Las Vegas locals visit the Strip
Las Vegas sights: the most exciting places with tips
Insider tips and travel guides for your Las Vegas vacation
Las Vegas is the largest city in the state of Nevada. Known for casinos and glamorous shows and events. The Mecca for gamblers. The city attracts tourists all year round. I'll be honest: "Sin City" - I never wanted to visit Las Vegas. I didn't care about the city, the gambling or the shows.
Even so, we decided to visit Gamblers City during our 3-week California road trip. Once in a lifetime you just have to be there and watch Americans enjoy being able to drink in public, sprinting back and forth between one-armed bandits with multiple credit cards while sipping ice-cold margaritas.
That's why I've written down everything you need to know before visiting Las Vegas. I also asked Johannes a few questions. He has been to Las Vegas countless times and gives you some absolute insider tips for Las Vegas:
First time in Las Vegas?
If it's your first time in Las Vegas, I recommend visiting some of the casinos and the top sights in Las Vegas on the Strip. Even if a lot is very touristy. Before I went to Las Vegas, I wasn't at all interested in the city in the Nevada desert. On the road trip, I preferred to see other places. Gambling is not my thing, neither is the big hotels and the glamorous shows.
Even so, we decided to stay in Gambler's City for 3 nights. It was an interesting experience, even if I got rid of my money after a few minutes with the one-armed bandit.
Arrival in Las Vegas
Whether by rental car or by plane: the arrival in Las Vegas amazes you. The glittering city of Las Vegas suddenly rises in the middle of the desert. The glow can be seen from afar, especially at dusk and at night.
All other highlights of Las Vegas and what to expect can be found here:
Top sights in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Strip
During the day just a big wide street that you never really have to cross. The paths are laid out in such a way that you have to cross almost every hotel and also the casino in it. Get lost.
At night, the strip lights up and flickers on all corners. People in costumes and disguises, always a drink in hand and limousines driving up and down the strip you can watch. A freak show.
First explore Las Vegas on foot
After your arrival and a short refreshment at the hotel, I advise you to explore the city on foot first. Let yourself go and explore the Strip on foot. I tell you: you won't get lost just once in one of the huge hotels with casinos. That is wanted. After all, the sound of the clinking coins should encourage you to take a seat at the gaming table yourself.
I stopped counting the number of times we got lost alone at Caesars Palace. At some point the desperation gave way to an exhausted laugh. Try to see as many hotel complexes as possible.
in the Venetian Hotel do you feel transported to Venice and is also the largest hotel on the strip. In addition to a canal on which you can ride a gondola - like in Venice - there are, for example, artists who offer free street performances all day long. The difference to Venice: it smells better.
Other hotels that are worth a visit: Mirage Hotel (the famous Siegfried & Roy show with the white tigers has been here for years), Bellagio (gigantic water features, simply my favorite hotel because it is simply stylish), Caesars Palace (because I got lost in it so often, known from the movie Hangover, which everyone has surely seen) and that Paris Las Vegas.
From the replica Eiffel Tower you have a wonderful view of the Strip and the surrounding hotels: Excalibur (replica Disney castles), Luxor Hotel (Sphinx and the Pyramid) and new York (with a replica of the New York skyline).
Bellagio and the water features in front of it
My absolute favorite is the Bellagio. We didn't stay the night here. But as I enter the entrance hall, I imagine George Clooney walking down the wide stairs in the movie Ocean's Eleven. I could watch the water features at the fountain for hours.
Red Rock Canyon
Just 17 miles outside of Las Vegas is the impressive Red Rock Canyon. In the middle of Nevada's high desert.
The 21 km long panoramic road that leads through the canyon requires a toll, but is definitely worth it! The rock formations and play of colors are beautiful.
Stratosphere Las Vegas
From the Obervation Deck of the Stratosphere Tower you get a wonderful 360 ° panoramic view over the Strip and the city in the Nevada desert.
The largest free-standing tower with observation deck in the USA is definitely worth a visit. Admission is $ 30 and with the Las Vegas Explorer Pass you can even get up to the tower for free.
