If you only have 24 hours in Vegas, you will not run out of things to do and places to go on this short trip. Although nicknamed Sin City, most activities are family friendly and kid friendly.
THE ENTERTAINMENT CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
You might have only thought of Las Vegas as the gambling town, watching a big gambler on the casino floor winning at table games, or where prostitution is legal. And when talking specifically about Las Vegas, the phrase “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” is almost always uttered. But there’s more to Vegas than just a booze filled weekend. And there’s even more to the Strip than gambling.
After all, the Rat Pack, Elvis, Dean Martin, Andre Agassi, and Alex Honnald have all called Las Vegas home, and it is currently home to about six hundred thousand other people. Celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Giada, Roy Choi and Shawn McClain have restaurants that will wow even the best foodies.
It’s a place bounding in activities and entertainment for the whole family and you can usually find anything you want at any time. So if you only have 24 hours to check out this wonderful city in the United States, whether your first time or hundredth time, use this fabulous itinerary for one day in Vegas!
There are constantly plenty of great deals to Las Vegas from all over the country and even international destinations. The best time to visit the city of Las Vegas is when you’re here! Check the rates now or set a price alert on Airfare Watchdog to grab a great rate on your next Vegas vacation.
When you are all set to come to Vegas, use the Las Vegas Pass to score the best deals on some of these things to do. Since you only have 24 hours, you want to come prepared!
WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS
First things first, head out to the famous “WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS” sign. It’s not that far from the airport, and is on the way into Las Vegas if you’re driving from California. It’s good to get out there in the early morning because it queues quick. And there’s no shade anywhere. So the time of day you stop here really matters.
Remember Vegas can easily get to 120 degrees (48 Celsius) in the sun. So if you decide to visit in the summer, your pic may potentially include red faces, sweat stains, and runny makeup. It is open 24 hours, so a night pic will be just as Instagrammable.
TRAVELER’S TIP: Come in March or October for better weather. What isn’t a desert in Las Vegas is concrete, so don’t expect it to cool off too much at night if you do come in the summer.
WHERE TO EAT
Where to go for breakfast in Vegas? It’s definitely a bonus that Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps. You can find many places, other than coffeehouses that are open bright and early and usually 24 hours. In order to maximize your time, you’ll want to eat somewhere close.
BUDGET: La Salsa Cantina in Planet Hollywood. For $4.79, you get you two eggs cooked the way you like and bacon, ham or sausage, two warm tortillas and potatoes. Add the bloody Mary for $1 more. Or add the bigger bloody Mary for $2 more. Or grab the vegetarian option in the scrumptious huevos rancheros. La Salsa will help you fill your belly quick and cheap for your full day of activity.
MID-RANGE: Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Las Vegas hotel. Classic French bistro food located in the cutest café where your bread comes in the crisp crackling butcher paper. The patio is popular because you sit under the Eiffel Tower across from the Bellagio fountains. As if you’re sitting in a Parisian café people watching … across from Lake Como.
Yes to the eggs Benedict and the banana fosters waffles and buttermilk pancakes with the pear and ginger sparkling cocktail. Need gluten-free? Oui Oui. Need vegetarian or vegan? Oui Oui.
TRAVELER’S TIP: As of this year, recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada. So if you sit on the patio watching people walk the Strip, there may be an occasional unusual smell…
SPLURGE: Sadelle in Bellagio. Located right off the Conservatory so you can enjoy the flora and fauna as you dine or grab a window seat and get a pool view. More than a fresh bakeshop, the atmosphere is inviting with pastel poppy colors and the food is will make you get excited about it. Definitely try the pastries and anything else that is recommended!
THINGS TO DO
Las Vegas Strip
Many of the hotels in the Strip charge for parking regardless of whether you are a guest there. MGM properties, Flamingo, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Linq and Caesars all charge for parking. Planet Hollywood, Wynn properties, Treasure Island and the Fashion Show mall do not.
The Strip is very walkable, so park for free and walk to another property. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes! Also check out my post on Bellagio to see how you can get free parking at MGM properties. You can also navigate the free monorails that run from (1) Mandalay Bay to Excalibur via Luxor (2) Park MGM to Bellagio via Aria and (3) Mirage to Treasure Island. Basically, all of south Las Vegas Boulevard.
Use the morning to walk the Strip from one attraction to the next attraction with a Margarita by the Yard and catch these entertaining spots:
- Bellagio for the dancing fountain show. Water (with a free light show night) dance eloquently to music that create a beautiful free show. Then head inside to the Bellagio Conservatory. The botanical gardens are a delightfully FREE and fragrant short (but totally worth it!) stop.
