOVE sculpture, and visit the Museum of Dream Space which showcases digital art.

Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace is another mega-hotel on The Strip. It’s best known for its high-end shops and long list of restaurants.

Bellagio and Caesars Palace best things to do in Las Vegas

Bellagio and Caesars Palace | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas


The Bellagio, designed to resemble the lakeside town of Bellagio on Lake Como, Italy, is one of the most elegant hotels on The Strip.

Outside, the Bellagio fountains put on a show every 15 to 30 minutes. Inside, watch the Cirque de Soleil show O, visit the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, and stroll through the conservatory and botanical gardens, which changes themes five times per year. We just saw the Chinese New Year theme on our most recent visit and it is gorgeous!

COOL FACT: In the movie Ocean’s Eleven, the Bellagio was the target of Las Vegas vault robbery.

Paris Las Vegas

Paris Las Vegas is another must-visit hotel as you walk the strip. Ride the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower for one of the best views of Las Vegas, have lunch or dinner at Mon Ami Gabi and watch the Bellagio fountain show, stroll through the streets of Paris, and watch the dueling pianists at Napoleon’s Lounge.

Paris Las Vegas

Paris Las Vegas | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan is one of our new favorite hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. This luxury hotel does not have a theme, at least not in the same sense of The Venetian or Paris Las Vegas. This hotel looks and feels like a high-end hotel that you would find in New York City or Chicago.

We love having a drink at the Chandelier, a two-story bar that looks like you are sitting in the center of a bright pink chandelier. Some of our favorite restaurants in Las Vegas can also be found at this hotel, included Scarpetta, Momofuku, Jaleo, and Secret Pizza.

Finally, the hotel rooms at The Cosmopolitan provide some of the best views of the Las Vegas Strip. If you get a north facing room, you can look out over the Strip and watch the Bellagio fountain show from your terrace.

Chandelier Bar Cosmopolitan

Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

ARIA Resort & Casino

The ARIA Resort is an ultra-modern hotel that is the largest hotel in the world to have received LEED Gold certification. It has been featured in several movies and TV shows, including Jason Bourne, Las Vegas, Now You See Me, and The Amazing Race 24.

Aria Las Vegas best things to do in Las Vegas

ARIA Resort | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

MGM Grand

When the MGM Grand opened in 1993, it was the largest hotel in the world. Originally, it had a Wizard of Oz theme, with memorabilia from the movie, a yellow brick road, and the Emerald City. In 2000, the hotel underwent a major renovation and the Wizard of Oz theme was scrapped. Now, a giant bronze lion statue greets visitors, and it is the largest bronze statue in the USA.

The Garden Arena has hosted some of the most famous boxing matches in history as well as concerts by some of the biggest names in the music industry. The pool deck is one of the best in Las Vegas, David Copperfield puts on a magic show at this hotel, and you can also watch a Cirque du Soleil show (Ka), visit Top Golf, and party at Hakkasan.

New York New York

New York New York is another popular themed hotel designed to resemble…you guessed it…New York City. Take a stroll through the Big Apple, visit the main casino area in Times Square, ride the Big Apple Coaster, and watch Zumanity, another Cirque du Soleil show.

New York New York best things to do in Las Vegas

New York New York | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Excalibur Hotel & Casino

The Excalibur opened in 1990. This medieval, castle-themed hotel is named for the mythical sword of King Arthur. The main attraction is The Tournament of Kings, a medieval jousting tournament where guests feast on Cornish game hens, potatoes, and corn on the cob using only their hands. We did this on one our first visits to Vegas many years ago, and this is a great activity to do if you will be visiting with kids.

Luxor Hotel & Casino

Named after the city of Luxor in Egypt, this hotel features a giant pyramid, which houses the casino and hotel rooms of the resort. When it opened in 1993, it was the tallest hotel on The Strip but has since been surpassed. The Blue Man Group, Carrot Top, and America’s Got Talent Live Las Vegas are all hosted here.

Mandalay Bay

Built to resemble a tropical paradise, Mandalay Bay is located at the southern end of the Strip. This was the first hotel we stayed in in Las Vegas and had a great experience.

This hotel has a tragic past, being the site of the one of the deadliest mass shootings in history, when a lone gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the hotel in 2017.

