Ahh Las Vegas! This city has a unique and electric vibe. Take two steps into any casino and you’ll be captivated by the endless sea of slot machines. I’m not really a huge gambler but if you give me $20 bucks and some penny slots, I’m sure I’ll find just a tiny bit of satisfaction in pulling the lever and hearing the slot machine sing.
Truth be told, Las Vegas wasn’t a city on my radar for a long while because I really don’t gamble but now, after two trips in as many years, I’ve found a whole new love and appreciation for this intriguing city.
9 Must-See Attractions on the Las Vegas Strip
Each of my visits was different and I suppose that’s the beauty of it because this city has so much more to offer than just gambling. Here are 9 must-see things on the Las Vegas strip.
Fountains of Bellagio
Water. Music. Lights. These elements make up the iconic fountains that feature what I like to call aqua magic. More than 1,000 fountains dance in front of the hotel to choreographed lights and music day and night, with water soaring as high as 460 feet into the air. It’s mesmerizing – especially at night.
The fountains are synced to a variety of music selections including opera, classical, Broadway tunes, and even a few popular pop tunes. You can easily catch one of the shows from the sidewalk just in front of the Bellagio hotel, every 15-30 minutes depending on the time of day. Check the schedule and plan your visit here.
If you want to catch a different perspective, you could just stay at the Bellagio like we did on our last trip to Las Vegas. We booked three of our five nights here and were lucky enough to get an upgrade to a fountain view room, which in our case was also a mid-strip view (the first photo on this post was taken from our room).
Trust me when I say, I spent three glorious days watching the fountains at all times of the day as we came and went from our room. It was just stunning. Our room was in the main building on the 16th floor with our view directly in the middle of the fountains and arguably one of the best views from the hotel. I highly recommend splurging for a fountain view room. The room itself was huge and very well appointed with a large bathroom, marble shower and soaking tub but I digress.
What I absolutely loved about it was watching those glorious fountains, especially at sunset as the strip lights come up. The Paris Hotel and Eiffel Tower sit directly across the street and the twinkling of the tower made for a unique backdrop and perspective after dark.
The 14,000-square-foot Conservatory sits just off the main lobby with a glass ceiling close to 50-feet tall. This beautiful garden is a floral masterpiece that changes seasonally. The Conservatory season starts with a Chinese New Year theme and then features different designs in spring, fall and again for around Christmas time.
Spring features cherry blossoms while summer features a range of colors. The Fall theme is heavy on orange, yellow, brown and gold hues to complement the traditional fall colors and finally, around Christmas, the gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland. To see the Conservatory at Christmas time, be sure to plan your visit after Thanksgiving weekend to see the gardens full of Christmas cheer but really any time of year is a special sight.
Since we were staying at the Bellagio on our last trip, the Conservatory was just a hop and skip away from our room. Both of my recent visits to Las Vegas have been in November and the theme was similar both years – lots of those gorgeous fall colors in the garden color scheme.
Ride The Highroller
Located in The Linq promenade, The Highroller is the world’s tallest observation wheel at 550 feet above the center of the strip and it offers an amazing panoramic view of both the Las Vegas valley and the strip.
The ride lasts 30-minutes which means you will reach the top approximately 15 minutes into your ride. The wheel features 28 pods which can hold up to 40 people and yes, they are fully air-conditioned in case you happen to be visiting in the middle of summer.
Tickets range from $25 – $52 per person depending on what time of day you ride and if you choose to include an open bar happy hour with your ticket. Personally, I like the idea of an evening ride around sunset with the happy hour package (you know for some liquid courage) so I can see the lights come up on the strip with a cocktail in hand.
Years ago, I rode the London Eye and it was quite an experience. My experience on the London Eye offered a breathtaking view of the city. This wheel is actually 107 feet taller than the Eye. Confession: We haven’t had a chance to ride the wheel on either of or last two trips but third time’s a charm because this attraction is a must on my Vegas bucket list. I’m expecting a similar experience on The Highroller and look forward to seeing the strip dressed in lights from an aerial perspective.
