Las Vegas travel guide

How to make the most of America's dazzling desert playground

When Mormon pioneers established a fort in the middle of a punishing Mojave Desert landscape in the 1850s, only two short decades after the United States had annexed the area from Mexico, no one could have forecast that it would become a neon-festooned symbol of American ingenuity, capitalism, and round-the-clock fun. Yet here we are. What once was a dusty pit stop between California and Utah now attracts more than 40 million conventioneers and pleasure seekers a year. Las Vegas is the most unlikely of American cities. Ancient hunter-gatherers originally populated this area, and throughout the decades, Spanish merchants, pioneers, railroaders, Mafia crime bosses, and multi-billion-dollar gaming corporations have made their mark. Today it is a high-budget entertainment zone with over 4,000 restaurants—the highest per capita density of any US city—a packed and growing Strip of hotels; multiple mega sports arenas, and, thanks to savvy marketing, is one of the most recognizable brands on the planet.

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Table of contents

Must-see in Las Vegas

20 not-to-miss sights in Las Vegas


The Fountains of Bellagio

The dancing Bellagio Fountains have become synonymous with the splashy spectacle of Las Vegas.


The Mob Museum

Crime and punishment come together in this museum dedicated to exploring Las Vegas' complicated history.


Red Rock National Conservation Area

The Vegas Valley's dramatic Red Rock Conservation Area is the main attraction for outdoor sports fanatics.



The tallest observation tower in the Western Hemisphere tops this distinction - by topping itself with vertiginous thrill rides.


The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign

Perhaps the best-known destination welcome sign in the world is more selfie-friendly than ever.


The Big Apple Coaster

Coney Island fun meets slick Las Vegas production values at New York-New York's Big Apple Coaster.


Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden

The Bellagio Conservatory transports you to a magical new place, five times a year, with no repeats.


The Neon Museum

The city's neon heritage lives at the Neon Museum for all to appreciate—long after many of its casinos have gone.


Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower here is half the size of the original, but depending on your perspective, twice the fun.


Fremont Street Experience

Shooting out of a building-sized slot machine and flying over a crowded five-block pedestrian mall is the adventure you didn't know you needed.


High Roller

Taller than the Singapore Flyer and the London Eye, the High Roller doesn't have a bird's-eye view of Vegas, because most birds don't fly this high.


Lake of Dreams

A singing frog; glowing, floating emojis of Sonny and Cher; tropical birds singing Lady Gaga songs. The Lake of Dreams is magical and perplexing. Just go with it.


Stadium Swim

Stadium Swim is the wildest sports-watching venue ever. Get a cocktail at the swim-up bar and watch a 40-foot-high touchdown.


Seven Magic Mountains

This most unnatural work of art in the desert now feels like it's always been here.


The Hoover Dam

A spectacular history lesson comes to life when you visit the Hoover Dam.


The Grand Canyon

Why hike when you can copter over one of the Seven Wonders of the World?


Shark Reef Aquarium

No need to miss the ocean when you're in a landlocked desert; Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef Aquarium exposes you to more exotic sharks than you'd ever see in the wild.


Wedding Chapels

Las Vegas has officiated five million weddings, and they'll happily marry you, too, in one of the many chapels near the Strip.


Waterfall Atrium at Palazzo

No caption is necessary when you're posting your picture in front of the "Love" sculpture at Palazzo.


MSG Sphere

Is it a comically giant snow globe? A pumpkin? A basketball? MSG Sphere is all of these things with the right lighting.

Seasonal events in Las Vegas

Las Vegas creates its own seasonal magic year-round


New Year’s Eve Along the Strip (December 31)

Las Vegas is the ultimate New Year’s Eve destination, and the parties go all night up and down the Strip.


Lunar New Year (the first new moon of the lunar calendar, usually in January)

Everyone celebrates the Lunar New Year in Vegas, ushering in all the luck for the coming year.


Valentine’s Day (February 14)

There’s no better place to give in to Valentine’s Day than Las Vegas.


