Las Vegas

Overview

Perhaps you will remember that Las Vegas lobbied hard in the 1990s to be considered the ultimate family-friendly destination. That forgettable campaign was later abandoned for the wildly successful “What Happens Here Stays Here” slogan, returning the city to its naughty Sin City roots. Now more than a decade old, the slogan persists because it so perfectly embodies the escapist fantasy of the Strip: Come to this unlikely mashup of the world’s greatest cities and you’re empowered to be anyone and do anything (within the bounds of the law) until you board your plane back to reality. Eat beef more precious than Kobe while sitting on a floating pagoda table? Done. Share a 30-liter bottle of Midas Ace of Spades with 200 friends while programming the dancing fountains at Bellagio? That, too, is possible. Of course, Las Vegas may be the world’s most outlandish adult playground, but it’s also a far more nuanced place than most visitors realize. Now with more and more museums and cultural programming happening off the Strip, neighborhood restaurants that hold their own against the best celebrity-driving spots, and some of the most uniquely luxurious retail in the world, there’s much more to do than wait for caped superhero servers to fly you your bottle service. Though naturally, this too is an option in Las Vegas.

Best Time to Go

Spring and fall, when temperatures are at their most pleasant—in the 80s. But those who don’t mind extreme heats can find great deals at hotels in the summer.

Airport Info

McCarran International Airport is a ten-minute drive from the Strip, and taking a limo from the airport is often not much more expensive than taking a cab. There is a Centurion Lounge located in Concourse D, opposite Gate D1.

Getting Around

Public transportation is easy (particularly along the Strip), though walking the Strip in nice weather is underrated. The Las Vegas Monorail runs from the MGM Grand on the south end of the Strip to SLS Las Vegas on the north, with seven stations in between. Rates start at $11 for an unlimited 24-hour pass, and top out at $50 for a full seven days. Two bus services provide reliable rides: The Deuce runs every 15 minutes, 24 hours, from Downtown’s Fremont Street to Mandalay Bay; and the Strip & Downtown Express (SDX) operates from 9 a.m. to midnight between the Las Vegas Premium Outlets North and the South Strip Transfer Terminal (past the outlets to the south) for similar rates.

Can’t Leave Without

1) Getting a history lesson at the Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas (300 Stewart Ave.; 702-229-2734; themobmuseum.org) and then seeing the neighborhood’s oldest family-owned casino, El Cortez, set within walking distance (600 Fremont St.; 702-385-5200; elcortezhotelcasino.com). 

2) Cocktailing with views of a fiery sunset over Red Rock Canyon to the west and the sparkling Strip lights to the east from the 64th floor Skyfall Lounge at the Delano Las Vegas. (3940 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; 877-632-5400; delanolasvegas.com)

3) Walking the shopping Esplanades of Wynn and Encore—don’t miss the balcony with the waterfall view from Chanel. (3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd.)

Deserves the Hype

The dancing Fountains of Bellagio are a sight to behold, though the best place to watch them isn’t from the street. Book a table at the Eiffel Tower restaurant at the Paris (3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; 702-948-6937; eiffeltowerrestaurant.com) or Lago in the Bellagio (3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; 866-259-7111; bellagio.com) for the best view.

Local Dish to Try

Artichoke and black truffle soup at Restaurant Guy Savoy. It’s a Sin City staple. (Caesars Palace, 3570 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; 702-731-7286; caesars.com)

Local Drink to Sip

Any drink at Las Vegas’s oldest freestanding bar, Atomic Liquors, where people used to watch atomic blasts from the roof. We like the Hunter Smash with Old Crow whiskey, Aperol, lemon, ginger, mint, and bitters. (917 Fremont St.; 702-982-3000; atomicvegas.com)

Seasonal Highlights

WINTER: Only 30 minutes north of the Strip, Mount Charleston—at elevations of 8,000 feet—is where locals go to play in the snow (there’s even a ski and snowboard resort). Settle in by the huge central fireplace at Mount Charleston Lodge (702-872-5408; mtcharlestonlodge.com).

SPRING: The temperatures are at their most mild this season, making spring the best time to hike some of Las Vegas’s most beautiful natural environments, such as the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, only 20 minutes west of the Strip.

SUMMER: Get a cabana at one of Vegas’s pool parties. The most serene environments are at Mandarin Oriental (3752 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; 702-590-8888; mandarinoriental.com) and the Sky Suites at Aria (3730 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; 877-580-2742; ariaskysuites.com); the biggest party atmospheres are at Marquee Dayclub at Cosmopolitan (702-698-7000; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com), Palms Pool & Bungalows (702-942-6832; palms.com), and Drai’s Rooftop Pool Party (702-777-3800; draislv.com).

