Las Vegas Tips: 15 Things to Know Before You Visit Sin City
Updated: Jul 24
If it’s your first time visiting Las Vegas, make sure you read these tips!
Welcome to Sin City, a bustling oasis in Nevada’s desert. Las Vegas is a one-of-a-kind city, there truly is nowhere else quite like it in the world. And if you’ve never been before, this is your sign to book a trip!
Known for its huge, elaborate casinos, Vegas is a very fun place to visit even if you don’t want to gamble. But there are some things you should be aware of before you go. After arriving here with no expectations, I learned a few things while exploring the city and I want to let you in on them.
I'm not trying to dissuade you from visiting, I highly recommend visiting Las Vegas. It's such a vibrant city with so much to see and so many fun things to do. So plan to pack your days with the best of Las Vegas, prepare yourself with these tips, and book your stay!
Here are my Las Vegas tips so you’re a little more prepared to experience Sin City! If you’ve never been to a big city, the crowds might be a little overwhelming, but there’s really nothing to be scared of in Vegas, except maybe the prices. But we’ll get into that later.
Welcome to Sin City
Las Vegas is home to over 640,000 people, and it sits at only the 25th largest city in the US. It is, however, the most populated city in Nevada.
In the early 1930s, Las Vegas earned its reputation as “Sin City” when the crime rate skyrocketed and male-focused entertainment boomed. Don’t worry though, it’s quite a different city than it was in the 30s. While entertainers of all kinds are common, it is safe to explore while staying aware of your surroundings.
Because it is in the Mojave Desert, there isn’t much else around Las Vegas other than hiking and other outdoor activities (which are super fun when it’s not over 100°F outside). It quite literally is a desert oasis, with tons of restaurants to dine at, shops to drop big bucks in, enormous casinos to gamble away in, and beautifully designed buildings to explore.
So hit the slot machines, eat all you can, and get your cameras ready. Here are 15 things you should know before visiting Sin City, my very important Las Vegas tips for you to learn.
Las Vegas Tips
1. Airport Tips
The Las Vegas airport (LAS) is fairly small, so be prepared for it to be quite crowded. Most people are probably in the same boat as you, making their way to the strip for a fun time! I visited in July and it was pretty busy.
The easiest way to get from LAS airport to the strip (the main downtown area) is to get an Uber or similar rideshare. There is a specific rideshare area to catch an Uber here, and it’s well-signed so you can hopefully find it easily.
Once you’re at the rideshare pickup area, there are multiple numbered lanes and pull-in spots where cars can drive up. Your driver will message you and tell you which lane and spot number they are in so you can easily find them.
It’s a little overwhelming if you’ve never visited Vegas before, but there are generally airport employees on duty to help you find your driver’s spot.
2. “The Strip” is Las Vegas Blvd
The most common area to stay in and explore is known as “The Strip.” You might have heard this term when it comes to Vegas, and this famous area is located on Las Vegas Blvd.
Here you’ll find the most popular hotels and casinos, such as Caesars Palace, the Venetian, New York New York, Treasure Island, and more. This is also where most shows take place. You’ll find the various Cirque du Soleil shows in the big hotels, like the Mirage and the Bellagio.
You can venture off of the strip as there are many other stores, hotels, and restaurants to try outside of Las Vegas Blvd. But there is so much to see and do here, you might not have time or need to leave.
3. It's Really Expensive
Las Vegas is definitely not the place to visit if you’re looking for a budget trip. Everything here is so expensive. You can generally find a decent hotel without spending a fortune, but other than that you’ll be spending a pretty penny. To save money on a hotel, visit during a slow season, like January or February, to find deals on rooms.
There are some cheaper quick-service restaurants you can stop in for breakfast or lunch, but even here the prices add up. If you want to visit one of the popular famous chefs’ restaurants, like Hell’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsey, you’re looking at around $100 per person.
But I will say, I think it is well worth it. The food at the high-end restaurants in Vegas is incredible, as well as the cocktails. Look at restaurants and hotels further from the strip, or Las Vegas Blvd, to save money.
