I know when we are with friends, we always have a good time. But let’s be honest, how often do we get to have an epic memorable time with our friends? It’s time baby!! You have worked hard, and you deserve an awesome break with some awesome people.
I am excited to share this itinerary with you all because I had a really good time with my friends.
Say you just landed in Vegas or maybe even ordered a beer and played some games on slot machines right inside Vegas airport!! Does that sound good? Hellyeah!! This is how you now officially kicked off your vacation. Cheers to a good time!!
Now it’s time to head on to your hotel. Don’t forget to make a quick stop to grab some liquors, snacks, and water to stock up your fridge. You need to stay hydrated my friend. Please drink that water for what is yet to come.
Now you might wonder where should I start? Well ask anyone who has been to Vegas a million times or read any travel blog, and the answer is the same – “TO THE STRIP”!! And that’s true. You always want to start your first day at the strip. But before you do, let me tell you, there is going to be a lot of walking and a lot of drinking. So keep afternoon activities light and take time to relax. My iPhone recorded 18000 steps on the first day in Vegas!!
Get a pass for a day club or a pool party. These places have awesome views, food, drinks, and music. You can decide if you like an upbeat place with a good crowd or a chill relaxed place with less crowd. You can book passes here.
If you don’t feel like going out then just grab a drink and relax by your hotel pool. Hotel pools in Vegas are pretty awesome as its mostly designed to attract tourist year long.
Pro tip: While travelling Vegas in summer make sure you book pool parties / club passes few days in advance because they sold out real quick.
First of all, let’s pop open that beer or sip your margaritas!! Las Vegas is one of the very few places in the US where you can legally drink in public. Cheers!
So now what is this Vegas Strip that you hear all the time?
It’s a stretch of around a 4.2-mile-long road called Las Vegas Boulevard lined with casinos, neon-lit streets and hotels, a variety of shops, restaurants, and live performances, and so on. There is a lot to see on the Vegas strip. But most of these are within 1.5 to 2 miles in an area called the “Main Strip”. If you miss these, no one will believe you have ever been to Vegas. In other words, it’s a “top must-see thing in Vegas”. As funny as it may sound, almost all attraction of the Vegas strip is about exploring Hotels.
Cost: All shows below are right outside or inside hotels and it’s free.
1. Get lost inside The Venetian Hotel
One of the main highlights of this trip for us was walking inside The Venetian hotel. As boring as it sounds, you need to trust me on this.
Venetian is the second-largest hotel in the world. The main attraction here is ‘Little Venice’ with a river flowing inside and around this hotel. You can skip the gondola boat ride but don’t miss walking around it. It feels like you are walking outside somewhere in the streets of Europe, with effects on the ceiling that looks like the real sky.
Cost: Free to walk around. The gondola ride is around 35$ per person for 15 minutes ride.
Time: Gondola rides exist between 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. and until 12 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Pro Tip: You will end up way too much time here taking photos and videos . So beware of your time and your social media influencer friends. Also you will find bunch of "Welcome To Vegas" signs inside this hotel. Save time and snap some pictures so you don't have to stand in long touristy line at actual Las Vegas landmark.
2. Volcano at the Mirage Hotel:
It’s hard not to notice the Volcano show at the Mirage hotel. There is a structure that looks like an actual volcano and erupts lava at intervals of 1 hour. It’s a really unique experience to watch.
Time: 7pm to 11pm every night, erupts every hour
3. Fountains at Bellagio Hotel
I have been to Vegas 5 times, but I never get tired of watching this water fountain show. Step back, or find a comfortable spot, and watch an amazing show of water dancing in the rhythm of music against the backdrop of the Las Vegas night sky.
Time: Monday – Friday every 30 minutes from 3pm to 8pm, and every 15 minutes from 8 pm–midnight. Saturday and Sunday every 30 minutes, from noon to 8 pm, and every 15 minutes from 8 pm to midnight.
Other Hotels you will notice while walking on the streets of the strip are the Paris Hotel with the large Eiffel tower that looks almost real, MGM Grand, with the skyline of New York City, along with a replica Statue of Liberty!, Caesar palace with roman style statue and fountains.