- Take a gondola ride at the Venetian hotel. And listen to the gondolier serenade you, especially as you pass by the famous Rialto Bridge. Ride as a single, couple or with strangers as the boat can take up to 4 people.
- For the thrill seeker, ride one of the best thrill rides on the Big Apple Roller Coaster at the New York-New York that takes you upside down and racing through the casino. Looking for something more heart pounding? Head to the Stratosphere Hotel for the Guinness World Record SkyJump. Jump from the the top of the Stratosphere down 855 feet to the sidewalk below.
- Love chocolate? Visit the M&M’s chocolate factory after your roller coaster ride at New York New York.
- Get your luxury shopping on at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace and catch the Fall of Atlantis moving statue water show complete with a 50,000 gallon aquarium and exploding fire. Then take some pics at a replica of the Trevi Fountain channeling that Italian vibe.
- Stroll around the LINQ Promenade and ride the High Roller Observation Wheel, the tallest freestanding observation tower, for amazing aerial views of Las Vegas. The entire ride lasts about 30 minutes and there’s even a bar if you need some liquid courage to take care of any heights phobias.
TRAVELER’S TIP: Groupon usually has discounted tickets for the High Roller, so check there first for up to half off the normal price. Also, other amazing views of Vegas can be seen from a Sundance helicopter ride or head to the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris. Both of which are usually on Groupon too.
By this time, you should be ready for lunch:
BUDGET: In-N-Out Burger. Located in the LINQ. The menu is so simple: Burgers, fries, soda and shakes. But this iconic food chain has taken the west coast by storm. Maybe it’s the “fresh never frozen” burger patties; maybe it’s the fries you know came from a real potato, maybe it’s the throwback to the ’60’s style of service.
Whatever it is, you can’t come to Vegas without leaving with two food experiences – In-N-Out and an original Vegas buffet. So don’t be intimidated by the constant crowds here, the service is quick and if you really want to feel like a local, order something off the the not-so-secret menu.
MID-RANGE: Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips in the LINQ. I am a massive Chef Ramsay fan and have been to four of the five restaurants in Vegas. Fish and Chips is one of the more affordable ones. You can get combo meals paired with beer and add the sticky toffee shake for dessert.
It’s hard to find seating inside the limited sized restaurant, but there’s a handful of seating outside and the fish and chips come in boxes that can easily be carried and eaten as you stroll around the LINQ. The portions are sizable so feel free to share.
SPLURGE: Eataly in Park MGM. Another location to add to Chicago, New York, Boston and LA where you can find this marketplace for everything from kitchen items to groceries, and the food court has must-try Italian bites from coffees, crepes, gelato to seafood, pasta and pizzas.
Grab a bite to go or sit down at one of its restaurants. It’s all a giant market for foodie lovers. You can even take wine tours and cooking classes. I’m only considering it luxury because between the wine, food, coffees, desserts and small bites, my husband and I never leave spending less than $100…for lunch. All of it is that good…
Downtown Las Vegas
Spend the rest of the day downtown on the north end of Las Vegas Boulevard. On your way, don’t forget to stop by the World’s Largest Gift Shop between the Strip and downtown for some authentic souvenirs.
TRAVELER’S TIP: For cheap transportation, public buses run up and down Las Vegas Blvd are fairly efficient and low cost. Be sure to experience riding the Deuce, the double decker bus, that operates along Las Vegas Blvd. The Downtown Express connects the Strip to downtown. These buses require exact fare: (1) two-hour pass is $6, (2) 24 hour pass is $8, and (3) a three day pass is $24, all of which give you hop on, hop off privileges.
You May Also Like:
- Make stop at another world famous location: Pawn Stars. Technically named Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. Not making any promises that you’ll see Rick or Chumlee, but you will see plenty of people snapping photos at all times as it’s open 24 hours. Like all pawn shops right?
- Container Park. An outdoor mall made out of old shipping containers. Despite it being touted as a mall, I believe the park is designed for families and to keep kids entertained. There’s a massive treehouse/play area at the center where you can leave your kid(s) to relax at one of the bars. There are “caretakers” that will look after your kid(s) while in the play area. Upon entering the Park, there’s a giant preying mantis that blows extremely hot fire in the evening (so steer clear). The Park also has a stage for local entertainment and a tattoo shop in case you can’t leave Vegas without one.
- Take your photo with $1,000,000 in Binion’s Horseshoe hotel
- Zipline over everyone at the Fremont Street Experience. You get launched and ride under the giant neon advertising canopy as you race high above all the drunk people and street performers.
- Watch the Viva Vision light shows under the canopy on Fremont Street
Alright, well it’s time for dinner:
BUDGET: Flock and Fowl downtown. As the name indicated, these American-Asian fusion meals are chicken based, use locally sourced ingredients and the sauces are house made. You will be back again for the chicken rice. Start off with the chicken bao and definitely order the Hainan chicken.
