Planning Your First Vegas Trip

So I was recently talking to my friend about his first trip to vegas and as I was writing, I thought this could be good advice for anyone going their first time. Be advised this is for people a little to old to party hard every night and a little too young to just goo for the shows…

Ok, well first let me tell you that it always takes longer than it should to get from one place to another on the strip. So if you have dinner plans 1.5 miles away, give yourself a half hour to get there. Part of it is the enormity of the resorts themselves, part of it is figuring out where you’re going, and part of it is the congestion of people (both walking and driving) on this one little 2-3 mile strip.

Okay, with that said, now the fun stuff…

Vegas is awesome, especially your first time. There is so much to just walk around and see. Generally when people talk about Vegas, it’s just “The Strip” they’re talking about which is 2-3 miles of S. Las Vegas Blvd. There are a few hotels that are a little more “family friendly” (ie:Excaliber, Monte Carlo) that I would avoid.

Walking Around –

A lot of my time in Vegas has been spent just walking around. You can drink on the streets, so feel free to bring a nice big irish coffee/margarita/goldschlager bottle with you. If it’s daytime, it’s always a good idea to where a swimsuit underneath because you never know when you are going to find a pool you want to take a dip in.

For walking around on a nice day I’d walk up to Paris, cross over to City Center (where Aria and The Cosmospolitan are), then head south and just get a flavor of the place. Then I might head back to MGM for lunch then head further south down to Luxor (the big black pyramid) and Mandalay Bay check out the pools, grab some dinner and even catch a show.

Another good walking trip would be starting at City Center and heading north to walk around Bellagio, Caesar’s, and Venetian but then grabbing lunch at Planet Hollywood or Paris (it will be much much cheaper). These places also have extremely nice pools but there may be a cover to get in. I’ve walked into Caeser’s before without paying a cover for their pool but I think it depends on the time of year.

On a rainy day you can go walk around The Grand Canal Shoppes (under the Venetian) which is pretty cool but be careful because it can be an expensive place to take a girl :)

Lunches –

If you are looking for some lunch food, I attached an article I tend to agree with except for their recommendations of Excaliber and Monte Carlo.

Pools –

There are 2 types of “pools” in Vegas. There are standard hotel pools which are usually nice and free, but then there are pools that are more like daytime clubs. A place like Tao Beach (Venetian) can be A LOT of fun if you are looking to just have a crazy day of drinking and partying. There are also a couple topless or clothing optional pools are if that’s your thing. Last time I was there we went to Marquee Day Club & Pool which I probably would not recommend to couples. If you’re looking for more of a nice place to relax poolside and find some peace… I’m a fan of the Bellagio pool. They have some planted trees, a little bit of shade and a little less of a rowdy crowd.


If you are looking for a nice places for dinner, I recently became a huge fan of Holsteins (Cosmopolitan) because it’s relatively inexpensive for a really good meal. They also have a good beer list. Good steaks, burgers, American cuisine. The Pallazzo and The Bellagio both have some really amazing steakhouses (Prime, Carnevino). One of the great things about Vegas is the food. You can go on yelp and get a pretty honest idea of how good a place will be before you go there. As long as you avoid the places that get bad reviews, you won’t be disappointed.

Night Clubs –

This really depends on what you’re in the mood for. If you want to dance and get crazy – LAX at The Luxor or Tao at The Venetian are the hot spots. They are where everyone likes to go and they can be fun but can also be very expensive (i think the covers for these places are $20+ and drinks are $7+) so I usually grab dinner at Tao then stay there for the nightclub afterwards. If I remember correctly, you get in free if you had dinner there.

I love Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill in Harrah’s because it was free to get in (at least it was last time I was there) and there’s a live band, reasonable (for Vegas) drink prices and just a fun atmosphere.

If you are single and looking to hookup with someone that night in vegas, you can try and find a one night stand. Remember what he says in Hangover though, “Not everything stays in Vegas.”


Check out your own hotel. I haven’t stayed at the MGM Grand before but I think I’ve played blackjack and even some poker there. You’ll have to check out the pool and some of their food and tell me how it is. The nice
thing about doing things at your hotel is that you’ll have free access to the pool and you can just bring your room card and charge things to the room (food, beverages, etc.)