Most Vegas visitors have several days to take in all that the city has to offer — but what if you only have one day? How can you possibly choose between taking pictures at the welcome sign or at the Bellagio Fountains? Do you skip walking Fremont Street in favor of taking a Gondola Ride at the Venetian? With so many opportunities in Las Vegas, it can be headache-inducing to narrow them down.
Fortunately, with the right itinerary, you can enjoy the biggest and best sights in Sin City in a limited time. If you are looking to cram a quintessential Vegas vacation in just 24 hours, read on.
As soon as you wake up to the bright Las Vegas sunshine, you should start making plans for nighttime before you begin your day in Vegas. After the sun sets, Vegas truly wakes up, and it will be difficult to decide where to go and what to see when you are swarmed with tourists. In particular, it is essential that you buy tickets for whichever shows tickle your fancy. Among those currently playing, here are our favorites:
- Cirque du Soleil. It is hard to resist the high-adrenaline performances at this one-of-a-kind circus, but there are a handful of different shows to choose from. We prefer “O,” “Michael Jackson ONE,” and “Mystere.”
- Penn & Teller. These magicians are Vegas icons, and they will mystify you with their outstanding tricks — and with their ingenious explanations of how they did them.
- Britney: Piece of Me. Step aside Celine Dion: Britney Spears’ new performance compiles her best hits — as well as some new work — for a heart-pounding, compelling show.
To be honest, you can’t go wrong choosing a place to eat in Las Vegas. The competition to make good food is steep, and even the lowest-rated eateries are likely better than anything you have at home. Still, with just one day to experience the flavors of Sin City, you definitely want the best. Here are our suggestions for your daily dining opportunities:
- Breakfast: The Henry at the Cosmopolitan. Sophisticated and filling, the fantastic morning fare will keep you full while you see the sights.
- Lunch: Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris. With breathtaking views of the Bellagio Fountain, this bistro is memorable not just for its traditional French food.
- Snack: Hershey’s Chocolate World at New York New York. Offering more than 800 varieties of your favorite sweets (plus new fresh-baked treats every day) this place is much more than a candy store.
- Dinner: Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace. You can’t visit Vegas without sampling a world-famous buffet, and this one is undoubtedly the best.
While Sin City is filled to bursting with exciting attractions, perhaps the most compelling reason to visit is the multitude of casinos. Whether your game is blackjack or roulette, you should spend an hour or two wandering around the casino floor to get a true Las Vegas experience. You don’t have to wager much; some slots require as little as a penny per pull. However, if you go your whole day without the opportunity to double your money, you are missing out on a classic Vegas feeling.
Different casinos will offer different environments, so which gambling hall you head to depends on what you want. Our favorite casino on the Strip is the relatively new floor in the Cosmopolitan or the old-Vegas space in the Golden Nugget.
Las Vegas has malls, but these aren’t like any malls in your hometown. The two best shopping centers, Crystals and the Miracle Mile, are the epitome of consumer luxury. The high-end designer shops in Crystals aren’t the only opulent attractions of the mall; plenty of stores have transformed themselves into art galleries and event spaces to entice more than shoppers. Meanwhile, at Miracle Mile, you will find more than 170 stores offering any- and everything your heart desires.
As day turns to night, the Strip transforms before your eyes. As the neon lights start to flicker to life, you can’t help but explore Las Vegas anew. Before your show starts — and perhaps after it ends — you should take advantage of the nighttime to understand precisely why Vegas is such a tantalizing place. Starting at the southern end of the Strip, you’ll pass by the Bellagio Fountains; see the world in miniature at New York-New York, the Paris, the Luxor, the Venetian, and Caesar’s Palace; watch a daring pirate show at Treasure Island; and so much more. For an even more compelling view, you should head toward the top of the Stratosphere. After your walk, you will know Las Vegas inside and out — though you only spent a day on the Strip.