The Ultimate Guide To Las Vegas
Las Vegas, a man-made spectacle and a vivacious city!
Las Vegas, a barren stretch of desert land converted into a wonderland shaped by a vision to create a retreat for those seeking an escape from the daily routine of life, Las Vegas is a city like none other!
The US, with its several natural wonders, is truly blessed with nature! However, that’s not everything that the US has to offer! The story is untold and incomplete without mentioning some of the remarkable man-made modern-day architectures and wonders in the US. One of which is the city of Las Vegas, a fantasy land midst the Nevada desert, a retreat bustling with world-class resorts and casinos, offering experiences that are unmatched!
Brilliantly lit skyscraping resorts with glamorously decorated interiors and exteriors are the main attractions in Las Vegas! Each of these resorts located on both sides of the Strip, the main road in Las Vegas, has a charm of its own. The imposing fountain at Bellagio and the replicas of monuments from all over the globe, including the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, Egyptian Pyramids, Campanile di San Marco, Rialto Bridge, Colosseum, and Trevi Fountain, serve as iconic landmarks of these resorts.
Besides the elegant exteriors, each resort has unfathomably beautiful interiors. With grand lobbies, themed decors, luxury rooms, and several indoor shopping, and dining, options, each resort is a city in itself! Host to myriad entertainment options, including live performances, concerts, shows, rides, night clubs, indoor pools, gardens, and exhibitions, Las Vegas caters to all age groups and different interests!
Las Vegas is not just about gambling and partying. Las Vegas is about celebrating life and creating everlasting memories in a dreamland made possible by visionaries and a crew of sedulous people!
Some people look down on Las Vegas, considering it’s only meant for gambling and partying all night. That’s so wrong! Undoubtedly, gambling and partying are a part of Las Vegas, but Vegas is so much more than just that! Las Vegas is a dreamland made possible by visionaries, industrious architects and construction workers, persevering performers, assiduous chefs and waitstaff, and the resorts’ conscientious staff who strive to offer a lifetime experience to their guests.
Here is my ultimate guide to Las Vegas, featuring essential planning information, major attractions, shows, dining options, and other things to do near Las Vegas!
Planning Your Trip To Las Vegas
Flying into Las Vegas international airport and staying in a resort in the center of the Strip is the best way to explore Las Vegas!
Best Time To Visit Las Vegas: Las Vegas is a year-round destination! However, remember you’re in the middle of a desert, so summers can get really hot in Las Vegas, with high daytime temperatures, but things cool down after sunset. Still, summer shouldn’t bother you much unless you’re planning to spend a lot of time outdoors.
The only other thing to consider while planning your trip to Las Vegas is the myriad of conventions and events held in Las Vegas, during which things get pretty busy in Las Vegas, and resorts tend to sell out. Several conferences, trade shows, and events are held in Las Vegas throughout the year, the major ones being the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Electric Daisy Carnival in May, World of Concrete in June.
Time Required At Las Vegas: While it’s possible to tour the Strip in Las Vegas in a day by briefly stopping at the major resorts, I recommend spending at least a couple of days in Las Vegas. A couple of days should give you enough time to see all major attractions, enjoy a couple of shows, and dine at some of the exuberant restaurants in Las Vegas. If you happen to have more time, you could take a day trip to Grand Canyon West Rim / Skywalk, Hoover Dam, and a few other places near Las Vegas.
Getting To Las Vegas: The best and most comfortable way to get to Las Vegas is by flying into McCarran International Airport, located right next to the Strip. Alternatively, you could also take a train or a bus to Las Vegas.
- Flight: McCarran International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, Nevada, is the closest airport to Las Vegas and is served by all major airlines.
- Train: There’re no direct trains to Las Vegas, but you could take an Amtrak train to Kingman, Arizona, the nearest Amtrak station to Las Vegas, and then take a bus or rent a car to get to Las Vegas.
- Bus: Greyhound offers bus services to Las Vegas, with the closest Greyhound bus stop located in Gilespie street, right next to the Las Vegas Strip.
Parking & Transportation In Las Vegas: Every resort offers paid parking and valet services in Las Vegas. However, if you’re flying into Las Vegas and staying in Las Vegas close to the Strip, which I highly recommend, you really don’t need to rent a car in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is better enjoyed by walking along the Strip, and there’re taxis and busses available 24 hours. If you need to rent a car anytime during your stay in Las Vegas, the resorts have rental car services, and you don’t need to go to the airport or a rental car center.
