Going on your first Las Vegas trip? Here’s a quick guide on what you need to know before you get here!
Las Vegas is a city in the state of Nevada in the United States of America.
People call it Vegas for short.
When people say they’re going to “Las Vegas” or “Vegas” they’re mostly talking about the Las Vegas Strip.
The Las Vegas Strip is a section of South Las Vegas Boulevard lined with casinos, restaurants, shopping & entertainment spots.
What’s Las Vegas known for?
Las Vegas is mostly known as a gambling and “party” destination.
If you’re not into that, you’ll still have fun on your Las Vegas trip. For example, you can:
- Watch shows & concerts from the biggest artists in the entertainment industry like Lady Gaga
- Dine at restaurants from the most popular chefs in the world
- Shop affordable and luxury brands you can’t find at your local mall
- Have a relaxing time at the pool or spa
- Take tours of nearby state and national parks, such as the Grand Canyon
Vegas is also known for its luxury experiences, but you’ll still find plenty of things to do if you’re on a budget.
What’s the best time to go to Las Vegas?
The best time to go to Las Vegas is during the spring (March, April & May) or fall seasons. During spring, you’ll avoid extreme highs of 100°F (37.8°C) and above in the summer and lows of 30°F (-1.1°C) in the winter.
It may be a little chilly at the beginning of March, but it will gradually get warmer as spring progresses. During spring, the pools and day clubs start to open.
Another ideal time for a Las Vegas trip is during the fall (September, October & November). The weather is also moderate. One downside is that the pools and day clubs might be closed. Make sure you verify with the hotel if their pools are open before you book your rooms!
Lastly, school and colleges resume in the fall if you want a more “adult” vacation.
What should I pack?
Don’t just pack dresses or shorts! Check the weather forecast before your flight: you might need to pack pants or a warm jacket depending on the season.
For a more detailed list on what to pack for your Vegas trip, read our packing guide here.
Where should I stay?
If this is your first Las Vegas trip, definitely stay on The Strip.
If you’re staying downtown or at an off-strip hotel like Palms, you’ll have to drive or take a cab every time you want to go on The Strip. Consider the cost of staying on The Strip vs. Off-Strip with a rental car and cab fees.
You can stay in the south end of The Strip by MGM Grand, the middle of The Strip by The Bellagio, or the north end of The Strip by Wynn.
I’ve noticed that families with children are more concentrated on the south end of The Strip. There you’ll find the affordable Luxor, Excalibur, and New York-New York hotel-casinos. There are more family-friendly attractions here compared to the other areas of The Strip.
Staying in the middle of The Strip (The Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas, Caesar’s Palace, Flamingo) will make a good starting point no matter what your plans are since it’s in the middle of everything.
The north end of The Strip you’ll find high end hotel-casinos like Wynn, Encore, and Palazzo if you want a glamorous experience.
Walking the Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is pedestrian-friendly. You can get to most places on The Strip just by walking.
Should I rent a car in Las Vegas?
You’re probably wondering if you should rent a car during your Las Vegas trip. If you’re mostly going to stay and hang out on The Strip, you don’t need to rent a car.
You’ll have added problems like driving through traffic, paying for parking by the hour, and fighting for a parking spot.
However, you should probably rent a car in Las Vegas if you’re:
- Staying in a hotel in the suburbs
- You’re mostly going to hang out away from The Strip
- You want to visit Red Rock Canyon or The Grand Canyon and it’s cheaper to drive there with your family than pay for each individual in a tour
If you’re staying in a hotel that’s not on The Strip, consider the cost of renting a car per day versus taking a cab or a ride-share service like Lyft or Uber back and forth to your hotel.
You can use tools like Lyft’s fare estimate to see how much a ride would cost from your hotel to your destination.
Parking & valet fees
Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay for parking for most Las Vegas hotel-casinos.
For MGM Resorts (Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay) parking fees, go to their website for current parking & valet fees.
For Caesars Entertainment (Caesar’s Palace, Flamingo, Paris) parking & valet fees, click here for their official website.
Getting around Las Vegas
If it’s too hot outside, or you just need a break from walking, we have plenty of options to get around during your Las Vegas trip:
Taxi or ride-share service (Uber or Lyft): Note that you can’t just hail a cab anywhere on The Strip. They can only pick you up on designated areas, which is usually by casino entrances.
Free tram: There’s a free tram that stops at Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, Aria, Park MGM, and The Bellagio.
Bus: You can take the Deuce or SDX bus to multiple stops along The Strip, Fremont Street, and Las Vegas Convention Center. You can buy a 24-hour unlimited bus pass for $8 and a three day pass for $20. For more information about bus routes & fares, go to RTC’s website here. A bus arrives every 15 minutes during the day or 20 minutes after 2 AM (for the Deuce bus).
Las Vegas monorail: The Las Vegas monorail is a train you can take to get around The Strip and the Convention Center. They have stops at: SLS, Westgate, Convention Center, Harrah’s/LINQ, Flamingo, Bally’s/Paris, and MGM Grand. A train arrives every 4 to 8 minutes, according to their website. You can buy a one-way ticket for $5, or a 24-hour pass for $13.
How old do I have to be to…
Even though Vegas is a party town, age minimums here are strictly adhered to. My husband got carded by security while waiting for me in front of the restrooms (we look young for our age).
Always have a form of identification with you like your driver’s license or passport. If you forget your I.D., security won’t let you in the club just because your friends are inside, too. Lastly, be aware of the current laws since it can change at anytime.
Gamble: 21 years old
Drink alcohol: 21 years old
Buy cigarettes or e-cigarettes: 18 years old
Enter a cannabis dispensary: 21 years old
Enter a nightclub or a bar: 21 years old
Travelers of all budgets and interests can create their ideal trip here in Las Vegas.
The most important thing is research the places you want to go before your trip so you don’t get overwhelmed when you get here!