Catch a Show
From magicians to comedians, to concerts and tribute shows there’s certainly no shortage of show options in Las Vegas. If you’re looking for something a little more classic Vegas, there’s always a burlesque show or my favorite Cirque Du Soleil. Most of the hotel properties have show venues so there’s truly a show for every taste and chances are you won’t have to go too far up or down the strip to find it.
I like to plan at least one Cirque Du Soleil show for each trip and again there’s no shortage of themed options with six different shows currently running. I’ve seen both KA and Mystere and like the other four shows that are currently running, each show has its own storyline and artistic twist. You can’t go wrong in my opinion from what I’ve seen the shows are entertaining and captivating.
Visit the Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas sign
This Las Vegas landmark is located at 5100 Las Vegas Blvd on the south end of the strip. Originally built and installed in 1959, the 25-foot tall sign has become an iconic photo opt spot on the strip. It’s walkable, approximately 8/10th of a mile from the entrance to Mandalay Bay.
Additionally, the State of Nevada added the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign to the State Register of Historic Places in late 2013.
The Chocolate Bar in New York New York
The Chocolate Bar sits just outside of the Hershey’s Chocolate World inside New York New York and if chocolate martinis are your thing, this is a must. The Chocolate Bar has seven different martinis to choose from and let me just tell you they are all fabulous. Each has its own spin to this chocolate concoction and one (or all) are sure to meet your deepest, darkest chocolatey-ist desires.
We always have a martini or two every visit but getting my hands on a chocolate martini is even easier when we stay at New York New York. It’s just a short ride down the elevator and walk into the casino from our room to the pure chocolate deliciousness that waits. And now I really want one of these fancy martinis, stat!
My personal favorite is the good ol’ Death By Chocolate martini – it’s classic and you can’t go wrong but if you’re looking for a fun twist try the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup martini, the Chocolate Raspberry martini (which is Chris’ favorite) or the Chocolate Coconut martini.
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
Shark lovers unite because this one is for you. The Shark Reef Aquarium houses over 30 different sharks including the Sand Tiger, Sandbar and White Tip Reef Shark in addition to more than 2,000 animals including stingrays, endangered green sea turtles, piranha and even a Komodo dragon.
And if you want to get a little closer to the action, you can feed stingrays, sharks or turtles and even swim with sharks if you book an Animal Encounter adventure. Aquarium admission starts at $15.00 for children and $22.00 for adults.
Hit The Club For Some Night Life
Las Vegas night clubs are legendary – the music and the party often go well into the wee hours of the morning and for the 21 and over crowd, there’s no shortage of clubs to choose from. Almost every hotel has its own in-house club and there’s certainly a wide variety of different vibes from the atmosphere to music selection at each venue.
Try to hook up with a club promotor. They can get you on the guestlist for reduced or even free entrance fees. A promotor can also tell you which clubs offer the best promotions on each night. In our experience we scored free entrance and free open bar until midnight. Which was perfect for me – just enough time to have a cocktail, do a little dancing and head back to our hotel for a sweet slumber.
At home, we aren’t big club people but when in Vegas it’s a fun excuse to get glammed up for a night out. We’ve been to Drai’s (located at The Cromwell Hotel) and Marquee (located at The Cosmopolitan). I enjoyed both clubs but Marquee was our favorite and the one we returned to a second time. I certainly want to check out some other venues on our next visit but I guess I need to work on staying out past midnight. A day club or pool party might be more my speed if we ever visit in the summertime.
The Chandelier Lounge in The Cosmopolitan
What makes the Chandelier Lounge special is the stunning multi-story visual marvel that makes up this space. The giant chandelier encompasses the lounge and glows from all angles. Its concept feels so Vegas thanks to the shimmer and shine of this sophisticated space.
Part art and part lounge, it’s fun to look at and explore from all levels, however, my favorite view comes from the top floor. And since this is a casino bar, there’s also an array of hand-crafted signature cocktails to round out this unique bar experience.
Of course, there’s still plenty of other things to do that I didn’t list. These are just my must-sees on the strip. I’d love to hear all about yours in the comments – especially if it’s not my list. If you’re looking for some ideas on what to do around Vegas, off the strip, check out my post about 7 Things You Don’t Want to Miss Off-The-Strip In Las Vegas.
Viva Las Vegas!
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