You’re heard the slogan: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. A slogan like that implies that Las Vegas, Nevada offers a lot of entertainment, culture, sites, and activities.
True to its name, Las Vegas does not disappoint. There is so much to do in Las Vegas that it can be challenging to figure out how to fit it all in.
Whether you are alone, with friends, a significant other, or a spouse, you will not ever be bored in Las Vegas, NV. While there are thousands of activities you can do in Vegas, a few stand out as “must try” or “can’t miss.”
15 of Best Things to Do in Vegas in 2023
Whether you are taking advantage of the gaming, visiting a show, catching a pro sports event, or are open to any suggestion that includes fun, you can find a way to enjoy yourself in Las Vegas.
Few destinations offer as much diversity of activity and entertainment. It is not bragging when Vegas claims it can find something for just about everyone to do. Las Vegas offers a lot more than just gaming, however.
Superstar musical artists, comedians, incomparable shopping, world-renowned restaurants, and professional sports are just the tip of the iceberg. While it is impossible to cover everything you can do in Sin City, here is a shortlist of several of the high points.
1. MGM Grand Casino and Resort
The MGM Grand Resort and Casino is one of the largest hotels in the world and has one of the largest gaming venues in Las Vegas. “Huge,” however, does not do this hotel, resort, and casino justice.
You could stay in the MGM Grand for your entire week and never run out of things to do. The gaming has table games, hundreds of slots, and sports betting.
If those options do not suit you, MGM has some of the best shopping in Vegas, which boasts some of the best shopping in the world. Or maybe you want to kick back and relax. The rooms are spacious and usually have amazing views.
There is a spa where you can get a massage and enjoy a sauna or whirlpool. The Grand Pool is spectacular. The resort boasts several restaurants that help it stand out as one of the best destinations in Las Vegas.
2. Primal Steakhouse
Primal Steakhouse is one of Las Vegas’ best restaurants and steakhouses, which is saying something given that steak is a western specialty. Located off the Vegas strip, it offers American fare and traditional western steak options.
While it is pricey, the food is second to none and one bite of its signature dishes will make the trip and the price well worth it. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, has a bar, and does takeout.
The menu caters to health and food preferences, including offering menus that address diabetic and vegetarian concerns.
There is also a lively bar that stays open well into the night. You should make reservations before you go. You can get squeezed in during a slow night, but there is a chance you will not get seated.
3. Hoover Dam and Lake Mead National Recreation Area
As America’s first national recreation area, Lake Mead offers it all. Swim, hunt, fish, boat, hike, picnic, cycle, and camp during your stay and you will only experience a sliver of what this national treasure has to offer.
The park encompasses over 1.5 million acres, including mountains, canyons, valleys, two gigantic lakes, and nine wilderness areas. The climate is diverse as well and ranges from hot and dry to milder with some precipitation, depending on whether you are in the mountains or lowlands.
While Lake Mead has been enduring a 10-year drought and water levels are vastly lower than normal levels, the lake still has much to offer the boater, swimmer, or fisher.
Most of all, the beauty and wildlife will stay with you for a lifetime. Everywhere you look, the landscape offers something spectacular. That includes desert portions of the Area that are as mesmerizing as they are teeming with wildlife and beauty.
4. The Fremont Street Experience
Fremont Street is located in front of the Fremont Street Casino and is an extravaganza of gaming, tourist, sight setting, performance art, and entertainment options. The Fremont Street Experience includes the largest LED display in the world.
This feat of technology makes the open-air venue seem like it has a ceiling and showcases free light shows that are breathtaking. Along the street, there are multiple restaurants and tourist attractions.
Live music is a staple throughout the week, featuring some of the biggest names in the music industry. If you are pining for “old Las Vegas,” Fremont Street features some of the classic old casinos.
These include multiple arcades, the Golden Nugget, Binion’s (which is on top of part of the original Vegas red-light district,) and the California and Golden Gate casinos.
Each offers a unique merger of old and new slots and gaming areas. When you visit, be prepared for throngs of people as the Fremont Street Experience is a spectacle most who visit Vegas take the time to enjoy.
5. Caesars Entertainment Hotels and Casino
Caesars Entertainment owns several major Las Vegas casinos. Each property offers an array of gaming options, including slots, table games, and in some locations, sportsbooks.
Additionally, every property provides direct access to some of the best shopping and dining you can find in Las Vegas. The brands managed by Caesars in Vegas include:
- Caesars Palace
- Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
- Harrah’s Las Vegas
- Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
- Tropicana Casino
- Paris Las Vegas
Every property is also distinctive in the attractions each site possesses. Caesar’s (which is different from Caesar’s Palace) hosts an array of high-end shops and restaurants in The Forum.
Planet Hollywood is part of the Miracle Mile, a mall designed to look like a main street with restaurants and shops. The Miracle Mile connects several hotels, letting guests move from property to property in air conditioning.
