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The Ultimate Guide to Las Vegas

· Las Vegas,USA,Girls' Trip,Destinations,Culture

Welcome to Las Vegas

It's "Welcome HOME" for me! That's right, I grew up in Sin City! I've had plenty of years to explore the Strip and all of Vegas' natural beauty. Let's uncover all of the fabulous Las Vegas hotels, shows, and trouble you can get into while you're there!

Where to Stay

The Strip

  • Planet Hollywood is my favorite mid-priced hotel with tons of food options on the property (some fast food and some well-known restaurants), popular shops, and a party pool with a chill vibe.
  • Treasure Island has a bridge that lands you directly at the Fashion Show Mall. You don't have to go far for fabulous shopping and 24/7 entertainment.
  • Wynn Las Vegas has a stunning interior with the best clubs, the finest dining, and some of the highest table minimums.
  • The Venetian and Palazzo are both high-end whole package. You'll be entertained by shopping or riding a gondola through the Venetian canals.
  • The centrally-located Bellagio is the definition of Las Vegas class and luxury. It's usually my go-to choice when I'm celebrating a special occasion in my hometown.

Pro Tip: Most hotels on the Strip charged a daily fee for parking, but you can pocket a few extra dollars and park for free at the Planet Hollywood. And it's smack dab in the center of The Strip!

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Hotels off The Strip

If you want to enjoy the glitz and glam of Vegas, but with less crowds & for less coins, then consider an off the Strip hotel like Golden Nugget. In the heart of the Fremont Street Experience, you'll have your pick of casinos, bars, restaurants, and people-watching in a layback way.

Looking for a quiet, relaxing trip to Las Vegas? The Red Rock Resort & Spa is one of my secret relaxation destinations. Don't worry, you won't be MIA just because you're off the Strip. There's a high-end outdoor city center complete with a mall and restaurants right next door. If that isn't enough, it's close to serene Red Rock Canyon, for all the nature buffs.

woman holding a tropical smoothie cafe cup with a photo of bali in the background of the cafe

Food & Drinks

Vegas is known for its' high hospitality standards and dining is no different!

Hate the name, but love the food! Eggslut in the Cosmo is the best midnight snack you can get! Beat your morning after hangover and head to Hash House for breakfast.

Buffets

Whether you like the idea of communal, all-you-can-eat dining or not, don't leave Vegas without having a meal at one of the many high-end buffets. I usually look for the buffets that serve endless crab legs.

  • For "Best in Class" food and ambience, the Bellagio Buffet is my preferred.
  • Try The Buffet at Wynn for the chocolate fountain and beautiful aesthetics. 
  • Or The Wicked Spoon at Cosmo for a modern, elegant experience, filled with gluten-free options. Yum yum!

Pro Tip: Before you settle in and unpack your bags, make a stop at Lee's Discount Liquor to buy bulk. You won't regret the extra effort.

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Local Favorites

You can't NOT go to Peppermill, the diner of Las Vegas locals. Casinos and resorts are often inspired by exotic cultures and foreign countries, and you can enjoy these cuisines & fun themes off the Strip too! Find authentic Spanish tapas at Firefly Tapas Kitchen and the famous six course feast with live belly dancing at Marrakech Mediterranean Restaurant​.

I always have to grab a delicious sub-sandwich from Port of Subs. I particularly like the soft, fresh bread and thinly-sliced meat. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is another must-have for me. Enjoy a delicious flatbread or wrap if you're not stuffed after having a refreshing 16 oz. smoothie. The Sunrise Sunset is my go-to smoothie!

Things to Do

On The Strip

  • First stop is a photo at the iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. (Fun Fact! I've only been once in my whole Las-Vegas-Native life) 
  • Feel like you're in Venice while riding a gondola at the Venetian
  • Relive your youth while playing arcade games and riding the roller coaster at the NY, NY
  • If you're a real thrill-seeker then you can go over the edge at the top of the Stratosphere
  • The High Roller at the Linq gives you an amazing vantage point of the not only the Strip, but of the whole Las Vegas Valley
  • The view is just as good from the top of the Eiffel Tower!
  • Watch the Fountain show at the Bellagio (have a drink at Hyde for the insider's view of the water show) and check out the Conservatory while you're there! 
  • Gush over the volcano eruption at the Mirage in the evening
  • Enjoy the huge aquarium of the Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay
  • Appreciate a bit of city history at the Neon Museum, aka Neon Boneyard, where iconic Vegas signs are laid to rest
Seven Magic Mountains, nevada, las vegas attractions