FALL: The busiest time for visitors (book well in advance), fall festivals are in full swing. Don’t miss Life Is Beautiful, which attracts more than 100,000 people to Downtown Las Vegas for its three-day celebration of music, art, food, and high-profile speakers. 

Quick Tips

Car Service to Know

Presidential Limousine
702-438-5466

Extended Stay

The Platinum
702-365-5000

Tailor to Know

Almasa at Europin
702-944-9997

Same-Day Dry Cleaning

Sparkle Cleaners
702-982-1361

Personal Shopper

Sophia Song at Saks 5th Avenue
702-733-8300

Best Spa

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
702-590-8888

Hair Stylist to Book

Todd White at Platinum Entourage
702-410-5459

Makeup Artist to Book

Brandy Neugebauer-Quinto at Platinum Entourage
702-410-5459

Gym With Week Pass

Canyon Ranch SpaClub
702-414-3600
Hotels

Bellagio

With its blue-chip art, dancing fountains, and a Michelin two-star restaurant, the Bellagio pioneered the sophistication of the Strip.
The Strip
FH&R

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

With a massive casino, three pools, 32 spa treatment rooms and suites, and top-tier restaurants, the Cosmopolitan multiplies Vegas luxe to the nth power.
The Strip
FH&R

Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas

Traditional Eastern influences mix with modernist touches throughout this elegant Strip spot.
The Strip
FH&R

Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn may hang its hat on its attention to detail and service, but its large rooms, gorgeous views, gourmet restaurant, and retail impress, too.
The Strip
FH&R

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay

A rare boutique Four Seasons, this hotel-within-a-hotel secreted away on floors 35 to 39 of the Mandalay Bay provides a casino-free respite from Vegas.
The Strip

Aria Sky Suites

With separate indoor and outdoor entrances and a new pool for Suite guests only, patrons can stay close to the action and still feel like they're in a boutique hotel.
The Strip
FH&R

Delano Las Vegas

The breezy sophistication of Miami's original Delano meets grandly modern desert decor at this boutique hotel.
The Strip
FH&R

Encore Tower Suites

The Encore's Tower Suite has a private entrance, lobby, lounge, and elevator, plus a certain style of dignified decor rare in Vegas.
The Strip

The Mansion at MGM Grand

Formerly only available by invitation, this decadent 29-villa retreat within MGM Grand can now be booked by anyone—60 days ahead of time.
The Strip
FH&R

Aria Resort & Casino

Details like triple-sheeted beds and thoughtful techie touches increase the luxe factor at this mod spot.
The Strip
Restaurants

Joël Robuchon

At the sole Michelin three-star restaurant in Vegas, dishes luxe ingredients like Dungeness crab and osetra caviar.
The Strip
French

Mizumi

At this teppan and sushi restaurant, chef Devon Hashimoto serves up Hokkaido Snow Beef (even rarer than Kobe).
The Strip
Japanese

Bardot Brasserie

Chef Michael Mina takes French fare—onion soup, duck a l’orange, steak frites—and elevates it far beyond the classics.
The Strip
French

Lakeside

Chef David Walzog's restaurant celebrates fresh fish from the Pacific, flown straight from Hana.
The Strip
Seafood

Lago by Julian Serrano

At this crisply-designed restaurant at the Bellagio, Michelin-starred chef Julian Serrano serves tapas-style Mediterranean-inflected dishes like an exceptional red wine risotto.
The Strip
Mediterranean

Restaurant Guy Savoy

Chef Guy Savoy attracts serious gourmands; in fact, many travelers plan their trips around a meal here.
The Strip
French

Other Mama

Hidden in a westside strip mall, the restaurant has become a favorite of gourmands and off-the-clock chefs.
Westside
Sushi

Rivea

Diners will feel the French Riviera's sense of endless summer while sampling dishes like nicoise vegetables and warm lobster salad.
The Strip
French

É by José Andrés

An eight-seat mini-restaurant within chef Andrés's Jaleo, É allows the molecular gastronomy master's kitchen to really show off.
The Strip
Molecular Gastronomy

Aburiya Raku

This Japanese grill specializing in robata and oden cooking is considered to be one of the best Japanese restaurants in the country.
Westside
Japanese
Bars + Lounges

