Las Vegas truly is just one of those places you need to visit at least once in your life. There is something special about it, and leaves as lasting impression on you forever! This Las Vegas for first timers guide will walk you through everything you need to know about visiting Las Vegas!
Growing up, my family and I used to travel to Las Vegas fairly often. By the time I was an adult, I had traveled there about 3-4 times.
I don’t know why, but I loved Las Vegas, even as a little kid. Something about how big everything is, all the lights, the hustle and bustle kept me wanting to come back for more.
I was able to visit again once I was an adult, and was surprised by how many things my child brain had filtered out (probably for the best, haha!)
Regardless, Las Vegas can be a fun trip for pretty much anyone with any interest, and any age. There really is something for everyone here!
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Best Hotels in Vegas for First Timers
There are so many hotels in Las Vegas, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one you should stay at! My biggest recommendation is to stay at a hotel on the strip. There are plenty of cheaper hotels off the strip, but they aren’t nearly as nice, and you will then have to walk or find transportation to the main strip area. Save yourself the hassle and stay on the strip.
Secondly, choose a hotel in the middle of the strip. Because you will be doing a lot of walking, having your home base in the middle will be much easier on your legs.
Typically, my family always stayed at the Excalibur. This is towards the southern end of the strip, which did make for more walking during the days, but it is a fun, family friendly hotel (and looks like a castle!)
The Bellagio is another favorite hotel to stay in and is located pretty much right in the center of the strip. This hotel has the famous Bellagio Fountains which you might have already heard about (and we’ll talk more about later!)
A little more North on the strip you’ll find the Venetian, which is another favorite due to is Venice-like charm!
Most of the hotels on the main Las Vegas Strip are super fun, and you’ll love pretty much all of them! The costs do range quite a bit though- You can stay at places like the Luxor for $33 a night (which is Egyptian themed, shaped like a pyramid, and super cool!), or you can stay at hotels like the Wynn for $300-$400 a night!
So, it all really depends on your budget and what you expect out of your hotel. Keep in mind that the cheaper hotels on the strip aren’t necessarily “worse” hotels than the expensive ones. We always stay in whatever is cheapest, and have had no issues so far!
Side note: Keep in mind that many hotels on the strip have resort fees. These can range anywhere from a few dollars to $50 a night, which can really add up! Take note of these additional fees before completing your booking!
Vegas for First Timers: General Tips you Need to Know!
Before coming to Las Vegas, there are a few things you need to know and to prepare yourself for. These Vegas for first timers tips will help ensure your trip is as successful and fun as possible!
1. Las Vegas is BIG!
This might seem obvious, but Las Vegas is really BIG! Something I hear from people who have never visited Las Vegas is, “What’s so fun about a bunch of hotels on a street?” What they don’t understand is that the hotels are much, much bigger than your average hotel.
So big, in fact, that walking around the city is very deceiving. You might see that a hotel you want to visit is “just down the street”, or just a few hotels away. What you don’t realize however, is how far that actually is.
Know that just because a hotel looks close by on your Google Maps, that doesn’t mean it will be a short walk!
Make sure to actually measure the distance of the walk before heading out, so you know what you’re in for, and so you have enough time to get there to make reservations!
Additionally, be sure to invest in some good walking shoes (I have these memory foam sneakers and they are so comfy!!). This is not the time to walk around in high heels or uncomfortable sandals (save those for going out at night time!).
You can expect to walk way more than 10,000 steps in a day when visiting Las Vegas! Make sure you have all these items packed in your sightseeing bag!
2. Paying for Drinks in Las Vegas
One of my favorite Las Vegas for first timers tips involves budget drinking! Las Vegas does have very expensive food and drinks, so if you can grab anything for free- definitely take advantage!
One tip you need to know is that alcoholic drinks are FREE at casinos. Let me repeat that: you can get FREE drinks at any casino!
How? Resorts want you to gamble, because as we all know, the house always wins. Meaning, the hotel is going to make a lot more money than you are. For this reason, they lure you in with free drinks!
Simply sit down at the penny slots (if you don’t want to spend a lot on gambling), and a waitress will be over shortly. Make sure you tip them a dollar or two to ensure they come back to you, if you plan to keep drinking.
Make sure to check out these other cool hacks to save money on vacation!
3. How to get Free or Discounted Tickets in Las Vegas
This is my absolute FAVORITE Las Vegas for first timers tip, because it involves FREE and majorly discounted stuff!
