Welcome sign at Las Vegas

Las Vegas Travel Guide

March 02, 2021

Often called "America's Playground" or "Sin City," Las Vegas is an iconic U.S. town known for over-the-top fun. The Las Vegas Strip is all about neon lights, casinos, lavish hotels, and restaurants helmed by some of the world's best chefs. Whether you're heading to Las Vegas to celebrate, gamble, take in a Cirque du Soleil show, or catch your favorite musician's residency, you'll find it in the city where visitors go all out for entertainment.

When planning a trip to Las Vegas, think about the type of atmosphere you're after. Each hotel offers a unique scene, with different culinary offerings, architectural styles, and forms of entertainment. Do you want to take your kids to the Tournament of Kings at Excalibur on your way to the Grand Canyon, or are you planning a trip with your girlfriends and booking a suite and cabana at the ARIA? Vegas has something for every taste, and it's a matter of honing in on the restaurants, shows, bars, and hotels that most appeal to you. Whether you've scored Lady Gaga tickets and a reservation at Elio, or you're keen on trying your luck at the Mirage casino, there's no wrong way to do Vegas.

Time Zone

Pacific Standard Time (Daylight Savings Time observed)

Best Time to Go

While there's no bad time to go to Sin City, keep in mind that daytime temperatures in the summer climb well into the 90s and 100s which can be a deterrent (unless you're planning to spend time poolside or in an air-conditioned casino).Weatherwise, the best months to go to Las Vegas are March, April, May, October, and November. August, the hottest month in Las Vegas, is one of the least expensive times to go. 

As for events to keep in mind when planning a trip to Las Vegas, a myriad of conventions and festivals happen throughout the year. The most important events to have on your radar are: major tech conference CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in January, music festival EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) in May, and the Las Vegas Golden Knights' hockey season which runs from October to April, with playoffs in May and sometimes into June.

Things to Know

The bus operating on the Las Vegas Strip is called the Deuce. It runs 24 hours a day, every 15-20 minutes, and an all-day pass costs $8.

The Las Vegas Strip is just over four miles long. It runs along Las Vegas Boulevard, directly below Sahara Avenue. On the southern end, the Strip starts at Mandalay Bay. It extends all the way up to the SLS Las Vegas, the last hotel below Sahara Ave.

There are 30 primary casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. You'll find plenty more off the strip, as well as downtown.

There are no open container laws in Las Vegas, so you can legally drink on the street, just like you can in New Orleans.

The Las Vegas Strip is not technically in Las Vegas; it's in an unincorporated part of Clark County.

How to Get Around

Las Vegas Buses: The RTCSNV (or Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada) is the source of local public transportation in Las Vegas. Servicing the greater Las Vegas Valley and providing transportation from the airport (McCarran International Airport), you can find a list of every bus route here.

The Deuce: RTCSNV offers buses that service the Las Vegas Strip, and you can find every stop it makes here, including many of the major hotels ( Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Mirage, Caesar's Palace, etc.) The Deuce runs 24 hours a day, every 15 minutes from 7 am to midnight, and every 20 minutes from midnight to 7 am You can buy bus and metro tickets on the rideRTC app or at ticket vending machines in the area. A two-hour pass costs $6, a 24-hour pass costs $8, and a three-day pass costs $20.

Taxis/Car service: Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft service Las Vegas. You can also schedule a taxi with local companies like Nellis Cab Company (note: Hailing a cab in Vegas is difficult; you're better off scheduling one in advance). Alternatively, you can work with a black car company like Blacklane for your transportation needs.

Bellagio, Las Vegas, hotel exterior fountains
Credit: Courtesy of MGM Resorts

Best Hotels

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MGM Grand

Address: 3799 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (877) 880-0880
Website

Located on the south end of the Strip, this opulent resort features unique perks for anyone seeking something extra on their Vegas trip, including wellness-themed rooms, comedy club, several show rooms, and Top Golf.

Wynn, Las Vegas, hotel lobby, Nevada
Credit: Courtesy of Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn Las Vegas

Address: 3131 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 770-7000
Website

The Wynn welcomes visitors to Vegas with cascading waterfalls. Recently upgraded Tower Suites rooms include private check-in, free breakfast, and an exclusive pool. Though its location on the north side of the Strip puts it a bit far from the main action (a plus for some visitors), it’s home to superb restaurants, luxury high-end shopping, and one of the chicest casinos on the Strip.

view of Aria Hotel
Credit: Courtesy of MGM Resorts

ARIA Resort & Casino

Address: 3730 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89158
Phone: (866) 359-7757
Website

Stylish and spacious, the ARIA is known for its stellar accommodations. It’s also home to restaurants by acclaimed chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Julian Serrano. This modern hotel features  beautiful city views from its guestrooms.

Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace

Address: 3570 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (800) 727-4923
Website

This hotel-within-a-hotel concept is an upscale Japanese-inspired spot full of vibrant, curated art. The acclaimed Nobu restaurant can deliver world-class sushi directly to the room.

Interior of a suite at The Cromwell in Las Vegas
Credit: Courtesy of The Cromwell

The Cromwell

Address: 3595 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: 702-777-3777
Website

This boutique, adults-only hotel is sexy and sleek, featuring a club famous for over-the-top pool parties. Vibrant and chic, the atmosphere definitely exudes the fun party attitude Vegas is known for.

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, hotel pool
Credit: Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas

Address: 3752 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NV 89158
Phone: (702) 590-8888
Website

Formerly the Mandarin Oriental, the Waldorf Astoria does not have an on-site casino, which can make for a nice escape from the rest of Vegas at the end of a long night. The award-winning spa has rave reviews, and a tea lounge adds to the tranquility.

Bellagio, Las Vegas, hotel exterior fountains
Credit: Courtesy of MGM Resorts

Bellagio Hotel & Casino

Address: 3600 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (888) 987-6667
Website

A classic Las Vegas resort choice for a reason—the Bellagio has more to offer than its famous dancing fountains. It’s posh and opulent, with The Conservatory, a garden, which gets redesigned with new flowers each season.

Circa Resort & Casino

Address: 8 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: (702) 247-2258
Website

Circa is the first newly built hotel in downtown Las Vegas in around 40 years. An expansive pool amphitheater is only matched in size and scale by the state-of-the-art, multi-level sportsbook stadium.

SAHARA Las Vegas

Address: 2535 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 761-7000
Website

Straddling the Strip and the Arts District, Sahara is a timeless Las Vegas staple, thanks to a recent stylish remodel.

The Berkley

Address: 8280 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89139
Phone: (702)224-7400
Website

A great option off the Strip, The Berkley is ideal for business, long-term or family stays, with spacious suites that include full kitchens and washer/dryers.

Mizumi dining waterfall in Las Vegas
Credit: Barbara Kraft

Best Restaurants

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Mizumi dining waterfall in Las Vegas
Credit: Barbara Kraft

Mizumi

Address: Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 770-3320
Website

Chef Min Kim helms this upscale and effortlessly chic Japanese restaurant nestled within the Wynn Las Vegas. The restaurant has a stunning view of the property’s Japanese garden and 90-foot waterfall which cascades directly into a koi pond. For an unforgettable private dining experience within the lush Japanese garden, request their floating pagoda table in advance.

Best Friend

Address: Park MGM, 3770 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 730-6770
Website

Noted Los Angeles Chef Roy Choi delivers a Korean-Mexican fusion menu at Best Friend, where the vibrant food is enhanced by the colorful decor. A hidden entrance adds to the fun, playful atmosphere.

Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse

Address: Flamingo Hotel, 3555 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 733-3111
Website

Transport back to the vintage heyday of the classic Las Vegas, where atmosphere and history abound. Bugsy & Meyer’s, named for infamous gangsters, is one of the newer steakhouse experiences in town.

é by José Andrés

Address: The Cosmopolitan,  3708 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 698-7950
Website

Procrastinators beware — this is one dinner that requires reservations in advance in order to snag seats in this exclusive restaurant. The multi-course meal is served in an intimate room with decor resembling old library card catalogues.

Inside Eataly Las Vegas
Credit: Courtesy of MGM International

Eataly Las Vegas

Address: Park MGM, 3770 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109 
Phone: (702) 730-7617
Website

Eataly features a mix of Italian restaurants and open market groceries, with an authentic food hall feel. Families can dine on pizza with the kids, or mom and dad can snag a table for themselves at the fine dining bar and grill. Everyone can come together to agree on gelato for dessert.

Bacchanal Buffet

Address: Caesars Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 731-7928
Website

Bacchanal consistently tops lists as the best of the best. Chefs from across the globe cook right in front of guests at their own stations, offering cuisine as varied as Las Vegas itself.

Estiatorio Milos

Address: The Venetian Las Vegas, 3355 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 414-1270
Website

Opening at the Venetian in March 2021, this transplant from the Cosmopolitan is known for its authentic, high-quality Greek food from famed chef Costas Spiliadis.

SW Steakhouse dinner places in Las Vegas
Credit: Jeff Green

SW

Address: Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 770-3325
Website

For a classic high-end steakhouse with some of the best cuts of meat in the world (as in, Kobe and A5 Wagyu beef), visit SW at Wynn Las Vegas. The steaks served at SW have even been featured on the Best Thing I Ever Ate. The impressive wine list is not to be overlooked, either.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Address: MGM Grand, 3799 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 891-7358
Website 

This intimate spot offers a more affordable and relaxed setting than the nearby namesake restaurant. Take a front-row seat at the counter, which overlooks the open kitchen, to watch the chefs prepare tapas-style small and large plates to share.