4. The Heat is Intense
If you plan on visiting Las Vegas in the summer, be prepared for temperatures over 100°F. When I visited at the beginning of July, it got over 105°F every day. But this often deters people from going, so you might get lucky and experience smaller crowds and cheaper hotels.
I highly recommend you bring plenty of sunscreen as Vegas is in the desert so you won’t find many trees for shade here. A hat and a pair of sunglasses are a good idea as well! And remember to always stay hydrated.
5. It's Really Dry
Along with the heat, you’ll notice once you’re here that Las Vegas is very dry. If you live in a more humid environment, you probably won’t be used to how dry it is and neither will your skin.
I’m not kidding when I say bring lotion, lip balm, and water. Lather on some lotion after a day of exploring. Your skin will thank you later. And always carry lip balm with you, it really is a must in the desert.
6. Things Are Farther Than They Look
It might seem like something is within walking distance, especially if you’re looking at it from your hotel window. But somehow things are so much farther than they look in Vegas.
Sometimes there are specific pedestrian walkways you must follow that might add on a little more time, or maybe the heat and dryness just make it feel like you’ve been walking forever. I’m not exactly sure what it is but be prepared to walk farther than you plan.
7. You Can Go Inside Pretty Much Every Building
Especially every casino. They want you to go inside every casino. As I mentioned above, things are often farther away than they seem, which can be a downside if it’s really hot outside. But the good part is that you can go inside any building on the Strip and continue your journey in (mostly) the right direction while enjoying the AC.
Say you’re walking from Caesars Palace to the Cosmopolitan, you can take the pedestrian walkway that connects Caesars to the Bellagio, walk through the Bellagio, and then continue onto the Cosmopolitan. You can at least cool down a little bit this way.
It’s never weird or awkward to walk into a hotel & casino here even if you’re not a guest. Their plan is to get as many people to enter in hopes that you’ll spend more money in their hotel. So just make the most of it, admire the unique decor and design in each hotel, and enjoy the cold air.
8. The Casinos are Huge and Confusing
With that being said, you can go inside any casino, but make sure you have a general idea of where you’re going beforehand. If you plan on gambling, you’ve come to the right place, you can’t go more than like 2 feet without seeing a slot machine here.
But if you’re just making your way through a casino to get somewhere else, it can get a little confusing. There are often signs, yes, but I swear they purposefully make it hard to understand.
The arrows often point in misleading ways and sometimes the name of a restaurant isn’t included. I’m sure they’re hoping you’ll just give up and throw some big bucks into a gambling machine.
Just make sure you have Google Maps downloaded so you know what direction you should actually be heading in, and don’t be afraid to ask an employee for help. There are often held desks scattered around the casinos.
9. Nighttime is the Busiest
While it can get busy any time of day in Las Vegas, expect the crowds to grow around 7 pm. Nightlife is a huge part of Vegas culture. You’ll see people promoting parties, bars start filling up, and live music hits the stage.
If you don’t want to get sucked into huge crowds, I recommend going to dinner no later than 5:30. And if you’re visiting Las Vegas for the nightlife, get ready to party around 7 to 8 pm!
A very popular thing to do in Vegas is to see a show, whether that be Cirque du Soleil, a magic show, or something else, and these generally start at 7 pm at the earliest. Many don’t start until 9 pm, so just plan accordingly.
10. Reservations are Really Helpful
If you want to try a famous chef’s restaurant, such as Hell’s Kitchen, Giada, or Amalfi, you will definitely want to make a reservation for these. You should be able to the day before, or even the morning of, if you plan on going for dinner.
A good rule of thumb is to make a reservation for any sit-down restaurant. Most actually do require that you do or highly recommend you do. Download the OpenTable app to make all your dining reservations in one place!
If you’re visiting Las Vegas during the busiest season, generally around March, you’ll definitely want to plan some reservations a few days in advance, if not a week beforehand. But it’s safe to make a reservation any time of year if there’s a restaurant you really want to try.