6. Carson Kitchen
Located near Fremont Street, the Carson Kitchen offers American food with a western flavor. Its menu is vegetarian and vegan friendly. The restaurant has a bar and is open late at night.
Carson Kitchen is moderately priced, although it has a few expensive dishes. The restaurant has a reputation for friendly staff and food that leaves customers raving about the experience.
If you go, make sure you call ahead and make a reservation. Also, be prepared to encounter a crowd as Carson Kitchen is popular with young and old visitors, tourists, and locals.
7. The Mob Museum
For better or worse, Las Vegas was influenced by organized crime. The Mob Museum (technically the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement) examines that influence and the influence of organized crime on the USA.
Over the years, it has amassed thousands of artifacts documenting organized crime’s reach and influence in Vegas and beyond. The topic of organized crime intrigues many Americans.
That is why movies like the Godfather trilogy and Goodfellas plus television shows like The Sopranos were such hits. Relatively few people, though, pay attention to the actual history of US organized crime.
With four expertly curated floors packed with interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia displays, that history comes to life. The content is not for the entire family.
You should not bring young children to the museum, or if you do, plan on restricting their access to all the exhibits. The Mob Museum presents American organized crime how it is, covering the good, the bad, and the ugly.
8. Catch One of the Many Shows
Las Vegas has ongoing, year-round entertainment in the form of shows. There are too many to list and they change all the time. If a performer is hot, chances are they will pass through Las Vegas at some point or another.
Virtually every casino has at least one heavy hitter headlining weekend or nightly shows, year-round. Those headliners range from music superstars like Adelle to mega-hit comedians like Chris Rock to world-famous magic acts like David Copperfield and much more.
There are also many different concerts held throughout the city, year-round, indoor and outdoor, including rock legends like Aerosmith, country music superstars like Keith Urban, and several tribute shows.
The best way to decide what shows you want to see is to visit the websites of the various casinos and see what’s playing.
In many cases, you can get same-day tickets, particularly if a show runs multiple times a day throughout the week. With major shows, however, you need to plan to buy tickets months in advance.
9. The Strip
Few attractions are as iconic as the Las Vegas Strip. In just a few miles, one is given access to dozens of casinos, hundreds of restaurants, thousands of shops, and all sorts of human spectacles.
During peak season, walking the strip is a sideshow of American culture and an event in and of itself. Adding to the allure of The Strip is the fact it is very tourist-friendly.
Multiple footbridges allow visitors to cross Las Vegas Boulevard as well as access malls like the Forum and the Miracle Mile. Escalators and elevators are positioned at every footbridge to make moving about easy.
It is possible to go up and down The Strip, covering several miles, and not even realize you have walked as much as you have. This is because virtually every square foot possesses something to entice the visitor to partake in.
10. The Fountains of Bellagio
The Fountains of Bellagio are a Las Vegas icon, made even more famous by serving as the meeting in the movie Ocean’s 11 after the team has successfully pulled off their heist.
More recently, the 8-acre lake the fountains reside in was host to platforms built to serve as part of the NFL’s 2022 draft. As far as attractions, the Fountains of Bellagio are difficult to beat. The fountains shoot water high in the sky to the tune of music several times a day.
They begin at 3:00 p.m. on weekdays and Noon on weekends. Both run until Midnight. The intervals between shows are 30 minutes apart until 8 p.m. and then 15 minutes apart until midnight all week.
11. Catch a Pro Sports Game
You have to attend a game in season, but Las Vegas has some of the best professional sports franchises in the country. The NFL’s Raiders are renowned and always exciting.
The Golden Knights have only been around for a few years and have gone to the Stanley Cup Playoffs once. In addition, Las Vegas is host to two NASCAR races. One runs in the early spring while the other runs in the fall as part of the NASCAR Cup series playoffs.
The second race is fourth from the final, which almost always guarantees drivers in contention will race hard to put themselves in a position to win the NASCAR championship. You can visit the websites of any of these organizations to get schedules and purchase tickets.
12. Emerald Cove Kayak Tour
If you are looking for more opportunities to explore nature around Vegas, the Emerald Cove Kayak Tour is perfect for you.
Complete with a round trip to and from Vegas, the Emerald Cove tour will ensure that you have all the necessities you need to experience the beauty of the emerald green waters. Guides will point out interesting aspects of the cove and ensure that you are having a great time.
The tour launches from the Willow Beach Marina where you paddle to the Colorado River and then eventually the Emerald Cove. The entire trip is picturesque and one that you won’t soon forget.
13. Get a Bird’s Eye View From a Helicopter
Imagine experiencing the dazzle of Vegas, not from the usual street side but from the vantage point of a helicopter.
If the city isn’t your cup of tea, you can ride in a helicopter over all of the natural beauty of the state during the day which gives you an entirely different perspective of the natural beauty of the terrain.
