Las Vegas Hotel Pool
Staying cool in Vegas (Photo credit: Unsplash)

Las Vegas Travel Guide

QUICK FACTS

  • Located in the Nevada desert, Las Vegas has a population of 590,000
  • Each year, the city attracts over 30 million visitors, and hosts over 2,000 conventions.
  • The iconic Las Vegas strip makes over 6 billion USD annually from gambling (casinos).
  • Nicknames: Gambling Capital of the World, Sin City, Marriage Capital of the World, Vegas.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Currency: US Dollar (USD).
  • Spoken languages: English.
  • Best time to visit: in the fall and spring. Gets extremely hot in the summers, and somewhat chilly in the winters. An even more important consideration is day of week: Vegas gets a lot busier (and more expensive) on the weekends, when the conventions take place and the biggest parties happen. If visiting on a weekend, take a long weekend from Thursday through Sunday night. Alternatively, stay Sunday night to Thursday night to save money on hotels.
  • Arriving via airport: it is very easy to get a taxi from McCarren International Airport to the main strip of Las Vegas (will cost about 12 to 18 dollars). Visitors staying in one of the major casinos can usually get a free shuttle from the airport to The Strip.

WHERE TO STAY

Ultimately, you make the choice: to stay on The Strip or off. Hotels off The Strip offer much cheaper rates – visitors looking for a quiet experience, away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas should stay off The Strip. People that go to Las Vegas but do not gamble often stay in a regular hotel or motel. Those who go to gamble usually stay in one of the casino hotels.

GETTING AROUND

  • Most visitors to Las Vegas choose to use public transportation while in town. Cabs and buses run all along The Strip. There are also monorail lines running between select hotels and casinos. Keep in mind that everything on the Strip is relatively close by – you may get away by just walking.
  • If you have two or more people in your party, it makes sense to just take a taxi. Fares start at $3.30, with an additional $2.60 per mile.
  • Those renting a car can do so at the McCarren International Airport. Many of the hotel/casinos also have car rental agents on the premises.
  • Note: don’t be surprised if you see dozens of limousines around. Many who come to Vegas for a special occasion, such as a bachelor/bachelorette party or honeymoon, choose to splurge out on a limo.

LAS VEGAS NIGHTLIFE

  • Drinking age is 21, last call is never (the party goes on all night).
  • Note: Las Vegas nightclubs often have a dress code that is strictly enforced. Also, be prepared for long lines outside clubs – it may help to get there as early as possible. Often, the only way to get around the line is by ordering bottle service.
  • Trendy scene: the hottest clubs are all in upscale casino hotels on The Strip. Ask your concierge about where the biggest parties are expected to be each night (especially if you are visiting on a weekday).
  • For a more relaxed experience, check out clubs off The Strip. Ask your hotel concierge for advice (the club scene constantly changes in Vegas).

UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT

  • A trip to Las Vegas isn’t complete without a trip to the famous “Welcome To Las Vegassign, first introduced in 1959.
  • The observation deck of the Stratosphere Tower is the largest in the United States.
  • The fountains at The Bellagio are world famous, and viewed by thousands daily.
  • If you get tired of Vegas, don’t forget that the Grand Canyon is not too far from the city. If you rent a car, you could get there in just under 6 hours. There are also helicopter sightseeing tours available from Vegas. One of the most spectacular geological formations on Earth, the Grand Canyon is truly a sight to behold.

INTERESTING WALKS

  • Walking down the main strip is a great way to see all the major hotel/casinos in Las Vegas. For an interesting contrast, try the same walk during the day and at night.
  • Fremont Street is a must-see attraction. Located off The Strip, in downtown Las Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience is a colorful covered walkway where visitors can catch live musical performances.

LOCAL WISDOM

  • Taxes are higher in Las Vegas than many visitors are used to. Visitors should be prepared to pay an 8.1% sales tax on all purchases. Hotel rooms along The Strip come with a 12% tax.
  • Some of the unique tours offered in Las Vegas include: the Haunted Vegas Tour, the Sundance Helicopter Tour, Horse Back Riding Tours, and the Sunset Cowboy Dinner Ride. Ask your hotel concierge for details.
  • Where to find good cheap eats: while there are many fast food places along The Strip, don’t forget the numerous casino buffet deals available. With a set (fixed) price, the buffets often end up being a better deal than a sit down restaurant.
  • Dangerous areas: at night, avoid downtown Las Vegas, South Las Vegas, and any dark side streets or alleys near The Strip. The stretch of road between the Encore Casino and the Stratosphere is also said to be dangerous.

RECOMMENDED LAS VEGAS GUIDE BOOKS

Recommended trip duration: 3-4 days


SEE ALSO:
Las Vegas Travel Guide was last modified: September 23rd, 2016 by Nick
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