Vegas has long been known as the adult playground, a place that can make and break you in a matter of days, hours even. I’ve known people be offered a complimentary stay for an extra night as the plane was double booked and them beg to be allowed on to go home, and I’ve known people take two months to recover, but Vegas is not just the party capital of the world. Obviously drinking and gambling are a big part of Vegas and it’s history, in moderation of course…but there’s actually a lot more to do in Vegas than just those two things. This Vegas guide will take you through them!
Ok so these do involve alcohol, if you choose for them to, but they don’t absolutely have to. Vegas attracts world famous DJ’s week after week for the pool party season, and I can honestly say that some of the best days of my entire life have been spent with the girls at Vegas pool parties.
We did drink, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy yourself without it. There are always characters to watch, there’s great food like sushi and fruit platters, and you can catch a beautiful tan. No gambling involved either!
Some of the best include:
Drais Beach Club at the Cromwell
Encore Beach Club at the Wynn
Tao Beach at the Venitian
Marquee at the Cosmopolitan
Wet Republic at MGM
A huge highlight of my days spent in Vegas are the all you can eat breakfast buffets and no good Vegas guide would be complete without giving them a spot. I’ve enjoyed a champagne breakfast at the Bellagio, and The Wicked Spoon all you can eat at the Cosmo. Some of my friends stayed at the Wynn last year and that one looked completely fabulous as well.
In fact breakfast in general in America is a very big deal. Portions are huge, service is amazing, and whether you want something full on and fancy like the casino buffets, fresh and detoxing like a smoothie or greasy and comforting like from EggSlut in the Cosmo there’s something for everyone. Some of the best in Vegas include:
Le Village at Paris – traditional French dishes including crepes and pastries from all across France
The Wicked Spoon – a complete mix of everything in the beautiful Cosmopolitan
The Buffet – in the most luxurious beautiful setting the breakfast at the Wynn is award winning.
You could just wander the strip and stumble upon big designer names like Gucci or Chanel, or you could head to the very impressive shopping area that can be found in Caesars Palace known as The Forum.
Completely decked out like the streets of Rome, including a giant fountain and changing ceiling, the shopping at Ceasars is very good with over 160 designer and high street stores. If you’re from the UK yes there is a huge Sephora too.
We spent an afternoon at the Stratosphere the first time we went to Vegas. At the end of the strip the view from the top is spectacular, looking right across all of the city and the desert that expands beyond. There are plenty of activities you can try at the top, if you’re brave. You can jump off, attached to a zip wire that takes you straight down, or try one of the very scary looking rides. The claw known as Insanity, reached out over the edge and spun you round, and another called X-Scream basically catapulted you out straight off the edge before jerking to a halt and bringing you back. Not for me but if you’re a thrill seeker then give it a go!
We did try the Big Shot, which takes you shooting straight up to the tallest point of the tower a number of times. The view was incredible but it was very high and nerve-wracking to say the least! For a similar view minus the fear enjoy it from the observation deck.
If there’s one thing you can guarantee in Vegas it’s the quality of the restaurants. And the sheer number of them. All the casinos are determined to have the most world famous award winning chefs on their books, and are constantly updating and opening new places.
My absolute favourite had to be Mizumi Japanese restaurant at the Wynn, closely followed by Hakasan at MGM. STK in the Cosmo was also absolutely delicious. Some of the most renowned in Vegas include:
Del Friscos American steakhouse
The Eiffel Tower restaurant at Paris
Sinatra Italian restaurant at Encore
Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental
You can’t go to Vegas without seeing some sort of Vegas show and the choices on offer might leave you baffled what to go for. I’ve been to the Chippendales which was hilarious, a really fun girly night that is very cheesy. We also went to Absynthe at Caesars Palace which was a total mix of comedy, acrobatics and daredevil stunts. It was amazing and very funny. I’ve never seen Cirque du Soleil but it’s a very popular choice, as are whoever is doing the local residencies – Celine Dion, Britney Spears, JLo and Mariah Carey are a few.
A top tip if you don’t really mind what show you want to see would be to risk getting your tickets on the day from some of the vendors on the strip. They often reduce in price if the shows haven’t sold out.
Nearly all the casinos have a sports area, where they broadcast as many live sporting events as possible. Obviously this is done in the hope you bet on them, but you don’t have to you could just kick back and watch. Then there’s the boxing. MGM is often home to the biggest ‘fight night’s’ of the year, and they go all out with their displays, merchandise and promotions. Even if you aren’t going to these big named events, you can definitely tell when they’re on. Vegas in general is so much busier, and prices go up on fight weekend, so be prepared!
For thrill seekers I’ve previously mentioned the weird and wonderful rides at the top of the Stratosphere, but there’s plenty more elsewhere in Vegas too. New York New York Hotel has it’s own rollercoaster which winds through the skyscraper towers, and theres the SlotZilla zip wire which flies you 12 stories high straight down Fremont Street.
One of my favourite things to see in Vegas and they never get old are the Bellagio fountains. Set to music the stunning displays happen at the front of the Bellagio casino in the middle of the strip every half an hour. Designed to be both mesmerising and romantic it’s impossible not to stop and watch them if you’re passing.
Get a very unique view of them from a room at the Cosmo too!
The Neon boneyard is a non profit museum in downtown Vegas that acts as a graveyard for old, retired Vegas neon. There’s so many old neon signs dating back decades and it is well worth a visit. For a full post on this fabulous place head to The Neon Boneyard, Vegas.
I can’t actually believe this but I’ve never actually been to the Vegas sign, despite going more than once. At the Neon Boneyard I’ve seen a replica of the stars, but never the real deal. A short taxi ride away you can find it, and have your photo taken.
Walk down the strip
At any given time there is always something to see on the Vegas strip. Dressed up characters like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, ticket sellers, Vegas showgirls, musicians, the list goes on. Walking past each casino is like being in a different part of the world, and there’s no shortage of fabulous displays and decor, as well as shopping and restaurants. Just take plenty water, it is HOT.
Each casino in Vegas is completely different and has a number of unique features that make you want to visit. Pose for a photo with Julius Ceasar at Caesars, go on a gondolier ride at the Venitian, risk the rollercoaster at the New York hotel, feel like a high roller at the Bellagio or come face to face with Sharks at Mandalay Bay. There are all sorts of weird and wonderful activities to see and do in the Vegas casinos.
Whatever you get up to in Vegas, and hopefully you’ve found some inspiration from this Vegas guide, you’re sure to have a completely unforgettable time!
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