Bright lights, rows of endless slot machines and err, wedding chapels? The list of what makes Las Vegas (im)famous goes on. With such a reputation, it was hard to plan a 4 days in Las Vegas itinerary (if I should have planned it at all). But taking it on as newbies, here’s what we got up to when visiting Las Vegas.
Flying in from the UK, we essentially travelled back in time and didn’t arrive feeling too fresh. So for our first day in Vegas we decided to ease ourselves in gently. We dropped our bags at our hotel and strolled down the Las Vegas Strip and watched the Bellagio Fountain Show (and wow, what an introduction to this place). Fountain shows here are every half an hour, after 3pm, and play a different song each time. We got lucky with the classic Viva Las Vegas by the king himself.
We were still feeling pretty jet-lagged, so we headed inside the Bellagio for their soothing Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. It was Chinese New Year when we were there, so this was the current theme. However, like the fountains outside, they like mix it up fairly often.
Wandering around a bit more of the strip, but still feeling as though we were in a different timezone, we headed back towards our hotel. We ate at the Burger Bar in Mandalay Bay, which was pretty average, before hitting the hay quite early (around 7/8pm).
Adjusting to Vegas time (sort of), our second day was all about exploring ‘Old Vegas’. Freemont Street was the hotspot back in the town’s humble beginnings before the strip was even built. We found vintage casinos here like the Golden Nugget (where the second-largest golden nugget in the world can be seen and a stunning shark tank) and El Cortez (Las Vegas’s oldest casino).
Nowadays, there’s more going on here than just gambling. We zipped over Freemont Street on the 11-storey Slotzilla zipwire and took the short walk over to the Neon Boneyard (an exhibition of old, but iconic, neon signs from Las Vegas’s history).
Unfortunately, we missed out on eating at the Heart Attack Grill, visiting the Mob Museum and Viva Vision light show. But we’d felt like we spent enough time here, so we once again headed back towards the strip and had dinner in Top Golf Las Vegas. (Even if you can’t swing a club, this place is worth a visit if only for the views!)
On the next day our point of call was the Stratosphere. Not just a casino, it stands over 100 floors tall and has thrill rides at the top of it. We rode on Insanity, which spun us over the towers edge with just a lap belt for comfort. Seriously, it was intense – even for a thrill seeker like me. The other perk to visiting the Stratosphere is the incredible panoramic views. They were unmissable!
Returning to ground level we walked over to check out the Circus Circus casino nearby. The casino itself is a bit bedraggled, however I wanted to check out its Adventuredome. An indoor amusement park, containing 2 rollercoasters, all under a dome of pink glass. It sounded better in the Lonely Planet than it was in reality. Still, it was interesting to see how quickly Vegas can change.
The last day in our 4 days in Las Vegas itinerary! You’re not really doing right if you don’t go on one of the day trips from Las Vegas (which is weird logic). But with helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon and coach trips to the Hoover Dam, it would be ridiculous not to, surely? Sadly we couldn’t afford the helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, so we went on a half day trip to the Hoover Dam and didn’t regret a thing. Finding out more about this remarkable feat of engineering and the local history became a highlight of the trip. The tour also included a stop off to see the Las Vegas sign on the edge of town too.
When we got back to the strip it was time to get ready for the show! We’d book tickets in advance to see Lady GaGa at the Park Theater, on her Enigma tour. So it’s worth checking who might be playing a few months before you arrive. Otherwise, any Las Vegas show is unmissable and Cirque du Soleil, The Blue Man Group and Criss Angel all receive glowing reviews.
Lady GaGa gave a perfect performance to end our last night in Vegas, before we had to catch our flight to New York the next morning. But don’t worry, Las Vegas doesn’t end when you get to the airport, as there are rows of slot machines everywhere here too! I got my last bit of luck and won $50 here, what a way to bid farewell to Las Vegas…