1-day Itinerary in Las Vegas
Explore the best things to do in Paris in 1 day based on recommendations from local experts.
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Once you pass the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign along Las Vegas Boulevard South, it won't be too long until you're cruising the Strip. Sin City's notorious artery acts as the epicenter of any Vegas getaway. Here you'll find Las Vegas' most iconic landmarks, including the Bellagio Fountains, the Eiffel Tower at Paris, Las Vegas, the pyramid and sphinx belonging to The Luxor and The Venetian's Grand Canal.
The "Strip" technically runs from Mandalay Bay on the south end (home to an aquarium and a man-made beach) to the Stratosphere casino on the north end, where you'll find the tallest free-standing observation tower in the country (this is where you'll go for the perfect Vegas photo).
If you have the stamina, you can explore the Strip on foot – just make sure to wear comfortable shoes. Alternatively, the Deuce bus offers rides 24/7 from the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Vegas all the way to the southern end of Las Vegas Boulevard. The Monorail is another option, which travels from the MGM Grand and Sahara Avenue. You can also book a variety of guided tours, from helicopter rides to bar crawls. Prices vary by tour type, so visit the Las Vegas Tourism Board's website for more information.
Travelers say it's best to visit the Strip at night to see all the casinos and attractions light up in the desert. You can wander the Strip any time of day or night, but note that individual businesses feature their own operating hours. Be mindful of your surroundings (and your wallet) after dark – the last thing you want is to lose your winnings to a pickpocket. For recommendations on where to stay along the Strip, check out our list of the Best Hotels in Las Vegas.5-25 minute walk; 5-10 minutes by car
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This Strip staple offers plenty of ways to lay your money on the line, from table games and slot machines to a race and sports book. This is also the choice casino among many high-rollers due to its high-stakes tables. What's more, this casino hosts the World Poker Tour, among other tournaments.
But there's more to the Bellagio than the casino floor. Even those who don't gamble praise the Bellagio for its upscale atmosphere and variety of amenities and attractions.
Anyone who's seen a movie set in Vegas will recognize the Bellagio's massive fountains: Every 15 to 30 minutes, those walking past the Bellagio are treated to a complimentary light and water show with the fountain's jets shooting water into the air during intricately choreographed "dances."
You'll also find a fine art gallery as well as botanical gardens within the Bellagio – not to mention a luxury hotel, several restaurants, Cirque du Soleil's "O" show, a spa and numerous nightlife venues.
You don't have to pay to walk around the Bellagio or to enjoy its fountain show, but you'll need some cash for the restaurants, bars and shops. The Bellagio is open to visitors 24 hours a day. To learn more, visit the Bellagio's website.5-10 minute walk
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A staple of the Vegas Strip, Caesars Palace has been welcoming visitors to Sin City since the 1960s. Since then, it has made an appearance in such popular films as "Rain Man," "Showgirls," "Iron Man" and "The Hangover." Those who choose to gamble at Caesars will find themselves in ancient Rome, with massive columns and frescoes paying tribute to the casino's namesake. Those who prefer to use their money in other ways can make their way to The Forum Shops - home to about 160 specialty stores, the newly revamped Fall of Atlantis animatronic show and a 50,000-gallon aquarium.
You'll also find one of Sin City's most famous nightclubs. Formerly PURE, Omnia nightclub underwent extensive renovations before debuting in 2015. The club houses multiple dance floors and lounges with frequent celebrity hosts and popular DJs throughout the year. Plus, the venue's rooftop offers unparalleled views of the Strip. Recent travelers noted that it's one of the most upscale clubs on the Strip, so expect to pay steep cover and drink prices.
You can explore Caesars Palace and The Forum Shops for free, but other attractions within the complex may charge admission. To learn more about entertainment and activities here, visit the Caesars Palace website; to learn more about staying here, check out our Caesars Palace Hotel review.15 minute walk; 5 minutes by car
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Why spend the money to cross the Atlantic when you can get a decent taste of Italy right in Vegas? Nestled along the Strip, The Venetian replicates the highlights of Venice, complete with gondola rides along the Grand Canal. Visitors can get a taste of what life is like in the Queen of the Adriatic thanks to The Venetian's Streetmosphere program: singers, stilt walkers and "living statues" recreate the typical scene you'd likely encounter in the real Venice for those who opt to spend the day perusing the wares in the Grand Canal Shoppes.
