You walk off the plane and into the terminal and you instantly know you’re not in Kansas anymore. The sweet sounds of slot machines chirping and dreams being made welcomes you to Fabulous Las Vegas . Whether you’re a Vegas Virgin or a Vegas Vet, you have officially entered the entertainment capital of the world. Where do you begin your Vegas journey? We have some thoughts!
Every trip to Vegas is different, but I find that I always gravitate to certain experiences. This guide will take you through my Vegas traditions and why they stand the test of time. In addition, I’ll also share some ideas from my friends that I plan to check out during one of my upcoming visits.
Explore my Hotel & the Strip
This is not a new or novel recommendation by any stretch, but it is one of my favorite ways to kickoff my trip. I usually get in later at night, I get settled into the room and then explore the hotel. No matter how many times I’ve stayed at a place, there’s always something new. That’s one the interesting parts of Vegas… Change is constant.
I check the tables to see the minimum bets and take note of the non-smoking section of the casino. I walk around the slots and stake out my favorite slots (Wonka/Simpsons/Sinfield). I walk around to the restaurants and take a look at the menus posted outside. I grab a drink at one of the bars and people watch. The first few hours in Vegas are often times the only ones I get alone (especially when doing guys trips), so I like to get the lay of the hotel before I grab dinner or sit at a table.
Next, my first-morning routine is almost always the same; I put on my most comfy shoes and start exploring the strip. I come from the eastern time-zone, so no matter how late of a night, I’m always up by 7-8am Vegas time. Mornings are one of my favorite parts of Vegas, kind of like a backstage tour of a rock concert. You see Vegas without all the makeup, without the glitz and glam. Here are a few of the cool shots that I got on my morning stroll.
I always try to hit the Bellagio conservatory and the Wynn art displays during this time of the day and grab an almond croissant from the Patisserie at Aria or Bellagio (to DIE for). The hot spots are less crowded and it’s the best time to take pictures without getting photobombed. I also will stroll through the Forum Shops at Caesars or Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
I almost always stop for brunch on these adventures, as Vegas knows how to do brunch! Whether it’s all you can drink Mimosas at the Wynn, the amazing Wicked Spoon Buffet (with all you can drink package) at Cosmo, or one of the newest hot spots that I find on Eater Vegas, brunch never disappoints in Vegas.
Watch the Bellagio Fountain Show
This is on every “What to do in Vegas” list, ever, but for good reason. It’s iconic and cool. I’ve watched the show every time I’ve been to Vegas and it never gets old. And the people watching around the Fountain might be the best part. Make time, especially if you’ve never been. It will be the thing people ask you about!
Check Out a Vegas Show
You don’t have to just drink and gamble when you are in Vegas! They have hundreds of shows, from the hottest entertainers to small, niche shows, Vegas has something for everyone.
They don’t have to be expensive either. You’re probably not getting into one of the hottest shows at a huge discount, but for the majority you can find a deal. Just be sure to know when your favorite show is “dark” or you might miss out!
I am obsessed with Absinthe (my favorite show anywhere), but options include variety shows, Cirque du Soleil, comedy, and much, much more. Find a list of all the shows going on right now here!
Splurge on a Fabulous Dinner
The food is what sets Vegas apart from almost anywhere in the world. Love Marky-Mark, the Funky Bunch, and obsess over the Wahlburger clan? There’s a Wahlburgers location. Never made it to Cali and want to order the Animal-Style burger off the “secret menu” at In-N-Out Burger? There are multiple locations where your bill will be about what you’d spend at your local fast-food burger joint. Never made it to Chicago and want to try the famous deep dish? There’s a world-famous Giordano’s. Want a slice of NYC without the traffic? Beauty & Essex has a second location in the Cosmopolitan.
And don’t get me started on the famous chefs who call Vegas (at least a temporary) home. Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto has multiple restaurants. So does Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, José Andrés, Joël Robuchon, Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller. It would actually be much quicker to name famous chefs that don’t have a spot in Vegas. If you love the food network, Vegas will bring your face-to-plate with some of the best food by the top chefs on the planet.
Here’s just a few of the amazing meals I had in Vegas in 2018.
Or Eat That Fabulous Dinner for Lunch at a Discount
Many of the top restaurants in Vegas have AWESOME lunch deals that let you try some of the best restaurants at a significant discount. This is one of my budget hacks that allow me to eat at better restaurants without spending a fortune.
Take the Lunch Like a Spaniard menu at Jaleo. You choose one item from 3 sections all for only $25. This is how I was able to have ibérico sliders (one of the most expensive and tasty pork in the world as well as other dishes without breaking the bank.
Estiatorio Milos is one of the finest Mediterranean restaurants in America and you can get a 3-course lunch for just $29. You can also add a generous wine pairing for $19. Head to the Cosmo for this amazing meal for a fraction of the price or dinner!
At Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen, you can get a three-course lunch and try his famous Beef Wellington for $62 or $95 with wine (which shows you how great of a deal Milos is above!). The similar menu for dinner is $80 or $130 with wine pairing.
Not all the restaurants are open for lunch, but if they are, you can usually get a great deal!
Learn Craps! Or any Table Game During the Day
At night, the casinos are buzzing and the tables are full. During the day? It’s the perfect time to learn how to play that game you’ve only watched. After brunch at the Wynn, my small group went to an empty craps table and talked to the team. They were awesome and helped us make our bets, understand what was going on, and taught us the game! They were happy to help and since it was slow, we didn’t feel like a burden.
The tables during the day are less crowded, have less minimum bets, and the dealers are always quick to help! If you want to join the action but aren’t comfortable joining a full house, go down during the day and find a friendly dealer and/or table who will give you the lay of the land.