We’ve been to Las Vegas for two separate 3-day weekends and both times had a blast. There is a lot to do in Vegas and both trips we filled our weekend with all new things. While there is a lot to do in Vegas, I think most people would agree that more than a few days is too much. So little short long-weekend trips works great. As far as Vegas goes, the food is great. The atmosphere can be really fun. And there’s some really neat photo opportunities too. Plus, if you need a break from the city of Las Vegas, there are some beautiful national and state parks within a few hours drive.
Unique to Las Vegas:
- The Strip – Hotels & Casinos (Way too many to name all!)
- Fremont Street/Downtown Las Vegas
- Las Vegas Shows
- Neon Museum
- Day Trips to Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon, Area 51
- Buffets & Unique Restaurants
Visit the Strip – The Las Vegas Strip is a 4 mile stretch lined with huge resorts and casinos decorated in every theme you can imagine. Even if you aren’t into gambling, you can spend an entire day or evening wandering the strip and admiring the lobbies, shops, and other unique attractions at each hotel. We recommend checking it out during both the day and night time, you will see different things when the resorts are all lit up. Below are some popular stops:
- Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign (free!)
- Mandalay Bay Shark Reef
- Eiffel Tower at Paris
- Roller Coaster at NY NY
- Fountains and the Garden at the Bellagio (free!)
- Venetian Gondola Rides
- High Roller Ferris Wheel
- Stratosphere Rides
Downtown Las Vegas (aka Fremont Street) – There is a slightly different crowd at Downtown Vegas as compared to the Strip, but I still had a blast and highly recommend visiting (maybe leave the kids at home for this one if you’re unsure, it’s even more colorful than the Strip). In the evening they play different music videos on the overhead screens that is pretty interesting. Also, the gambling tends to be cheaper at the older casinos because the minimum bets are lower. I love antique/vintage things so there was something fun about wandering around the old casinos.
Las Vegas Shows – There are so many shows in Las Vegas that you will probably find something for just about everyone. One that I highly recommend because you’re in Vegas is a Cirque du Soleil type of show with acrobats. Below are some of the shows we’ve seen and our thoughts:
- Le Reve at the Wynn – I absolutely loved it. It’s a bit pricey as far as Vegas shows go, but it’s wonderful. Combine the show with dinner at the Wynn Buffet and it’s a perfect date night.
- David Copperfield- Honestly, I was a bit disappointed by this show. It started out really great and his illusions are amazing. But the entire 2nd half of his show was about an alien visiting him and it was just bizarre. Thankful that we didn’t pay full price for these tickets.
- Excalibur’s Dinner Show – Eh, I haven’t been to Medieval Times but I imagine it’s very similar. I think it was fun for kids. Not really my thing.
Neon Museum – If you have extra time, I really liked visiting the Neon Museum and doing their 30 minute tour of the Neon Boneyard. The Neon Museum is a non-profit that restores vintage casino signs from around Las Vegas. The museum is a really neat place for photographers too.
Daytrip to the Grand Canyon – One of the things we wanted to see while in Vegas was the Grand Canyon. Our pictures are some of the highlights from our first trip (see pictures of Hoover dam from above and us in front of our helicopter). There are a ton of tour companies that offer different packages, I recommend making a list of the things you want to see while at the Grand Canyon and then finding a package that hits all of those things. My list consisted of: Helicopter that landed on bottom, Skywalk, Boat ride on the Colorado River. You can also choose tours that include lunch or picnics, or a visit to the Native American Reservations. In order to see it all but use minimal time, we decided we wanted to fly to the Grand Canyon instead of taking a bus, so we ended up booking a tour package through Scenic Airlines.
Daytrip to Hoover Dam & the Valley of Fire – On our second trip to Las Vegas we decided to rent a car and drive ourselves to the Hoover Dam. It’s a very short, less than an hour, drive from the Las Vegas Strip. While at Hoover Dam we took a tour through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (they offer 2 different tours, recommend checking their website). Afterwards we paid the toll and drove through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the Valley of Fire State Park. It was a very pretty drive with very few cars on the road.
Daytrip to Red Rock Canyon – Red Rock Canyon is only about 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. We did the one-way drive all through the Canyon, but depending on if you are into hiking or rock climbing, you could easily spend more time there.