The Edge, Mandarin Bar

The only thing better than a drink at the Mandarin Oriental's 23rd-floor bar is a spot in this private room.
The Strip
VIP Room

XS

The aptly named XS (read: "excess") is one of the most over-the-top clubs in the world.
The Strip
Club

Drai's

Victor Drai's rooftop bar has 150 VIP tables, night swim parties, eight pools, and incredible (and spontaneous) live music programming.
The Strip
Rooftop Bar

Omnia

Modeled after a European opera house, Omnia is a massive showcase for celebrity DJs.
The Strip
Club

Hakkasan

Come for dinner, stay all night long at this restaurant-cum-nightclub.
The Strip
Club

Velveteen Rabbit

The Downtown bar is filled with Victorian furniture and features such stylistic elements as draft beer pulls fashioned from old wooden mannequin hands.
Downtown
Cocktail Bar

Casa Fuente Cigars

Casa Fuente Cigars is a decade-old institution complete with tile floors, bistro chairs, and premium spirits. 
The Strip
Cigar Bar

Clique Bar & Lounge

The new Clique is a hideaway where guests can enjoy light bites and tableside cocktail service.
The Strip
Lounge

Skyfall Lounge

The jewel-toned room is one of the best places on the Strip to settle in to view the flaming Las Vegas sunset.
The Strip
Lounge

Hyde

Yhis sleek, Philippe Starck–designed space transforms from a subdued lounge into a thumping nightclub right around 11 p.m.
The Strip
Lounge
Shopping

Louis Vuitton

This vast flagship is the largest Vuitton store in the United States.
The Strip
Men's + Women's Clothing

The Wynn Collection

Once a nondescript store, this bright boutique is quickly becoming one of Wynn's main attractions.
The Strip
Designer Boutique

Brioni

Brioni at Wynn offers a virtual glimpse of your completed suit in its new "Miror," only the third in the world.
The Strip
Men's Clothing

Stitched

Stitched carries a witty selection of suits and men's accessories from Tom Ford, John Varvatos, Billy Reid, Bogosse, and more.
The Strip
Men's Clothing

Prada

Inside, find Prada's made-to-order table, where exotic skins and leathers await your customization.
The Strip
Men's + Women's Clothing

Givenchy

Worth a visit for its interior design alone, Givenchy at Wynn is the brand's first U.S. flagship.
The Strip
Men's + Women's Clothing

Patina Decor

The store's knowledgeable owners are often the first call for established Las Vegas families looking to unload their history.
Downtown
Antiques

Skins 6/2 Cosmetics

Few spots have the incredible selection of hard-to-find items that this Cosmopolitan boutique carries.
The Strip
Beauty and Skincare

Tom Ford

One of only a handful of Tom Ford boutiques in the world, this outpost carries both the men's and women's collections.
The Strip
Men's + Women's Clothing

Bauman Rare Books

Rare first-edition finds provide Vegas with some much-needed intellectual gravitas.
The Strip
Rare Books
Things To Do

Las Vegas Springs Preserve

How sexy could a living museum by the Las Vegas Valley Water District really be? You'd be surprised.
Summerlin
Nature Preserve

The Mob Museum

This museum highlights one-of-a-kind artifacts and weapons donated by old Las Vegas families.
Downtown
Museum

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

With help from with museums and foundations from around the globe, the BGFA is Sin City's foremost destination for quality art.
The Strip
Art Museum

Neon Museum

The so-called Neon Boneyard has housed more than 80 relics of Vegas's neon sign history since it first opened in 1996.
Downtown
Museum

Casa de Shenandoah

Wayne Newton's 52-acre private estate is now open to the public.
Henderson
Estate Tour

Cooking Lessons at Restaurant Guy Savoy

Groups of up to six can arrange a private lesson with Julien Asseo, executive chef of Guy Savoy.
The Strip
Cooking Classes

Yoga Atop the High Roller

Silent Savasana's private and small-group yoga classes on the Strip's giant Ferris wheel is nothing short of exhilarating. 
The Strip
Wellness

Digital Detox Retreat at Mandarin Oriental

These two-day digital detoxes include yoga, talks on nutrition, meditation, breathing techniques, and more.
The Strip
Wellness

Barrick Museum

Pre-Columbian art and cultural objects meet contemporary artworks, all under one roof. 
Paradise
Museum of Natural History

Lip Smacking Foodie Tours

The multi-course dining experience reaches new heights with this walking tour through some of the city's best restaurants. 
Various Locations
Culinary Tour