11. Expect to See Butts. Everywhere.
You’re in Vegas! And while it’s not quite the male-centered entertainment city it was in the 30s, there are still entertainers all around. You’ll find there are many “show girls” who walk around the strip asking people to take photos with them for tips.
They might walk up to you and be quite blunt about asking you for photos, but if you don’t wish to just say no thanks and walk away, they’ll leave you alone. If you want to take your photo with them, make sure you have a little cash in hand as they will not be pleased if you walk away without tipping them.
You’ll also see some shirtless men in super tight pants trying to get people to take photos with them. Some of these lightly dressed people might also be advertising a show they’re in as this type of show is very popular in Vegas, such as Absinthe at Caesars Palace.
Along with butts, you’ll see people handing out “escort” cards at night, so just be prepared to see some naked people on these cards if you’re visiting with kids or just don’t want to experience that side of Vegas.
12. Water Is Scarce
Remember how I said everything was really expensive in Las Vegas? Well so is water. It’s hard to find free water unless you’re at a sit-down restaurant. The bars don’t want to give you free tap water, they’ll instead hand you a $7 water bottle if you ask for some water.
To avoid paying a small fortune for water bottles, bring your own reusable water bottle! There are still ice machines in the hotels and you can drink the tap water in Vegas. I would chug some ice-cold water before heading out on the Strip, and then chug more water if I went to a sit-down restaurant.
Obviously, you should always get water if you’re really thirsty or hot, and you can often find people selling cold water bottles and sodas, sometimes even beer, on the streets. They’re safe to buy (with cash) and drink, and while they’re technically not allowed to sell on the streets, the drinks from these little stations are so much cheaper.
13. You Don’t Have to Gamble
If you’re visiting Las Vegas to gamble, you’ve definitely come to the right place! There is no shortage of slot machines, blackjack tables, poker, etc. But if you don’t wish to gamble, you can still have so much fun in Vegas.
Stroll through the big hotels on the strip, like the Venetian or the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Catch a Cirque du Soleil show in the evening. Or try all the delicious food you can imagine. There is so much to see and do in Vegas besides gambling.
I honestly had no idea what to expect when visiting for the first time, other than I knew it was a gambling haven. But I was blown away by how fun a city Vegas is! And if you’re a people watcher, this is also the place for you; you’ll see so many different people here, just don’t stare, right?
14. There Are a Lot of Kids
It might not seem like a popular family vacation destination, but there are a surprising amount of kids visiting Las Vegas with their families. You’ll see them wandering around the strip all day and well into the evening.
There were lots of strollers being pushed, and what surprised me the most was how late you would see them out. So I guess if you’re not sure about bringing your kids to Vegas, you totally can!
Cirque du Soleil is a nice family show to watch as there were many families at the “Mystere” show when we saw it.
15. You Can Visit Old Vegas
The most popular area to stay in Las Vegas is the strip, but if you have time, don’t skip out on “Old Vegas.” Head to Fremont Street, about a 15-minute drive from the Strip, and you’ll arrive at what was once the main area of Vegas.
Here you can find older casinos such as the Golden Nugget, Main Street Station, and a newly renovated Circa. While the most action is happening on the Strip, Fremont Street has its own vibe and nightlife.
If you want to see Fremont Street at its craziest, head here around 9 pm and see what its bustling nightlife is all about!
While Las Vegas can be a busy, crazy city I highly recommend you give it a chance and experience the fun of Sin City yourself. You can visit without gambling and still have a great time, and these Las Vegas tips will help you do so.
Treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of the famous chef restaurants, such as Giada. Dress up and spend a fancy evening at Beauty & Essex sipping on cocktails, and don’t skip out on Old Vegas on Fremont Street.
Remember everything costs a pretty penny here, take a stroll through some of the massive and beautiful hotels, and always, always make sure you stay hydrated, especially if you’re visiting in the summer.
Las Vegas is a seriously fun place to visit. After arriving for the first time and not knowing what to expect, I put together these Las Vegas tips so you can make the most of your time in Sin City and arrive with a plan!
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