Somehow, I escaped the “21st birthday in Vegas” situation. And the bachelorette party in Vegas situation too. I’ve never thought of Vegas as a city for me — I mean, people still smoke indoors there. While sitting for hours. However…I had the best time. I love when a city surprises you!
**Note: I returned from Vegas just a week before the horrific shooting at Route 91. I’m heartbroken for Vegas and all the visitors, but refuse to let evil actions stop others from experiencing the many, many wonderful places around the world. You can find up to date travel alerts and warnings here.**
What to Do in Vegas
The Neon Museum
I didn’t want my first time in Vegas to be all bottle service and tourist spots. I’ve been seeing photos of the Neon Museum for a while and finally got the chance to visit! It’s off the strip but easily accessible by Uber/Lyft. Once you decide if you want day or night, you have to book a tour in advance. Our tour of the “neon boneyard” was small — maybe 20 people — and took around an hour.
I loved learning more about the history of Vegas — plus the seeing the signs up close was super interesting. I’m not a history buff, but Vegas even makes history a little more titillating, you know? If you want to add a little education (or a cool photo backdrop) to your trip, don’t skip the Neon Museum!
Restaurants + Bars
I live in one of the best restaurant cities in the country, so I wasn’t especially excited about Vegas food and drink. While the inside-a-hotel vibe isn’t my favorite, Vegas knows how to run with a theme. For example, on my first night in Vegas we went to The Chandelier Lounge — three levels of crystal surroundings and great cocktails.
We had SO MUCH good food in on the trip too. It was admittedly a bit more difficult to find vegetarian spots in Vegas, but I learned the best tip at Andrea’s. After seeing little on the menu that would work for me + my bf, the waiter told us that every Wynn restaurant has a separate vegan/vegetarian menu! Score. Major score. Everything was amazing and it was nice to order delicious food with no modifications.
Cheesy Tourist Things
- The Strip has no shortage of eye catching spots. Some things to see if it’s your first time:
- — The Bellagio fountain watershow
- — Gondolas at The Venetian
- — Bellagio Conservatory
- — Stratosphere Tower
- — The Mirage volcano
- — The Eiffel Tower
- — Probably a thousand more shiny, neon things to see and shows to witness. Walk around and enjoy!
Life is Beautiful
While this isn’t an option for the average Vegas trip, Life Is Beautiful was an amazing way to see downtown! Life is Beautiful is now one of my favorite music festivals — we had perfect weather, great artists, and the nicest people ever. Plus, they had enough bars, bathrooms, and water refill stations — which, if you go to a lot of music festivals, you know NEVER happens.
What to Pack
— Fun casual clothes (anything goes in Vegas)
— A bikini for cabana days (P.S. My palm bikini cost less than $15! Get it here, but you might need to size up)
— The scandalous dress you love but feel weird wearing in your hometown/usual bar scene
— Layers for chilly desert nights
I wasn’t sure I would like Las Vegas — but with the right people, it lived up to the reputation of debaucherous fun. 10/10 would visit again. Everyone needs the occasional opportunity to ditch all responsibilities, right?