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Speakeasies, spas, and state parks are where it's at in Las Vegas nowadays. But that doesn't mean the neon oasis in Nevada is compromising on the over-the-top experiences travelers come here for.
More than seventy years since the first luxe-casino-hotel swung open its doors launching "The Strip" into what it is today, Vegas still delivers on its promise to go big (12 of the top 20 largest hotels in the world based on room count are located here, after all). Where else in the world can you stroll past the Eiffel Tower and New York's skyline, then hop on a Venetian gondola in less than an hour?
But Vegas' Strip is also transforming. The Palms' buzz-worthy new $690 million overhaul brought with it museum-quality works including some by Banksy, Damien Hirst, and Andy Warhol into its restaurants and pools, black-and-white wedding chapel installations, and the world's most expensive hotel suite.
Sure there are plenty of casinos, and yes whiling away a day by one of the many extravagant pools is one way to spend a day here, but for those looking for a productive day out in Vegas, both on and off The Strip, we have you covered. Just remember to bring sunscreen (and maybe, Advil). Here's our guide of all of the things to do in Las Vegas if you only have 24 hours.
9:00 a.m.: Smoked-fish towers, table-side pastry service, and fresh bagels (they're baked every hour) is the name of the breakfast game at New York import, Sadelle’s, which has set up in the Bellagio, an American Express Fine Hotel & Resort property. The just-opened Las Vegas version is three-and-a-half times the size of the original, designed in a pastel-perfect vintage look by Ken Fulk. And it serves breakfast all day long.
10:30 a.m.: Feeling full? It's time to bid The Strip a quick farewell and spend the rest of the morning in the desert with a 25-minute drive to marvel at Ugo Rondidone's Seven Magic Mountains. An aesthetically-pleasing installation made up of seven totems stacked against the desert skyline, ranging in height from 25 to 35 feet and painted in Day-Glo colors. The project has drawn so many pilgrims that it has been extended through at least the end of 2021.
12:30 p.m.: If you can handle the Nevada heat, keep your outdoor art tour going at The 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. Fronting it all is the beautifully restored La Concha, an iconic mid-century motel that serves as the quirky cultural site's visitors center.
1:30 p.m.: Drive 10 minutes to Las Vegas' rapidly growing Arts District for lunch at Esther’s Kitchen (if you're hungry after Sadelle's mammoth breakfast, that is). This spot is all about seasonal Italian cooking, with dishes prepared from scratch, in-house. If you're here at the weekend, brunch runs until 3:00 p.m., or taste test the lunch menu's best pasta, antipasti, and creative cocktails. For a post-lunch caffeine hit, grab a coffee next door at Vesta Coffee Roasters.
3:00 p.m.: Feeling smug with your cultural escapade it’s time to cool off in one of Vegas' legendary pools. Whether that’s at one of the day clubs or relaxing horizontally with a book somewhere quiet. A lively Vegas pool party is essential to a casino’s success and each mega-hotel has its own offering. The newest and most buzz-worthy is KAOS at the Palms (pronounced "chaos"). It's enormous and has a headless 60-foot Damien Hirst sculpture at the center. There's also the Moroccan souk-inspired NoMad Hotel roof deck pool with gourmet snacks from the team behind 11 Madison Park and other American Express Fine Hotel & Resort property Wynn's Ibiza-reminiscent Encore Beach Club. For laying by the pool—Caesar's Palace 'Garden of the Gods Oasis' is delightful, as well as The Pool at Park MGM.
7:00 p.m.: Rested up? It’s time to kick off the evening's debauchery. The Palms does not disappoint with its new restaurant offerings. Bobby Flay's Shark is an ode to all things seafood, walk through an arcade's vending machine (and past a hidden Banksy, and champagne vending machine) to reach Greene St Kitchen for Asian-fusion, or Italian food by way of Philly, and great Vegas views take the elevator up to Marc Vetri's Vetri Cucina.
9:00 p.m.: It’s show time—you are in Vegas after all. Whether that’s at the intimate newly renovated Pearl Theater at the Palms or one of the big hit residencies (Mariah Carey or the long-running Absinthe at Caesar’s are firm favorites). Book those tickets in advance.
11:00 p.m.: Make reservations for cocktails, small plates, and live piano music at the new luxury cocktail lounge tucked away in the Palms' Fantasy Tower, Mr. COCO (named after bar founder Francesco Lafranconi's dog). Each visit starts with a complimentary amuse-bouche on arrival.
12 a.m.: XS at the Wynn is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year launching 10 big shows across 10 months with the likes of Drake, Alesso, David Guetta, Diplo, KYGO, Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello, and The Chainsmokers at the helm of the 40,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor space that' more like a festival than a club. To feel like a real Vegas high-roller here, splurge on one of the patios or cabanas that come with bottle service.