Vegas Bucket List

LAS VEGAS looks the way you’d imagine heaven must look at night. – Chuck Palahniuk

Las Vegas is one of the most iconic destinations in the entire world. Ask anybody what they think of when they hear ‘Las Vegas’, and you’ll get answers. Those answers may vary from ‘desert’ to ‘wild’, ‘gambling’ to ‘neon lights’, but almost everybody has an image of Sin City seared into their mind. Movies, TV, and urban legends have created an image of a desert oasis, where ‘what happens here, stays here’. With so many incredible things to do, I have compiled a Las Vegas bucket list for all my friends looking to visit!

After living, working, and studying in Las Vegas for almost four years, I learned a lot of things about the city. Secret spots, locals favorites, and hidden gems you have to check out! So, if Las Vegas has made its way onto ‘must-see’ list, (I hope it has!), here is the comprehensive ultimate Las Vegas bucket list from yours truly!

Things to do:

Mob Museum

Technically named “The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement”, the Mob Museum is hands-down a MUST-SEE in Las Vegas. Breaking down the history of organized crime in America, and then telling the true stories of the mob in Las Vegas, there is never a dull moment in this museum!

From their website:

 

The Mob Museum offers a bold and authentic view of organized crime from vintage Las Vegas to the back alleys of American cities and—increasingly—across the borders and networks of the entire world. Explore the real stories and actual events of Mob history through interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind Mob and law enforcement artifacts found inside our restored 1933 former courthouse and post office building located just minutes from Fremont Street.

We loved this place so much we were actually annual pass holders for a couple of years when we lived in Las Vegas. Special events and limited exhibitions keep it fresh and interesting. The building alone is worth the trip.

Good for: families, kids, couples, solo travelers, friends trip

Neon Museum

If you have ever dreamed of getting up close and personal with the sparkling neon lights of Las Vegas: your dreams are about to come true! The Neon Museum, and its attached ‘Neon Boneyard’ offers visitors a rarely seen version of those larger-than-life lights.

neon boneyard las vegas bucket listFrom their website:

Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. The Neon Museum campus includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, a visitors’ center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery

This is another place we had memberships to, because we loved it so much.

TIP: book in advance, and book the night tour so that you can see some of the refurbished lights turned on and glowing! 

Good for: families, kids, couples, solo travelers, friends trip 

Bellagio Fountains

As a former local, I am very picky when it comes to suggesting things to do on the strip. Why? Well, it’s complicated. I used to work on the strip, which means I probably view it differently than the average visitor. The strip is a site to behold. It can also be busy, crowded, overwhelming, hot, etc.

However, the Bellagio Fountains are well worth braving the masses for.

Bellagio fountains vegas bucket list

The fountain times can be found here. The show runs during both the day and night, and is set to music. You can see the show easily from directly in front of the Bellagio hotel, on Las Vegas Blvd.

Good for: families, kids, couples, solo travelers, friends trip

High Roller 

Officially the world’s highest observation wheel, with a peak of 550 feet, the High Roller is a 30 min ride that gives you unreal views of the city.

high roller las vegas bucket list

 

As somebody who isn’t a big fan of heights, I was a little skeptical when I first rode the High Roller, but it was no problem! The cabins are roomy (you can get up and walk around!). If you go around dusk, you can see the lights turn on, the Bellagio Fountains lit up, and still have enough day light to see far into the desert!

Good for: kids (age appropriate), families, couples, solo travelers, friends trips

Avoid: very young children, those with a STRONG fear of heights or claustrophobia 

Fremont Street and Downtown

Often thought of as “old Vegas” downtown was where it was at BEFORE ‘the strip’ took over. Fremont street, and the Fremont Street Experience, were part of the initiative to bring tourists back to downtown.

vegas bucket list downtown fremont

Downtown has had a major resurgence in the past few years, with big investors like Zappos pouring millions into the neighborhood.  Fremont East is the ‘go-to’ spot for local favorite bars and gastropubs. Fremont Street (covered by the light show that is the “Fremont Street Experience”) offers a version of Vegas before the high-roller, luxury lifestyle consumed the Strip. You can still find 99 cent cocktails, coin operated slots, show girls posing for pictures on the street, and live music. Cheap buffets, $2 blackjack, and real neon are all still alive and well Downtown.

