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According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 74% of 2018 visitors gambled while in Vegas. After all, Vegas is the gambling Mecca of the United States. Most visitors though have an interest in putting together a Vegas itinerary that includes non-gambling activities as well. For first timers, building the perfect 1, 2, or 3 day Las Vegas itinerary can be a daunting task as there are SO many dining and entertainment options competing for your time.
Besides gambling (which is a given), what are some ideas for things to do in Vegas? What attractions and dining options should you prioritize while in town? We’ll share the activities and food options, in one day increments, that we think will help you make the most of your time!
Obviously, pick and choose items from our daily itineraries that make sense for you whether you are in Vegas for 24, 48, or 72 hours. Hopefully we’ll help you discover some items to add to your Vegas “to do” list that wasn’t there before!
Day 1 in Las Vegas
Breakfast at Peppermill: It’s vintage Vegas and the perfect way to set a base for the alcohol consumption that is about to transpire. Peppermill is known for its 70’s neon decor and generous portions. Enjoy an omelette or a waffle stacked with a mountain of fruit. You may need to plan a ride, as Peppermill is located at the north end of the Strip near Circus Circus but it’s the perfect way to kick off your Vegas itinerary.
Experience Free Sights on the Strip: If you are new to Vegas, there are plenty of free things to see and do that are worth the time investment. Check out the Fountains at Bellagio which are choreographed to a number of musical selections and the conservatory, also at Bellagio, which is a seasonal display made up of millions of flowers. In the evening, the Mirage volcano is an impressive sight.
Happy Half Hour on the High Roller Observation Wheel: Alright, you’ve had a big breakfast and checked out some free attractions. It’s time to start drinking. Some of the most memorable drinks you’ll have are on the HIgh Roller Observation Wheel which stands at 550ft tall. Typically, a ride costs $22 (day) and $32 (night), however, for an additional $13 (day) or $18 (night) your pod will have an open bar allowing you to drink as much as you can in 30 minutes. Trust us, you’ll get your money’s worth.
We recommend ordering tickets online in advance to skip the line to purchase at the High Roller. Tickets can also be purchased in advance from Vegas.com where they are often a few dollars cheaper.
Dinner Downtown at Triple George Grill: While everyone else is flocking to Hell’s Kitchen or Giada, you’re going to save a few bucks and have a great meal at Triple George at Downtown Grand right off Fremont Street. My go to menu items include the $48 16 oz Ribeye and $52 10 oz filet, while my wife typically opts for the $26 Spicy Linguine which is comprised of scallops, shrimp and creole cream sauce.
Brilliant at Neon Museum: After dinner, grab a quick Uber to the Neon Museum for their evening “Brilliant” display. If you are unfamiliar, the Neon Museum is an outdoor display of vintage neon signs from historic casino properties and is worth the trip day or night. At night though, projector technology is used to bring the signs back to life and it is spectacular. A perfect couples activity that even a non-history buff can enjoy.
Enjoy the Fremont Street Experience and Party the night away: After Brilliant, make your way back to Fremont Street to enjoy free live music on the street, drink, and take advantage of lower gaming limits and better game odds than casinos offer on the Strip. Fremont Street is an experience that cannot be missed.
Day 2 in Las Vegas
Brunch with bottomless mimosas and bloodies: We get it, you followed our advice and hit Fremont Street WAY too hard last night. You slept in a bit but are still hurting. Beat that hangover down with one of numerous all you can drink mimosa/bloody mary brunch deals up and down the Strip. We put together a comprehensive list of all you can drink brunch deals here!
Grab a signature cocktail on the Strip: You can get a drink anywhere in Vegas. Bars are numerous. But only a few sling drinks that are unique to the destination. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Verbena Cocktail at Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar: A lemon flavored cocktail topped with a Verbena flower which, when eaten before consuming the drink, provides a tingling sensation and an elevation of taste abilities.
- Frozen Baileys at O’Sheas: Think a malt or smoothie made of Baileys Irish Creme. The least pretentious of our favorite Vegas cocktails, this option is served up in a plastic cup and hits the spot on a hot day.
- Pisterolo at Ghost Donkey: While you are at Cosmopolitan, seek out this hidden speakeasy in the back of the Block 16 food court. We love the Pistorolo, a spicy, yet sweet drink concocted with tequila, pineapple juice, lime, roasted poblano, and ancho verde.
