There are 2 guarantees in Vegas:
1: You will spend a lot of money, no matter what you do: gambling, drinking, a show, shopping or sightseeing; BUT your money will go a lot further here as things are relatively cheap in comparison to other cities.
2: Don’t plan on getting an early night…because you won’t! Sleep is wasted here. There is really no other place on Earth like Las Vegas: a city that is open 24/7 with so much to experience, a weekend alone will only be biting off the tip of the sundae. So here is my best overview for a long weekend in Vegas, and how you can explore it and see most things! So where do you begin once you arrive in Sin City?
Friday-Las Vegas Strip, Hotels & Shows
It is best to plan on arriving early on a Friday, to ensure that the time spent on ‘The Strip’ (Las Vegas Boulevard), where the many casinos and hotels are located, is put to good use. Upon arriving at McCarran airport, remember there are heaps of airport shuttles available, so you don’t have to spring for a cab. Companies like Bell Trans offer one way fares for $7 (plus tip) or return for $13 (plus tip), which are always good value.
The Las Vegas Strip officially begins where the famous ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign is located, and ends at the Stratosphere. Orient yourself by walking along only as much of the strip as you feel like once you arrive; (it is after all, just over 4 miles long!).
It is good to research what each casino offers, as every hotel has a differing theme, especially when it comes to where to stay. Whether you want to go to medieval times (Excalibur), Egypt (Luxor), New York (New York, New York), Rome (Caesar’s Palace), Venice (Venetian) or sailing on the high seas (Treasure Island); there are so many options for an interesting hotel stay whatever your preference is.
If you don’t want to break the bank, but still want a luxurious stay (and a Strip View room), Treasure Island is well worth a stay. You can look out onto the entire strip and even see the Bellagio fountains in the distance from your room. (My photo has a closer view on it, as the view from the room is not quite this close, but it’s still truly epic and amazing!)
Whilst exploring the various hotels and casinos on The Strip however, there are some definite must-stops to make: The Bellagio and its dancing fountains that can be seen from the Strip (every 30 minutes from 3pm weekdays and 12pm weekends); the Volcano eruption at the Mirage (every 30 minutes from 7pm) and walking along (or taking a Gondola ride) in the re-created Venice of St Mark’s Square and canal streets, complete with its painted blue sky. What a truly surreal place!
Meals are always easy in Vegas with hotel buffets everywhere, well-known chain restaurants like P.F. Changs as well as high end cuisine from Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay. A personal favourite is the restaurant, Serendipity3 at Caesar’s Palace which hails from New York City; where large portions and delicious desserts are available-be sure you try the signature, Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, or even a Hot Fudge Sundae. It is truly dessert heaven here!
After dinner, if you are wanting to have an entertaining night out, you can take in a show-whether it’s any of the (many) Cirque’s in town; Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood, Celine Dion at Caesar’s or any of the many shows on offer. Discounted tickets are available in various places along the Strip, so finding a relatively wallet friendly night of entertainment is possible in Vegas. Last time I was there, I saw Shania Twain and it was amazing!
A show is always in order here!
Saturday-Outlet Shopping, Grand Canyon Tours, Fremont Street & Nightlife
Waking up in Vegas on Saturday; be ready to hit the ground running with some shopping at either the Fashion Show Mall (across the road from Treasure Island), or take the Deuce bus ($8 for a 24 hour ticket from a ticket machine only, with stops along the Strip); to either the North or South shopping outlets where some AMAZING bargains can be found! With the likes of Nike, Quicksilver, Guess, Levi’s, Converse and many more; whether you are shopping for others or just yourself…be prepared to buy a whole suitcase worth of stuff after a day here, with many GOOD sales on offer in every store.
If shopping is not your style, why not take a half day helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon? Tours are a little expensive, but very much worth it! Lasting approximately 3-4 hours, there are various tour types that depart from sunrise to sunset. Sundance Tours is one company I have used that gives a valuable tour in its ‘All American’ helicopter tour. It includes limousine pick up and drop off to your hotel, a helicopter ride over the desert (including The Hoover Dam); a light lunch on the Grand Canyon and finishes with a scenic ride over the Las Vegas Strip.
Spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool in your hotel with some drinks to cap off a fun day in Vegas before heading out to dinner. Because Vegas and pools go hand in hand. If you are up for a big night, start at Fremont Street by taking the Deuce and enjoy the cheaper priced drinks and free entertainment of the Fremont Street Experience (every hour from 6pm), featuring a light show accompanied by classic bands like The Doors and Bon Jovi.
Start your night here and head to the Strip later on!
Heading back to the strip, have a drink at the Chandelier Bar, featuring one of the world’s biggest chandelier’s at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, and follow it up by heading to PURE nightclub at Caesar’s Palace, which offers some spectacular views from its rooftop nightclub. Or head to any of the popular clubs on the Strip like Hakkasan at MGM, Tao at Venetian or 1Oak at the Mirage.
No matter where you are on the Strip, there are plenty of places to party the night away right here.
Sunday-Gambling In Vegas, Adrenaline Pumping Activities & NASCAR
For your final full day in Vegas, it can be anything you want it to be. You can hit the slots (if you haven’t already), and have a gamble on the many slot machines available. Slots have come a long way over the years with touch screen machines, and everything from Grease to The Wizard of Oz to Sex and the City to try your luck at having a win.
If slots aren’t your thing, and you’re an adrenaline junkie, Vegas has you covered. There’s twists and turns on ‘The Big Apple Coaster’ at New York New York ($14 for one ride/$25 for an all day pass). Or the thrills offered at the Stratosphere, with the ‘Insanity’, ‘X-Scream’ and ‘Big Shot’ rides ($15 each plus $20 tower admission, or the tower plus unlimited daily ride pass for $36); or the popular bungee-style ‘Sky Jump’ (from $120).
Or if you have always wanted to feel the speed of a NASCAR; the various Richard Petty experiences at the Las Vegas Speedway which include a 3 lap ride along, or 8 laps self-drive packages just to start; are very much worth the money! This is adrenaline at its finest!
If a low key experience is what you are after however, then the new High Roller Wheel at Caesar’s Palace, which is the equivalent of the London Eye; is worth a ride. Prices start from $24.95 during the day. There is always something to experience in Las Vegas, it is really up to how fast paced one wants it to be. The choice is really yours.
Just make sure you have a gamble, a few drinks, see a show, shop till you drop and sight see along the Strip…just to start!
It’s Vegas baby! Have some fun!