4. Dinner at Fancy Restaurant:
You have to go to at least one fancy restaurant while in Vegas. When you get hungry after all that walk and wonder where can you have some good food, then head towards Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill. I was really excited to try one of the best dishes, Beef Wellington, from one of the best Chefs in the world !! And it is perfect because you can split the bill with your group.
Cost: We ordered 4 entrees, 3 appetizers, 2 desserts, and 6 drinks and ended up splitting 450$ among 6 people.
Pro tip: If you want to try Gordan Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen from popular TV show, then you need to book at-least 3 months in advance. I liked Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill better, because you can find reservation for same day and food menu is cheaper for similar items listed in Hell's Kitchen.
5. Strip Clubs:
There are some strip clubs on Vegas Strip and some are further away. We went to one of the strip clubs with my friends who are locals in vegas. They got us in for free but usually, there is an entrance fee. You can see the list of clubs here.
Cost: Entrance fee is approx. $30-50+ for guys, $20-30 for girls. Some strip clubs also offer free limo pick up and drop-offs for groups.
Pro tip: Take some cash to tip the performers.
After a long night on day 1, this is a lazy relaxed day, perfect for some outdoors. Grab some light breakfast and coffee and get ready for some adventure.
1. Either tour to Hover Dam or hike to Red Canyon:
The hover dam is a massive dam that made the existence of cities in deserted Vegas possible. They say Hoover Dam has enough concrete to stretch across the United States with about 5 million barrels of cement. One fun fact is that Hoover Dam is on the Arizona – Nevada border. Hence there is a one-hour time difference between the two sides of the dam. It was pretty fun to see iPhone time change back and forth at the border.
I also went to Red canyon on my other trip a few years back. My friends who are local to Vegas took me to Red canyon and I just fell in love with this place. Amazing easy hike with red rocks everywhere and some trials also have a view of Vegas city. We then did the red rock scenic drive before we headed home. Since I love hikes I prefer Red Canyon over Hover dam. I don’t recommend doing both on the same day as it can be hectic.
Cost: Free if you have your own car otherwise tour will cost around 120$ with hotel pickup and drop off included. Bigger groups get more discounts on tours.
Pro Tip: I don't recommend making a trip to Grand Canyon because its pretty far i.e. 3 hours one way . You can do it if you don't plan on doing anything at night on that day. However its perfect for your second visit to Vegas or when you are travelling with family. If you have loads of money, you can try Grand Canyon Helicopter tour which is around 500$ per person.
Vegas is also popular for its hotel buffets. The most popular buffets are at Cesar’s palace and Bellagio Hotel. However, there are tons of other buffets. We tried at Bellagio and they had more than 100 food items from all over the world like Italian, Japanese, Chinese, American, Indian, Arabic, and a whole lot of seafood. They also have live-action cooking stations, fresh pastries, and a personalized gelato stand. Buffets in Vegas are much more than ordinary buffets you have ever seen, it’s just grand and magnificent. Best place to try cuisine from all over the world in one place.
Cost: 35$ to 75$ based on age, day of the week
1. Casino Baby!!
It is better if you start at the Casino evening or late afternoon after the buffet. Almost all hotels in the Vegas strip have Casinos. So just walk up to any hotel that your eye please and sit down for a few hours to win some money. We were 6 people and we all won around 80 to 100$ each. The simple secret is to shout, scream and cheer for your friend to win, for every button press or spin he/she takes. It really works, Try it! The slot machine that is always lucky for me is Quick Hits.
Pro Tip: Choose a slot machine that gives you bonus or free spins/hits. This increases your chance of winning. Casinos in Vegas provide free drinks , but you need to get servers' attention . They mostly prefer serving in high value table where lot of money is at stake. But if you tip them well on your first drink, they will make sure drinks keep flowing .
2. Planet 13
Planet 13 is the world’s largest cannabis dispensary and definitely the most unique. The store has a wide variety of Cannabis. Even if you don’t smoke, they have a wide variety of fun and cool products to see like edibles, meat and veggies seasoning, jerky, candies, etc. If you call them with a number on their website, they will come and pick you up from the strip. But while coming back you will have to uber.
