I’ve been to a lot of really great destinations, but there’s something about Las Vegas that I just absolutely love.
Contrary to popular belief, Vegas isn’t all strip clubs, gambling, and parties. There’s definitely some of that, and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find it. But there’s so many other incredible aspects to explore, so even if getting super drunk and clubbing isn’t your thing (anymore), don’t write off a trip to LV just yet.
From the amazing food scene created by world-class chefs, to the performances that will leave you mind-blown, I’ve found one of the most diverse cultures in Las Vegas. Well, there’s nothing else to do but get into this travel guide, so let’s do it!
Getting to Vegas is so easy and convenient – almost every airline offers non-stop flights at all hours of the day. I’ve personally found that the 2 best airlines for Vegas travel are Southwest and Spirit. Here’s why: Southwest Vacations are a combination deal for your flight + hotel. They’re often able to give a pretty big discount on staying somewhere really nice. So if I have a particular hotel in mind that I want to stay at, I always check the Southwest Vacations packages first.
If I don’t have somewhere specific I want to stay, I typically book my flight with Spirit Airlines. Yes, it’s definitely an economy airline. However, I’ve never paid more than $70 for a flight to Las Vegas, and I’ve gotten deals as low as $39. So, it sometimes does pay to stuff everything in a backpack, or bite the bullet to pay for the additional $30 in baggage fees, and buy a water before getting on the plane.
I’ve found that using Lyft ($5 off your first ride!) is often the easiest and cheapest way to get from the airport. It’s also really convenient to get around the city, but if you’re staying on the Strip, it’s very walkable.
First things first; there aren’t many bad hotels in Las Vegas. If you’re staying anywhere on the Strip, you’ll notice that competition is high, and most hotels are doing everything they can to get people to choose them. Because there’s so much competition, there’s a lot of hotel deals at any given time.
I already mentioned using Southwest Vacations, but I’ll put that note here again, because I’ve found some really great packages.
If I choose to book my flights and hotel separately, my favorite hotel booking site is Priceline. Here’s my favorite little travel hack, but it only works if you don’t mind which hotel you’ll be staying in. I actually enjoy booking this way, because it allows me to stay in different places.
Here’s what you do. Pull up the Express Deals section in either the priceline app, or on the website. Type in your location and dates, and hit search. On the left side of the page, you’ll find the filters. If you know the area you want to stay, you can check the boxes. For example; if you want to stay on the strip, but you don’t mind where, you can check each section of the strip (southeast, southwest, etc.). It will then pull up all the deals without giving you the hotel name. You’ll see the stars that the hotel’s been given, and the amenities. You’ll also see the cost of the hotel at full price, without the express deal, so basically, what you would be paying. Here’s an example:
In a separate tab, open Priceline again, and instead of using the express deals section, you’ll want to use the regular hotels booking section. Type in your location and date again, and hit search. Now, go over to the filters on the left side and check the boxes that match the hotel deal you’re considering. Based on this example, you’d want to check The Strip – Southwest and 5 Star. Once the filters are applied, you’ll see the list become smaller, and from there, you can compare the original price. Here’s another example:
You can see that Vdara Hotel matches all the same details as the Express Deal, including the original price. Of course, this isn’t guaranteed, but it is a way to book an undisclosed hotel with at least a pretty good idea of where you might be staying.
This is my favorite section of all my travel guides, but even more so for this one, because Las Vegas has incredible food.
Breakfast/Brunch – Before our first trip, someone told me about the buffets, and I didn’t think much of it. But then we arrived, and we went to a brunch buffet, and it was everything. Even if you’re not a huge buffet person, you will love the experience. There’s so many different cuisines to try, and they’re all delightful. Each hotel has their own, and you can often get a better price by checking Groupon or going on a weekday versus the weekend. Best Brunch Buffet: Aria
If I can’t sell you on the buffets, here’s a list of some other breakfast/brunch restaurants that will not disappoint.
