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Checklist for Your First Time in Vegas

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Are you making your first trip to Las Vegas? Wondering what activities and attractions you need to add to your itinerary? We thought it would be fun to throw together a list of our “must-do” activities that every first-timer to Vegas should consider. Tastes obviously vary wildly, use our list as a starting point as you plan your maiden voyage to Sin City!

To our followers/subscribers that are savvy Sin City vets, feel free to add your “can’t miss” items for first-time Vegas visitors in the comments!

First Time in Vegas Checklist

Get to 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 (which is getting an upgrade as we type!). Our favorite aspect of Fremont though is that the slots are a touch looser than they are on the Strip.

Never enough neon.

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: Our beginners guide to earning comps!

Come armed with deals: Check out our compilation of current Groupon deals in Las Vegas good for discounts on drinks, activities, and more. In addition to savings, you’re almost sure to find items to add to your itinerary.

Enjoy drinks with a view: The lights of Vegas are intended to be seen, there is no better way to do it than at a bar allowing you to take in the entire city. Our favorite option for a cocktail with a view is at 107 SkyLounge at The Strat which is, you guessed it, 107 stories up. Better yet, visit during happy hour to score half-price drinks from 4-7 pm. After your drink, walk out to The Strat’s observation deck for free.

The Strat’s Skypod. Whether for the rides, happy hour, a meal or just to take in the view from the observation deck you wont be disappointed.

On the topic of cocktails – Get something unique: There are no shortage of drink options in Las Vegas which range from a simple beer to slushie drinks the height of a 7-year-old. Two cocktails though 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’Sheas: 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.

Take advantage of free activities: Several casinos still offer worthwhile no-cost attractions to draw the gaming public in. We recommend making time for the Bellagio Fountains and Conservatory, Mirage’s Volcano, Fremont Street Experience’s light show, the Pawn Stars pawn shop, taking a photo with Binion’s $1 Million cash display, strolling through Flamingo’s wildlife habitat, or just bouncing from property to property. Free attractions are a must do in Vegas for first timers.

Bellagio’s conservatory, hotel lobby art and fountains are a must for first timers.

See a show: The city of entertainment won’t leave you disappointed regardless of your tastes. Options range from acrobatic Cirque du Soleil shows, comedians, and top-tier singing talent to include Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, and Janet Jackson. Oftentimes, discount show tickets can be purchased at the numerous Tix4Tonite locations up and down the Strip.

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 long gone are on display during the day, and come to life at night as part of the Brilliant display which uses projectors to bring the signs back from the dead.

Credit: Mark Damon/Las Vegas News Bureau

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. Offerings at Wynn, Caesars, Cosmopolitan, Aria and even M Resort off the strip delight guests with small portions of high quality and much fancier food options than are slung around at your local Old Country Buffet.

Wicked Spoon at Cosmo – Located center Strip. Your view of buffets will be forever changed.

See Also: We compare and contrast Cosmopolitan’s Wicked Spoon vs. Caesars Palace Bacchanal Buffets.

Happy Half Hour on High Roller: There is no better way to take in Vegas for the first time than in the middle of the Strip from 550 ft. in the air. Opt for the happy half-hour ticket, a touch more expensive, but you’ll have 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.

Bring plenty of tip cash if partaking in an open bar experience. The bartenders are lightning fast and earn every penny.

Find Cheap Drinks: Speaking of happy hours, let us help you find them! First-timers in Vegas are more likely to fork over $8 for a casino bar beer without realizing there are better deals nearby. Check out our rundowns of happy hours on the Strip, and happy hour deals on Fremont Street to guide your consumption.

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, options exist to include the Big Apple Coaster at NYNY, jumping off Strat’s SkyPod is a 855 ft. free fall, 3 additional (and terrifying) thrill rides that sit atop Strat, and 3 separate zip line 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 wake up to a stunning view of the city as opposed to an air conditioning unit on the roof.

What other advice would you have for someone’s first time in Vegas? Add your first time in Vegas checklist item in the comments below!

See Also: Las Vegas rookie mistakes to avoid! Learn from our bad beats.

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