WEEKEND TRIP TO LAS VEGAS
Las Vegas is definitely a must visit place in the USA. Although the first things that come up to mind of the mention of Las Vegas are gambling, casinos and hotels Las Vegas has more to offer besides those 3 things. And people that don’t gamble will be: Why would I want to visit this place? And in this travel guide I will show you that Vegas is much more than just a casino city and there are fun things to do and see.
I’ve been to Las Vegas maybe 6 or 7 times, and my most recent visit (in December 2021) was the only visit when I was of legal age (21+ year old) and I could actually experience Las Vegas to the fullest. Now, you might wonder why a child or teenager will go so many times to Las Vegas. Well, my parents are in the TV industry and it happens that the biggest convention for TV and entertainment is held in Las Vegas, so my parents will take me with them on their business trips to Vegas. And while my dad was working, me and my mom would go around to explore and do fun things around Las Vegas.
Anyway, a bit more about Las Vegas. Las Vegas is the capital city of the state of Nevada, which borders with California on the west, Utah on the East, Arizona on the south and Oregon and Idaho on the north. Las Vegas is also named as the The Entertainment Capital of the World, with world known hotels, casinos, fine dining experiences, attractions, shopping and night-life.
Also, you can watch my vlog from Las Vegas here.
Getting to and around Las Vegas:
You can fly out to Las Vegas, or if you are in some of the neighboring states of Nevada a road trip is a great option. Since I was in Bakersfield, CA I decided to drive to Las Vegas and it was a great road trip, the drive is around 4 hours (which for US standards is not bad). On the way to Vegas we made a stop to Mojave Dessert and drove on the famous Route 66 and on the way back stopped by Death Valley.
Like most US cities Las Vegas has poor public transport and it’s not very walkable (except the Vegas Strip). So your options for getting around are:
b) taxi or Uber
If you plan to only stay in Vegas than going around with a taxi or Uber is more than fine, however if you plan on doing some day trips I would suggest renting a car or booking a guided tour.
Since there are so many hotels, finding a parking spot in Vegas is easy, most hotels however charge for parking but there are some hotels like the Whynn or Treasure Island that offer free parking.
Where to stay:
With so many hotel options it can get overwhelming which one to pick. Hotels are pretty cheap in Vegas especially if you are going during the week or during the lower season. My advice would be to book a hotel on the Vegas Strip that way you are close to entertainment and can easily walk around the main attraction area.
Bellagio- this hotel is a bit of a splurge but definitely worth one. The iconic hotel from the movie Ocean 11 and home to the famous Bellagio fountains. It’s located on the Strip so everything is in close proximity.
Caesar Palace- another good hotel on the Strip, inspired by Ancient Rome this hotel transports you to Rome for a second. Also located on the Vegas Strip.
Manadalay Bay-another good option for Vegas, it’s located a bit further from the Strip (still on the strip tho), so it is a bit more relaxed and not as crowded as the above mentioned hotels. Mandalay bay has a beautiful pool and “fake” beach area that are amazing.
Las Vegas Strip- lined up with hotels, neon lights, restaurants and shops and overcrowded with people. Take a stroll in the evening or night so you can admire the lights.
Bellagio fountains- are a must! Located in front of the Bellagio hotel on the strip. Monday to Sunday the show is every 30 minutes from 3pm to7pm and every 15 minutes from 7pm till 11:55pm. The show lasts for 4 minutes, where you can enjoy water “dancing” to music and lights.
The Mirage Volcano eruption- another show on the strip is the Volcano located at the Mirage. The first eruption is at 7pm and you have it for every hour until 11pm. It’s a pretty spectacular eruption and a cool thing to see.
Downtown Las Vegas- filled with cute coffee shops, restaurant, local and vintage shops, wall murals. The downtown is a cool place to visit, especially if you are into vintage shops and thrifting there are some pretty cool stores.
Catch a show or concert- Las Vegas has dozens of entertainment events happening each night. Some of the ones worth visiting are the:
- Cirque du Soleil shows
- David Copperfield show
As for concerts, many singers have Las Vegas residencies so make sure which ones currently have.
Get transported to Venice- visit the Venetian Hotel and be transported to Venice. The Venetian Hotel is really well done, from the water canals and gondola rides inside the hotel, to cobble streets and light changing ceiling to the outside architecture of the resort.
Snap a photo at the Las Vegas Sign- I mean the perfect photo to document that you’ve visited Las Vegas. But be prepared to wait in line to snap a photo with the sign, during weekends the line can get pretty crazy.
Hotel hopping- the ultimate Vegas activity if you ask me. Going from one hotel to another, since each hotel is different and unique in it’s own way it’s a cool experience. Some of my favorite hotels are Bellagio, Caesar Palace, The Venetian, Cosmopolitan, Wynn and Paris.
Gamble- this is not really a must do, but I don’t have a special category for it lol. Gambling is a big part in Vegas so if you are at a legal age (21 or +) you are allowed to gamble. Whether on the tables or on the slots it’s up to you. I am not a fan of gambling so I skipped this, but I did go around the casinos.
Visit Lakeside at Wynn- one of my favorite things we did during the last trip to Vegas. The Wynn hotel it’s absolutely amazing and they have a beautiful Lakeside where you can have coffee or a drink or some food. And every 30 minutes there is a really cool video performance happening on the lake.
Where to eat, must try’s and bar recommendations:
Lakeside at Wynn
The Chandelier at Cosmopolitan
Vesper Bar at Cosmopolitan
Makers & Finders
what to try: egg benedict
what to try: burrito, nachos and their margaritas
Hash House a go go
what to try: chicken waffle
Day trips from Las Vegas:
If you have few extra days to spend in Las Vegas there are some really good one-day trip you can take.
- Hoover Dam- it’s 40 minutes drive from Las Vegas. Pretty cool sight, it’s on the border between Nevada and Arizona. It’s one of the biggest dams in the US and i provides electricity for the neighboring states. There is a museum you can visit or you can just walk around.
- Grand Canyon West Side- around 4 hour drive from Las Vegas is the west side of the Grand Canyon. There are multiple tours that take you directly with a bus there, another option is heli ride above it or you can simply just drive. We went to Guano point view, we arrived late so the only available tour was the Twilight Tour at Guano Point. The skywalk is also an option but after reading online reviews we saw that for the price it’s not worth it. The view from Guano Point will leave you breathless. I was mesmerized by how massive the canyon is and how beautiful it is, although many say that the east side is even more beautiful. You have to buy a ticket to access the canyon, once you buy the tickets they take you with a bus up to Eagle point where you have to walk for a few minutes and you get a beautiful view of the canyon.
- Mojave Dessert- an hour drive from Las Vegas. Although a dessert, Mojave has beautiful landscapes. The Sand Dunes are pretty popular but if you would like to hike them you need to go early morning (3-4h hike). We just drove through Mojave Dessert, occasionally making stops for photos. One of my top 5 sunsets I’ve ever seen has been in Mojave Dessert.
- Death Valley- is around an hour and a half from Las Vegas. Death Valley is a national park as well as the lowest and hottest point in North America. You pay a fee to enter there is a machine kiosk at the entry. Be prepared with gas, water and food since there is literally nothing there. There’s only one gas station and two hotels (if you decide to stay there I would recommend booking in advance, since they didn’t have any rooms when we asked on the spot). Death Valley looks like a completely different planet. For a day trip you can cover: Artists Palette, Zabriskie Point, Dantes View and Badwater Basin. There are also many hiking trails you can take. The drive was very scenic.