Choosing the best hotel is your first step.
The Las Vegas Strip is America’s favorite adult theme park, jam-packed with sights (from the sublime to, yes, the very ridiculous) and more fine dining restaurants than you can possibly visit in a single trip. You can choose to spend your entire time on the resort corridor of Las Vegas Blvd. (most well known as “the Strip”) or use the destination as an easy jumping-off point for day trips to the Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire, or nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
One thing to keep in mind: While hotels in other tourism-heavy cities serve the destination, in Las Vegas, they are the destination—and they’re open 24/7. Many Vegas regulars check into their favorite resort and never step out the door until it’s time to fly home. Don’t get us wrong: there are many reasons to go hotel hopping and day tripping and lots of ways to get there—ride share, the Las Vegas Monorail, any kind of limo you can imagine, taxis, and hotel transportation are all plentiful.
No matter which adventure you choose, here are some of our favorite things to do, places to dine, and resorts to stay at.
Where to stay
One of the benefits of traveling to a city where roughly 160,000 hotel rooms are vying for your tourism dollars is that they are constantly revamping. Nine-figure renovations are the norm, so you can look forward to some of the loveliest rooms in the world. The most beautiful and thoughtfully designed rooms can be found at the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, where every room category features comforting creamy neutrals, custom furniture, and commissioned Cubist-inspired artwork. If you’re looking for old-school, Vegas-style glamour, Bellagio still has it. The resort was inspired by Lake Como, with nine acres of fountains that shoot 460 feet high, choreographed to the likes of Lady Gaga and Frank Sinatra. Bellagio is rightfully famous for its seasonally changing Bellagio Conservatory, but the resort also added a hidden lounge, The Vault, which serves virtually extinct spirits sourced from private collections.
All themed resorts on the Strip are the legacy of the original: Caesars Palace, a six-tower Roman-themed resort on 85 acres. Something is always opening or revamping here, like the Peter Luger Steak House (an ode to the original in Brooklyn, New York). The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is still considered the cool, younger-skewing answer to Strip luxury. This hotel started the Strip’s fascination with all things secret with its aptly-named Secret Pizza and has only added more fun options. For instance, you can schedule an old-school shave and haircut at The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails, a lounge behind a janitor’s closet that also happens to have a great whiskey collection. Or find the Ski Lodge at Superfrico, a bar inspired by ski chalets in Hokkaido, Japan, which you just happen to enter through a zany Italian American joint.
Plenty of people come to Las Vegas for a romantic getaway and don’t want to walk through a crowded casino floor to get there. For those travelers, there’s the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas. Don’t miss high tea off the 23rd-floor sky lobby, with its 17-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows with a commanding view of the city. One of our favorite features: the Waldorf’s pool is completely private, opening off the hotel’s intimate spa—the perfect place to relax without a drunk bachelor party falling into your cabana.
Where to eat
The culinary landscape of Las Vegas has evolved from 50-cent shrimp cocktails and chuckwagon buffets—long ago loss leaders to lure gamblers—to some of the most elevated dining spots in the world. But fear not, nostalgia seekers: there’s always Bacchanal Buffet in Caesars Palace. The 25,000-square-foot room serves 600 people at a time, and its international cuisines snake through the room, spanning whole suckling pig to dim sum and tacos to Pacific geoduck. If you’ve given up on walking, tableside carts come by with desserts.
One of the toughest tables to get in Las Vegas is Delilah, a supper club-style restaurant that hearkens back to Havana’s Tropicana Club in the ‘50s. Wynn Las Vegas and the h.wood Group took the latter’s winning West Hollywood celeb magnet and put it on steroids (think 40-foot-high cast brass palm trees). Favorite dishes from the original Delilah in L.A. are here, like the famous chicken tenders, carrot souffle, and “Grandma’s Gooey Butter Cake.” If you want a truly magical scene, check out the outdoor patio. Glowing lanterns bob in a moonlit sky—it’s one of the most romantic places in Vegas, period.
Mott 32 in the Venetian Resort Las Vegas, named after the convenience store in New York City’s Chinatown, has come a long way—even from its predecessors in Hong Kong and Vancouver. You must order the applewood-smoked Peking Duck, which takes 48 hours to prepare and for which this restaurant is justifiably famous. Cantonese, Szechuan, and Beijing-style cuisine are all represented, and don’t miss the table made of a vintage roulette wheel. At the NoMad Library Restaurant, you’ll find 23-foot-high floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with 25,000 books. The culinary star of the show is the famous roast chicken stuffed with foie gras and black truffle. But there are a few winks and nods to Vegas, too, like marble busts of notorious 19th-century female gamblers and swindlers.
The late, great Gault Millau Chef of the Century Joel Robuchon’s namesake restaurant in the Mansion at MGM is timeless, indulgent, and, for many people, a near-holy expedition. Royal purple velvet chairs and walls, gilded fixtures, and checkerboard floors create an Art Deco-inspired salon. The three-Michelin-starred restaurant is famous for its multi-course degustation menu—you can order as many as 18 courses, not including the fresh bread, cheese course, and mignardises.
What to do
The Art Nouveau-style Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is one of the most famous sights in Las Vegas, and it’s free. The open atrium’s seasonal displays are cared for by over 100 horticulturalists, designers, and engineers who come up with a theme for four seasons and the Chinese New Year, never once repeating a component. Few people know about the city’s incredible art scene. Wander the 67-acre CityCenter campus to see 15 public works by artists such as Nancy Rubin, Claes Oldernburg, and Coosje van Bruggen. Inside The Shops at Crystals, CityCenter's high-end mall, light artist James Turrell has installed Shards of Color—four recessed geometric shapes lit in neon. And we can’t overlook the skyline’s most recent architectural wonder: The Sphere, which opened in late 2023. The massive dome stands nearly 350 feet tall, and its “exosphere” is a video screen that shows images in 16K resolution. We recommend going inside and experiencing the immersive Postcard from Earth movie by Darron Aronofsky.
The founding fathers of Las Vegas weren’t so much Mount Rushmore-worthy as they were organized criminals and the law enforcement agents that chased them. You can learn about them all at the Mob Museum in Downtown Vegas, which was created in the actual federal courthouse where many mobsters were tried. Don’t miss the portion of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Wall, whose bloodied bricks were transported here from Chicago. Don’t miss the museum’s speakeasy—try some of the moonshine from its on-premises still. From here, you can walk (or ride share) to the Neon Museum, which is just a half mile away and contains the many retired neon signs of the city’s hotels from as far back as the 1930s in its Neon Boneyard.
Paradoxically, Las Vegas has become more and more of a draw for nature lovers, bikers, and rock climbers (even Alex Honnold, the first to free solo a route in Yosemite’s El Capitan, lives here for the rock climbing). The most famous area for this is the nearly 200,000-acre Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, where the non-hiking-inclined can drive the easy 12-mile loop, and hikers can pick one of the many marked trails of every level to see spectacular views and pictographs from Indigenous communities dating back thousands of years. The drive there is an easy 20-mile shot west from the Strip, making it a perfect day trip.
Make time for some of the city’s classic sights, like the solar-powered Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Fun fact: Betty Willis, who designed the sign that was placed there in 1959, gave her design to the city as a gift. There’s no copyright, so anyone can reproduce it for any reason—which is why its image is omnipresent. Make your way to the High Roller, which was the highest observation wheel in the world when it was finished in 2014. Its slow-moving, fully enclosed glass cabins fit 25 people, and this being Vegas, you can book one with an open bar. You’ll travel up to 550 feet in the air for an incredible view of the entire Las Vegas Valley.
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