Mandalay Bay is home to the largest convention center in the world, the Shark Reef Aquarium, an enormous wave pool, an arena that hosts concerts and sporting events, and the House of Blues, a venue for live music.

2. Watch the Bellagio Fountain Show

I briefly mentioned this earlier, but watching the Bellagio fountain show is one of the best things to do in Las Vegas. Plus, it’s free!!

Bellagio Fountain Show best things to do in Las Vegas

Bellagio Fountain Show (from our hotel room at the Cosmopolitan) | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

You can watch the show from the sidewalk in front of the Bellagio, from the observation deck on the Eiffel Tower, and from restaurants and hotel rooms that have a view of the Bellagio (these include the Bellagio, The Cosmopolitan, Paris Las Vegas, and Caesars Palace).

Bellagio Fountain Show Schedule:
  • Monday through Friday: 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm every 30 minutes; 8:00 pm to midnight every 15 minutes
  • Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays: Noon to 8:00 pm every 30 minutes; 8:00 pm to midnight every 15 minutes

The fountain show will not operate in “bad weather.” On our most recent visit, it was very windy in Las Vegas so the fountain show was not running.

3. The Eiffel Tower Experience

For one of the best views of the Las Vegas Strip, visit the Eiffel Tower viewing deck. Called the Eiffel Tower Experience, this observation deck is located 46 stories high and provides jaw-dropping views of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas

View from the Eiffel Tower | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Time your visit for sunset, for the best lighting, and stick around to watch the Bellagio fountain show.

For tickets, pricing, and hours, visit the official website. You can also purchase your ticket through GetYourGuide.

4. The High Roller

Taking a ride on this observation wheel is one of the best things to do in Las Vegas. At its highest point, you will be standing 550 feet above the Strip, with panoramic views of the city. It takes 30 minutes for the wheel to make one full revolution. Tickets can be purchased on the official website and through GetYourGuide.

5. The Famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” Sign

Take a selfie in front of this very popular photo spot in Las Vegas.

Fabulous Las Vegas Sign

The Fabulous Las Vegas Sign | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

This sign was designed by Betty Willis and erected in 1959. In 2009, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The sign is located on the southern end of the Strip. The best time to take your photo is in the morning, before it gets crowded.

6. Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street is the location of “old Vegas,” sometimes also referred to as “downtown Las Vegas.”

The Fremont Street Experience occupies the western end of Fremont Street, where you will find a pedestrian mall and hotels. In its heyday, the large number of neon signs gave this area the name “Glitter Gulch.”

Fremont Experience best things to do in Las Vegas

Fremont Street Experience | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Now, a canopy covers the street. This canopy is illuminated with millions of LED lights. The main attraction is SlotZilla, a zip line that runs along Fremont Street, but you can also go gambling, watch street performers, and go shopping.

7. Watch a Show

Whether it is your first visit or your tenth visit, watching a live show is one of the best things to do in Las Vegas. And there are many to choose from.

Here is a list of a few of our favorites and some of the most popular shows in Las Vegas. You can see a longer list here.

Blue Man Group. This is our favorite Vegas show. It’s great for all age groups and entertaining from start to finish. It’s interactive, it’s humorous, it’s weird, and it’s wonderful. And how does one guy fit so many marshmallows in his mouth?!

Carrot Top. When Tim and I saw Carrot Top years ago, we laughed through the entire show. It’s one of our favorite Vegas shows…but not appropriate for children.

Criss Angel Mindfreak. This is a show we have not seen yet but is on our to-do list. This highly rated show features illusions and magic tricks with cutting-edge technology.

Watch a Cirque du Soleil Show. There are many different Cirque du Soleil shows to choose from. We saw Mystére, the first Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas, but O and Ka on our list to watch next.

David Copperfield. David Copperfield is one of the best magicians…wouldn’t it be awesome to watch him live on stage?

Penn and Teller. We saw Penn and Teller over 10 years ago. Part magic tricks, part comedy routine, this is another show that is great for families.

There are also numerous comedians and musicians that perform in Las Vegas.

8. Sphere

Sphere is the newest addition to the Las Vegas skyline. Opening September 29, 2023, this is the world’s largest spherical structure. It is covered with LED screens, both inside and out.