This is an experience you aren’t going to get from an airplane and there are few things as exhilarating as riding in a small helicopter with friends or family.
14. Ride the Second Tallest Ferris Wheel
If helicopters aren’t your thing but you would love to be able to see the city from above, you might consider taking a ride on the second tallest Ferris wheel in the United States, the High Roller.
This behemoth of a ride is impossible to miss as it towers over most other things in the area with its impressive height of 167.6 meters. Its pulsing lights also help to lend to the aesthetic of Vegas.
Taking a ride on the Ferris Wheel can be a great opportunity to take a breather and soak in the serenity of the city that can really only be experienced when you are enclosed in a pod hundreds of feet in the air.
15. Tonka Toys for Adults With Dig This Playground
So if heights aren’t your thing at all, there is still plenty to do on the ground including living out your childhood dream of driving heavy-duty construction equipment. Dig This Las Vegas allows users to pay to drive and use these giant machines in a dirt playground.
Tear up the surrounding soil and create your own construction site like when you were a kid except this time, you are handling the real deal.
Nothing is quite as exhilarating as tearing up the terrain in a vehicle that makes your daily commuter look like a kid’s toy. This is an experience you aren’t likely to find many other places so it’s something that might be worth considering.
Things to Consider
Las Vegas has built a reputation on its reputation. What that means is that Sin City prides, markets, and conducts itself following its slogan “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
With that in mind, you can find just about every form of entertainment you can imagine and it usually is readily available and accessible. That said, Las Vegas is also very expensive.
Unless money is no object, you need to budget for the trip and stick to your budget, particularly if you are gaming. There is a reason why “responsible gaming” booths are prominent on every casino floor.
What was a very planned, budgeted, and organized trip can take on a life of its own very quickly. Another thing to always remember is that Vegas is a typical city. It has city problems, especially around the casinos.
You are very safe in Vegas, but you also have to be careful. Do not flash money around and always be alert when taking money from an ATM, know your surroundings and if you do enjoy the wilder side of Vegas, plan it out ahead to keep yourself safe.
Schedule your meals and get reservations as early as possible. Vegas is always packed with tourists and rooms in restaurants sell out quickly.
In some cases, you can only get reservations days in advance. Make sure you pick where you want to eat and call ahead unless you are frequenting fast-food or fast-food-like eateries.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are frequently asked questions by people planning a trip to Sin City.
What is the best time to travel to Las Vegas?
Las Vegas is a popular destination all year, but the best time is in the late spring. Visiting in late spring means you will be there before the brutal summer heat takes over, but will not be exposed to the colder weather of the late fall and winter.
If you can, a trip anywhere from mid-April to mid-June is ideal. While you still might have warmer days, you will not be baked in the desert heat and you will occasionally get rain.
What is the cheapest way to travel to Las Vegas?
The cheapest way to get to Las Vegas depends on where start. Discount airlines like Sprint have a lot of flights into McCarran International Airport.
Many adjoining states have chartered flights and the drive is not unbearable, although it can seem long. There are train options with Amtrak, but the train options take a substantial amount of time, particularly if you are coming from Chicago.
Is Vegas “kid-friendly?”
Yes and No! Most of Vegas is adult-oriented. The casinos are off-limits to people under 21 years of age (although other resort attractions are not.) Visiting Vegas is not advised if you have very small kids or if you do not want them exposed to an adult-oriented environment.
Around town, there are dozens of family-friendly attractions like escape rooms, a Marvel Avengers exhibit, a circus, and amusement park attractions, tours, and other activities that will keep the kids entertained.
What Casinos are worth visiting in Las Vegas?
That depends on what type of gaming you want, the environment you are looking for, how much time you have, how much money you are bringing, etc.
No matter the type of casino you are looking for, chances are Vegas has it. From upscale casinos that celebrities frequent to “dives” that locals choose, Vegas has it all.
The best approach is to start on the strip and visit the big casinos. After that, walk around and see the less known venues that offer just as much gaming fun.
Is it easy to travel around Las Vegas?
Like any major city, Vegas has multiple ways to get around. Uber and Lyft are very popular as are traditional cabs. Getting either is usually a very fast process. Additionally, you can rent a vehicle and public transportation is an option.
On the strip, though, the best way to visit Vegas is to hoof it. The main strip is not that long (a few miles) and there are attractions packed into just about every square inch.
Many of the casinos connect by shopping concourses. Additionally, just about every major gaming attraction (including shows) is packed into a 2-mile length of the Strip.
So, What’s the Best Thing to do in Vegas?
There is so much to do in Las Vegas it is difficult to know where to begin. It is also challenging to know how much to pack into a schedule because it is easy to become distracted by so many events, activities, and venues that seem to be always hopping with excitement.
Over the last 40 years, Las Vegas has morphed from an exciting but largely US attraction to a world-class city and international destination point. There is no doubt, though, that the best things to do in Vegas remain all the gaming opportunities at every casino.