Top 5 things to do as a first timer in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, the city of sin! Heres my top 5 things to do on your first visit to Las Vegas, so you can see all the different sides of this crazy place!
Las Vegas isn't to everyones tastes... But I absolutely love it! The first time I went, I remember walking down the Strip and being overwhelmed by just how big everything was, and how it felt like you could literally do ANYTHING you wanted here. If its your first time here, check out my top 5 below:
1. See a show
Vegas is the home of shows; be it music, magic, comedy, burlesque, dance, there really is something to please every taste and age group. For me, Cirque Du Soleil was top of my list of shows to see as although you can see it in other parts of the world, there are a whole 7 shows exclusive to Vegas.
On our first trip we went to see ‘O’ at the Bellagio, and were not disappointed. This is a totally surreal couple of hours watching gravity-defying acrobatics, diving and synchronised swimming, around what was sometimes a deep pool of water, and sometimes a puddle sitting across the stage. Sounds hard to believe? It was!
When I was back in Vegas, just over a year later we chose to see The Beatles LOVE, at the Mirage. In my hungover state from a seriously late night / early morning this was simply a joy. It was a bright, fun and engaging trip through all the eras of the Beatles music, with costumes, dancing and acrobatics perfectly sync’ed to each time and place. I felt like I was being transported through the journey of their music.
If you couldn’t tell from the above reviews, I would highly recommend Cirque Du Soleil was in Vegas, but there is so much good stuff to choose from. Hopefully Brittany is back with a residency when I’m next back!
2. Visit the Grand Canyon
If this is your first time to Las Vegas, you are going to want to see the one of the natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon. The canyon stretches 227 miles long and is over ten miles wide, that’s to say - it’s massive! You simply can’t appreciate the scale, and photos don’t do it justice until you can see it for yourself.
From Vegas, the must-do way to see it is by helicopter. By helicopter, you can truly appreciate how vast the whole area is, and you get a super impressive view over the Hoover Dam on route, as well as taking in the canyon itself as it starts to take shape and appear in front of you. You also land in Indian Reservation territory INSIDE the canyon, which only those on a helicopter tour can do, (not even hikers are allowed in this section of the canyon) which makes it pretty special.
There are several companies offering helicopter tours, most have a similar itinerary. It was about an hours drive out of Vegas to a small airport where we then got the helicopter. The time in the helicopter felt much longer than I expected, plenty enough to take in the great vistas. Once landed, we had a cute picnic from a little basket and a glass of bubbly. There was a good enough of time to take pictures of the river view and bends, but I’m not sure there is ever enough time to take in the amazing scenery where you are somewhere so fascinating.
Of course, flying isn’t the only way to get to the Grand Canyon, but from Vegas it’s a brilliant way to avoid the 4.5 hour car journey, and seeing a section of it that you can’t do by car. Its expensive, but so, so worth it.
If you don’t fancy flying, read more on seeing the South Rim by car, click here.
3. Go Downtown
Don't forget about Downtown, where it all started. Back in the day (when my parents went to Vegas!) the Downtown area of Fremont Street was all that existed, and the casinos that were open back then are still doing their thing today! Downtown has an amazing buzzing atmosphere, completely different to the strip and helped by the fact that its so much smaller.
Enjoy the retro vibe as you enter into Fremont Street, and soak up all the old neon signs which are probably what you pictured in your head as 'Las Vegas'. My personal favourite is the Golden Nugget casino signage.
Nowadays, a canopy sits over the main area which shows an impressive LED light show (even more impressive after a beer or two). And you can even zip line the length of it. We saw some real characters around this area, so its the perfect place to grab a drink, sit outside, and people watch.
If your into eating challenges, go to Heart Attack Grill. As long as you can finish your burger, you won't get a spanking.
4. Explore the hotels and casinos
This might seem like a bit of a weird thing to list, but honestly you could spend a whole day seeing all the different hotels and casinos within them! From impressive to tacky, there’s so many themes here and it makes for a fun day to wander round and see these enormous casinos. Some that should definitely be on your list are:
The MGM Grand - check out the boxing memorabilia on display from some of the biggest fights by the world's greatest boxers.
The Venetian - you won't believe the indoor canals and starry night ceiling on display in this hotel. Be transported straight to Venice, and even take a gondola ride!
The Bellagio - of course no trip to Vegas would be complete without seeing the Bellagio fountain display at night.
Wynn - if your into art, don't miss Wynn Las Vegas, its quite a walk from the main strip but 2 of Jeff Koons art pieces can be seen there: Tulips, and Popeye. The whole hotel is like a premium art gallery and is filled with flower displays. It’s one of the newer hotels and you can really tell this by the level of opulence on display.
New York, New York – This casino had a real old school charm to it, some of the newer ones can be a bit flashy and intimidating. But in here, its quite stripped back and we sat and got taught how to play blackjack by the croupier… We still lost!
5. Kiss mini golf
OK so this is an even odder one, unless you are Kiss Army like me!
It’s an 18 hole, indoor, glow in the dark, mini-golf adventure located in the Rio casino, completely Kiss themed. It’s filled with Kiss memorabilia, signed albums, guitars and anything Kiss themed that you could possibly want is in the gift shop. This place blares out the Kiss hits as you work your way around the neon circuit. My husband took me here as a birthday treat and it was a LOT of fun. If you’re looking for something a little different away from the normal list of things to do on the strip, this should be on your list.
A little tip: even though it doesn’t seem like Rio is that far away, don’t try and walk. We set off on our walk there and luckily got stopped by a helpful lady who told us not to walk as ‘that’s gonna ruin your day!’ A great way to phrase it, as although the walk is entirely possible, in the Las Vegas heat with not a lot around it certainly wouldn’t be very fun.
Needing some more ideas?
There’s so many more Vegas attractions that would easily have gone on this list, but I had to try and keep it to 5! If you are after some more ideas check out the rides on the top of the Stratosphere, gun shooting, visiting the famous Vegas sign, or simply partying all night long…