The Sphere Las Vegas

Attending the U2 concert in the Sphere

This high-tech wonder is planned to be used as a concert venue, fully immersive movie cinema, and sports venue. U2 had the honor of being the opening act and will be performing here through early 2024.

Sphere is a sight to see. From the strip, you can see the exterior of the Sphere and it is illuminated day and night, appearing as a giant eyeball, a pumpkin in October, with lots of other flashy animations.

We attended the U2 concert in the Sphere in November and what an unforgettable experience! As U2 performed on stage, images of them were projected on the wrap-around screens inside of the Sphere, as well as other animations.

U2 The Sphere Las Vegas

During the day, visitors can watch immersive films inside of the Sphere. In the evening, it hosts concerts. For the schedule of events and to purchase your tickets, visit the official website.

9. Visit a Museum

Museums…in Las Vegas?

There are several great museums to visit, and these are not your typical museum experiences.

The Neon Museum. This is where the old neon signs of Las Vegas go on retirement. Tours are offered daily and need to be reserved in advance. Visit their website for full details.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. Located inside the Luxor, this museum contains over 250 artifacts that were recovered from the Titanic as well as replicas of some rooms of the ship.

The Mob Museum. The Mob Museum portrays the history of organized crime and its impact on American society. There is also an immersive Prohibition history exhibit and speakeasy in the basement of the museum where you can sample craft cocktails and tour the onsite distillery.

10. Helicopter Flight over the Las Vegas Strip

One of the best ways to experience Las Vegas is to see it from the sky. Flights range from 15 minutes to much longer, with options to add on Red Rock Canyon and a food tour of Las Vegas. This helicopter flight is through Maverick Helicopters, a company that we used for a flight over the Grand Canyon. Their safety record is impeccable and prices for a 15-minute flight are very reasonable.

11. Take a Day Trip from Las Vegas

Leave the neon lights behind and go hiking, visit Hoover Dam, or even the Grand Canyon. Here are several Las Vegas day trip ideas.

Valley of Fire

The Valley of Fire is just an hour away from Las Vegas. This wonderland of hiking trails, panoramic vistas, and vibrantly colored landscapes is one of our favorite places to visit in the American Southwest. All you need is a half day to see the highlights, but more time is better if you really want to get to know this place. You can visit the Valley of Fire on your own (if you have a rental car) or on a tour.

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon is another very popular outdoor destination and it is just 30 minutes from Las Vegas. Go mountain biking, rock climbing, explore the hiking trails, and enjoy the views on the scenic drive through the park.

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam sits on the border of Nevada and Arizona. This dam was constructed in the 1930’s and is now a National Historic Landmark. Tours are offered daily of the Hoover Dam. There are also tours that combine Hoover Dam with Grand Canyon West and tours that combine Hoover Dam with the Seven Magic Mountains.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

Seven Magic Mountains

The Seven Magic Mountains is a large-scale outdoor art exhibit. It was originally planned to be a temporary exhibit, but due to its enormous success, it is still open to visitors. This site is free to visit and it is located about 30 minutes south of Las Vegas on Interstate 15.

Seven Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Mojave National Preserve

The Mojave National Preserve preserves a section of the Mojave Desert. This preserve is located southwest of Las Vegas and if you are looking for a unique outdoor destination, this is one to consider.

Climb to the highest dune at Kelso Dunes, explore a lava tube, and photograph the largest and densest population of Joshua Trees in the world. Mojave National Preserve is not a national park, but it is one of the largest national park units in the contiguous United States. It is free to visit Mojave National Preserve.

Kelso Dunes Mojave National Preserve

Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon sits to the east of Las Vegas. There are several different ways to plan your day trip.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The easiest and fastest way to visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas is to visit Grand Canyon West. You can do this on a tour or you can drive to Grand Canyon West. The very popular Skywalk, a glass-bottomed walkway, is what draws many people to Grand Canyon West. We did this and thought it was overrated and overpriced.

For a better experience, consider visiting the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is a much longer day trip (about 9 to 10 hours of driving) but the views are much better than what you get at Grand Canyon West, and you will save quite a bit of money.

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Antelope Canyon is one of the most photogenic places to visit in the American Southwest, with red canyon walls, intricately carved canyon walls, and light beams shining through the dusty air. Just down the road is Horseshoe Bend, one of the most photographed sections of the Colorado River.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Day tripping out to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend is an extremely long day, but it’s also a popular day trip from Las Vegas, so I think it’s worth mentioning. However, Antelope Canyon is a great spot to add to a longer road trip in the region, and I’ll mention a few options later in this Las Vegas Travel Guide.

