Are you visiting Vegas for the first time and finding yourself overwhelmed by the sheer abundance of things to do?
I thought it would be fun to throw together a list of “must-do” activities that every first-timer to Vegas should consider. Tastes obviously vary wildly, use my list as a starting point as you plan your maiden voyage to Sin City!
First Time in Vegas Checklist
Visit Fremont Street at LEAST One Night
The Fremont Street Experience is a stark counterpoint to the Strip. Neon displays are alive and well, gaming limits are lower, and there is an assortment of entertainment options ranging from free concerts, street performers, and overhead light shows on the Viva Vision Canopy.
My favorite aspect of Fremont though is that the slots are usually a touch looser than they are on the Strip.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, check out the SlotZilla Zipline, which runs the length of Fremont Street and sends riders flying at heights of up to 11-stories.
Sign Up for a Player’s Card Upon Arrival
By using a player’s card you give the casinos an opportunity to rate your play resulting in potential freebies/discounted rooms in the future based on your play. In Vegas, you don’t have to be a high roller to earn perks.
See also: Earning comps in Las Vegas – A beginner’s guide!
Enjoy a Unique Cocktail!
There’s no shortage of drink options in Las Vegas which range from a simple bottle of beer to massive slushie concoctions that you need a shoulder strap to carry.
A few cocktails, however, stand out as a must for first-timers.
- Verbana Cocktail at Cosmopolitan: A citrus tequila drink garnished with a Szechuan flower or “buzz button” that, when consumed, acts as a fireworks show in your mouth throwing your taste buds into overdrive. Why simply get drunk when you can get drunk while enjoying a cocktail that is also an experience? Win-Win.
- Frozen Baileys at O’Shea’s: The consistency of a malt, but made with frozen Baileys Irish Creme. It’s cold. It’s refreshing. It’s delicious. It’s also the perfect cure for a hangover.
- A BIG drink: You’ll see ’em everywhere. Massive slushie drinks, some taller than a toddler. Here’s where to find big drinks in Vegas on the Strip and on Fremont Street.
Take Advantage of Free Activities
Several casinos still offer worthwhile no-cost attractions to draw the gaming public in. I’d recommend making time for the Bellagio Fountains and Conservatory, Mirage’s Volcano, Fremont Street Experience’s light show, the Pawn Stars pawn shop, strolling through Flamingo’s wildlife habitat, or just bouncing from property to property.
Here is a full breakdown of free things to do in Vegas that I put together – There’s a lot!
Build a Souvenir Photo Album
See the sights while building a photo album for the ages at the same time. I’ve compiled a rundown of the best photo spots in Las Vegas to aid in your quest for great pictures.
Of course, the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is on the list.
See a GREAT Show
The city of entertainment won’t leave you disappointed regardless of your tastes. Show options in Las Vegas range from acrobatic Cirque du Soleil shows, comedians, burlesque shows, and resident performers that include the likes of Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Adele, and Barry Manilow.
If you don’t mind waiting unitl the last minute to buy, discount show tickets can be purchased at the numerous Tix4Vegas locations up and down the Strip.
If you can only see one show while you’re in town, check out something by Cirque du Soleil. You can’t go wrong.
Visit the Neon Museum
If you have even the faintest interest in Las Vegas history, the Neon Museum is an attraction that will put a perma-smile on your face.
Historic neon signage from current casinos and properties of a bygone era are on display during the day, and come to life at night as part of the “Brilliant! Jackpot” display which uses projector technology to bring them back to life.
Eat at a Top-Tier buffet
Buffets are often thought of as being focused on quantity over quality at an attractive price point. High-end Vegas buffets, however, will blow the first-timer away.
The Buffets at Wynn, Caesars Palace, Cosmopolitan, and Bellagio delight guests with small portions of high quality and much fancier food options than are slung around at your local Old Country Buffet.
Check out my experience at Wynn’s Buffet, Bacchanal Buffet, The Buffet at Bellagio, and Wicked Spoon.
Happy Half Hour on High Roller
Few views in Las Vegas can match the High Roller, which is located mid-Strip and reaches heights of 550 feet.
I’d recommend you opt for the happy half-hour ticket which will give you access to an open bar for the duration of your 30-minute round trip.
From experience, you can fit a lot of rum and cokes into that time frame. See my full review of the High Roller Happy Half hour.
Find Cheap Drinks
Speaking of happy hours, let me help you find them – There’s no reason to pay $9 for a bottle of beer at the casino bar. Deals abound as long as you know where to look!
Check out our guides to happy hours on the Strip, and happy hour deals on Fremont Street.
Seek a Thrill
Believe it or not, options for entertainment in Vegas exist outside of gaming, shows, and chemical ingestion.
If adrenaline is what you seek, thrill rides in Vegas include the Big Apple Coaster at NYNY, jumping off Strat’s SkyPod (an 855 ft. free fall), 3 additional (and terrifying) thrill rides that sit atop Strat, and 2 unique zipline experiences.
Get a room with a view
When booking directly with resorts on the Strip, you will often have the option to pay a few more bucks to get a room with a Strip View. As a first-time visitor, you deserve to go to bed with and wake up to a view of Las Vegas.
Rooms with a view are typically a tad more expensive and are labeled on the booking website as “Strip View”, “Volcano view”, “Fountain view”, etc.
I recently compiled a list of hotels and rooms with a view of the Fountains of Bellagio – Check it out!
Take a Day Trip
Many overlook the numerous stunning outdoor attractions near Las Vegas. If you enjoy a scenic, challenging hike, I’d recommend making the drive out to either Red Rock Canyon or Valley of Fire State Park.
Both are unreal. Just click the link to see photos from my previous adventures.
Of course, the Hoover Dam is also a short drive from Las Vegas and is worthy of a visit. I recently took the Hoover Dam tour, and really enjoyed the experience.
Recently uncovered by the receding waters of Lake Mead is the St. Thomas Ghost town site, which is surreal to visit after spending decades under up to 70 feet of water.
What other advice would you have for someone’s first time in Vegas? What things to do in Las Vegas would you suggest for a first-timer?
See Also – Related Articles:
- Rookie mistakes in Las Vegas – Learn from my bad beats.
- Tips For Staying Save in Las Vegas – Don’t be a victim!
I’m a former software salesman turned Vegas aficionado. While the craps table is my preferred habitat, I pull myself away to explore new attractions, shows, restaurants, and outdoor activities around Las Vegas with the intent of sharing my experiences.
Ultimately, I just want to help folks plan a better trip and save a few bucks in the process.
Sunday 18th of August 2019
Red Rock Canyon and Hoover Dam.