Find the hidden Secret Pizza at Cosmo: When in Vegas, you will be dominated by marketing. Billboards and ads are everywhere. Secret Pizza, or as it is officially namd “The Pizzaria” at Cosmopolitan doesn’t even advertise their existence to passers by, instead, relying on word of mouth to drive traffic. Hidden at the end of a record lined hallway on the 3rd floor of the property, Secret Pizza is one of our favorite slices in all of Vegas. You can find more specific directions to find Secret Pizza here.
See Absinthe at Caesars Palace: Of the million shows in Las Vegas, Absinthe at Caesars Palace is the best. Period. Well, if you like raunchy, wildly inappropriate humor that is… If that type of show isn’t up your alley then you’ll hate the show and should ignore this advice and see Love, a Beatles themed acrobatic Cirque Show at Mirage. Very tame, and your feelings will not be hurt.
But back to Absinthe – In addition to unparalleled humor, you’ll see various acrobatic and circus type acts that defy reality. Since the Venue is small, tickets can sell out quick. We recommend buying in advance from a 3rd party like vegas.com for a couple reasons. 1. You’ll likely save some money, and 2. In exchange for that savings, your tickets will be away from the front row, ensuring you don’t draw the attention (and scorn) of the host. Since the venue is small, you’ll still have a great view. Front row, “pick on me” views can be snagged on Ticketmaster.
Day 3 in Las Vegas
Breakfast at Hash House a Go Go: Admittedly, when it comes to breakfast spots, Peppermill (suggested for Day 1) is better, but many visitors swear by Hash House. That loyalty is primarily due to massive serving sizes that are certainly Instagram worthy. Locations can be found both at Linq on the Strip and Plaza Downtown.
Play slots or Video Poker that take and dispense real coins: The timer on this is running out folks. On the Strip, only Circus Circus offers token slot machines (about 25) and downtown, coin slot machines can still be found at El Cortez although a number of additional casinos still offer quarter video poker. We estimate that coin operated machines will continue to fade away and soon every machine in Vegas will be coinless. Here is a full rundown of where you can still play coin slots/VP in Vegas.
Visit the Skypod at Strat: There are 2 distinct ways to experience Strat’s Skypod, and both are awesome:
- Pay $20 for observation deck access with the option of buying ride tickets which are over 1,100 feet from the ground. Adding one ride costs $9 and each additional is $5. Of the 3 rides, two dangle visitors off the edge of the tower while the last shoots you 160 ft straight up at a speed of 45 miles per hour. While not particularly a ride person, I have found the options on top of Strat to be more thrilling from a heights perspective than physically demanding.
- Hit our favorite happy hour in Las Vegas at 107 SkyLounge which runs from 4-7pm daily and offers half price drinks and apps. If going to the bar, you can skip buying a observation deck ticket and instead check in at the 107 SkyLounge desk. They will take you to the free elevator up. After your drink(s), you’re able to walk out and access the observation deck for free ($20 value).
Dinner at a top tier buffet: There are a number of premier buffet options along the Las Vegas Strip. Whether you stop at Wynn, Aria, or Caesars, you will have a great experience. Our favorite option though is Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan. Wicked Spoon serves high end, single serving cuisine options (no troughs of food) that are focused on quality over sheer quantity. Items like Angry Mac and Cheese, Shrip & Grits with Bacon, Chives and “Beer Blanc”, and Crispy Pork Poutine with Cheese Sauce will delight. Of course, Wicked also has traditional meat and seafood options. Even if buffets are not traditionally your thing, this one will be.
Karaoke at Ellis Island: Ellis is set 2 blocks off the Strip, right behind Bally’s. It’s a small casino and brewery with low limits, great food, and performers scattered across the talent spectrum attempting to sing in front of strangers. Karaoke fires up at 9pm and can be a blast to watch. If it’s not your thing, you should still go for the cheap gaming and $2.50 tall craft beers brewed on site.
In addition to the items mentioned, we recommend squeezing plenty of pool time, gaming, and drinks along the way into your ideal Vegas itinerary. After all, kicking back and forgetting about the world you left behind is what this city is all about!