Las Vegas insider tips from a local
During his MBA studies in San Diego, Hannes was drawn to the flashing and glittering city of Las Vegas in the US state of Nevada again and again. Even after his return to Germany he visits Sin City regularly - a little gambling is always fun ...
So here are some of his tips for Las Vegas:
1. What place can't be found in a Las Vegas travel guide?
In a city that is a tourist attraction in itself, it is of course difficult to find a spot that is not recommended by any tourist guide.
But who one View beyond the glittering facades wants to risk ordering a taxi and going to the In’n’Out burger drive off the Strip. There you can get excellent burgers and an impression of the real life away from the casinos and luxury hotels of this city.
2. Las Vegas smells like ...
If you ask ten people what Las Vegas smells like, you probably get ten different answers. Everyone associates the gaming metropolis in the Nevada desert with a different scent.
The reason is as simple as it is obvious: The big hotels on the Strip each have their own unique scent. This is how the venerable smells Flamingo Hotel & Casino a bit cute, almost cheesy, while that Venetian has an elegant, subtle fragrance. Almost each of the hotels has its own smell, which is as unique as the different theme worlds of the hotels themselves.
3. How do you recognize a real local in Las Vegas?
The friendliness. This is certainly not because the residents of Las Vegas are a particularly friendly species. Rather, it is the history of the city that is reflected in the character of the people. Las Vegas is a city built on fun, entertainment, and gambling. Almost every resident is directly or indirectly involved in the city's entertainment machinery.
And here the service providers, be it dealers in the casino, waiters or taxi drivers, are omnipresent. And since the service concept and the associated friendliness towards the customer are more pronounced in the USA than in Germany, this is one of the character traits that strike you the quickest.
4. Transportation in Las Vegas: What's the best way to get from A to B in Las Vegas?
With a Car in Las Vegas you are almost as lost as in endless maze of the city's casinos. If you just want to get from A to B on the world-famous strip, walking is usually the fastest. However, the distances should not be underestimated, as the sidewalks partly lead through the casinos and hotels and thus the air line and the actual route differ greatly.
Another benefit of running: You see an incredible number of bizarre or interesting people on your way down Las Vegas Boulevard.
If you do have to resort to a taxi, I advise the provider "Over" to use. Download the app on your smartphone. With the code "ubervielunterwegs" you get a free ride the first time (worth up to 10 €). My absolute favorite transport service that is usually cheaper than taking a taxi.
5. What's the best way to get from the airport to downtown Las Vegas?
Las Vegas International Airport is right at the south end of the strip. At every terminal you will find taxis that will take you directly to your hotel in a few minutes. Depending on the location of the hotel on the Strip, you pay between $ 15 and $ 25.
Again, I advise you to either use the Uber service (see point 4). As an alternative for groups or if you want to be very comfortable, I advise you to book an airport shuttle in Las Vegas. Here I often fall back on Rent-a-guide, as only licensed drivers are available here.
Reserve the shuttle here
6. My favorite food in Las Vegas is?
The legendary "Chicken Bellagio" in the Cheesecake Factory in the Caesars Palace. Breaded chicken breast with a light parmesan crust and basil noodles with a light pesto cream sauce. Simply irresistible!
7. Where can I get the best food and drinks in Las Vegas?
- Best buffet: Wicked Spoon Buffet in the Cosmopolitan Hotel
- Best pasta: Maggianos in the Fashion Show Mall
- Best burger: Cheeseburger in Paradise im Planet Hollywood Hotel
- Best drinks: Ghost Bar im Palms Hotel
8. Where can you best relax in Las Vegas?
There is actually no time to rest in Las Vegas. However, you can also use the countless pools in the hotels to relax and unwind. Admittedly, entry is only allowed for hotel guests, but you can simply assure the securities that you want to play a round of blackjack in the pool area (yes, there are gaming tables here too) and you are in the middle of the wet fun.
9. Which hotel and bar in Las Vegas is the best for going out and partying?
The optimal night in Las Vegas begins in the Ghost Bar of the Palms Hotel. This is a little off the Strip Rooftop bar an absolute highlight to start the night relaxed and with a breathtaking view over the strip.
Then it goes into Encore Hotel. There he is waiting XS night club with a pool area and world-famous DJs. If you are still hungry after the party you can go to the Cafe Bellagio Have a small snack in the hotel of the same name.