For $29 per person, you can take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal anytime between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; on Friday and Saturday, gondola rides are offered until midnight. Some recent visitors said they found the rides to be overpriced, but said the atmosphere was romantic.
If you'd rather spend your money on chance, recent visitors said that The Venetian's casino is one of the best on the Strip thanks to its size, decor and its variety of games (including poker, slots and blackjack). You'll also find a brand of Madame Tussauds wax museum, a Canyon Ranch Spa, 10 pools, the TAO nightclub and several shows ranging from comedy and theater.
As far as dining goes, you shouldn't be surprised to know that you'll have access to gourmet Italian eats here, not to mention a long list of restaurants serving everything from burgers to noodles.
The Venetian sits across the street from The Mirage in the central of the Strip. You won't have to pay to go in and walk around, but the on-site attractions will cost you. To learn more about The Venetian and the Grand Canal, visit the hotel and casino's website. If you're thinking of staying in The Venetian's hotel, you can learn about that experience here.10-15 minutes by car
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Back in the day, not even Vegas' neon lights could distract Americans from Sin City's darker side; today, The Mob Museum sheds light on the city's pervasiveness in the 20th century gangster era. Las Vegas' former federal courthouse – located in the downtown area a few blocks northeast of the Fremont Street Experience – now houses distinct interactive exhibits devoted to exposing America's mob history.
Visitors to the museum will learn about such notorious gangsters as Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel and John Gotti and the dedicated G-men and FBI agents, like J. Edgar Hoover, Eliot Ness and Harry Anslinger, who worked to quell crime across the country. The Mob Museum walks travelers through a detailed history of mob activity in the U.S. and around the world, from the rise of organized crime families to the intricate gambling scams still perpetrated today. Recent visitors said they found the staff to be extremely knowledgeable and the exhibits to be in-depth and well curated.
The Mob Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas). General admission is $23.95 for adults (save a few bucks by buying online in advance), $13.95 for children ages 11 to 17 and children 10 and younger can enter free of charge. Guided tours are available for an additional $10 and last about 90 minutes; audio tours are also for an additional $4. Combine a trip to the Mob Museum with a visit to the Neon Museum for $32.00. To learn more, check out the Mob Museum's website.5 minute walk
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Fremont Street used to be dominated by classic but less-frequented casinos that seemed past their prime. But now, this section of downtown Las Vegas is once again ready to compete with the Strip for visitors' attention.
Occupying several blocks of Fremont Street near the Mob Museum, the Fremont Street Experience includes the immense Viva Vision light show with 12.5 million LED lamps and a 550,000-watt sound system. The area also has several other distractions, such as food stands, souvenir shops and the SlotZilla zip line that sits 10 stories above the pedestrian walkway.
Most travelers were very impressed by the overhead light show, though some say the overall atmosphere here can be a bit unnerving, especially at night.
The six-minute light show occurs every hour between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m. while the zip line operates from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday (open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday). You can visit the Fremont Street experience at any time of day or night, although be sure to keep your wits about you after dark. Admission to the area is free, though some of the attractions located under the Viva Vision canopy will cost extra. To learn more, visit the Fremont Street Experience's website.10-20 minutes by car
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Las Vegas knows how to go big – especially when it comes to entertainment. So it should come as no surprise that a performance company like Cirque du Soleil thrives here. Translating to "Circus of the Sun," Cirque du Soleil is known for its incredible acrobatic feats, which are performed with an unrivaled level of artistry.
Cirque du Soleil's performances are inspired by a variety of natural and cultural elements. For example, the "LOVE" show (performed at The Mirage) pays tribute to the legendary rock band, the Beatles; meanwhile "O" (which can be seen at the Bellagio) has water playing a crucial role in the performance. Other Cirque du Soleil performances around town include "Michael Jackson ONE" at Mandalay Bay, "Mystère" at Treasure Island, "Zumanity" at New York-New York, "Criss Angel MINDFREAK LIVE!" at the Luxor and "KÀ" at the MGM Grand.
A Cirque du Soleil performance is something that can be enjoyed by viewers of all ages. Tickets can be pretty expensive, but travelers say a good seat is worth the price. Prices and showtimes vary by date, performance and venue. To learn more about the shows in Las Vegas, visit the Cirque du Soleil website.
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