Itinerary: A 3 Night Jaunt in Las Vegas for Newbies
VegasPundit.com Itinerary: A 3 Night Jaunt in Las Vegas for Newbies
A colleague of mine at work told everyone she was going to Las Vegas, and asked for suggestions. Her request, was – in part – one of the reasons I started this website. So many of my colleagues are clueless about Las Vegas. The prevailing stereotypes about Las Vegas include the negative keywords – gaudy, fake, and curiously – American. Maybe it’s just the line of work I’m in – but it’s true, Las Vegas is a city full of superlatives and can indeed live up to these ill-conceived notions of what the city is about.
As a southern Californian, I’m practically a Las Vegas-native, and have been a long-term tourist for the better part of 20 years! I love the city, and love sharing advice. Most people ‘do’ Las Vegas – and I’d say it would be better to ‘experience’ it like a local.
This is the first post, in what will be a continuing series of VegasPundit.com Itineraries and Top 10 Lists.
I’ll assume you’re flying into McCarran International Airport. And as most European flights arrive in the evening, I’ll assume an arrival time of 6pm. If you’re American or from elsewhere in the world, feel free to re-jig the itinerary. As long as you can fit it in, do it!
Get a rental car
A note about rental cars – I wonder why people keep saying they can do Las Vegas without one. Las Vegas couldn’t make it any easier. There are free and frequent shuttles between McCarran and a centralised rental car centre with all the major companies.
Get a rental car – you’ll be glad you did. Recommended companies include Budget, Avis and Alamo.
After writing up this itinerary, I realised that it would cater more towards adults, couples, and definitely not for families. An article which caters for families if definitely in the pipeline. Anyway, read on…
Day 1: Welcome to Las Vegas – Las Vegas Boulevard aka The Strip
- Arrive in Las Vegas.
- Pick up your rental car.
- Take the 15 North to Sahara Avenue, in old Las Vegas. Cruise down The Strip, driving southbound. The traffic will be quite heavy, depending on the day of the week, however it’s a drive well worth it. The lights are spectacular! You’ll pass all the newest hotel casinos, including the Wynn, the Encore, the Venetian, the Mirage, Caesars Palace, the Cosmopolitan, and City Center. Not saying that you should, but if you can slow down/stop in front of the Bellagio fountains for a thirty second gander – it’s worth it!
- Check into your hotel.
- Have dinner at Caesars Palace’s Beijing Noodle Number 9. Still one of my favourite places for hand-stretched Beijing-style noodles. The best thing on their menu is the noodles with sliced pork and mushrooms.
- Hit the blackjack tables at Caesars Palace. The oldest part of the resort – the Palace Casino – is still grand, and oozes 50s and 60s glamour and Hollywood history. The Baccarat Room is pretty magnificent as well.
Day 2: The Fremont Street Experience and The Strip
- Go to the Peppermill at 2985 Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s an old school coffee shop, with the friendliest waitstaff, booths and an amazing glitter-ball ceiling. There’s also a counter for solo diners. Food portions are hefty, so do have a look at your fellow diners’ plates before ordering.
- Go to the Wynn Las Vegas and have a drink at Parasol Up, Parasol Down – a casual bar/lounge. If weather permits, get a seat outside next to the beautiful waterfall.
- Play roulette at the Wynn or Encore. This hotel casino probably remains my favourite in Las Vegas, so soak up the atmosphere!
- Drive to Fremont Street, and park at the Golden Nugget – formerly a Steve Wynn property. The hotel pool is certainly worth a look – The Tank. It recently got a $30 million facelift and features sharks and other exotic wildlife.
- Exit the Golden Nugget onto Fremont Street, and wait for the overhead Fremont Street Experience to begin. It’s an amazing lightshow that’s not to be missed.
- Drive back to the Bellagio for dinner. Although most Las Vegas buffets are AMAZING, The Buffet at Bellagio, in my opinion is still the best.
- Walk through the Bellagio and have a look at the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (simply amazing!) and the overhead sculpture in the lobby by Dale Chihuly.
- Walk 10 minutes to the Cosmopolitan, and have a nightcap at the Chandelier Bar – an over-the-top, multi-level operation bejewelled in tens of thousands of crystals!
Day 3: Shop for anything and everything, and party like Mick (Swagger) Jagger
- Start at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace. It has everything from Houdini – a magic shop specialising in magic tricks and pranks, for later use on unsuspecting colleagues and friends – to Louis Vuitton.
- Go to Crystals at City Center – the only proper Paul Smith store in the US.
- Drive to the Buffalo Exchange at 4110 South Maryland Parkway for the best vintage clothes selection anywhere in the city. Great deals can be had here!
- For lunch, go to Lindo Michoacan at 2655 East Desert Inn Road. This is simply the best Mexican food I’ve ever hard. Order the guacamole, which they prepare table-side, and tacos dorados to start (and share!) and finish off with the carnitas. You can’t go wrong. And it’s a total local place.
- Return to the Strip and go to the Fashion Street Mall. A note – this is a much more standard American-style mall. Americans – you might not find it worth going, however for Brits and Europeans – this is probably the best shopping spot in Las Vegas, which suits all budgets.
- Go back to your hotel and have a few drinks, in preparation for…
- Surrender/Beach Club at the Encore. Party all night, and get in for free. Ask me for details about how to get onto the VIP list (free entry!) and bottle service.
Day 4: McCarran International Airport
- Return your rental car and take the free shuttle back to the airport.
- If you’re up for a little more gambling, you’ll have remembered that there are several banks of slot machines located throughout the terminal building!
3 nights in Las Vegas is a very short time to spend in a city that offers so much. The itinerary above – Las Vegas for Newbies – picks out the best of the old and new Las Vegas, and – after having re-read it – there’s so many ways you can customise it!
Drop me a note about your experience in Las Vegas. I’d love to hear from you.