While you’re downtown here are a few of my personal faves: Goldspike, Pizza Rock, the D’s Coin Casino, Container Park.

Good for: couples, solo travelers, friends trips

Avoid: young children

Best Las Vegas Buffet

Las Vegas is a metaphorical all-you-can-eat buffet. Excluding violence, if you can afford it, you can probably have it, and legally. Sex? Drugs? Rock and Roll? Gambling? Five star dining? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and YES. Vegas offers what is probably one of the most geographically concentrated assortments of fine dining in the world. Almost every famous/celebrity chef has a restraurant in Vegas. Joel Robuchon, Gordon Ramsey, Giada, Jose Andres, Guy Fieri, and Thomas Keller, just to name a few.

So whether you want the classic Vegas buffet experience, or something a little more unique, you won’t be disappointed!

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace

This renovation of the Caesar’s buffet was a game changer for the entire city when it renovated in 2012 with a $100 million budget (yes, seriously). Small plates, all five star, plus global cuisine? Yes, please.

vegas bucket list best buffet

From fresh seafood, ramen, and sushi, to charcuterie and made-to-order crepes, Bacchanal is literally everything you could dream of in a buffet. Plus more.

The price is no bargain, but its worth it for foodies. Long gone are the days of $2.99 buffets with soupy macaroni. The strip has turned the buffet into a gourmet dining experience for guests who want it all.

TIP: Go during ‘off peak’ times to avoid hour + long waits.

Good for: solo travelers, couples, friends trips 

Avoid: young children (price probably isn’t worth it), those with serious food allergies 

Other honorable mention buffets: Cosmopolitan and Wynn

See a Vegas Show

vegas bucket list see a vegas show

When you come to Vegas, the long-standing tradition of taking in a show is still alive and well. From Cirque du Soleil to comedy, A-list musicians to magicians. Vegas has something for everbody! The Rat Pack and the showgirls may be gone, but there are still a ton of shows worth checking out while you’re in Las Vegas!

Here are some of my FAVORITES:

ONE Michael Jackson by Cirque du Soleil at Mandalay Bay  good for: families (with older kids), solo travelers, friends trips, couples

A musical delight that pays homage to the music, style, and story of Michael Jackson.

Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil at New York, New York good for: couples (pretty steamy), bachelor(ette) parties

Sensuality meets Cirque

Tournament of Kings at Excalibur good for: kids (and kids at heart), families

Live action ‘jousting and more’ dinner show

Thunder from Down Under at Excalibur good for: friends trips, bachelorette parties

One of the most hilarious things you’ll ever see, I promise.

Rotating Residencies at Planet Hollywood and Caesar’s Palace good for: friends trips, couples, solo travelers

These two are my favorite venues and usually have the biggest names. Past/current residencies have included Celine Dion, Shania Twain, J. Lo, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Brooks and Dunn + Reba, and Gwen Stafani

Read Also: Ultimate Plus Size Summer Packing List 

Go to a Vegas Club

The glamour. The VIP service. The beautiful people. The celebrity DJs. The Vegas club scene.

It may be hard to argue that any other destination in the US has nightlife that can come close to the unique brand of extravagance that is Las Vegas after dark.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Drai’s Beachclub • Nightclub (@draislv) on

Not a night owl? Don’t worry. Vegas now lets you get wild while the sun is still out: Day Clubs.

Best View: Drais at the Cromwell 

I mean, its literally on the roof.

Best DJs: Omnia at Caesars Palace 

This relatively new club inside the Palace regularly features some of the most famous DJs in the world: Calvin Harris, Tiesto, ZEDD, and Martin Garrix, just to name a few.