Lodging & Dining In Las Vegas: The best way to enjoy Las Vegas is by staying in one of the resorts in the center of the Strip, Bellagio and Mirage being my favorite, which gives you easy access to all major attractions on the Strip. Every resort has a ton of dining options in Las Vegas, ranging from cafes to fine dining, and it can be quite overwhelming to select the best place to eat. I would highly recommend trying out some of the grand buffets offered at these resorts. My favorite buffets are the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood Resort and The Buffet at Bellagio.
Other Attractions Near Las Vegas: Given Las Vegas’s proximity to Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon West Rim, if you have time, I highly recommend making an effort to visit these two places on your trip to Las Vegas. With a brief stop at Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon West / Skywalk, about 130 miles from Las Vegas, is a popular day-trip destination from Las Vegas. There’re a few other nice places and a few guided tour options from Las Vegas that I have discussed in the later section of this post.
Things To Do In Las Vegas
Las Vegas Attractions Map
Las Vegas Brief Overview
The best way to explore Las Vegas is by walking along the Strip and hopping through the casinos, marveling at the grandeur of the skyscraping resorts and the elegant interiors!
The main road in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Boulevard, is popularly known as the Strip. To be precise, Strip is the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard that’s lined with casinos and resorts on both sides. The Strip is about 4 miles long and runs south-north along Las Vegas Blvd, with Mandalay Bay being the southmost and Circus Circus being the northmost resorts on the Strip. Bellagio, Caesars Palace, and Mirage are located roughly in the center of the Strip, providing easy access to all major attractions in both South and North of the Strip, and are my favorite places to stay in Las Vegas.
The best way to experience Las Vegas is by walking along the Strip, marveling at the vistas, enjoying a couple of spectacular roadside shows, including the Fountains of Bellagio and The Volcano at Mirage, and exploring the interiors of some of the resorts. Besides the stunning exteriors, each casino has elegant interiors and unique highlights, including gardens, conservatories, aquariums, exhibitions, rides, museums, replicas of monuments and cities from all over the globe that literally carries you to a different world!
Here’re the must-see casinos and resorts along the Strip in Las Vegas listed South to North.
Located on the southern end of the Strip, Mandalay Bay is a tropical-themed resort popularly known for its man-made beach and aquarium.
- Highlights: Bay Beach & Shark Reef Aquarium
- Shows: Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil
- Dining: Bayside Buffet, Border Grill
New York-New York
New York-New York
With replicas of Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Brooklyn Bride, it offers stunning views of New York’s skyline in Nevada.
- Highlights: Big Apple Roller Coaster
- Shows: Terry Fator
- Dining: New York Pizzeria
Bellagio is the epitome of luxury in Las Vegas and is globally acclaimed for its musical fountain, fabulous conservatory, and art collection.
- Highlights: Fountains of Bellagio, Conservatory
- Shows: “O” show by Cirque du Soleil
- Dining: The Buffet at Bellagio
Home to replicas of many monuments of Paris, including Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, and Eiffel Tower, Paris Casino brings Paris to Las Vegas.
- Highlights: Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck
- Shows: Various comedy and musical shows
- Dining: Le Village Buffet, Gordon Ramsay Steak
Bringing the glory of Rome to Las Vegas, Caesars Palace is home to replicas of several Roman statues, fountains, and Corinthian columns.
- Highlights: Forum Shops, The Colosseum
- Shows: Absinthe, Performances at the Colosseum
- Dining: Bacchanal Buffet
Mirage, located in the center of the Strip, is popularly known for its Volcano show, an extravaganza of light, fire, and sound, lights up the streets of Vegas, impersonating a volcanic eruption.
- Highlights: The Volcano Show, Dolphin Habitat
- Shows: The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil
- Dining: Cravings Buffet
Venetian, with its blue skies, canals, bridges, and gondolas rides, is the replica of the city of Venice and host of several entertainment options.
- Highlights: Venetian gondola rides
- Shows: Several / Musicals & Performances
- Dining: Several cafes & restaurants
Wynn, one of the newest resorts of Las Vegas, is a luxury resort with contemporary decor and several entertainment options.
- Highlights: Pools, Sculptures, Gardens
- Shows: Lake of Dreams, Comedy, Musicals
- Dining: The Buffet at Wynn
Shows & Performances In Las Vegas
A trip to Las Vegas is not complete without seeing some of the spellbinding shows and live performances!
Las Vegas is the host of several entertaining shows, including concerts, live performances, stand-up comedies, musicals, and much more. Let it be a comedy show, a magic show, or live acrobats and gymnastics; the dynamically changing stages and the performances will keep you on the edge of their seats for the entire duration.
