- Las Vegas is definitely on the expensive side. Even "budget" hotels are still in the expensive range, so I would say if you're visiting Las Vegas, save up and get either a mid-range hotel or something nicer to get the bang for your buck.
- Getting around can be a bit tricky by bus but it is possible and a good price. If you're travelling around, the best way to go would be taxi near the main strip and highly travelled areas, or Uber if you're outside of a main hub. Same goes for getting to and from the airport as well, but you can also arrange for transport ahead of time.
- Watch out for some hotels charging resort fees! These may or may not be listed as part of the price when you book, but some hotels, especially those on the Strip, will charge a fee per day. Some hotels that do this are: The Bellagio, Ceasar's Palace, Aria, etc. For accomodations, I would recommend staying somewhere fairly central, but not right on the Strip, which can be very pricey.
Everyone always heads over to the Strip first, but I would recommend checking out its counterpart - Freemont Street. Walk along this amazing area and take in the perpetual light shows that seem to always be playing on the ceiling and walls. There are a ton of things to do here depending on what you're interested in and how much cash you have, but you could get away with doing free things only here if you wanted to.
For some quick ideas, you can zip line off of a giant slot machine ($$)! This will give you amazing views of the area, as well as a bit of a thrill. While you're here, take the iconic photo of Vegas Vic, the neon smoking cowboy that everyone knows and loves. You'll also be close to the famous Golden Nugget, a sight in itself.
Feel like a million bucks - literally! Here you can get your photo taken with a stack of a million dollars. You can take a photo with your own camera/phone, but no flash please. This is a totally free thing to do in the area.
Watch Some "Flairtending"
Watching the bartenders get crazy is a sight in itself as well! The flair bartenders at The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate take bartending to another level. Flair bartending, also called “flairtending,” has a lot in common with juggling, but on Fremont Street, it’s all about entertaining guests and giving them an unforgettable show. There’s more flair bartending inside at The D, at the hotel’s Vue Bar, upstairs, and Longbar. Prepare to be amazed!
Dinner & Beer at Hofbräuhaus ($$$)
Hofbräuhaus is one of the livelier eateries in Las Vegas, so if you’re looking for great food and a fun night out, you won’t be disappointed. This Bavarian beer hall and restaurant is designed to be a replica of the original Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Germany. In fact, it’s the only exact replica in the world! Inside you’ll find a bustling ‘Bier Hall’ with live entertainment, as well as an indoor ‘Biergarten’ complete with chestnut trees, fountains, and guaranteed blue skies! From their restaurant: "Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas is an energetic party daily, with authentic German bands, boisterous sing-alongs, dancing in the aisles and on the benches, and serves premium Hofbräu beer imported directly from Munich, Germany”.
Hotel Hopping (Free)
The hotels in Las Vegas could be cities in themselves. Spend some time wandering through these palaces and checking them out. The Bellagio is beautiful and always has an amazing display up (I caught the Chinese New Year display early 2020). Caesar's Palace has a relaxing spa, and that famous architecture. Take a gondola ride in Venice (inside the hotel!), gaze up at the Eiffel Tower (or grab a bite at the restaurant there),and be transported to Luxor in the giant pyramid.
Imagine the serendipidy of finding a world-renowned artist’s work secreted away on the top floor of a French luxury goods store, and you’ll have only begun to appreciate the wonder of James Turrell’s “Akhob.” This fully-immersive art installation will sweep you away into another world - something more, and far away from, Las Vegas. Turrell calls these sort of iconic installations, for which he’s famous, “ganzfelds” or “light fields.”
This exhibit is free, but only a certain number of people are allowed in per day. You have to call in advance to reserve your spot. Because it's so popular, I would recommend calling 2-3 months in advance. It may seem crazy, but it gets booked up early and FAST.
Neon Boneyard ($$)
This three-acre plot has, over the years, become a veritable graveyard of disused neon signs. It's the final resting place of some notable pieces of Vegas history, like the original Aladdin’s lamp from the first version of Aladdin Casino, Binion’s Horseshoe, Silver Slipper, and the Golden Nugget.Walk through the yard and don't miss this one of a kind photo opportunity, and to see some of Las Vegas's neon history up close.
Tours are available daily and can be reserved online via the Neon Museum. Combo passes with the Mob Museum are available. If you can, take the tour after sunset so you can see some of the signs lit up, but it's just as impressive during the day as well. Book in advance - these spots fill up very quickly!
Golden Tiki Bar ($)
With its shrunken heads, “talking” pirate skeletons, and ceiling covered with twinkly stars, the Golden Tiki is a little like an alcohol-fueled Disneyland for adults. Nightly entertainment includes jazz bands and old-school vinyl DJs, as well as Elvis and Don Ho impersonators, while an afternoon happy hour offers $5 drink specials. Prices here are very reasonable!
National Atomic Testing Museum ($$)
If you do only one thing in Las Vegas - DO THIS! Housing over 12,000 artifacts, this sobering museum showcases not only the history of the Nevada Test Site, but tells the story of the nation’s nuclear program and its impact on Las Vegas and the surrounding communities. The museum, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, is not just Geiger counters and old black-and-white photos – it also highlights the pop culture and the sociological trends of what is arguably one of the most controversial periods in American history.
You can get tickets in advance, but I've never seen a line here. Tickets are the same price at the door, so this makes for the perfect "any time" activity.
The Mantis (Free)
Weird but true, this is Las Vegas's very own 40-foot-tall fire-spewing praying mantis. The Mantis is awakened every night at sundown by a drum circle celebration called the “Call to the Mantis” and shortly after begins its flame shooting display. Apparently, The Mantis can “speak 20 different languages”. Now that's interesting!
Best Friend ($$$)
The other Do Not Miss on this list! This insane Korean-Mexican fusion menu is carefully curated by none other than the notable Los Angeles chef, Roy Choi. Stay for a long and filling dinner with many, many dishes to share, and stay for the alcoholic slushies and drinks late into the evening! This establishment does get very busy, so make a reservation well in advance and come early just in case. Vibrant, lively, and SO MUCH FUN!