12 Things You Must Do on Your First Trip to Las Vegas

12 Things You Must Do on Your First Trip to Las Vegas

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How exciting! It’s your first trip to Las Vegas, but what are you going to do? With so much on offer, Las Vegas can feel a little overwhelming for first time visitors. However, this short list will get you started in the right direction.

If you’re looking for a more detailed itinerary for Las Vegas, check out our post Three Days In Las Vegas for First Time Visitors. There you’ll find a full detailed guide. But if you’re looking for just the quick and dirty of it – here we go. 

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1. Sign Up for a Players Club Card

If you plan on doing any gambling in Las Vegas at all, sign up for a Players Club card on your first trip. Each casino brand has their own loyalty program and not all programs work the same way.

Generally, the more you spend, the more rewards you get. However, some brands include any hotel spend, such as shopping or dining.

Loyalty programs like Caesars Rewards or MGM’s MLife include several casinos in their program. Though, we found the reward tiers easier to reach on some of the smaller casino programs. 

Casino Floor, Las Vegas, Nevada

2. Explore Extravagant Hotels

From a half-sized Eiffel Tower to a life size replica of Venice’s St. Mark’s Campanile bell tower, Las Vegas hotels go to extraordinary lengths to bring the world to you. Extravagant, luxurious, and finely detailed, walking through a Las Vegas hotel is an experience in its own right and a must for any first trip.

Extravagant shopping plaza in the Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Each hotel has its own theme, but also many have their own free defining features. For example, the Bellagio has its Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, where fresh flowers create breathtaking scenes seasonally.

A few must see hotels for a first trip to Las Vegas include:

  • Luxor
  • Bellagio
  • Caesars Palace
  • The Paris
  • The Venetian
  • The Wynn
Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Las Vegas, Nevada
Staying more than three days in Las Vegas? It’s worth renting a car and doing a few day trips. See our post 7 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas.

3. Discover Your Love for the Arts

Attention art lovers! As you wander through the elaborately decorated hotels, you’ll see fine and modern art pieces everywhere. It’s easy to think of Vegas as a giant museum.

Art installations constantly change, but we found the ARIA and the Wynn to have some of the most exceptional pieces on The Strip. It’s also worth noting the Bellagio houses a fine art museum, though there is a charge for visiting.  

Tatsuo Miyaji modern art piece Hoto, Las Vegas, Nevada

4. See A Show

Beyond gambling and the elaborate hotels, Las Vegas is famous for its shows. Shows range from the risqué to the family friendly. No matter what you are into there’s a show for you.

Some of the most popular shows include:

  • KA by Cirque du Soleil
  • MINDFREAK by Criss Angel
  • Australia’s Thunder from Down Under
  • Barry Manilow: The Hits Come Home
  • Blue Man Group
Sign for the Burlesque dance show at the Flamingo, Las Vegas, Nevada

5) Be Mesmerized by the Bellagio Fountain

In my opinion, the Bellagio Fountain is the best free show in Las Vegas, and I’m definitely not alone on this one. Putting on a mesmerizing show every 15 – 30 minutes nightly, the fountain wows watchers with its coordinated dance to music. 

Dancing fountain at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas, Nevada

6. Please Your Palate

Add gluttony to the list of sins you can practice in the famous Sin City. Las Vegas is a foodie’s mecca. Whether you’re looking for something weird but wonderful to try, like Hash House A Go Go’s Sage Fried Chicken, or fine dining like Hell’s Kitchen’s Beef Wellington, Vegas has it.

You’ll also find brunch isn’t reserved for the weekends here. Hmmm, brunch.

If you’re looking for a more detailed guide on what to eat in Las Vegas, check out these books on Amazon.

Hash House A Go Go Andys Sage Fried Chicken and Eggs, Las Vegas, Nevada

7. Sip Cocktails in World Class Bars

Not only does Las Vegas have amazing places to grab a bite, the bars are just as spectacular. Nothing screams Las Vegas more than having drinks from inside North America’s largest chandelier at The Chandelier in the Cosmopolitan.

Other notable bars include: 

  • The Peppermill – At the north end of The Strip
  • minus5º – Ice bar in the Venetian
  • Frank’s Tiki Room – off The Strip
The Chandelier Bar, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Chandelier Bar at The Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

8. Go Old School on Fremont Street

As much as I love The Strip, “Old Vegas” has my heart. In 1906, Las Vegas started with the Golden Gate Hotel. Today, this area is known as the Fremont Street Experience and it’s still thriving.

With a giant street party feel, the pedestrianized area holds concerts while zip-liners fly over the crowd’s heads. On each side of the street, old school casinos beckon in visitors with dazzling neon lights and drink specials.

Just like the main Vegas strip, some of these hotels are elaborate, especially the Golden Nugget.

Lights and entertainment area on Fremont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada

9. Get Your Souvenir Photo

Funny enough, the most famous attraction in Las Vegas is a little out of the way, but definitely a must do for your first trip.

To get that iconic photo, head south on the strip. You’ll find the welcome sign about a half-mile beyond Mandalay Bay, in the median. No matter what time you go, expect a line of folks waiting to get their photo.

Welcome to the Fabulous Las Vegas sign, Las Vegas, Nevada

10. Let Your Inner Kid Have Some Fun

Really close to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign is our favorite spot in Vegas and a great place to indulge your inner child, The Pinball Hall of Fame. With 25,000 square feet and games from the 1950’s right up to the 1990’s, it’s a must play attraction.

Entrance is free, and most games cost $0.25 – $0.50 per game. It’s a bargain!

Old pinball games at the Pinball Hall of Fame, Las Vegas, Nevada

11. Embrace the Quirkiness of Las Vegas

For your first trip to Las Vegas, I recommend keeping an open mind and embracing the weird, wacky, and wonderful. There are so many quirky things in Vegas, I’m not sure where to even start.

Some of our favorite finds included:

  • Art-o-mat converted cigarette machine that dispensed miniature art pieces,
  • Airstream caravan in the Silverton Casino converted into a bowling alley, and
  • After-hours adult playground at Container Park near Fremont Street.

What will you find?

Bowling Ally inside an Airstrea campervan at the Silverton Casino

12. Look Down on the City Lights

Finally, don’t leave Las Vegas without a view of the city at night. You can head up to the viewing platform at the Paris’ Eiffel Tower, or take a ride on the world’s formerly tallest Ferris wheel, The High Roller. Just look at that view!

View of the High Roller Ferris Wheel blue lit up capsule, Las Vegas, Nevada
View of the city lights at night from the top of the High Roller Ferris Wheel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Where to Stay on a First Trip to Las Vegas

The best place to stay is on The Strip along Las Vegas Blvd. It’s a little pricier, but you’ll be right in the action.

  • The closer you get to the Bellagio, the more convenient you’ll find your location.
  • Jeremy has stayed at the Aria and the Paris. Both lived up to the expectations of Vegas with restaurants and entertainment close by.
  • Only a few hotels on The Strip have free parking, like The Wynn and The Venetian.

If you have a car, and are staying more than three days, you may find better value staying off The Strip.

  • We stayed at the Cancun Resort Las Vegas on our first trip. This was a nice break from all the craziness of the casinos, plus free parking.

Books on Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a Foodie’s mecca with so many amazing places to try. We’ve included a few yummy places, but if you want a more comprehensive view check out these books.

Travel Resources

We recommend and use these companies to arrange our travel plans; they make travel planning easy and affordable. If you have questions on our experiences, feel free to ask us!

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