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People always make the mistake of spending way too much time in Las Vegas. Not that it’s a bad place to spend some time, but if you’re going there to party, you’ll probably be partied-out in just a few days. I’ve done some crazy trip to Vegas, some that were too long, others that lasted about 12 hours of nonstop partying, followed by a sleepless drive back to Los Angeles. Good times.
Over the years, my friends and I have gotten it down to a science. Got a free weekend? Here are some tips on how to do Las Vegas right in just one weekend.
The first thing you’ll want to do is to have a look at some of the cheap flights available. Check the usual booking sites, you’re sure to find some good deals. Book your flight so that you leave right after work on Friday and get in to Las Vegas in the evening.
Next, book your hotel. You’ll want to stay on The Las Vegas Strip, or somewhere Strip-adjacent. There are plenty of options for every budget, and you want to be right where all the action is. Staying off-Strip can sound appealing (and cheap), but you’ll just end up wasting your time and money on taxis.
Now you’re ready to party!
Las Vegas is a very nocturnal city (as you’d expect), so catching a plane after work and arriving in the late evening doesn’t mean you’ve missed anything. When you get to the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, hop in a taxi or a shuttle (the shuttles are cheap and easy) to your hotel and check in, get dressed for the night, and then head out for a late dinner. The real party doesn’t get started until late in Las Vegas, so you have plenty of time to enjoy a nice dinner and drinks.
After dinner, it’s time to gamble. Even if you’re not a gambler, you can’t take a trip to Las Vegas without putting $20 on the roulette wheel. Hit the slots, try your hand at craps, or sit down at a poker table for an hour or two – the night is young and you should enjoy a bit of gambling. It’s always a good idea to set a gambling limit before you hit the tables. Only play with as much as you’re prepared to lose. Yeah, you’ve heard that before, and yeah, I’m certainly not the person to be giving advice about frugality, but its good advice.
When you’ve got a nice buzz going, and you’re tired of gambling (or you’ve lost all your money), it’s time to hit the clubs. The best places to go are constantly changing, but current top clubs in Las Vegas include old standards like Vanity, Tao, Pure, and the new Marquee.
The party at the clubs generally lasts late, but for those of you inclined to keep the train rolling past 5AM, there are always after hours clubs. These places are always subject to change, but some of Vegas’ best afterhours clubs include Drai’s, and my favorite, Artisan – an art themed, non-gambling after hours club. Awesome.
This is one of my best tips for Vegas — Sleep in. The next morning, you’ll be tempted to set an alarm and jump out of bed to see the sites of the Strip while you’ve still got daylight. But, remember, you’re on vacation, and you probably had a big night last night doing some weird dance moves. So take an extra hour, you earned it, amigo!
When you finally do wake up, do yourself a favor and order breakfast from room service. It’s really not much more expensive than going out for breakfast, so soak up the luxury while you can. Also, Mimosas or Bloody Mary’s are a great way to start the day in Vegas!
As soon as you get going, Hit the strip.
Most of the Las Vegas Strip is walkable, but for some of the further flung destinations, you can always take the Las Vegas Monorail. You’ll want to check out some of the other hotels and casinos – they are pretty much all worth visiting.
Here are a few things not to miss during your day on the Las Vegas Strip:
The Bellagio Hotel and Casino – This pace is pure class – You’ll feel like one of Ocean’s Eleven walking across the casino floor.
The Venetian Hotel and Casino - This place really feels like your in Venice, Italy. Elegant, romantic, and awesome.
The Luxor Hotel and Casino – This interesting pyramid is worth checking out and at least snapping a few photos.
Wynn Las Vegas – Vegas’ newest and sophisticated hotel and casino.
Hard Rock Café – This famous restaurant is a must on many Vegas visitors’ lists. If you go, you might as well buy the t-shirt. (I’ve been to Vegas countless times and still never been to the Hard Rock!)
Want to do some shopping? Check out the huge selection of boutiques at the Forum Shops at Caesars or the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian.
If you want to see a show, it’s best to book early. Anything you see in Vegas is going to have that typically grandiose Vegas flair, and shows rarely disappoint. Anything from the Cirque du Soleil folks is sure to impress and inspire, and there is always a great selection of comedians and musicians to see. Check www.visitlasvegas.com for good deals on current shows.
What to hit a strip club? Sure you do. And your lady probably wants to hit Chippendale’s too. It’s all part of the Vegas experience, amigos! For the ladies, there is Chippendale’s and The Thunder from Down Under. For you fellas, check out The Spearmint Rhino, Crazy Horse III, Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, and Sapphire Las Vegas.
They don’t call it Sin City for no reason, gentlemen. There are plenty of distractions from, gambling to girls to 24 hour drink service. If you’re looking for a wild weekend, look no further than Las Vegas. Just don’t overstay your welcome. This town is known to chew people up and spit them out, so it’s best in small doses. Trust me, one weekend is all you need. So when Sunday morning rolls around, and you’re thinking of extending your trip by calling your boss and faking sick — don’t.
Hit the breakfast buffet, load up on all-you-can-eat bacon, nurse that hangover with one last Bloody Mary, and catch your flight home. Vegas will be there waiting when you’re ready to make another trip.