Best Day Club: Encore Beach Club at the Encore 

Just like everything else at the Wynn/Encore properties, luxury is the name of the game at this pool club.

Headed to a day club? Read Also: Best Plus Size Swimsuits on Amazon

Get Out of Town

Vegas has a few nearby places that are definitely worth a visit, especially if you have a couple extra days, or have had your fill of the bright lights of the strip. It may seem crazy to include things OUTSIDE of Las Vegas on a Vegas Bucket List, but trust me, they are worth it!

Some of these may have paid tours available, but all of them are easily accessible by car if you have one or can rent one.

Red Rock

On the border of town, Red Rock Canyon offers hiking, climbing, and even a one-way scenic driving path that winds through the bright red rocks. It is technically still in Las Vegas, too, so its a ‘natural’ pick for a Vegas bucket list stop! If you need a dose of nature, this is the place. Plus, its really close.

Hoover Dam

hoover dam

Perhaps one of the most famous dams in the country, Hoover Dam is easily accessible by car from Las Vegas. Regular tours are also available through various tour companies in the city. Since the chances of you ever being near it again are slim, unless you’re in Vegas, it earns a spot on the Vegas bucket list. Once you arrive at the dam, tours are available and actually way cooler than it sounds.

Good for: families, friends trips

Nelson Ghost Town

vegas bucket list nelson ghost town

We actually stumbled across this ghost town and mining tour location when searching for places to have our engagement photos taken. I am so glad that we found it. Near an edge of the Colorado River and just a short drive outside of Las Vegas, this place is like a time capsule.

Grand Canyon

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by GrandCanyonNPS (@grandcanyonnps) on


I am the first person to admit that I was not excited to see the Grand Canyon. My first time there, I was about 20 years old, and was taking my friends who were visiting from Sweden. I was doing them a favor, in my mind. Boy, was I wrong. No Vegas bucket list is complete without including this natural wonder.

The Grand Canyon is one of the most mind-boggling things I have ever had the privilege to see. I often spoke to clients while working on the strip, and when I asked them what they thought of the Grand Canyon, the most common answer was “there are no words”.

The Grand Canyon is massive, and as such, there are multiple “rims” or places where you can access view points. Some are closer to Vegas than others. They all have their own pros and cons, so look into how long you have and what your priorities are before choosing your lookout point.

Hidden Gems

Akhob

vegas bucket list akhob

photo cred @jetzain

From Atlas Obsura’s Website: Imagine the sheer serendipity of finding a world-renowned artist’s work secreted away on the top floor of a French luxury goods store, in the midst of a tacky oasis, and you’ll have only begun to appreciate the wonder of James Turrell’s “Akhob.”

Unadvertised, and tucked away from public view on the secret fourth floor of the Louis Vuitton store inside Crystals, is Akhob. An immersive art experience by James Turrell. The tour/experience is free, but by appointment only. Its one of my favorite things in Las Vegas and always something I suggest friends put on their Vegas bucket list. Spaces are super limited, and echo the exclusivity of the brand located below the installation. Call early and get a spot, as they fill up weeks, sometimes month’s in advance. +1 702 730 3150

 

The Golden Tiki 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🍹The Golden Tiki Las Vegas (@goldentiki) on

 

Hidden from the strip in an unassuming strip mall in Chinatown, the Golden Tiki is the vintage-inspired tiki bar of your dreams.

 

Are you all set for your next trip to Vegas? I hope this Vegas bucket list has inspired you to check these places out!

What’s your Vegas question? Drop them in the comments!

 

PIN IT!

 

Article Tags : , , , ,
Callie Richards

I'm Callie, a Southern California based body-positive fashion and travel blogger who helps women discover style and travel that FITS their bodies and their lifestyles so they can live their best, most authentic lives! I test and then share the products and experiences that respect diversity and inclusiveness so that you can shop and travel with confidence without all the research!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *