The Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas is truly an oasis for tourists in search for a memorable vacation. Its bright lights, marvelous structures, and lively casinos attract an average of 39 million visitors every year. Located in the middle of the dry Mojave desert, the largest city in Nevada offers everything for everyone: for couples who are trying to get hitched, night owls, gamblers, or just the typical family wanting to go on a weekend getaway. If you’re eyeing on a trip to Vegas, here is everything you need to know about the famed sin city and how to plan your trip to make it stress-free and truly enjoyable.
Best Time to Visit Vegas
Apparently, Vegas is so popular that there’s no such thing as “off season.” However, there are times when it’s not so ideal to go there especially if you want to avoid huge crowds, like New Year’s, 4th of July, school vacations, or during three-day public holidays. Valentine’s is also not a good time to go unless you’re planning to get hitched– fast.
If you’re heading to Vegas to go swimming or sunbathing, the weather is ideal between May and September. Spring and fall are the best seasons for taking a hike on the strip or venturing into the desert.
Albeit Las Vegas is known for its friendly climate, its winter and summer seasons can also become harsh. Its winter highs hit the 50s and 60s, while the lows can plummet to freezing point. Coats, sweaters, and/or layering are a must. Summer heat can be extreme. Starting in mid-May, temperatures can go up to as much as 100 degrees or more, before going down to the 90s in September. It can be rainy between January and July, and when it does, it usually storms.
Getting Around Las Vegas
Roaming around 135 square miles of Vegas land can be done in a number of ways. Walking is usually recommended if you plan on going up and down the Las Vegas strip, where the bulk of hotels and casinos are located. Scooter travel is also recommended, if you do not want to get tired walking under the scorching Nevada sun.
You can also hop on the Las Vegas Monorail, with terminals located east of the strip. The monorail stops behind several hotels and the Las Vegas Convention Center. A one-way trip costs $5, while a return trip clocks in at $9. A cheaper alternative is the one-day pass, which costs $15.
Riding the bus is an inexpensive option if you wish to go around the strip or downtown LV. There are 49 bus routes that operate from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. daily, with fares at $1 for kids and seniors, and $2 for adults.
If you are traveling with a group, touring Vegas by taxi is a better option, with the fare starting at $3.30 per mile. It usually takes the road parallel the strip, so be prepared to pay a hefty sum, especially if there is heavy traffic on the streets.
Must- See Attractions (For Free)
No Las Vegas trip would be complete without the following attractions. The huge plus– these places don’t require you to pay for anything.
1) Bellagio Fountains
Of all the free shows in Las Vegas, the Bellagio Fountains display is one of–if not–the best. Located along Las Vegas Blvd, its majestic 460-foot tall water display choreographed to either Frank Sinatra’s or Gene Kelley’s song is truly a sight to behold. Shows run for every 30 minutes from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., while you can expect the spectacle every 15 minutes from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.
2) Bellagio Conservatory
A few steps from the famous Bellagio Fountains is the hotel’s conservatory, an atrium brimming with colorful flowers orchestrated by over 100 horticulturists.
3) Fremont Street
Get mesmerized by the scintillating ceiling lights at Fremont Street, located at Downtown Las Vegas. Depending on the timing of your visit, you might catch some spectacular live street performances. If you are tired of stretching your neck to watch the dancing lights, you can always take a break at any of the famous restaurants and eateries you can find on Fremont Street.
4) M&M’s World
Take a look at how your favorite candies are made at M&M’s World, located next to the MGM Grand Casino. While admission is free, you might end up spending a few over its enticing souvenir bags, clothes, kitchen wear, to name a few.
5) Welcome to Las Vegas Sign
A trip to Las Vegas is not complete without having a photo shoot by the renowned Las Vegas Sign. Built in 1959, the signage is located on the Las Vegas strip, and is free for photo-ops 24/7. Don’t just settle with a memoir of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, though! Make the most out of your trip by also having a picture taken at the “Drive Carefully” and “Come Back Soon” signages on the back.
Other Attractions (With a Cost)
On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending a little more just to get a good dose of Las Vegas fun, here are some of the Sin City’s events and attractions that nonetheless make you want to come back for more.
1) Cirque du Soleil
Visit the Mirage along Las Vegas Blvd to catch the jaw-dropping performance of Cirque du Soleil. With professional gymnasts in the entourage, the three-hour show is filled with death-defying performances that can make you gasp in awe every 15 minutes or so. The ticket costs $165 per person.
2) Shark Reef Aquarium
If you are in Vegas with your kids, then the best place to bring them is the Shark Reef Aquarium, located along Las Vegas Blvd. For an entrance fee of $16, you and your kids can marvel at the sight of crocodiles, turtles, sharks, and komodo dragon.
3) New York Roller Coaster
Experience the thrills of New York while at Las Vegas by taking an adrenaline-pumping ride at New York Hotel’s famed roller coaster. This $14 death-defying ride is a must-visit attraction for kids and the “young at heart.”
4) Eiffel Tower Replica
If you have not been to Paris, France yet, then you might as well get a picture next to the Eiffel Tower Replica at the Paris Hotel and Casino along Las Vegas Blvd. You can even take the elevator to the paramount of the tower and engage your senses in the vibrant Las Vegas landscape. Daytime tickets range from $8.50 to $18.50, while evening tickets cost anywhere from $11.50 to $24.50.
If you have been wanting to go to Italy but could not afford to just yet, fret not, because Las Vegas brings Venice to you! You can rev up the romance between you and your beloved by taking a gondola ride along the Venetian’s pseudo canals along Las Vegas Blvd. Ticket costs $18.95 per person (group of four), or $75.80 for a private and romantic gondola ride for two.
6) Stratosphere Las Vegas Thrill Ride
Have the time of your life by hanging 1000 feet over the ground at Stratosphere Hotel and Casino. Its thrill rides are guaranteed to give you a ‘high’ like no other. Admission is $18 for non-hotel guests and $12 for hotel guests.
7) Vegas Indoor Skydiving
Located at 200 Convention Center Drive, the Vegas Indoor Skydiving center is perfect for Vegas tourists in search of another exciting activity to do. Your first try will cost you $85. There is no need for you to jump out the plane – you need to fit the weight limitations though (max 220 pounds for men 6 feet and above.)
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