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The Las Vegas strip rises from the desert like a shining beacon, promising all those that go there a taste of decadence, 24-hour gambling, all-night partying, and the chance to experience its weird but wonderfully seductive atmosphere. I have never been to anywhere like it, so in my view, there’s no place like it on earth – it’s truly unique in every way… In fact, it has bewitched me in such a way that I have been not once, but twice now over the past five years.

The Ultimate First-Timers Guide To Las Vegas | My Travel Monkey

A First-Timers Guide To Las Vegas

When planning a trip to Las Vegas from the first time, it can be overwhelming. Why? Because the choice is endless. Whatever budget you have, there is something to suit all pockets, tastes and requirements in Las Vegas. Want to go on a romantic couples break – you can! Want to go on a debauched girlie/lads weekend – you can! Want to go with kids? You can…

If you only have around four days in Las Vegas, you can still pack a lot in – nights are long in Sin City, so if you’re prepared not to sleep much, then read on for the ultimate first-timers guide to Las Vegas…

Where to stay in Las Vegas?

The hotels themselves are an oasis for weary travellers; a respite from the searing heat. These huge, towering, architectural structures in all different shapes and style, house several thousand visitors; dozens of restaurants, bars, shops and/or malls, theatres, nightclubs, attractions, casinos, and spas…

They have all been designed in such a way that you will never have to leave their welcoming doors. Each hotel has its own quirky theme from a European City it’s based on or designed on a particular theme – think Treasure Island and Circus Circus. Whereas The Wynn exudes luxury and timeless elegance. The Bellagio and Ceasars Palace are world-famous.  There are over 300 properties to choose from – and whether you’re looking for cheap and cheerful, or super lux, there is a hotel for everyone.

The Ultimate First-Timers Guide To Las Vegas | My Travel Monkey

Our hotel picks in Las Vegas

But where did we stay? Our first time in Las Vegas saw us choose to stay at MGM Signature Grand (read a full review here). Away from the main hotel, we had a large suite with several pools to choose from. The main draw for us was that there wasn’t a casino on the ground floor and that the rooms were reasonably priced.

The Ultimate First-Timers Guide To Las Vegas | My Travel Monkey

For our second choice, we decided to stay in the ARIA Resort and Casino –  a resort that stamps its authority on the luxe market. And this time we wanted to be in the thick of the action. Our superior suite had epic views of the Las Vegas strip, meanwhile, the excellent outdoor pool areas and heated jacuzzis were perfect for chilling out after lots of heavy nights. In terms of value for money, it was good for the quality on offer and a great mix of Las Vegas glamour without the excess.

Top Things To Do in Las Vegas

I mean where else can you grab a massive burger with all the trimmings and then base jump off the 350m Stratosphere Tower or zip wire down Freemont.  Or take a gondola ride through a shopping mall, and then cross the street and walk under the Arc de Triomphe. Or brave/and get married on the world’s only 180-degree ‘heartline’ twist rollercoaster off the side of New York New York hotel?

Everyone comes to Las Vegas for different reasons but if you’re short on time then read here my guide to the Top Things To Do in Las Vegas – from taking in world-class theatrical productions such as Cirque du Soleil or watching big-name performers to flying to the Grand Canyon (read here for tips on choosing the best helicopter tour).

The Ultimate First-Timers Guide To Las Vegas | My Travel Monkey

Eating and Drinking in Las Vegas

The choice is endless. Scoff delicious but calorific laden, over-sized portions of food from old-established diners and eateries to Michelin-star restaurants; Chill out in luscious and trendy cocktails bars, or head to raucous pub bars that serve ice cold beers and nachos. Whatever floats your boat there is much on offer. Here is my top guide to the best places to eat and drink in Las Vegas – from an all-you-can-eat buffet at The Wynn to brunch at the Peppermill.

The Ultimate First-Timers Guide To Las Vegas| My Travel Monkey

Shopping in Las Vegas

There are malls upon malls upon malls, it’s almost impossible not to walk past a shop without browsing – Prada, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Cartier… The list goes on. If those fashion houses are out of your budget don’t worry there are high-street stores such as H&M and Zara, as well as amazing fashion outlets near downtown Las Vegas, where you can pick up designer gear at discounted prices. My only advice – have the credit card handy…

The Ultimate First-Timers Guide To Las Vegas| My Travel Monkey

Gambling in Las Vegas…

The noise of the slot machines, cocktail waitresses serving up drinks to smoking players (smoking is prohibited in public areas but not at the gaming tables) who are permanently on standby to see to it their customers are well looked after. And the croupiers at the gaming tables, who diligently take your hard-earned cash in a matter of minutes. There are even machines built into the bars, so you play and get instant refreshment at the same time.

If you’re a first-timer to Las Vegas and a first-time gambler – don’t be nervous about joining in. Croupiers are patient and if you ask, they will take the time to explain, as will other gamblers.

The Ultimate First-Timers Guide To Las Vegas| My Travel Monkey

Head to Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas, the original strip which saw the first casino open in 1906, and you’ll find the gambling is much cheaper, with only $1 minimum bets, and lobster dinners for only $15!

Partying in Las Vegas

If all you want to do is party – then you’ve come to the right place. Drinks are available night and day. Nightclubs such as Hakkassan and Omnia has the likes of music super DJ, Calvin Harris, on the decks, then there’s the infamous XS at the Wynn, with its gold-plated chandeliers and mouth-watering prices. We watched in amazement at dancers lowered from the ceiling and light shows that wouldn’t look out of place at Disney World. This guide to the best clubs in Vegas will inspire.

The Ultimate First-Timers Guide To Las Vegas| My Travel Monkey

Not forgetting the party atmosphere by the poolside during daylight hours – electro dance music pumps out while you tan yourself and cool off in the pool. You can even hire cabanas equipped with fridges and 42in TV screens.

And relax in Las Vegas…

When all is said and done, Las Vegas offers it all. But the great thing is you can do as little or as much as you want to. Whenever I’m a holiday, a drink by the pool in the sunshine is a must! And luckily, in Vegas, that’s pretty much mandatory… CHEERS!

I hope you found this first-timers guide to Las Vegas useful and do let me know of any other tips to add.

The Ultimate First-Timers Guide To Las Vegas| My Travel Monkey