10. Where do I get the best bargains in Las Vegas?
If you want to go to a show in Las Vegas, you can get one at various points of sale on the Strip Buy tickets on the same day. At advance booking offices such as½ Price Tix (Link) or Tickets 4 Tonight (Link) you can find one or the other bargain. However, you have to be flexible, as only remaining tickets are offered here.
For almost all events in Las Vegas there are always cheap tickets at ticketnetwork.com, especially for popular events it is worth booking the tickets before your Las Vegas vacation.
As a tourist, you can certainly get a bargain for drinks in the casinos. You have to know that everyone who tries their luck at the machines or gaming tables gets free drinks (including cocktails, for example). So it is advisable to try your luck at a cheap machine and enjoy free cocktails at the same time.
Do not forget: The cocktail waitresses expect at least a $ 1 tip per drink.
11. 5 things that should be in every suitcase when traveling to Las Vegas:
- Swimming trunks: The big hotels also have a paradisiacal pool landscape. The ideal cooling when the temperature climbs above 40 degrees in summer
- Sunglasses: The sun shines more intensely and brighter here than elsewhere, which is also due to the glittering facades of the hotels, which reflect the sun.
- A camera: taking photos is a must in Las Vegas. Be it the famous Las Vegas sign at the southern end of the strip or the world-famous hotels. There is always something to snap.
- Headache pills: After a long night in the city's clubs and bars, you can endure an apsirin the following day.
- Big wallet: Las Vegas is also the city of consumption. Be it in the shops, restaurants, clubs or in the casino. It is better to take a little more cash with you.
12. Was your best moment in Las Vegas?
With good friends and a cool drink in the Ghost Bar, the view of the brightly lit city and a good song in your ear. An incomparable feeling.
13. Only available in Las Vegas
Las Vegas offers a huge variety of topics in a small space. Where else can you get from the old one Egypt (Luxor Hotel) into the old Rome (Ceasar’s Palace) in just a few minutes? From Eiffel Tower (Paris Hotel) are the Canals of Venice and the St. Mark's Square (Venetian Hotel) just a stone's throw away. Las Vegas certainly is one Illusory world, but once you've gotten into it, you quickly succumb to fascination.
14. 3 must-see things in Las Vegas:
- The city in the dark from afar: a sea of lights in the middle of the deserted desert, an amazing sight
- The Neon-Sign Museum: This is where the neon signs of the city's old hotels and casinos are stored, telling the stories of a bygone era
- One of the city's shopping malls, for example the Fashion Show Mall. Gigantic shopping experience in the middle of the city
15. Every tourist in Las Vegas is guaranteed to buy ...
A souvenir from the legendary Las Vegas movie Hangover. Be it a mug, shirt or hat, anyone who has seen the movie and is on vacation in Las Vegas cannot avoid it. A little hint: The original playing cards from the casinos are available in the shop of the Venetian Hotel. An ideal souvenir or souvenir for friends.
Recommendation: travel guide for Las Vegas
Marco Polo Las Vegas
Compact with insider tips and an app for smartphones to receive updates is the Las Vegas travel guide by Marco Polo.
It was only published in January 2016 and is the most up-to-date of the guides I recommend to you. In addition to the highlights of Sin City, you will find out more about the Strip, themed hotels and where you can find a piece of the Berlin Wall.
In my opinion, the best Las Vegas travel guide currently on the market.View on Amazon *
Lonely Planet USA Southwest
If you are traveling on your own with a rental car through the southwest of the USA, I advise you to do so Lonely Planet USA Southwest (with Las Vegas) to buy. Lonely Planet travel guides are the ultimate source for individual travelers. Great tips, lots of maps but few photos. With Lonely Planet you are well prepared for Las Vegas and a road trip through California and Nevada.
In my opinion the best travel guide for individual travel that is currently on the market.View on Amazon *
Save money in Las Vegas
1. Go City Card for Las Vegas
Do you know City Cards for city trips? They often save you money when you want to visit a few attractions and go on tours. Such a card is also available for Las Vegas:
The Go City Card Las Vegas.