MID-RANGE: Sushi Roku in the Forum Shoppes at Caesar’s Palace. Located on the third floor and easily accessible from the Strip, this modern Japanese style dining has some of the best views of the Strip and fresh sushi for everyone. You can sample a great deal of the menu on happy hour at a reasonable price or you can be a High Roller and splurge. It’s one of my favorite sushi places in Vegas, so I hope to see you there 🙂
SPLURGE: Aureole in Mandalay Bay. You should come here just for the wine angels that swing in and out of the 50-foot Tower of Wine. This Charlie Palmer restaurant has three sections, and although each section has it’s own characteristics, you should really dine at the Fountain Terrace. It’s the more upscale dining room with a gold leaf ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows and doors open to the restaurant’s outdoor area.
After an almost full day of getting to know Las Vegas, you can’t leave without catching at least one show. And if you catch a show, you’re going to need to have at least one pre-show drink.
Parasol Down at the Wynn. Want to also catch a pre-show before your show? Ride the escalator down under the multicolored parasol ceiling and enjoy the Lake of Dreams free show from the outdoor patio every evening. This 40-foot waterfall is accompanied by music and dancing lights every thirty minutes.
Bardot Brasserie at Aria. A gorgeous French Brasserie with a generous happy hour on their best alcoholic drinks. Have a sidecar or two before your show, or pick something off the champagne cart. The retro Parisian decor will make you forget you’re in Las Vegas. The cocktails and ambiance will entice you to stay for dinner, and if you do, expect an A-game culinary delight. How do I know? Two words: Michael Mina.
You can’t leave Las Vegas without catching some live entertainment.
TRAVELER’S TIP: Tix4Tonight have several booths along the Strip that sell discount show tickets. You can also check BestofVegas.com and Groupon for deals. Most shows also offer discounts to locals, so if you’re here visiting friends or family, have them use local ID for a discount at the box office.
O by Cirque du Soleil at the BELLAGIO. To start, I recommend any Cirque du Soleil show as the ones I’ve seen do not disappoint. O is full of acrobatics, high diving, synchronized swimming that is truly virtually stunning. It’s an aquatic adventure that follows a beautiful romance that’s definitely worth the splurge.
Ka by Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Grand is my favorite show. An eye-pleasing 90-minute theatrical event that’s full of acrobatics. It tells a story of Imperial twins through pageantry, martial arts and music. There’s bad guys, there’s murder, there’s adventure. The stage moves and rotates. It will have you giddy with excitement the entire time. I highly recommend Ka.
LAS VEGAS IF YOU HAVE TIME
BUFFET: Wynn buffet in Wynn Las Vegas at the end of the Strip. The award-winning buffet that’s in the mid to splurge range. Something for all taste buds. A beautiful ambiance that’s light, airy and full of florals. Eye-catching displays and a huge selection includes something for everyone. I like that it carries mini desserts so you can sample a little bit of everything you had your eye on. There’s 15 live action stations (think full service carving stations), a drink package you can add and you can’t beat a chocolate fountain!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON ONE DAY IN VEGAS
Even though I recommend to check Groupon for discounts, I do highly recommend the Las Vegas Pass if you plan on doing a few activities in Vegas. The Pass gives you discounts based on how many activities you choose and because you already have your ticket, no need to waste time standing in queues for tickets. Also if you didn’t get around to using all the activities, you have up to two years to use the Pass.
Hope after 24 hours in fabulous Las Vegas, you are enticed to stay longer next time. What are some of your favorites in Vegas?
Download or print this list!
If you happen to be staying longer in Vegas, here are some other posts to check out:
Pin This Guide
Viva Las Vegas!! Whooooo!! Seemmms like you had a blast! Great pics!
Thanks! If you’ve been to Vegas, tell me what was your fave 🙂
Vegas looks awesome! Being on the other side of the pond, I never have been there!
You have to come! And definitely hit the Wynn buffet lol
YESSS! I have spent 24 hours in Vegas before and that’s pretty much all you need. There is so much to see. There are so many different places to eat – I haven’t been to these before but I want to try out Eataly!! Thanks for sharing!!
Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me
Looks like you have to return, at least for eataly! 🙂
First of all I’m so glad I came across your blog, it’s amazing! Love the layout and I love your header/logo! This was a fantastic post and a fantastic read, can you create my itineraries for my future trips? I’m also desperate to try in and out burger, if it’s anything like Shake Shack then I’ll be impressed.
Thank you so much for reading and enjoying! Any yes, In-N-Out the west coast of Shake Shack, even though we have some here now. You will just be burgered out! LOL