If you've got minimum time for maximum fun, Las Vegas is your spot. Sin City is highly regarded among the world's most serious partiers for providing nonstop fun. There's a reason celebrities flock here for all sorts of shenanigans; most casinos and many restaurants and bars stay open 24 hours, plus there's plenty of action on the Strip, where it's completely legal to consume alcohol. We'll let you decide how many hours of sleep you'll need, but who comes to Vegas to rest? If you're in Vegas for a good time, but not a long time, read on for our ultimate one-, two-, and three-day itineraries to make the most of your trip.
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Day One: Pool Party, Club Dancing, and 24-Hour Dining
You’re on a tight schedule, so choosing a hotel in the right area is key. This way you won’t have to waste a lot of time on taxi rides or shuttle services. The Cosmopolitan, Aria, and Planet Hollywood are all centrally located on the southern end of the Strip. Each of these hotels has a youthful party vibe. Start early with a 7 a.m. breakfast from one of Los Angeles’s hippest exports: Eggslut (on the second floor of The Cosmopolitan). Gourmet egg sandwiches served on warm brioche buns are fast and hearty fuel for a full day. After breakfast, swing by the Cosmo’s beautiful three-story Chandelier Lounge for a quick Bloody Mary or mimosa and a few lucky slot pulls at the adjacent casino. It’s about a 10-minute Uber ride to the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. You’re going to need a selfie to memorialize your Las Vegas trip.
April through Labor Day is officially pool party season in Vegas. There are several excellent options throughout the city, but for location and overall rowdiness, it’s hard to beat the Rehab Beach Club at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Doors open at 11 a.m., giving you enough time to pop over to the Miracle Mile Shops to buy a tiny bathing suit. Rehab has an entry fee (half-price for women) and options to splash out on private cabanas and bottle service. The party is hosted by celebrity DJs and rages until dusk. On the walk back to the hotel along the Strip (about 20 minutes depending on the hotel), head slightly north and stop outside the Bellagio to see the famous dancing fountain show.
If you only have one night for dinner in Las Vegas, it’s hard to beat the Jean Georges Steakhouse in the Aria. The menu provides old-school steakhouse favorites with a modern twist by the world-famous celebrity chef. Martinis, oysters, and steaks carved at the table will make you feel like Sinatra. Unfortunately, there’s no time to linger over dessert — you’ve got to see a Vegas show. Lady Gaga’s Vegas residency starts in December 2018 at the MGM Grand. Until then, the Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil show is still going strong at Mandalay Bay. And lucky you, Hakkasan Nightclub is just a seven-minute cab ride from there. This is the kind of nightclub that you imagine when you think about nightclubs in Vegas. You’ll need to buy tickets in advance to avoid long lines. Inside, the scene is insane with blaring music, sexy people writhing on the multiple dance floors, and pricey drinks. If dancing isn’t your thing, use the night to casino hop and gamble — casino floors stay open 24 hours. Planet Hollywood’s 24-hour Pleasure Pit casino area is complete with go-go dancers. Female dealers wear corsets and male dealers don tiny vests with no undershirts.
If you’re still standing (and maybe trying to impress a new friend you met at Hakkasan), The Henry inside The Cosmopolitan offers 24-hour upscale comfort food. Or, perhaps it’s time to order room service and call it a night. Hopefully, you’ve got another full day in Vegas tomorrow.
Day Two: Roller Coaster, Sushi, and the Strip Club
Do you know a great way to kill a hangover? Have a big breakfast at The Henry and then take a roller coaster ride with drops, loops, and views of the Strip at New York New York Hotel & Casino. This thrill ride isn’t wild enough to make you sick, but it’s a great way to set the tone for your second day in Vegas. Continuing the pool theme from yesterday, today is the day to get topless. The Venus European Pool Lounge inside Caesars Palace is free for women and charges a cover for men, plus sun loungers are available for rent. Food and drinks are served poolside from servers. The scene is upscale, yet sociable. When you’re done evening out your tan lines, check out The Forum Shops inside Caesars Palace, where luxury shopping meets over-the-top Romanesque architecture. Here, you’ll also find the Fall of Atlantis animatronic show in a giant 50,000 gallon aquarium.
Dusk is the perfect time to take a ride on the High Roller. At over 550 feet, the world’s tallest observation wheel looms over the Strip, providing the ultimate view of the city’s casinos and desert landscape. It’s especially beautiful at night when you can see an artificial volcano erupt at The Mirage. With advance notice, a full bar can be set up inside the moving cabin. It takes about 30 minutes to make a complete circle, giving you enough time to get ready for dinner.
Opened in 2017, Zuma (in The Cosmopolitan) flies in fresh fish from Japan every day. The standout sushi is enough of a reason to visit, but we love the izakaya portions (meant for sharing), convivial atmosphere, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Strip. Japanese whiskeys are popular, but don’t miss the gin and tonic served in a plastic bag with a floating fish-shaped citrus peel. The late-night weekend Chippendale show starts at 10:30, but get there early for a pre-show drink. Professional male dancers take it almost all off in a custom-built theater in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Alternatively, Crazy Girls puts on a female burlesque show at Planet Hollywood.
If you really want to kick things up a notch, Vegas is notorious for its strip clubs. Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s Club is an all-time favorite, but beginners might want to get initiated at Crazy Horse III, which feels more like a nightclub than a strip joint. Pro tip: Download the app, order the free limo service, and you can skip the usual $50 cover charge.
Day Three: Zip Line, Cotton Candy Foie Gras, and Holy Matrimony
You’ve made it to day three, and it’s time for some early morning pampering. Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas’s spa is one of the best in the city and it opens at 9:30 a.m. The two-story luxury facility has a dedicated 1930s Shanghai theme and all visits start with a custom tea and ceremonial shoe exchange. Extensive water relaxation facilities overlook the Strip from huge windows. Treatments range from body wraps to Thai yoga massages. After you’re fully relaxed, keep the Asian theme going with a late lunch at Lemongrass, a Thai restaurant inside the Aria. But don’t get too sleepy, because it’s time to hit rowdy Fremont Street.
It’s about a 20-minute cab ride from South Las Vegas Boulevard to the revamped Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. The pedestrian-friendly area is loaded with vintage casinos and kitschy tourist activities, like taking your photo with one million dollars and pulling free slot machines. Sip cocktails, wander around, and play cheap table games (compared to pricier minimums on the Strip) until the famous Viva Vision light show starts at 6 p.m. This is also the perfect time to take advantage of SlotZilla, the zip line that soars under the canopy of Fremont Street Experience.
Heading back toward the Strip, stop at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino. Adrenaline junkies can make the open-air leap from the top of the Stratosphere (829 feet or 108 stories) until 1 a.m., but we suggest doing it before dinner and heavy drinking. Afterwards, celebrate your survival with dinner at Bazaar Meat By Jose Andres, inside the sleek SLS Las Vegas. The playful menu includes unexpected items like cotton candy foie gras and three different kinds of tartare. Exceptional cocktails pair beautifully with the food. When you’re full, head back toward the Stratosphere for karaoke with the locals at the legendary Dino’s Lounge.
It’s your last night in Las Vegas, you have a plane to catch tomorrow, and you’ve likely spent way too much money. Plus, you’e exhausted, but happy. There’s really only one way to cap off an epic three days in Vegas, and luckily Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel is just down the street from Dino’s Lounge. The fabulously tacky chapel is open 24 hours and can host every kind of wedding theme, from superheroes to traditional to Elvis. Viva Las Vegas, truly.
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