With this pass you get free or discounted entry to numerous attractions. You save more than half the costs.
- Las Vegas Strip Helicopter Tour
- Grand Canyon Tour
- Blue Man Group ticket
- High Roller Observation Wheel at the LINQ
- Hoover Dam Tour (Half Day)
- and much more.
The Explorer Pass to Las Vegas you get either for 3 or 5 attractions.
- Cost for 3 attractions: $ 75
- Cost for 5 attractions: $ 109
Attractions included in the pass:
- Stratosphere Observation Deck with VIP Access
- Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Las Vegas for one day
- A meal at the Planet Hollywood Restaurant
- Day entry to the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel
- Vegas Rockstar Club Tour
- CSI: The Experience Tour
- Hoover Dam Tour (Free)
- Vegas! The show
- Madame Tussauds Las Vegas (free)
- and many more. See all attractions here.
With the pass you can choose 3 or 5 attractions, which are then free.
Example calculation for 3 attractions:
- Stratosphere Tower Observation Deck visit: $ 30
- Hoover Dam Tour: $ 39.99
- Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Day Ticket: $ 44
Power in total: 113,99 $. When you buy an Explorer Pass for 3 attractions, do you save: 113,99 $ – 75 $ = $ 38.99. What are you waiting for? Quickly buy the Las Vegas Explorer Pass (link).
Alternative: Las Vegas Power Pass
An alternative to the Explorer Pass might be the Las Vegas Explorer Pass. This is available for 24 hours, 2 days, 3 days and 5 days. So it is not limited to activities but to time. Several attractions are also included here.
You are spoiled for choice as to which pass is more worthwhile for you: More according to the number of sights you want to see, or limited to the number of days?
The Las Vega Power Passfor 24 hours costs 76 euros.
2. Coupon booklets
You can save money all over America by buying coupons from coupon booklets (available in every hotel or motel) or by checking out online coupons for Las Vegas on this website and thus securing discounts: travelvegas.com/coupons/.
Usually these are coupons for restaurants, bars, shows and night clubs.
3. Player Cards for Gamblers
Some hotels have joined forces to offer so-called "player cards". You get points by playing in the affiliated hotels. You can then redeem them at restaurants, hotels, activities and shows in Las Vegas. The cards are free and should be obtained if you plan to regularly try your luck at gambling.
There are two types of points system: MLife Playerscard (from Aria) and the Total Rewards Playerscard. On the linked websites you will find detailed information about the participating hotels and casinos.
Find cheap accommodation in Las Vegas?
One thing in advance: If you are already on the road in the USA you have probably already noticed: The Americans love coupon booklets. You can find tons of discount codes for accommodations on the Strip here.
During my first stay we were able to get a cheap room in the venerable and in my opinion the best located Flamingo. The hotel is right in the center of the Strip, across from Caesars Palace and the Venetian. Perfect and cheaper than the newer hotel complexes.
When big events are coming up in Las Vegas (boxing matches, concerts, ...) the rooms are tight, especially on weekends. Therefore, you should definitely reserve a room before your trip to Las Vegas. I use booking.com as a booking platform.
Alternatively, you can check Airbnb to see if you can rent a cheap private apartment on the Strip. Experience has shown that it is not worth renting a room off the strip. You always need money for a taxi or to park your rental car somewhere for a fee. That not only costs time and nerves but also a lot of money.
Top tours and attractions around Las Vegas
Withdraw money in Las Vegas with no overseas fees
Nobody uses cash in Las Vegas except to tip the waiters in the casino so that you can get a free drink more often when you gamble. Therefore, I advise you to have a credit card before you travel that you can use to withdraw money in America without having to pay foreign fees when withdrawing money. These fees add up very quickly. I speak from experience.
The best credit cards to withdraw money without foreign fees:
My favorite credit card for travel is thisVISA card from the DKB as an active customer.
This means that you can withdraw money in local currency free of charge. This not only saves going to the bank in Germany but also money.
In addition, you will be reimbursed all foreign fees when withdrawing cash abroad. However, only as an active customer.
Backup credit cards:TheHanseatic Bank credit cardor the "green bank"Tomorrow Bank (Zero tariff, my sustainable favorite right now).
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