Grand Luxe Cafe (inside of the Venetian) – they have a small, continental style buffet, but their menu is also really great. *Rec – Grand Luxe Cafe French Toast
Hexx (outside of Paris hotel) – the perfect patio, and you can see the Bellagio Fountain show every 30 minutes while eating brunch! *Rec – Carrot Cake Pancakes
Eggslut (Cosmopolitan) – a quick order breakfast restaurant that makes simple, but delicious egg sandwiches. *Rec – Sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich (without the sausage for me!)
I don’t typically eat lunch because the breakfast/brunch options are massive, so I’ll move on to dinner, but a lot of the options below would work for lunch as well.
Holsteins (Cosmopolitan) – burgers and fries – really good ones. *Rec – The Classic with sweet potato fries.
Gordon Ramsay Burger (Planet Hollywood) – more burgers, more fries, more goodness. *Rec – Backyard Burger with sweet potato fries.
Trevi (Caesars) – the cutest Italian restaurant with “outdoor seating” next to the fountain. *Rec – Margherita Pizza or Raviolla Alla Vodka.
STK (Cosmopolitan) – this is a pricey dinner option, but it’s so worth it if you’re up for the splurge.
Tao (Venetian) – an asian restaurant that also doubles as a night club. It’s super dark and swanky inside, and the food is amazing. *Rec – Spicy Tuna Roll or Pad Thai
Flour & Barley (The Linq Promenade) – a walkup pizza window with huge slices. Perfect for lunch, dinner, or middle-of-the-night snacks.
O’Sheas Bar (the Linq Promenade) – the absolute best frozen drink on the planet is located here; Frozen Baileys. It’s only served at O’sheas outdoor bar. Please make this a part of your trip, because I would travel to LV for this drink alone.
Milk Bar (Cosmopolitan) – cookies and ice cream; enough said, right? *Rec – Cereal Milk soft serve.
Gambling isn’t the only thing to do in Vegas, but if you’re into it, it’s a really fun way to spend the days (and nights!) I’m a big fan of Blackjack tables and the Wheel of Fortune slot machines. Every casino has more to see and play than you could imagine, so I definitely recommend roaming around and checking out multiple places, unless you find somewhere that you’ve hit a lucky streak.
Definitely sign up for the players cards at each, because you often get welcome bonuses, like $20 of free playing cash or something fun. It’s nothing big, but it’s worth the 2 seconds it takes to input your info!
People watching and touring the Strip is a form of entertainment in itself. There are so many street performers to see, but be sure you have cash if you plan to interact with them, because they definitely work for tips!
One of my favorite people to watch is the artist outside of the Flamingo/Linq hotels in the promenade. He has EDM music blaring and he creates art using spray paint and crumpled up paper. He sells the images that he’s created right there. Whether you buy something or not, it’s worth stopping by to catch a few minutes of the experience.
Las Vegas is full of free shows, so you don’t have to spend a ton of money to experience the grand displays and performances. Some must-see shows: the Fountains at the Bellagio, the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens inside the Bellagio, the Volcano at the Mirage, and The Fall of Atlantis at Caesars Forum Shops.
If you do want to spend some money on entertainment, there’s an abundance of shows that will leave your mind blown. Cirque Du Soleil has 7 different shows scattered across the Strip. There are tons of other performances, including magic shows, dancing, dogs; pretty much everything you can image. *Recs – Absinthe (Caesars) and Mystère (Treasure Island).
In the summer, one of my favorite things to do is spend my days at the pools and day clubs. Each hotel has their own pool, and if you’re not a guest, there’s a fee to use the pool. I definitely suggest checking out the pools at the hotels you’re considering before booking, because it’s a huge added bonus to stay somewhere with an incredible set up. Some of my favorites are Mandalay Bay, Caesars, and the Cosmopolitan.
Recreational dispensaries are legal in Vegas, and to each their own, but a quick stop here always makes my trips a little more fun. My favorite is MedMen off the Strip. There’s several stores that have a delivery service as well, if you want your purchases to be hand-delivered.
There are so many more tips and tidbits to make your Las Vegas vacation the best trip ever, but hopefully this is a good start! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to share anything I’ve learned from my own trips there!