Helldorado Days Parade (mid-May)

A hometown parade that celebrates Vegas’ Wild West roots.


Electric Daisy Carnival (May)

The world’s largest electronic music festival dominates Las Vegas over three days every May.


Fourth of July (July 4)

Combine Vegas’ high-budget production values and love of a good pool party, and you have an epic Independence Day.


Life is Beautiful (September)

A three-day festival of art, food, learning, and music.


iHeartRadio Music Festival (late September)

The world’s largest multi-genre music festival celebrates in Vegas every September.


Rise Lantern Festival (early October)

A magical desert escape from the bright lights of the Strip to the flickering lights of rising lanterns.


Ethel M. Holiday Cactus Garden Lights (November-January)

Santa Claus, chocolate, cacti, and lights: This is Christmas in Las Vegas.


Repeal Day (December 5)

Las Vegas takes its Repeal Day celebrations seriously - after all, alcohol is the lifeblood of our economy.

Once you're in Las Vegas

Getting around Las Vegas

The resort corridor of Las Vegas offers lots of ways to get around, from elevated trams and a monorail to fun tour buses and the largest fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms in North America. The city and its resorts offer everything from totally free transportation to invite-only rides.

From over-the-top theatrics to down-home favorites: the full spectrum of dining experiences

Las Vegas’ specialty is taking everything up a notch—especially restaurants. You may see some names you know but they’ve been turbocharged and dusted in edible gold for a Vegas audience. Still, there are plenty of historic originals and local specialties to enjoy if you know where to go.

Renting a car and driving in Las Vegas

The Las Vegas resort corridor couldn’t be more convenient. Hotels are packed together on or not far away from a single four-mile-long boulevard, there’s a convenient Monorail and tons of rideshares and cabs, and it’s all just minutes from the city’s international airport. If you’re coming to Las Vegas and never intend to leave the Strip, renting a car isn’t necessary. But if you want to explore some of the surrounding attractions - Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire - renting a car is a great idea, if you do it right.

Things to do

Bring the kids: Las Vegas isn’t just an adult playground

Las Vegas may have been built on adult vice, but it has loads to do for the whole family.

Nights out in Las Vegas - America’s favorite adult playground


XS Nightclub

The most exclusive nightclub in Las Vegas, and a celeb draw.



Dance in the supersized, five-level nightclub illuminated by the largest kinetic light installation in the US.


Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub

The Cosmopolitan’s long-running, hard-partying nightclub is a Vegas staple


TAO Nightclub

This celeb-loved institution specializes in over-the-top birthday and bachelor(ette) celebrations.



You’re almost right on top of the action at this rooftop pool party nightclub scene.



A hit of mid-century glam with contemporary sensibilities


Beauty & Essex

A not-so-secret find behind a pawn shop storefront in The Cosmopolitan.


Aft Cocktail Deck

Your superyacht awaits on Wynn’s Lake of Dreams.


Zouk Las Vegas

All the marquee DJ names are here at the Singaporean super club import.


Rosina Cocktail Lounge

An Art Deco jewel hides on Palazzo’s casino floor.



A high-up lounge with the most sophisticated vibe on the Strip.


The Dorsey Cocktail Bar

Meet me in the study. This cozy escape has a few funky features.


Ghost Donkey

A tequila- and mezcal lover's ultimate hideout with a secret entrance.


Overlook Lounge, Aperitifs & Spirits

A witty, European-influenced lounge that affords you privacy—even while you’re right inside the action.

Las Vegas: A shopper’s paradise

From Vegas-only exclusive fashion items to rare watches to cheap and cheerful memorabilia, if you can’t find it here, you won’t find it anywhere.

Las Vegas and beyond: the Strip is the perfect base for a day trip into nature

The unnatural wonders of the Strip are typically the star of a Las Vegas vacation, but to really understand the city, take a day trip to one of the natural wonders that surrounds it.

What to pack for Las Vegas

Staying comfortable and stylish in a city of extremes