Peppermill Restaurant

Address: 2985 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 735-4177
Website

This plush 24-hour diner is a favorite among the bar crowd for a late-night (or early-morning) omelet and coffee. The neon pink and blue fire pit lounge area and cocktails can keep the afterparty going, too.

Spago

Address: 3600 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 693-8181
Website

Originally opened by Wolfgang Puck at Caesar’s Palace in 1992, Spago was the first contemporary fine dining restaurant in Las Vegas from a celebrity chef, paving the path for others, such as current stars Gordon Ramsey, Tom Colicchio, Giada De Laurentiis, and Emeril Lagasse, and transforming the city into a dining destination. The seasonal fresh, California-style menu is best enjoyed on the outdoor patio with views of the fountains.

Tacos El Gordo

Address: 1724 E Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV, 89104
Phone: (702) 251-8226
Website

This spot frequently has lines around the corner. These super-popular tacos are a great late-night snack.

Valley of Fire State Park is a public recreation and nature preservation located 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas
Credit: Getty Images

Things to Do

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Allegiant Stadium

Address: 3333 Al Davis Way, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Phone: 1-800-RAIDERS   
Website

The new home of the NFL Raiders, this 65,000-seat football venue is certainly a draw for sports fans.

Bellagio Fountains and Botanical Garden

Address: Bellagio Hotel & Casino, 3600 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 693-7111
Website

A must-see for a reason. The outdoor water feature puts on a new show every 15 minutes at night as more than 1,000 fountains dance to music and lights, with water reaching up to 460 feet. But head inside, directly to the right of the front desk, for a look inside the Conservatory, where a team of 120 works on the Botanical Gardens year-round, changing the flowers and designs seasonally.

Cirque du Soleil

Address: Multiple, see website for details
Website

Cirque has been dominating the shows on the Strip for a while now, with five productions currently running in Las Vegas — all with elaborate themed stories, costumes, sets, and stellar acrobatic, artistic performances.

Gold Strike Hot Springs Trail

Address: 601 Great Basin Highway, Boulder City, NV 89005
Website

Plenty of hot springs surround Las Vegas, but hikers will have to earn their reward on the Gold Strike trail. Not recommended for beginners, visitors must navigate two miles of rope climbs and bouldering before descending into a scenic canyon, the sweet respite of the springs, and view of the Hoover Dam.

The Mob Museum

Address: 300 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: (702) 229-2734
Website

A popular attraction, the Mob Museum explores American history through the unique lens of organized crime and law enforcement. Finish the tour by sampling house-made moonshine at the speakeasy.

Neon Museum at night on Las Vegas Boulevard
Credit: Getty Images

The Neon Museum

Address: 770 Las Vegas Boulevard N, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: (702) 387-6366
Website

Make sure to visit this museum at night to get the full effect of the iconic Las Vegas signs, aglow in the “neon boneyard” or North Gallery, where a nightly show brings the signs to life. Guided tours are worth the upgraded price in order to learn some of the incredible history housed here.

Red Rock Canyon & Valley of Fire State Park

Addresses: 1000 Scenic Loop Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89161
29450 Valley of Fire Hwy, Overton, NV 89040
Phones: (702) 515-5350; (775) 684-2770
Website 1
Website 2

Flanking either side of Las Vegas, these two natural areas offer a stunning contrast to the lights of the city. Red Rock is home to hiking, horseback riding, bike trails, and rock climbing, while in the Valley of Fire, adventure-seekers can bask in the splendor of the monumental (and yes, also red) rock formations.

Seven Magic Mountains, Aerial View
Credit: Bernhard Lang/Getty Images

Seven Magic Mountains

Address: From Las Vegas: Follow I-15 S to Sloan Road (exit 25). Turn left (east) to Las Vegas Boulevard. Drive approximately 7 miles south on Las Vegas Blvd. and the artwork will appear on the left (east).
Website

This colorful Stonehenge-esque art installation is free and open to the public. A great pitstop coming in or out of town, try to time a visit to this site with the sunrise or sunset for fewer crowds and a better backdrop for photos.

Yoga with Dolphins

Address: The Mirage, 3400 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 791-7188
Website

Sure, plenty of places offer the chance to swim with dolphins, but how many intrepid travelers can say they’ve done yoga with dolphins? Reservations are required to spend an hour in the morning trading downward dogs for dolphins in the underwater viewing area.