In my opinion, the best way to day trip to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend is on a tour, since your transportation and logistics are taken care of.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park makes a great day trip destination from Las Vegas. Go hiking on sand dunes, walk across Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in the United States, go hiking, and go on scenic drives. It’s a busy day but one you won’t soon forget. Get the full details on how to do this here.

Death Valley Sunset

Death Valley


When to Visit Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a great destination all year. We have been to Las Vegas during each season and spring and fall are our favorite times to be here, when temperatures are mild. Even summers aren’t too bad, as long as you plan to spend most of your time indoors, in the hotels and casinos.

In the summer, expect HOT temperatures. Average high temperatures easily surpass 100°F with cooler temperatures at night. This is also the driest time to visit Las Vegas. Even though it can be very warm, summer is not a bad time to visit Las Vegas. If you plan to visit the casinos and hotels, most of the time you will be indoors, with short walks outside between the hotels. However, if you plan to day trip to Red Rock Canyon or the Valley of Fire, go early in the day and try to avoid the midday sweltering heat.

In the spring and fall, temperatures are mild. High temperatures range from 70 to 100 degrees, depending on the month, with a slight chance of rain.

During the winter months, temperatures really cool off. The average high in December and January is in the upper 50’s, a big difference from the summer months. Rainfall chances are highest during the winter (and snow is highly unlikely), but even then, with only an average of 3 inches of precipitation per month, rainfall chances are still relatively low.

How Many Days Do You Need in Las Vegas?

If you want to visit the hotels and casinos on the Strip, watch a show or two, go shopping, do a little gambling, and day trip to the Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon, you will need a bare minimum of two days (and these will be extremely busy).

For first-timers who want to visit the highlights Las Vegas, I recommend spending three days in town. This gives you two days to explore the hotels and casinos on the Strip, time each night for dinner, a show, gambling, and/or nightlife, and one day for either the Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon. With more time, you can add on more of the day trips listed above.

Las Vegas Boulevard best things to do in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Boulevard | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

One Day in Las Vegas

If you only have one day in Las Vegas, you have a choice to make. Would you rather visit the Strip or would you rather go hiking in the Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon?

With one day on the Strip, spend the day popping in and out of the casinos and hotels. At night, go out to dinner and watch a show (make both of these reservations in advance).

If you prefer to go hiking, spend your time in either the Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon, and at night, have dinner and watch a show.

Two Days in Las Vegas

With two days in Las Vegas, I recommend spending day one exploring the Strip and day two day tripping to a nearby destination. The Valley of Fire gets my vote as the best day trip (even if you don’t like hiking, the landscapes are amazing and can be easily seen from your car and the overlooks), followed by Red Rock Canyon and then Death Valley.

Three or More Days in Las Vegas

With three or more days in Las Vegas, follow the suggestions above. For each additional day, you can either add on another day trip or spend more time in Vegas, visiting the museums, Fremont Street, or shopping, going to the spa, or relaxing next to a hotel pool.

Las Vegas Boulevard at Night best things to do in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Boulevard | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Where to Eat in Las Vegas

The list of restaurants in Las Vegas is incredibly long. Below I list our favorite spots and a few that are still our wish list.

Mon Ami Gabi. This is one of the highest reviewed restaurants in Las Vegas. Mon Ami Gabi is located in Paris Las Vegas and they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. French food with a view of the Bellagio fountain show…we highly recommend it.

Scarpetta. Scarpetta is an Italian restaurant located in The Cosmopolitan. The food is fantastic but another reason to dine here is for the view. If you reserve a table next to the window, you can watch the Bellagio fountain show as you have dinner.

House of Blues. House of Blues (in Mandalay Bay) is known as a live music venue, but they also serve a great breakfast. If you are staying in Mandalay Bay, or nearby, we recommend having breakfast or brunch here.

Secret Pizza. Secret Pizza is a tiny restaurant that serves some of the best pizza in Las Vegas. Not only is it a cheap family meal (not easy to do in Vegas) but trying to find this spot is part of the fun. It is creatively tucked away in the Cosmopolitan. I won’t tell you exactly where…searching for it is part of the fun.

