What To Do Your First Time in Las Vegas

A trip to Las Vegas is one of those experiences everyone should have. Even if big crowds aren’t for you, it’s still amazing to see the bright lights and never-ending action of the Strip in real life. Your first time in the city can be overwhelming with everything you can do and see. Here’s my list of must-dos for your first time in Las Vegas.

Welcome To Las Vegas

Have you really been to Vegas if you haven’t taken a picture with the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign? As one of the most iconic signs in the world, you can expect a long line. It moves relatively fast, so I think it’s worth visiting. 

If you are driving, there’s a parking lot in front. We’ve never had issues finding parking as there’s always someone leaving. The sign is close to Harry Reid International Airport (LAS, previously known as McCarran International Airport), so plan a stop on your way in or out of town.

Stay on the Strip

In the past, I’ve stayed on and off the Strip, and staying on the Strip is definitely the way to do Las Vegas. You’ll be right in the middle of the action and free to walk around without worrying about the traffic.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is my favorite hotel to stay at. It’s a super chic hotel with a fun atmosphere. It’s located right next to the Bellagio, so it’s an easy walk to watch the fountains. The Cosmopolitan is also where you’ll find one of the prettiest bars on the Strip, The Chandelier Bar. I’d also highly recommend the breakfast sandwiches at Eggslut, located in the Cosmopolitan.

Gamble in a Casino

If you’ve never gambled before, what better place to try than Las Vegas? I find the tables a little intimidating, so I stick to the slot machines. Put a few bucks in and see what happens! You’ll have plenty of opportunities as the casinos are open 24/7, and you can find slot machines everywhere, even at the airport.

Eat at a Buffet

I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world that does a buffet like Vegas. Buffets are a tradition, and almost all the major hotels on the Strip have one. At Caesars Palace, there’s Bacchanal Buffet, the largest buffet in Las Vegas at over 25,000 square feet. The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas is possibly the prettiest with its colorful decor. Then there’s Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, another favorite. These buffets can get pretty pricey, so consider doing breakfast when they tend to be less expensive.

Go Shopping

Besides gambling, shopping may be one of the most popular things to do in Las Vegas. There’s soooo much shopping to be done. You’ll find many national retailers ranging from high-end luxury brands to more budget-friendly stores. 

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is unique in that it’s designed to look like ancient Rome, complete with a large fountain in the center surrounded by statues of Greek gods. The Fall of Atlantis Show is a free show with talking animatronics, water effects, and fire.

The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian is another excellent place to shop with its beautiful reproduction of Venice. Inside the mall is a looping canal with gondolas and singing gondoliers under a blue sky ceiling.

Watch a Las Vegas Show

Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas

When it comes to entertainment, Las Vegas has everything – comedy, magic, concerts, and so much more. Some of the most popular shows are the multiple Cirque du Soleil shows, like KA at the MGM Grand, Mystere at Treasure Island, and “O” at the Bellagio

There are also some free shows for you to check out as well. The Fountains of Bellagio are my favorite. The music changes throughout the day, so you can watch this multiple times and see a different show. There’s also The Volcano at The Mirage, The Lake of Dreams Show at the Wynn, and circus acts at Circus Circus.

Admire the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Just across the lobby of the Bellagio hotel is a 14,000-square-foot botanical garden. Each season, it’s transformed to showcase new flowers, fragrances, and displays. The themes include Lunar New Year, Spring Celebration, Summer Garden, Autumn Harvest, and Christmas Holiday. It’s free to the public and open 24 hours a day.

View the Strip from Above

Las Vegas Strip | First Time in Las Vegas

Did you know the Strip is just over four miles long? It can be hard to believe there’s so much in that small space. The best way to soak it all in is from up high.  

The High Roller is the tallest observation wheel in North America and gives you 360 views of Las Vegas. They also offer a Happy Half Hour, where the cabin has an open bar with a bartender.

Another way to get sweeping views of the skyline is the Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck. There’s also the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, where you can enjoy classic French cuisine while overlooking the Strip.

Leave the Strip

As much as I love the Strip, sometimes it’s nice to get away. If you have extra time, check out some of these spots.

Explore Fremont Street

Located in downtown Las Vegas, Fremont Street is known as Old Las Vegas. Before the Strip, Fremont Street was the place to be. You’ll find casinos, restaurants, live music, and a zip line over the street.

Visit the Neon Museum

The Neon Museum is located near Fremont Street, so you can visit both places on the same day. The main part of the museum is known as the Neon Boneyard. You’ll find a collection of more than 200 old Las Vegas signs from casinos, hotels, and other businesses. While it’s still cool to see all the signs during the day, consider a nighttime visit when some signs are lit up.

Learn About Organized Crime at the Mob Museum

This museum features artifacts, stories, and the history of organized crime in the U.S. There’s even a Wall of Mobsters with photos and details about their crimes.

Hike the Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire | First Time in Las Vegas

If you’re looking for a change in scenery, head to the Mojave Desert. Valley of Fire State Park is located less than an hour from Las Vegas. It’s famous for its red sandstone formations created from millions of years of erosion. Highlights include Elephant Rock, the Beehives, and the Fire Wave. Petroglyphs can be found throughout the park and are thought to be thousands of years old.

Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park are a little bit more of a drive (2-3 hours), but would make amazing day trips. You could also do a whole week road trip through the American Southwest starting in Las Vegas.

Overall

From the endless food options to the shows and people, you won’t get an experience like Las Vegas anywhere else. While I recommend having a plan to fit in everything you want to see, leave some time to just explore and see where you end up.

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