Fremont Street Experience

Address: Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Website

The ziplines, free Viva Vision Light Shows, entertainment, restaurants, and more make this area a must see, especially for first-time visitors.

Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino with Miracle Mile shops, Las Vegas, USA
Credit: Getty Images

Best Shopping

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Coca-Cola Store

Address: 3785 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 270-5952
Website

Sample flavors from around the world or take a photo with the iconic polar bear. This is a great place to stop for exclusive branded merchandise.

Entrance of the Fashion Show Mall, Las Vegas
Credit: Getty Images

Fashion Show

Address: 3200 Las Vegas Boulevard S Ste. 600, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 784-7000
Website

Weekend fashion shows take center stage at this mall on a retractable runway in the main atrium. With more than 250 stores, Fashion Show is the largest shopping mall in Vegas.

The Grand Canal Shoppes at Venetian Hotel and Casino, South Las Vegas Boulevard
Credit: Getty Images

Grand Canal Shoppes

Address: The Venetian, 3377 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 414-4525
Website

With some of the newest and best fashion designers, this shopping area has true old-world charm. Hop onto a gondola to tour around the canals and shops or hit the cobblestone pavement to get a closer look at the luxury stores.

The Shops at Crystals

Address: CityCenter, 3720 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89158
Phone: (702) 590-9299
Website

This upscale shopping mall is perfect for a window-shopping stroll. The building itself is a funky architectural gem, with high-end shops attached to the Aria hotel.

Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino with Miracle Mile shops, Las Vegas, USA
Credit: Getty Images

Miracle Mile Shops

Address: Planet Hollywood, 3663 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 866-0710
Website

Casual dining, live entertainment, and plenty of stores are featured in this complex at the heart of the Strip, with fashionable retail and clothing options.

North and South Premium Outlets

Addresses: 875 S Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89106;
7400 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NV 89123
Phone: (702) 474-7500; (702) 896-5599
Website 1
Website 2

These premium outlets are run by the same parent company, so shoppers can select a location based on convenience and proximity.The outdoor North shops have a reputation for being slightly more upscale, while the indoor South is a bit more affordable.

Retrospecs & Co

Address: The Cosmopolitan, 3708 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 698-7620
Website

Retrospecs offers vintage looks, with eyeglass frames dating back to the 1920s through 1970s.

Town Square

Address: 6605 Las Vegas Boulevard S, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Phone: (702) 896-5154
Website

This open-air plaza offers dining, entertainment, and shopping close to the airport. Featuring architecture that makes it feel as if visitors are shopping in a city all to themselves, Town Square also houses an expansive children’s park with a garden maze and tree house.

Neighborhoods to Know

The Strip: The Las Vegas Strip is likely the neighborhood you came for if you're visiting Las Vegas for the first time. It's a four-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard packed with casinos, restaurants, and ritzy hotels.

Downtown: You'll find the best of Downtown Vegas on Fremont Street, which is still home to a number of casinos and restaurants, as well as a couple must-visit bars. Downtown used to be the epicenter of Las Vegas, but now with everyone heading for the Strip, it has a more old-school Vegas feel.

Arts District: Within Las Vegas downtown, you'll find the Arts District, an 18-block creative enclave of the city. The Arts District is filled with art galleries and collectives and is so named for the industrial Arts Factory in the heart of the area.

Henderson: Henderson is a suburban neighborhood of Las Vegas, but the breweries and distilleries popping up there are a draw for the craft beverage enthusiasts visiting Vegas. It's certainly quieter than the Las Vegas Strip, but offers a number of fun restaurants and shops in the picturesque Nevada desert.

Weather

Las Vegas is moderate year-round, for the most part, but the best weather is in the spring and fall. In April and May, temperatures fall between the 50s and the 80s, such that you can enjoy plenty of warmth on a day spent by the pool, without the intense heat Las Vegas sees in the summer months. By October, the temperature comes down to the low 80s—a common misconception is that fall starts in September in Las Vegas, but really, the heat doesn't break until October. 

The following are average Fahrenheit lows and highs by month. Average annual precipitation is 0.69 inches.

January 38 - 59
February 43 - 63
March 49 - 72
April 55 - 79
May 55 - 89
June 74 - 100
July 80 - 104
August 79 - 103
September 70 - 95
October 58 - 82
November 46 - 67
December 37 - 57

Apps to Download

rideRTC: App to purchase bus tickets and find schedules for Las Vegas buses (servicing the Strip and providing transportation to the airport)
iOS | Android

Uber: Rideshare servicing Las Vegas
iOS | Android

Lyft: Rideshare servicing Las Vegas
iOS | Android

HotelTonight: Nationwide app to find the best rates on last-minute hotels
iOS | Android