Trevi Italian Restaurant. We ate here on our most recent visit to Las Vegas. It is located in Caesars Palace and you can dine “outside” next to the Trevi Fountain. The food is nothing special but the service and the setting is nice.

Din Tai Fung. We have not eaten at the Din Tai Fung in Las Vegas, but on our around the world trip, we had one of our best meals of the year at the Din Tai Fung in Taipei, Taiwan.

Eiffel Tower Restaurant. This restaurant is also located at Paris Las Vegas. We haven’t eaten here yet but have heard wonderful things, not only about the food but also the view.

Estiatorio Milos. This is another restaurant high on our wish list. Located in The Cosmopolitan, Estiatorio Milos serves fine Greek food and fresh seafood. We dined at Estiatorio Milos in New York City and had an fantastic experience.

Jaleo. We loved this restaurant! We were lucky to be seated at a foosball table (yes, you heard me right!). While we dined on tapas, we could also play each other in foosball, one of the most unique dining experiences we had in Las Vegas. Jaleo is located in The Cosmopolitan.

Where to Stay in Las Vegas

On the Strip

The best place to stay in Las Vegas is on the Strip, or just a few blocks off of it. By staying on or near the Strip, you are right in the heart of the action, and if you are centrally located, you can walk to many of the Las Vegas sights.

When we travel with Tyler and Kara, our go-to hotel is the Marriott’s Grand Chateau. Located just one block off the strip, it is a quick walk to the nearby casinos of the Cosmopolitan, Paris, Bellagio, and New York New York. They offer 1, 2, and 3-bedroom villas so there is plenty of space (and privacy) for your family to spread out. The name “Grand Chateau” sounds luxurious, but their prices are very competitive with the hotels right on the Strip.

In the past, Tim and I have also stayed at Mandalay Bay, the Wynn, and the Venetian (some rooms have a view of Sphere), and had great experiences at all of them. Of these three, the Wynn is our favorite.

On our most recent trip to Las Vegas, we stayed at The Cosmopolitan. This is now our favorite hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel rooms are spacious and modernly decorated but the view is what sells this hotel. If you book a terrace room with fountain view (there are several types, such as a studio room, one bedroom suite, and Wraparound Terrace Suite), you will have one of the best views of Las Vegas from your room. The key is to book a room with a fountain view. We stayed in both the one-bedroom suite and the Wraparaound Terrace Suite and the Wraparound room is over the top!!

Where to Stay in Las Vegas

Wraparound Terrace Suite at the Cosmopolitan | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas


Cosmopolitan View best things to do in Las Vegas

View from our room | Best Things to Do in Las Vegas

Off the Strip

There are also many great properties off the Strip. These tend to be cheaper, but you will have to factor in the cost to park your car, if you plan to drive from your hotel to the Strip, or the cost for taxis and Uber.

If you are looking for a budget hotel with a good location, check out the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Desert Club Resort, The Carriage House, and the Desert Rose Resort.

Road Trips that Start or End in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is the perfect place to start or end a road trip through the American Southwest. We love to end our trip with a one day stay or evening in Las Vegas, to do a little shopping and go out to dinner.

If you have similar plans, here are several great road trips that include Las Vegas.

Grand Canyon Road Trip

Combine Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and other nearby destinations into a road trip.

With five days, spend some time in Las Vegas, visit Hoover Dam on the drive to the Grand Canyon, spend one full day on the South Rim, and then fly home from either Las Vegas or Phoenix.

With more time (extending your road trip to 7 days) you can also add on Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.

Utah’s Mighty 5

Utah’s Mighty 5 is a collection of five national parks in Utah: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches National Parks. With 7 days, you can visit all five of these parks on a road trip from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.

American Southwest Road Trip

If you have two weeks, we have an awesome itinerary that includes the main highlights of the American Southwest. On one big road trip that starts and ends in Las Vegas, visit the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, Utah’s Mighty 5, and several amazing state parks in Utah and Nevada. This is the road trip itinerary I wish we had the first time we visited the American Southwest. See the detailed itinerary here.

If you only have 10 days in the American Southwest, we have another itinerary that is very popular on our website. This itinerary starts in Phoenix, includes Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, and Zion, before ending in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas to San Diego

On a road trip from Las Vegas to San Diego, visit the Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Palm Desert, with the option to add on the Mojave National Preserve.