Cost: Free to visit
3. Fremont Street Experience
Fremont is downtown in Vegas. If you thought the Vegas strip was lit then wait until you see Fremont. Fremont is lit with even more lights but is stretched over only 0.8 miles. This makes it really easy to explore in less time on foot. Fremont Street is famous for open-stage concerts, live entertainment shows, and street performers, and all of these are free. But the most popular thing there is zip-lining or just walking below the world’s largest video screen. It is definitely something you will never see anywhere else in the world.
Cost: Free entry and street shows. Zip-line is 50$ to 70$.
EXTRA – Day 3:
If you are staying for more than 2 days, congratulations!! You must have finished most of the popular activities in Vegas. Day 3 is all about going the extra mile and trying something locals in Vegas love.
1. AREA 15
It’s hard to describe this place. It’s entrainment with everything unique. From mind-bending immersive art experience around Omega mart, VR immersion game, suspension rides, zombie hunt, golf, axe throwing, and arcade bar, to panoramic skyline along with dining, cocktails, and alcohol tastings. With so many activities, you will certainly find something for everyone.
General admission to area15 is free but you still need to reserve a time slot. It’s the best place to go for a group of 6 to 18 where there are packages that come with a host, a private reserved table, around 2 free drinks, and free entry to some of the attractions inside. Here are the full details.
Cost: Daytime entry into AREA15 is free. Fridays and Saturdays after 9 p.m. are $15. It’s free to enter and walk around but all other experiences will cost you money based on what you decide to do.
2. Stage Show
Vegas is called the “Entertainment Capital of The World”. It has earned this name due to its broad scope of entertainment options like live shows, nightlife, museums, exhibitions, theme parks, and so on.
There are tons of shows especially around Hotels on the Vegas Strip. We chose to watch, Cirque du Soleil which is the largest contemporary circus producer in the world. It included a water show and a dance performance by a large number of actors. It also had a story in the performance. We plan on watching a magic show on our next visit. There are tons of other shows like comedy, theater, concerts by famous singers, etc.
Cost: approx. starting at 80$
3. Dinner at Lotus of Siam:
It’s one of the popular Thai restaurants among locals and well as tourists.
Cost: Main courses $10–$29
Getting Around Las Vegas
Parking can be hard so I don’t recommend bringing a car when traveling on Strip. Most of the hotels in Vegas offer free rides the to Strip so check at your front desk. Also to travel between Hotels and Casino hopping, you can use Monorail. It’s pretty cheap and stops at all major attractions. Here are the details on the map, schedule, and price. Another option if you want to travel along the strip, residential routes, all the way up to Fremont, or even the airport, then use the RTC bus.
The best option is ride-sharing Lyft or Uber. But make sure you order and wait at the exact location shown otherwise car can’t pick you up and it can’t park at random stops along the road. Unless you are planning to do a lot of daytime outdoor activities it’s better not to have a car while in Vegas.
Where to Stay in Las Vegas
The best place to stay in Vegas is along the Vegas Strip where you can just walk around the strip anytime or around the Vegas strip where hotels offer free rides to the strip. Vegas is famous for cheap hotel rooms. You will be surprised by how great quality hotels you can stay at for affordable prices. Make sure you book in advance before your trip to get good deals.
Some hotels also offer timeshare presentations. It is where they try to make a sales pitch in exchange for your time and they give you free hotel accommodation. The presentation is about 2 hours and there is no compulsion to buy. But do research on your own as it can waste a lot of your valuable vacation time.
If you have friends in Vegas, then crash at their place. They will definitely love having you.
Here are couple of places we stayed at during multiple visits.
Caesar’s Palace: It’s a huge magnificent hotel right at strip. We explored for some deals and rooms for really cheap. Believe me , if you get good deals at any hotel right at the strip , you will have best time in Vegas.
Tahiti Village : Great for large groups seeking some privacy as it has double bedrooms with a separate private kitchen but a door to common living. We also loved their pool area with barbeque and lazy river. It also had free shuttle to strip.
Club Whydham Grand Dessert: Great hotel room service at affordable price. Little old school furniture and ok view . Best if traveling with family and staying for many days as rooms have full kitchen and oven so you can cook few meals to save money.
Helicopter rides around Vegas and Grand Canyon