If you want to save money in Las Vegas, download this app right now: myVEGAS slots
This app has tons of casino games you can play for absolutely FREE, but you win actual prizes! Last time I went to Las Vegas, I started playing these free slot games a few months before we left, and I had tons of free prizes I was able to redeem!
Some prizes you can get are 50% show tickets like Thunder from Down Under or the Mirage’s Secret Garden. You can also get discounts on hotel rooms, free meals at restaurants (we redeemed a couple free brunch buffets), casino dollars, free drinks, and so much more!
Again, you don’t have to pay a single penny to play, making it so awesome, and a great resource to help you save money on your trip! It does take a bit of time to get enough points for prizes, but it is so worth it when you get all your free stuff!
Secondly, you can find majorly discounted show tickets from Tickets on Demand/Tix4Tonight booths, which are located around the strip. Basically, when shows aren’t sold out, they sell the remaining tickets for super cheap! You’ll need to keep your plans open, but check the booth everyday (go early in the morning) and see what’s available for tonight! You can get shows for 50% off or more, which is incredible!
Fun Things to do in Las Vegas for First Timers
There are so many things to do in Las Vegas, we couldn’t possibly list them all! However, here are some of our favorite things to do in Vegas for first timers!
4. Watch the Bellagio Fountains
Watching the Bellagio Fountains in Vegas is one of the most popular things to do, and for good reason! The fountains are huge, and involve lots of lights and music.
The fountain show runs every 30 minutes, from 3-8pm Monday through Friday, and every 15 minutes from 8pm-midnight. On the weekends, the fountain show runs every 30 minutes from noon to 8pm.
So, there are plenty of opportunities to see the show, since it runs so often! I recommend seeing the show at night. The lights will be much more apparent, and it just seems more magical at night time!
The fountains are free, so watch the show as many times as you wish!
5. See a Show in Las Vegas!
When in Las Vegas, you HAVE to go see a show! I’ve been to a handful of shows here, and they were all incredible. Read above to learn how I scored some hugely discounted tickets to save yourself some money!
I recommend seeing a Cirque du Soleil show, as those athletes are just incredible! Blue Man Group also often has shows here, which is another fun one as well! Additionally, Vegas! The Show was also incredible, featuring the traditional show girls and costumes you often think of when you think of Vegas.
Honestly, any show you attend here is going to be amazing, so pick a couple that interest you and enjoy!
6. Plan a Night out in Las Vegas
Another best thing to do in Vegas for first timers is to check out the night life! If night life is not your scene, skip this one! However, Las Vegas turns into a different place a night, and can be so much fun!
You can either plan in advance where you want to go out, or just see where the night takes you! Many of the night clubs and night events require a cover (sometimes $20 or more per person), so be prepared for that expense!
You can also just go somewhere fun for a drink, like the Cosmopolitan, which is a luxury hotel located on the strip, with tons of beads hanging from the ceiling, giving it a super fancy and fun vibe!
7. See the FREE Acts at Circus Circus
Another fun thing to do in Las Vegas for first timers is to see the FREE circus acts in the Circus Circus hotel.
On weekdays, circus acts are performed from 1:30pm-8:30pm every hour. On Weekends, shows run from 11:30am-11:30pm every hour.
This is a fun way to get out of the heat for a half hour or so (Las Vegas can be well over 100 degrees in the summer- make sure you know how to avoid sunburn!), and see some cool performances!
8. Ride a Gondola
Another fun thing to do in Las Vegas for first timers is to ride a Gondola! I’ve taken a gondola ride in Vegas (but not in actual Venice... oops, haha!) and it was pretty fun!
The Venetian in Las Vegas is themed to mimic Venice, and offers gondola rides! You can choose to either do an indoor or outdoor gondola ride. We chose the indoor one because it was way too hot outside- but both are beautiful!
The gondoliers will even sing to you, and you’ll forget your not actually in Italy! At the end of your ride, you will be offered a photo on the boat. They are pretty pricy, about $20 for one picture, but it is worth it to have the memory!
9. Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
Another fun thing to do in Vegas for first timers is to explore Siegfried and Roy’s secret garden and dolphin habitat. Located in the Mirage, you’ll find all of the famous magicians animals including tigers, dolphins, leopards, and more!
When we visited the Secret Garden, we were actually lucky enough to meet Siegfried himself! He was just there to visit his animals and spend time with them, which was pretty cool!
We got discounts on these tickets using the method I described in the beginning of this post, so be sure to check that out to save some money!
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