Next time I visit Las Vegas:
- Visit the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
- Watch the Blue Man Group show
- Make the Drive to Area 51
- Get a Milkshake from Holsteins
- Drive Fast Cars (Brian)
- Go to a Gun Range (Brian)
Car Rental – Renting cars in Las Vegas is cheap, but parking them at the hotels is expensive (check the hotel website for their parking rates). Plan your itinerary and then decide if you need a car. It might be cheaper/easier to just use Taxis or Uber to get around.
Venetian – 5 star hotel. Expensive but very luxurious. Highly recommend if you are splurging!
Monte Carlo – 4 star hotel. Clean, but in need of some updating. Eh, I’d probably recommend trying a different one if you’re wanting to stay in the 4-star range.
Restaurants/ Meals & Drinks:
Fat Burger – The first time we visited Las Vegas, Brian told me that he had to eat Fat Burger because it’s his Las Vegas Tradition. I’m probably going to offend a bunch of Fat Burger enthusiasts when I say, it’s a lot like Five Guys. Burgers are good and prices are a bit above fast-food but cheap for Vegas. 🙂
Gilleys – It’s a BBQ restaurant located right in the front part of the Treasure Island casino (this just made me realize that Vegas doesn’t have a Wild West casino). My BBQ loving husband said the food was mediocre (read that as too fancy of BBQ for his taste). Also the waitresses don’t wear pants (they wear bloomers and chaps), so I thought it was a bit eh, but it’s Vegas so maybe I shouldn’t have expected differently.
Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian – We actually only ate here because we had a resort credit at the Venetian and I told Brian that it was silly to let it go to waste. However, it was one of my favorite meals in Vegas! We had some very tasty buffalo chicken appetizers and then I had the best chicken parmesan that I have ever eaten. They have a really long menu here that kind of reminds me of a Cheesecake factory, but everything we had was great. Since we still had resort credit left over we got a box of chocolate chip cookies to go! Click here for a full review!
Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar – For our second trip to Vegas, we decided to forego the Fat Burger and try another burger place that friends recommended. Overall, I thought the burger was fine. I loved the french fry mix. But I thought the place was pretty overpriced.
Hugo’s Cellar- We stumbled upon this place in Downtown Las Vegas (it’s in the basement of the Four Queens) and it’s actually a classy little place. Everyone dining there was dressed really nice and had reservations. However, we were lucky enough to walk up and get right in (it was early though). They give every woman a red rose at the table. We had bread for a starting course. The have a salad cart that comes around and prepares custom salads. I had a chicken dish and Brian had steak for dinner that were both really nice. And since we told them it was our Anniversary we got an extra special dessert with our standard dessert plate. It was a really nice evening.
In-n-Out Burger – Only have this one here for the people who are visiting Vegas and haven’t already been to the West Coast. They have an In-n-Out burger just about a block off the Strip in case you’ve been waiting for your chance to try it.
Wynn Buffet- One of the things that I felt had to be on my to-do list for Las Vegas was to eat dinner at a Buffet. So I asked Brian for his opinion and he said he thought the Wynn was the nicest. And since we had tickets for Le Reve at the Wynn, the Wynn Buffet worked nicely for our pre-show dinner plans. First the dining room is so cute! It’s very colorful and decorated with brightly colored awnings and towers of flowers and cupcakes. For food choices they had a salad bar, a meat and cheese bar, a comfort foods section, seafood, a custom taco & kimchi section, and a whole room devoted to dessert! We sampled lots of different things! Click here for full review!
Tips/ Things to Know:
- There is something in Vegas for everybody. Do not let the stereotypes keep you away. Be open minded and find your own fun things to do.
- If there’s a show that you are kind of interested in seeing, you might be able to pick up cheaper tickets while you’re in Vegas by visiting one of the last-minute ticket stands on the strip. We got half-price tickets to David Copperfield with great seats that way. Do your research beforehand, some of the more popular shows like Le Reve may sell out and are worth buying your tickets ahead of time.
My Time Spent in Las Vegas:
- 3 day weekend over Veteran’s Day in November 2016, at the Venetian
- 3 day weekend for our Anniversary in April 2017, at the Monte Carlo