Las Vegas tourism experienced a dramatic drop-off during the first year of the pandemic. On top of the fact that very few people were traveling at all, the resorts, casinos, and entertainment venues for which the city is known were shut down. Now, however, the city has all but fully rebounded, with the latest numbers on monthly visitors indicating that tourist activity is as busy as it’s been since before Covid-19. Specifically, July saw an impressive 3.49 million people visit Vegas –– close to the 3.55 million mark from January of 2020.
In other words, Las Vegas is back to being one of the most popular and exciting tourist destinations in the U.S. For those who may be considering taking the trip however, it’s important to remember that Vegas has also always been a challenging destination. There is simply so much to see and do, in such a relatively small area, that it’s difficult to know where to prioritize your time and energy.
If you’re planning on joining the renewed waves of people visiting Vegas anytime soon, here are our recommendations for important ways to get the most out of the trip –– even if you can’t do absolutely everything on your list.
1 – Stay on The Strip
This is essential advice particularly if you’ve never been to Las Vegas. The bottom line is that most of the famous casino resorts the city is known for –– the Bellagio, the Venetian, the Wynn, the Mirage, Mandalay Bay, the MGM Grand, the Mirage, the Aria, and more –– are on what’s known as The Strip. And while you can visit Vegas, stay elsewhere, and simply visit the hot spots, there’s nothing quite like situating yourself right in the thick of things. From any of the resorts just listed, you can walk right out the door and visit the others (as well as countless other attractions).
2 – Pick out a Show
There are always great shows in Vegas, and it’s wise to research them ahead of time, pick one out, and secure good seats! We’d recommend starting with the mainstays. There are incredible circus shows (specifically by Cirque du Soleil) that essentially live in Vegas –– including “O” at the Bellagio and “The Beatles LOVE” at the Mirage. There are also “resident” concerts, wherein a given major artist will occupy a given show venue in town for weeks or months at a time. And then of course there are traveling music, comedy, and theater acts. Explore it all, but try to nail down an idea before you get to Vegas.
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3 – Try the Great Poker Rooms
If you’re inclined to play casino games in Vegas at all, making a point of visiting the iconic poker rooms in town can enhance your experience. That’s not to say you can’t also play some slots, sit at a blackjack table, and so on. But nothing quite captures the gaming prowess of the city like an elite poker room. At the top of the list are the Aria (where the poker venue is high-end but the table minimums are reasonable); the Wynn (where the poker room rivals any in the world); and the Bellagio (where a general prestige factor presides).
4 – Learn Casino Poker
If visiting the best poker rooms does appeal, it’s worth considering some advance preparation too. Simply put, learning how to play casino poker in advance is essential –– because it works a little differently than the online version so many of us have played. When you play in a casino, you can take your time to consider your moves (whereas internet play is very fast). But you’ll also have to make sure you aren’t sending signals that you’re a beginner (lest you be taken advantage of). Additionally, there’s etiquette to consider. For instance, you’ll need to keep your chips organized, understand the order of play, and –– above all else –– tip your dealers!
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5 – Pick a Pool
It’s also a good idea to pick out a pool! The Strip is almost literally overflowing with famous and incredible pools, and while you can of course try to visit a few of them, it’s a good idea to find one that you absolutely have to see, and put it atop your list. We’d recommend the wave pool at Mandalay Bay’s artificial beach if you want an active day out, or the Garden of the Gods at Caesars for relaxation. Then again, if you want a party, head to Wet Republic at the MGM Grand, where a DJ presides over a massive pool deck.
6 – Get off the Beaten Path
The Strip can keep you busy for months if you want it to (and you have the budget). But many tourists also find that there’s a lot of fun to be had away from the main casino resorts. In particular, we’d point you toward three types of activities. First, you can explore the Fremont Street Experience, a bustling entertainment spot away from The Strip. Second, you can head outside the city altogether to enjoy some of the nearby hikes (through places like Lake Mead and Red Rock Canyon). And third, you can explore the city’s art through installations like Seven Magic Mountains and the Neon Museum.
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7 – Make the Most of a Spa
Lastly, we’ll direct you back to some of our previous advice on making the most of a spa! Las Vegas is home to some of the best spas in the United States –– such as those at the Encore, the Waldorf Astoria, and the Aria. There are more treatments than you’ll know how to make sense of. But as per our prior tips, you’d be wise to pre-plan and pre-book; to ask for what you want; and to seek out something you haven’t done before.
And that’s that! Vegas is a different experience for everyone, but by following these tips you can ensure that you’ll have the best version of the vacation you want when you visit.