Where Are You Going Next?

If your visit to Las Vegas is part of a bigger road trip through the American Southwest, here is more information to help you plan your trip.

LAS VEGAS: If you are visiting with kids or teenagers, don’t miss our article Best Things to Do in Las Vegas with Teenagers.

GRAND CANYON: Check out our guides to the Best Things to Do on the South Rim, how to spend one perfect day in the Grand Canyon, and which South Rim viewpoints are the best ones to visit. For amazing views of the Grand Canyon, check out our guide to the Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours.

HIKES IN ZION: Angels Landing, the Zion Narrows, Observation Point, and the Watchman Trail are some of the top hiking trails in Zion. For the full list, read our Best Hikes in Zion guide.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP: Go on a road trip from Las Vegas to San Diego, visiting Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks, as well as Anza-Borrego Desert and the Mojave National Preserve.

PLACES TO GO IN DEATH VALLEY: Get an overview of the top sights in our article Best Things to Do in Death Valley. Learn how to visit Racetrack Playa, one of the best off the beaten path experiences in the national parks. Mosaic Canyon and the Golden Canyon – Gower Gulch Loops are two hikes to add to your to do list. See all of our articles in our Death Valley Travel Guide.

VISIT MORE CITIES IN THE USA: Explore more American cities in our guides to New Orleans, Key West, Savannah, New York City, Nashville, Boston, and Washington DC.

We have more information about things to do in Nevada in our Nevada Travel Guide. If this is part of a bigger road trip through the USA, you can read all of our articles about the United States in our United States Travel Guide.

If you have any questions about this Las Vegas Travel Guide or the best things to do in Las Vegas, let us know in the comment section below.


Las Vegas Nevada Travel Guide


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Comments 8

  1. Avatar for Katja E.
    Katja E.

    I didn’t want to visit Vegas, but after I had read your article, I started to plan a trip for Dec 2023. First night: Dispersed camping in the Lovell Canyon behind the Red Rock Canyon. Fantastic! Second and third night at the MGM Grand. Nice, clean room with view. Second night: Kà. An incredible Cirque du Soleil show! Wow! Third night: David Copperfield. Still one of the greatest magicians of our time! The shows alone would have made the trip.

    As the Elvis Museum has closed it’s doors forever, we went to the Paradox Museum. Great fun for anybody who loves taking bizzare pictures. We also had a beer tasting at BrewDog with a great view on the Strip, visited Bellagio’s Botanical Garden ( a bit less than expected) and went up the Eiffel Tower. Great view over the town! Next time I will do the Roller Coaster in New York, the Artifact Exhibition in Luxor and the Neon Museum 🙂 Thank you so much for all those ideas! And the Two Week America Southwest Road Trip Itinerary!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Katja. Thanks for writing in again! I’m glad you had a great time in Las Vegas. It is a fun place to visit. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Anna

    My husband and I followed your itinerary for the American Southwest and our trip was Epic. We are going to Las Vegas for our first time in September so once again, I am following your itinerary, tips, and advice! We can’t wait!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for things to do
    things to do

    I have not had a chance to visit Vegas yet, the land of spending money 🙂 Thank you so much for the list! I realize that there are much more things to do in Las Vegas than casinos.

  4. Avatar for Jamie Dylann
    Jamie Dylann

    OMG, it sounds so exciting. Thk you so much 4 sharing your experience, i’ve always wanted to visitas Las Vegas but never got around to it. I hope one day i can visit but in the meantime i will kepp reading your blog to get an idea, thkyou!

  5. Avatar for Jonathan Micke
    Jonathan Micke

    Good Morning-
    I enjoyed your Vegas synopsis- there are many things to do and you covered them.
    I noticed your comments about Excalibur and I wanted to point out that Excalibur was built in 1990 not 2000. I was stationed at Nellis AFB in 1991 and Excalibur was a brand new hotel. I remember being there and having a great time!
    Thank you for all you do- I look forward to reading about your family adventures.
    Take Care!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Thanks for the correction! Tim visited Las Vegas in 1993 and remembers going to the Excalibur at that time, so I got my date wrong somehow. Thanks for writing in! Cheers, Julie

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