Las Vegas is unlike any city in the US. There’s the Strip, which transforms during the night into a massive party with flashing neon sights and over-the-top themed hotels. You can travel from Venice to Ancient Greece in the stretch of a few blocks. If you want an alternative to the Strip, there’s the revitalized downtown area that has plenty of things of historical and cultural significance to check out. Two days is a perfect amount of time to get a good feel for the city. Here’s the ideal Las Vegas itinerary that mixes touristy destinations with the less-visited spots around town.
Getting Around Las Vegas
It is possible to get around Las Vegas without a rental car, especially if you’re staying on the Strip or in downtown. Rideshare options like Uber and Lyft are also readily available as well. Depending on your hotel, there are often complementary shuttles to hotspots like the Strip or downtown. On the Strip, there’s a monorail that conviently has stops along this main thoroughfare and is a great alternative if it’s hot or you just want to give your feet a rest.
Weather in Las Vegas
Vegas is located in a desert climate, which means it can get quite hot and dry in the summer, though the monsoon season that runs from mid-July through September allows temporary relief. On the flipside, in the winter it can cool down quite a lot. The ideal time to visit is anytime but the summer, since the temperatures can easily reach 100 degrees F or more.
There are many decedent hotels that are worth wandering around, but this is one of my favorites. From the gondola rides along the Grand Canal (both indoor and outdoor), to the entire hotel design that is reminiscent of Venice, I love all the detail that went into this hotel without feeling two campy. If you have a rental car, this is one of the only hotels on the Strip that offers free parking for anyone, whether you are a guest or not. Within the Venetian there are plenty of casual dining spots as well as more high-end Italian eateries where you can have a fancy meal. Tao is worth checking out for both its Asian-inspired menu and popular nightclub.
Located at the Cosmopolitan, this is one of my favorite bars on the Strip, and a great spot to start your night out at. The bar is themed to make you feel like you are sitting in the middle of a giant chandler, with curtains of illuminated beads hanging from the ceiling. The bar features three different tiers with a different bar at each level, offering signature cocktails that are worth the price.The bottom of the bar has the most energy as it’s on the same level as the casinos, and the higher you go the more calmer it gets.
Vegas has seemly endless choices for clubbing, and this club at the Wynn is a top spot with features like a massive outdoor pool and indoor and outdoor areas for dancing. Top DJs spin on the weekends, so make sure to check out their events calendar. I made the mistake of not buying tickets beforehand, but later learned I could bypass the line if we got on the guest list and could get free or discounted cover charges depending on the event. If you’re looking to get on the guest list, girls always get in free, but men will get discounts depending on the ladies that are in their party (at least a 50:50 ratio). Make sure to check out the event calendar for Nightswim, where you can bring your suit and actually go in the pool.
The Spa at ARIA
Recover with a spa day, where a daily pass allows you access to the outdoor therapy pool, fitness center, the wet areas, the salt room, and the heated stone beds. There are also endless complementary beverages and snacks, that helped me feel reborn when we emerged a few hours later. The day passes during the week (Monday-Thursday) are $50, and $100 during the weekend, which is a great cheaper alternative to dropping more money on a massage or spa treatment. The Spa at ARIA only allows guests from ARIA, Waldorf Astoria, and Vdara to purchase day passes, but you can buy a fitness class at the gym for $50 and a spa day pass is included.
Vegas has a rich history, and one of the places to see it firsthand is at the Neon Museum, which houses historic neon signs like the original Sahara and Caesars Place hotel signs. The only way you can see the grounds is by booking a tour. There are both hour-long day and night tours available, and I personally loved the nighttime tour since you get the full effect of the selected lit-up signs (plus it’s cooler). Reservations need to be made in advance and can fill up quickly during the busier summer months.
For your last night, head to downtown for a more low-key night. Walk through the Fremont Street Experience, for the bright lights, loud music, and a bit of people watching, before ducking out and heading to neighboring East Fremont, which has a slower pace. This neighborhood is filled with bright murals and has historic hotels like the El Cortez. A few blocks in you’ll see the Container Park, which is an outdoor shopping center made of old shipping containers and cannot be missed with its giant grasshopper outside that spits fire to popular tunes. If you’re lucky, there will be some live entertainment on the stage inside.
Where To Stay In Las Vegas
If you prefer to be off the Strip, this hotel is great for providing an impressive amount of amenities, while not having to deal with the sensory-overload that come with being on Vegas’ most famous street. It’s nice to come back to the relative quiet every night, but still be a part of the city.
This hotel on the strip boasts high-tech rooms and plenty to do onsite, including several restaurants/cafes, spa, casino, and pool area. This is a great resort to choose if you want a lot of options onsite and not have to worry about schlepping around the Strip.
If you want to go all out, this is the hotel to book on the strip. This iconic property with the Fountains of Bellagio show out front is where you want to stay if you want to treat yourself to a classic Vegas trip, especially if you are celebrating a special occasion. On site there are top-notch restaurants, Cirque du Soleil performance, and pool and cabanas.
What would be on your Las Vegas itinerary?
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