First Las Vegas Trip: What You Need To Know

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The Las Vegas Strip | First Time To Vegas: What You Need To Know
The Las Vegas Strip: Paris Casino & Hotel on the left, The Cosmopolitan on the right

Going on your first Las Vegas trip? Here’s a quick guide on what you need to know before you get here!

Las Vegas

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 (see blue line on the map below).

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 for gambling and being a “party” destination.

If you’re not into that, you’ll still have fun in your Las Vegas trip. For example, you can:

  • Watch shows & concerts from different artists like Cirque du Soleil or Lady Gaga, all in one place
  • 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). 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 the pools and day clubs might be closed.

Travel tip: Verify with the hotel if their pools are open when you visit before you book your rooms.

One thing to consider is that school resumes 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 at a hotel on The Strip (see blue line on the map above) for convenience.

If you’re staying downtown or at an off-strip hotel like Palms, you will have to drive or take a cab every time you want to go to The Strip.

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.

Staying in the middle of The Strip (The Cosmopolitan, Planet Hollywood, The Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s, Caesar’s Palace, Cromwell, Flamingo, etc.) will make a good starting point no matter where you walk to on the Las Vegas Strip.

Walking the Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas Strip is pedestrian friendly. You can get to most places on The Strip just by walking.

You can walk from Mandalay Bay in the south end of The Strip to Encore at the north end of The Strip.

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. If you do, you’ll just give yourself extra problems like driving through traffic on The Strip, paying for parking, and looking for a parking spot.

However, you should rent a car in Las Vegas if you’re:

  • Staying in a hotel far away from The Strip
  • You’re mostly going to hang out away from The Strip
  • You want to visit a state or national park nearby and it’s cheaper to drive there than pay for 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 ride-share 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 The Strip or your hotel to a restaurant you’d like to try.

Parking & valet fees

Unfortunately, you have to pay for parking for most Las Vegas casinos & hotels.

For MGM Resorts (Bellagio, Aria, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Park MGM, Mirage, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur, Vdara, Delano, Circus Circus) parking fees, go to their website for current parking & valet fees.

For Caesars Entertainment (Bally’s, Caesar’s Palace, Cromwell, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Rio, The LINQ) parking & valet fees, click here for their official website.

Getting around Las Vegas

Free Tram in Las Vegas | First Time To Vegas: What You Need To Know
The free tram to Park MGM, Bellagio, & more!

If it’s too hot, or you need a break from walking, we have plenty of other 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, Aria, Park MGM & Bellagio.

Bus: You can take the Deuce or SDX bus to multiple stops along The Strip, Fremont Street & 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 & 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…

People of all ages can find something to do and have fun on their Las Vegas trip.

However, there are age minimums for certain activities, for example:

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: 21 years old

Observe and be aware of current Nevada laws.

Last thoughts

Las Vegas is the perfect place for a vacation. You can make your Las Vegas trip any way you want: exciting, adventurous, or relaxing. You’ll also have fun even though you don’t gamble or party. There are so many options that travelers of all budgets can find something to do.

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!

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