I visited Las Vegas for the first time in 2022 and wanted to hit all the “bucket-list” experiences. However, I didn’t want to gamble and sit in casinos all day and night. So I hit all the top things in Las Vegas for first-timers.
Vegas is full of casinos, shows, and much more, and there is no shortage of things to do. While you might think Vegas is one for gamblers and party life, Vegas has much more to offer. Even if going to the casino and clubs are not your thing, there are plenty of other noteworthy activities.
See below for my top things to do in Las Vegas for first-timers.
1. Welcome to Las Vegas Sign & Walking the Strip
You can only come to Vegas and get a picture with the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. It’s the perfect selfie and photo op to begin your Vegas venture. But, be prepared for a line, and try to get here early, so you don’t have to wait too long.
After grabbing your picture, wander the strip. Here, there are always things going on and bustling with activities. You can check the hotels, grab a drink, and take all the sites.
2. Boozy Brunch
The food in Vegas is top-notch. With several excellent restaurants, there is no shortage of great brunch spots. So whether you’re waking up from a night out or starting early with a day of site seeing brunch and drinks are a great way to start the day. Below are some of my favorites brunch spots:
Located at the Cromwell, I loved watching Giada on the cooking channel growing up. So it was great to go and eat at her restaurant. Italian dishes and refreshing drinks it’s a perfect way to start the morning.
Located in the Venetian Resort, if you’re in the mood for Southern comfort food and craft cocktails, this is the place for you. Be sure to try the chicken & waffles along with a Bloody Mary.
Located in Downtown Vegas, it’s worth heading to this spot for brunch. The food, made with local and sustainable ingredients, shows a trendy menu that will surely hit the spot.
Also located in Downtown Vegas, this is an excellent place for coffee and Latin cuisine. Be sure to get here early enough as there is often a wait to get seated.
3. Hit the casinos
I couldn’t come to Vegas without checking out the casinos. They’re everywhere, and you’ll find many trying their luck throughout the day.
Whether you’re a high roller or want to check out the slot machines, it’s an experience in Vegas.
4. Head to Downtown Las Vegas
It’s worth heading off the strip to Downtown Las Vegas. There are excellent restaurants, bars, and things to do here:
Fremont Street is its attraction in downtown Las Vegas. The pedestrian mall has activities, restaurants, casinos, and a light show. SlotZilla Zip Line takes you from the giant slot machine to the world’s largest video screen.
This 2.62-acre museum displays signs from old casinos and other businesses. It’s a great place to grab cute photos.
If you are in Vegas on the first Friday of the month, the district hosts a block party with artists, food, vendors, and musicians. This area is a great place to explore if you want a different vibe than the Strip.
5. Check out cool bars
Vegas has excellent and unique bars. See below for some of my favorites:
Located in The Cosmopolitan, this multi-story bar is gorgeous, with great cocktails.
You can enjoy craft cocktails in a chic lounge in the Venetian.
If you want great views, head to this bar at Waldorf Astoria. With floor-to-ceiling windows, you get a fantastic view of the Strip.
For a fun experience, doing happy hour at the High Roller is an excellent option if you have a group. The ticket includes an open bar and bartender for the entire 30-minute rotation of the wheel.
If you want to head off the Strip, this eclectic bar downtown is also a great place to visit.
6. Enjoy dining experiences
Las Vegas’s food scene is the perfect foodie’s spot. See below for my favorite restaurants. These places are great for dining and trendy ambiance.
Located in the Cosmopolitan, I think this is a must-do for foodies. The food and drinks are phenomenal, and the vintage setting is the perfect ambiance.
Also located in the Cosmopolitan, this inventive Asian fare will surely hit the spot.
If you watch the TV show, you won’t be disappointed to make a reservation in Caesar’s Palace, Hell’s Kitchen decor, and dishes inspired by the TV show.
7. See a show
The shows in Las Vegas are amazing. See below for my favorites:
Absinthe is a great show to see! It is the perfect combination of acrobatics and comedy. It is an adult show and on the raunchy side of humor. Absinthe may or may not be your cup of tea, depending on what kind of humor you are looking for in a show.
Cirque du Soleil is a masterpiece and perfect for all genres.
8. Party all day (and night)!
The Vegas party scene is one to experience, especially if you’ve never been to Vegas. You can hit up a pool party during the warm months in the day and head to the popping nightclubs at night. See below for options for day parties and nightclubs.
Located at the Cosmopolitan, this location offers two pools, several bars, and a gaming area.
Located in the Cromwell, you get great views of the Strip here, be sure to show up in your fashionable swimwear to be pool party ready.
Located at the Cosmopolitan, you can party during the day and night here. The high energy here makes it stand out from the other clubs.
Located at Wynn Las Vegas, this gold-accented dance club has an inside and outside. XS is a favorite of many!
9. Bonus - Venture out!
If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of places to visit a little way outside of Vegas! From quick drives to day trips, Vegas is a perfect home base for some of Nevada’s and Arizona’s natural wonders.
Head to the desert for the perfect Instagram photo. These colorful seven-painted boulders are perfect for snapping that insta post. It’s only a short 25-minute drive out of Vegas.
If you can visit the Hoover Dam, I recommend it, especially for your first time. This concrete-arch gravity dam is an incredibly engineered structure with plenty of history. In addition, the Hoover Dam is only about 45 minutes from Vegas.
When we visited, we did a combined tour of the Seven Magic Mountains and Hoover Dam so that we did not have to rent a car. See here for details.
If you want to do an all-day hiking activity, head to Valley of Fire State Park. Home to 46,000 acres of red sandstone, there are plenty of day hikes you can take to explore. The Valley of Fire is about 50 minutes from Vegas.