Do you know how Las Vegas came to be a city? Las Vegas used to be a simple water stop for travelers moving onto somewhere else. It wasn’t until the city was linked to celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley that it began to morph into the glamorous destination it is today. While Vegas is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, for me, it’s just my hometown. Let me tell you my favorite things to do in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas’ Main Attractions
There are a few things to do in Las Vegas that every visitor must experience. Don’t miss these top places. Bellagio Fountains – A spectacular water show that is amazing no matter how many times you’ve seen it. My personal favorite performance is Viva Las Vegas!
Top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Hotel
For one the best views overlooking The Strip, head to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Tickets run around $20 USD per person.
Welcome to Las Vegas sign
A must for every visitor. How else are you going to prove you’ve been here?
Don’t let the name “Mob Museum” fool you into thinking it’s only about the Mafia. In fact, it’s about so much more! This awesome museum takes you through the entire history of Las Vegas and is well worth your time.
A fascinating museum that many will recognize from the Vegas Vacation movie with Chevy Chase. The museum’s great one-hour tour of all the famous neon signs provides a glimpse into the city’s past. It’s the perfect place for Insta-worthy photos!
A zip line that jets you across Fremont Street. It’s so much fun to soar above the crowds of people singing along to whatever band is playing on the main stage.
Red Rock Canyon
A beautiful spot for hikers or anyone who is looking to escape the city. If you come during hotter months you will want to go super early. The photo ops and views of the city are well worth the effort.
North of Las Vegas is Mt. Charleston. It’s no Colorado Rockies, but locals still go there for a quick snowboarding or skiing fix, or just to escape the city. Be sure to stop by their lodge for delicious Mt. Charleston hot chocolate.
Las Vegas’ Best Food & Drink Options
From fine dining to local grub, Vegas is a foodie heaven. Here are the best places to eat around town:
Beauty and Essex
Although not native to Las Vegas, Beauty & Essex is quite the unique dining experience. Don’t let the Pawn Shop entrance fool you; the Steak Tartare is divine.
Mexican food done right! If you love shrimp enchiladas (or any kind of enchilada) and the best margarita money can buy, come to Javiers.
Their menu is divided between a healthy and happy side which both guarantee a satisfying meal that will keep you coming back for more. Skinny Fats has grown to be a popular local spot with three locations around town.
One of the best Mexican restaurants in town. Their house-made salsa is amazing, as are their enchiladas and margaritas. Can you tell Mexican food is my favorite?
When you enjoy macarons as much as I do Sambalatte is the place to go. You can even order one of those fancy cappuccinos with the fancy design on top and have a fancy time drinking it.
The Donut Bar
Food Network let the secret out on this sweet place that puts Voodoo Donuts to shame. Seriously. Unless you plan on waking up at the crack of dawn to get in line for one of these bad boys fuhgeddaboudit.
Getting Around Las Vegas
Vegas is a commuter city with a far from superb public transit system. In order to see all the amazing things, one must rent a car but don’t rent a car from the airport! Instead, save money and rent a car at your hotel and only rent when needed. Don’t rent a car for five days if you are only planning to commute for two of them. Uber is an option but it could end up being costly if you are taking day trips. If you do insist on using public transportation, your best options on The Strip are either the tram that takes you up and down Las Vegas Blvd. on the East side or the RTC. The RTC is the public bus that takes you all around the city. Learn more about RTC prices and routes here.
Places To Stay In Las Vegas
Vegas has tons of hotels but I have a few favorites for their trendy decor, location, and affordable prices. These are the best places to stay:
SLS Hotel, Las Vegas Blvd. North
A shabby chic boutique hotel located on the north side of Las Vegas Blvd. An affordable option for anyone wanting to stay on The Strip and still enjoy luxury amenities.
The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas Blvd. South
Located in the center of The Strip and quite possibly the most unique as far as details go. This hotel will cost you on the weekend but come during the week and you will be surprised by the deals you can get.
Downtown Grand, Fremont Street
Like SLS, the Downtown Grand was completely gutted and renovated. It’s an adorable boutique hotel and casino offering direct access to the heart of downtown Las Vegas.
Don’t Miss Out On Las Vegas’ …
A few blocks from Fremont Street is the super hip Container Park, a three-story shopping and dining area made solely out of shipping containers. Support local business and hang out on the lawn while enjoying live music from the main stage.
Walk around Downtown for historic neon signs and street art sightings
As you walk around downtown, you will notice tons of neon signs lining the sidewalks. These are vintage Vegas signs that have been restored as part of the Downtown Project. You will also find lots of street art that has grown over the years. The Life is Beautiful music festival debuts new street art annually.
Breweries in Henderson
If you love sampling local craft brews, then check out the breweries in Henderson. My personal favorite is Crafthaus. Come to play games, relax in their tasting room, or take a tour of the brewery.
Boulder City day trip
About 30 minutes outside Vegas is Boulder City. A fun day trip for antique shopping, mom and pop diners, and small-town western living.
Located a few exits from The Strip is the Springs Preserve, a 180-acre nature walk in the center of the city. During the Spring and Fall be sure to check out the Butterfly Habitat or enjoy their Botanical Gardens year-round.
A brand new museum for those who love to be spooked. Rumor has it there’s a chest in the museum that is so haunted it has to be contained in glass.
Las Vegas Things To Know
Depending on the time of year, Vegas can be hot. No shocker there, yet people still think they are invincible to the blazin’ sun. Spare yourself blisters and a sunburn from hell and apply sunscreen.
Everything is cheaper off The Strip. Buy all your snacks, water, etc. from one of many grocery stores (i.e, Wal-Mart, Target, Albertsons, etc.) located less than three miles off The Strip.
The only parts of the city that are open container (where you can legally consume alcohol in the street) are The Strip and Fremont Street.
Don’t bother telling a local how you lost your friend and had the craziest night ever (rolls eyes). Trust me when I tell you, we ALL saw that movie and your situation is not unique.
When you run into a club promoter on the streets offering you “guest list” access, understand that 1) they are legit, unless they ask you for money then run 2) “guest list” does not mean free club entry. It just means shorter wait lines and they won’t get fired for failing to get people into the club.
Vegas is a tipping city. Every service person you come in contact with will most likely work for tips. Standard tips for drinks are $2 USD, restaurants 20%, and housekeepers $5-$20 USD depending on how often they serviced your room.
Vegas’ appeal is multi-generational and there is a good reason so many choose it as their favorite US destination. If you can’t have a good time in Vegas it’s time to give up!
I hope you enjoy visiting my hometown and remember what they say … What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas …
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Allison is the energetic travel blogger behind Seeking Neverland. With no plans to slow down her life of adventure, she spends most days getting lost in foreign places, collecting photographs, and sharing all her findings with you. Check out her blog for city guides and travel tips.