Here are my top tips for someone taking their first trip to Las Vegas:
- Do not rent a car. It is easy to get around the Strip and downtown by bus, cab, Monorail or walking. Give yourself some time to get familiar with the city before attempting to drive it yourself. Trying to drive down the Strip while gawking at the sights is a recipe for disaster – especially when you add Las Vegas’ free-flowing alcohol to the mix.
- Don’t try to visit Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon. Make your first trip about Las Vegas. Save those for a later trip (or even better, make a trip specifically to see those sights).
- Take in some of the free spectacles like the Fountains of the Bellagio, The Bellagio Botanic Garden, The Volcano at the Mirage, the Fremont Street Experience or the circus acts at Circus Circus.
- See a show. There are so many choices that you will find something that you like. You can find discounted tickets for many shows at the Tix4Tonight kiosks around town. I suggest Cirque du Soleil’s classic ‘Mystere‘, Penn & Teller, and Legends in Concert.
- Join the players club for wherever you are staying and playing. Even if you don’t gamble, most players clubs will reward you for your membership by giving you discounts at their restaurants and gift shop as well as giving you comps (or even a higher tier card) based on your lodging and other expenses. (see my “I Don’t Gamble. Why Should I Get a Player’s Club Card post for more info).
- Check out my “What can a non-gaming partner do in Vegas?” post for additional ideas.
- Gamble a little. I suggest heading to Fremont Street for more casual, lower limit gambling if you are new to gambling. As a general rule, the slots are looser and the video poker paytables are better downtown, too.
- Enjoy the free drinks provided while gambling. Whether you are playing a table game, slot machine or sitting at the bar playing video poker, you can get basic drinks comped. Premium liquors may or may not be comped, but it always worth asking for what you want.
- Visit a museum (really). The Neon Museum and the Mob Museum are my top choices. If you are a car aficionado, visit the Shelby Museum or the Auto Collection at the LINQ. Play pinball or an arcade game at the Pinball Hall of Fame. For a quick fine art fix, visit the small Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art.
- Get out of your comfort zone; just a little. Do the SkyJump at the Stratosphere; drive a bulldozer at Dig This!; or eat something that you might not be able to get at home like the grilled octopus at Estiatorio Milos or the Foie Gras Cotton Candy at Bazaar Meat at SLS.
If you have your own first timer tips, feel free to share them in the comments section!