Several renowned artists, bands, and companies perform in Las Vegas, with some being seasonal and some shows that are offered daily throughout the year. I have seen almost all shows in Las Vegas, and my favorite shows are the various live performances offered by Cirque du Soleil.
- Michael Jackson ONE show by Cirque du Soleil: Filled with dances, music, and acrobats, this show plays at Mandalay Bay and is a tribute to the King of the Pop, Michael Jackson.
- “O” show by Cirque du Soleil: The O show is a water-themed acrobat and stage show offered at Bellagio and is by far the best of all shows produced by Cirque du Soleil.
- The Beatles LOVE show by Cirque du Soleil: The Rock Band of 1960 comes back into life in this musical extravaganza offered at Mirage.
- Mystere by Cirque du Soleil: Yet another great show featuring at Treasure Island offers live acrobats and balancing acts in a carnival setting.
- KA by Cirque du Soleil: The KA playing in MGM Grand is a fabulous impersonation of a battle showcasing martial arts in a dynamic environment.
- Terry Fator: Playing at New York-New York, Terry Fator is a fun-filled comedy show with music, impersonations, and puppets.
- Absinthe: This is a variety show at Caesars Palace, including live performances, acrobats, and stand-up comedy.
- Magic show by David Copperfield: One of the most incredible illusionists of the world, David Copperfield performs daily at MGM Grand.
There’re several other shows in Las Vegas, but these are my favorite performances, and all except Absinthe are kid & family-friendly!
There’re several themed restaurants, a multitude of cafes, and a ton of fine dining options offered at each casino, and it can get overwhelming when selecting a place to eat in Las Vegas. With globally renowned chefs and a colossal choice of cuisines, the dining experience in Las Vegas is simply unmatched!
While you could select a particular cuisine and enjoy an a la carte dining, I, however, highly recommend trying a few of the buffets in Las Vegas. The buffets in Las Vegas are no less than any fine dining experience! You still dine in a gorgeous setting where you could enjoy several cuisines served at different buffet stations and even have a few dishes tailored to your taste. Here’re my favorite buffets that I love and highly recommend trying in Las Vegas.
- The Buffet at Bellagio
- Bacchanal Buffet in Caesars Palace
- Le Village Buffet in Paris
- Cravings Buffet in Mirage
- Bayside Buffet in Mandalay Bay
- The Buffet at Wynn
- Spice Market Buffet in Planet Hollywood
Nearby Attractions & Tours In Las Vegas
In my opinion, the Strip in Las Vegas is better explored at night when everything is brightly lit, and the fountains and the volcano shows appear more prominent. This gives you a lot of free time in the morning, which you could use to explore some of the nearby attractions in Las Vegas.
Undoubtedly, there’s a lot to do in Las Vegas, but given the proximity to these attractions, I recommend making an effort and adding at least a few of these places to your Las Vegas trip itinerary. You will also find several local tour companies offering various tours starting in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Nearby Attractions
- Hoover Dam, about 38 miles from Las Vegas
- Grand Canyon West Rim, around 130 miles from Las Vegas
- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, approximately 16 miles from Las Vegas
- Lake Mead, 25 miles from Las Vegas
- Valley of Fire State Park, roughly 46 miles from Vegas
- Nelson Ghost Town, located around 47 miles from Las Vegas
Guided Tours Starting From Las Vegas
- Hoover Dam Bus Tours: There are two popular bus tour options from Las Vegas (1) Half-day Hoover Dam tour offered by Grayline and few other local tour companies, and (2) Full-day Hoover Dam & Grand Canyon West Rim / Skywalk tours.
- Hoover Dam & Lake Mead Cruise: This is an extraordinary way to cruise the tranquil blue waters of Lake Mead to see Hoover Dam aboard a Mississippi-style paddle wheeler boat on a full-day excursion offered by Lake Mead Cruises.
- Hoover Dam Helicopter Tour: There are several helicopter tours offered by Papillon departing from Las Vegas, offering some stunning aerial views of Hoover Dam and gorgeous Lake Mead.
- Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tour: Greyline offers an excellent full-day Grand Canyon West Rim tour in a luxury coach starting from Las Vegas, including hotel pick-up and drop-off.
- Grand Canyon West Rim Helicopter Tour: Enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon West Rim, and descend down to the canyon floor on a helicopter tour offered by Papillon.
Other Nevada Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Las Vegas, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to Las Vegas. You can find other Nevada attractions in my Nevada Travel Guide.
Happy feeding your soul!
Shop Travel Essentials
This is not a sponsored post, and I recommend products based on my experience. This may contain affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase using my link at no extra cost to you. More Travel Accessories.