Sin City Essentials: Our Top 6 Must-See Spots in Las Vegas
There is a lot to take in when going to Vegas, whether it's your first visit or you're an old pro. This list will give you a few ideas of must-see attractions.
When it comes to Las Vegas, vacation planning can be more than a little daunting. There are so many things to see and do when you’re in Sin City that it can feel like an overwhelming task just to pick what you want to devote your trip to. Have no fear! This list is here to help. Whether you are looking for the perfect casino out of the hundreds available, or you are trying to find something a little more off the beaten path to enjoy, we’ve got you covered.
On your trip to Vegas, you definitely have your pick of casinos and hotels both. But for the complete Vegas experience, nothing beats the Mirage. As one of the older hotels on the strip, the Mirage has been a part of the iconic scenery of Vegas for almost three decades. It features the largest marquee in the world, and in recent years, the Beatles: LOVE show has been signed on as a permanent staple of the hotel’s entertainment.
Seeing the building’s façade (and those gold-tinted windows!) is a great part of any trip to Las Vegas. But don’t pass up the casino inside. It’s my personal favorite on the strip, and I can’t recommend it enough. Although it is usually pretty crowded, the atmosphere is well worth it, and the games are always great.
Try your hand at the roulette table, which is one of the area’s most popular. Pop over to the slot machines and give them a whirl, then head back to the table games and join a game of Texas Hold’em. Before you leave, visit the craps table, it’s one of the better known ones on the strip.
3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
If you’ve ever seen any TV show or movie set in Las Vegas, chances are you’ve probably seen the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign that has been greeting guests for decades. First installed in 1959, the sign is as much a part of Vegas as the buffets and casinos. Although in the past, there was no safe way to access the sign, a parking lot has been built around it in recent years to allow visitors to access it for photo ops.
If you are visiting Vegas for the first time (or if you’ve just never stopped at the sign before), take a moment to get a picture of one of the most classic signposts in the United States. Parking and access to the sign are free, so there’s no reason to miss this opportunity!
Remember, however, that during certain times of the year, the parking lot can get full. Do not risk stopping in the middle of traffic to get access to the sign. Similarly, don’t keep someone else from getting a parking space by taking too long to get your photo. Be courteous and follow the rules of the road when you stop over at the sign.
South of Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino; south of Russell Road.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Yes, you read that right! Take a stripper class while you’re visiting Vegas and you’ll feel like you’re a part of the night life scene—even if you aren’t quite the type! These adults-only classes are a great way to get a workout while soaking up some local flavor. For around $40 a person (depending on the date and time), you can join a group of fellow in-training strippers to learn how to lap dance, pole dance, and look sexy while doing both.
There are lots of stripper classes in Vegas, but I recommend Stripper 101 at Planet Hollywood. It’s easily one of the most popular of these venues and really affordable. You can spend about an hour and a half of your day getting your sexy on! Sorry, guys, it’s a women’s-only class.
My biggest tip for this class is to not be afraid! It can take a lot of guts to sign up for a stripper class, but even if you only plan to use your newfound skills on your romantic partner and never in front of a crowd, it can be so much fun to learn the basics!
V Theater at Planet Hollywood
3663 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Monday through Thursday, 3:00pm and 4:30pm classes
Friday, 1:30pm, 3:00pm, 4:30pm, and 6:00pm classes
Saturday, 10:30am, 12:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:00pm, 4:30pm, 6:00pm, and 7:30pm classes
You can bungee jump just about anywhere, but there is nothing quite like the incredible thrill of leaping from a building in the middle of a huge and bustling city in a controlled free-falling experience. The SkyJump Las Vegas is a great way to get an adrenaline rush! Riders can jump from the 108th floor of the Stratosphere tower, falling a total of 855 feet while attached to a zip line.
If you want to take the plunge, but you’re a little worried about not falling like you should, don’t worry. The jump is fitted with guiding wires that will keep you safely on track. You won’t be able to stray from your pre-determined falling path, and you will be safely and firmly attached to a zip line at all times.
This is the highest controlled jump in the world, so it is an absolute must-do if you have the nerve to try it! If you do, keep your eyes open, because the view as you are falling toward the strip is phenomenal. A note to potential jumpers: the weight limit for the SkyJump is 270 pounds, and it costs $12 per jump.
2000 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89104
Daily from 10:00am to 1:00am; Fridays open until 2:00am
Red Rock Canyon
Not everything worth spending time on in the Las Vegas area is on the strip. If you have a chance to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city proper for a day or a half-day trip, make the drive out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. It costs $7 per day to park at the Visitor Center (or $3 for a motorcycle), and there is no cost after that. It can be a great break from the strip to get out and enjoy nature for a little while, and well worth that parking fee.
Take a short browse through the Visitor Center and then head into the Conservation Area itself. There is a lot to see, and it can take a day or two to catch all the sights in Red Rock Canyon. Definitely keep your eyes peeled for the real dinosaur tracks that were found in the sandstone at this conservation site!
Red Rock Canyon also features several hiking trails at varying levels of difficulty. For the novice hiker, Moenkopi loop is an excellent place to start. The trail is a 2-mile round-trip and takes between an hour and two hours to complete and begins and ends at the visitor’s center. You can spot Triassic period fossils along the way.
25 miles west of the strip on SR 159
The visitor center is open every day except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, 8:00am to 4:30pm.
The scenic drive and hiking trails are generally available from sunrise to sunset, but check the web site for precise times.
Sapphire Comedy Hour
There are lots of burlesque shows to be found in Vegas, but the Sapphire Comedy Hour is one of the best alternative comedy shows around. Less than a mile off the main strip, the club is nevertheless more frequented by locals than tourists, which makes it a slightly less crowded alternative to some of the main strip shows. The show starts at 8:00pm and costs $20 per person, including a free shot.
The theme of the shows at Sapphire change nightly, so check out the web site if there’s a specific event you want to catch. The club offers a VIP package ensuring a bottle of an alcohol of your choice (from a select list) and a closer table, but I don’t recommend it. The $20 ticket is perfect for the show, and if you arrive an hour before it starts, you can get a good seat either way.
Remember that the Sapphire Comedy Hour is a burlesque show and is not for children. There is nudity, sexual content, and cursing in the show. A ticket to the show includes a cover charge for the Gentleman’s Club next door, so if time permits, pop in for a drink afterwards.
3025 Industrial Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Shows are at 8:00pm daily; doors open at 7:00pm
Remember that, when in Vegas, there is enough to do to fill up a week or more of your time easily. One of the best tips for making the most of your time in Sin City is to make sure you choose things you really want to do, and don’t rely on filling out your list with recommendations that may not suit you or the group you are traveling with. Don’t waste your time at a bar if you don’t drink! And don’t try to squeeze in a strip club if you’ve got a gaggle of kids along with you. There is something for everyone in Vegas, and you can always save a few must-see sights for your next trip!
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