Day Trips

  • Just a little outside of town, but not out of the way is Seven Magic Mountains
  • Sneak a peek over the edge of the historic Hoover Dam, the rushing water will take your breath away & it's only 45 minutes from Vegas
  • For a change of scenery, make the 1 hour trip up to Mount Charleston. It can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the rest of the valley up there and there's snow in the winter!
  • Witness the spectacular natural show of the red sandstone formations at the Valley of Fire State Park
  • Take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. It's only a 30 minute ride and you'll see views of the marvelous formation that you'd never imagine. The ariel view of the formation is spectacular
  • If you want to extend your time in nature, look into a 3-day national parks tour from LV stopping at the Grand Canyon, Zion & Bryce Canyon
  • While you're getting out of the city, take a hike through Red Rock Canyon and take in the natural, rouge landscape
Curly hair black girl sits on a boulder at Red Rock Canyon hike in Las Vegas

Shopping

  • Shop some of the biggest names in fashion at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, and while you're at it, taste some of the best gelato this side of the Atlantic!
  • The Miracle Mile Shops are a combo of classic stores like H&M and Urban Outfitters, live entertainment venues and a few bars. You really could have a great time just hanging out there!
  • Close to downtown, the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets let you take home designer goods without the designer prices. This outdoor mall has unbeatable deals and department outlets like Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio.

Shows

You're in for a treat with headliners like Gwen Stefani, Drake, and Britney Spears making Las Vegas the home of their shows. Check out who's in town when you are!

Cirque du Soleil

I can't talk about Las Vegas entertainment without mentioning Cirque du Soleil! With at least 6 spectacular shows on the Strip alone, there's something for everyone.

  • Mysteré is the oldest and my favorite! It's most like a traditional circus show and just good clean fun! 
  • Beatles' LOVE holds a special place in my heart because it's the first Cirque show I saw. There's audience interaction and the music will have you rockin' out even after the show
  • Michael Jackson: ONE is an stunning tribute to the Prince of Pop and a wonderful walk down memory lane

Bring on the heat at Magic Mike Live! It's the latest addition to the roster of sexy adult shows on the Las Vegas Strip, among classics like Chippendale's and Thunder From Down Under.

Celine Dion, Le Reve, and Absinthe are all at the top of my Las Vegas Show must see list.

Downtown Las Vegas

If the Strip is all glitz, then the Fremont Street Experience is all grit! It's classic yet hip, vibrant, and one of my favorite places for dirt-cheap drinks, low table minimums, and a down-to-earth crowd.

What to Do

  • Take a photo with a Million Dollars at Binion's Casino
  • Watch a free music & Viva Vision Light show every hour 
  • Ride the zipline and see the neon lights flash by
  • Check out the Berlin Wall inside the men’s restroom at Main Street Station (ladies can go in with a security guard escort)
  • Swim with the sharks at the Golden Nugget
  • Roam to the Las Vegas Arts District & make your way to Container Park where you'll find fun bars & shops!
  • Have a drink & a dance at the speakeasy inside Commonwealth
The Fremont Street Experience in the daytime with Paw Patrol characters and a smiling black woman

A Local's Guide to Nightlife

Marquee at Cosmopolitan: This 60,000 square-feet club has three separate party areas with different types of music to satisfy all tastes. In college, I spent most of my nights in the Library, but not the one at UNLV! It's a chill, low-key room inside the club

XS at the Wynn: It never disappoints... Enjoy a huge pool, table games, and pumping music from world-class live acts and DJs at this lavish nightclub. It's mostly outdoors, so you'll experience my favorite thing in the world... warm Las Vegas nights!

Tao Nightclub: It's a classic birthday celebration destination. You can start the evening off with a gourmet meal with friends and when you're done, move over to a table at the club for full bottle service to finish off the night with drinks & dancing

Drai's at the Cromwell: The basement is the ultimate after-hours spot, and you can always start your night there too

Pro Tip: Be sure to bring comfy walking shoes for the days, a pair of foldable flats for after the nightclub & you'll be good!

Chuckin up the deuces in Red Rock Canyon and mountains hike in the Las Vegas desert

Let me know if you've tried any of these things & what you can't wait to try in Las Vegas!

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