Las Vegas in 2 days – if you don’t like to gamble

Las Vegas is the complete polar opposite of everything Paul and I like to experience when we travel; it’s crowded, loud, brash and over the top – and yet we absolutely love it. We’ve visited 3 times now but never for more than a few days and I think that’s why our trips have been so successful. It IS like Disneyland for grow-ups but it has an expiry date for me and I definitely couldn’t spend longer than a few days there. We’ve learned what we like, what we don’t like and how to make the most of a limited amount of time.

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I know it has a reputation for drunk stag parties, cabanas that cost more than a month’s salary and the obvious temptation to gamble all your money away… but if you’re not into any of that stuff there is still a side to Vegas that you can experience. We don’t gamble, we don’t drink hideous amounts and aren’t interested in blowing money on expensive hotels or restaurants – and yet we still manage to have a great time.

 

Paris Casino Las Vegas

The bright lights of Paris

First off, we’ve always been on a budget. We’ve passed through Vegas as part of much longer trips and it was important to us that we didn’t blow tons of cash on hotels, food, drink or casinos. The biggest tip I can offer anyone is to book your accommodation last minute and do it with Priceline, Hotwire.com or TravelPony. Priceline’s Express Deals are usually great and you can also use this brilliant hack. We always stay in the Rio and before you turn your nose up – it’s just really good value for money.

 

  • Massive suites with a great view
  • Cheaper because it’s off-strip
  • Just around the corner from Caesars and the Bellagio – central strip
  • We’ve never paid more than $40 per night

 

Las Vegas in 2 days if you don't like to gamble

 

Our favourite things to do in Las Vegas

 

Take good walking shoes and hit the sights. The single most enjoyable activity I think there is to do in Vegas is walk The Strip and gawk at the hotels, casinos and people. The first time you see The Strip, I promise that you will wander around with your jaw hanging open either in wonder or disbelief, depending on what floats your boat!

 

 

The Welcome to Las Vegas sign at the South end of The Strip near the airport

It’s the stereotype that features in most people’s holiday photos but it is really is a cool sign and you can stop on your way out of the airport if you fly in. If you are driving from LA or San Diego, just come off the I-15 for McCarran Airport and you can’t miss it.

 

The Bellagio Fountain and beautiful indoor gardens

My favourite place on The Strip, Paul and I could stand and watch the fountains for hours. The Bellagio itself is a beautiful hotel but our favourite part is the seasonal garden they have just past the lobby. We were lucky to visit in October last time so the whole place was decked out for Fall – beautiful.

 

Bellagio garden Fall pumpkin

The stunning Bellagio indoor garden all dressed for Fall

 

Mandalay Bay’s aquarium

A full aquarium – inside a hotel. Enough said.

 

New York, New York for the roller coaster

New York, New York as a casino isn’t too much to write home about but it does have an enormous roller-coaster attached to it which Paul braved with some friends of ours a few years ago. Apparently the views are amazing but I was too chicken to go for a ride!

 

Caesar’s for the ridiculous scale and beautiful window shopping

It takes a good 20 minutes to walk from one side of Caesar’s to the other, this place is enormous. It’s great for shopping and has tons of restaurants and bars. It’s also home to Serendipity (of frozen hot chocolate fame) and the Cheesecake Factory which makes the best Oreo cheesecake in the world – fact.

 

Cheesecake Factory Oreo Cheesecake

The best Oreo cheesecake in the world, mmmm

 

The art galleries

You wouldn’t think Las Vegas would be synonymous with lovely art but there are tons of galleries. This gallery just beside the Aria is for one artist’s amazing photography portfolio, he features a lot of shots from the surrounding landscapes which are wonderful.

 

The Venetian’s canals

The Venetian is like stepping foot in a slightly Disneyfied version of actual Venice and has the canals and bridges to match. It’s fun to check out their replicas of things like the Piazza San Marco.

 

Venetian Hotel Canal

The canals of the Venetian Hotel

Fremont Street

Old town Vegas – see where is all started. Admire the vintage neon and imagine what is what like when there was this street and not a lot else apart from desert.

 

Shopping at Fashion Show Mall

For any Brits that want to grab a bargain, this place is brilliant. It’s at the North end of The Strip next to the Wynn Casino and has a large collection of department stores and the more mainstream brands.

 

The incredible fountain in the Wynn

The Wynn is where the other half live and it’s fun to get a glimpse of this beautifully designed hotel. We had some friends staying there a few years ago and Paul and I rocked up to spend a day with them having been hiking in Death Valley in the morning – hiking boots on and covered in dust, we most definitely did not fit in! The fountain in the lobby is incredible and they have the fanciest bathrooms I’ve seen in Vegas 😉

 

The food

Whether you’re spending $1000 on a bottle of champagne or getting a hot dog from a street wagon – the food in Vegas in incredible. You can find dishes from every corner of the globe and it’s so very easy to indulge.

 

Serendipity frozen hot chocolate

Frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity

 

Of course if you have more than 2 days available and you’re anything like us – head out of the city and explore some of the most incredible attractions the United States has to offer. Within a few hours drive you can visit;

 

 

Hoover Dam

Vertigo-inducing Hoover Dam

 

A little further away are the phenomenal National Parks of Utah – Zion, Bryce, Arches and Canyonlands. These parks don’t get as much love as some of the more well known but they rank as favourites of ours – the landscape is unreal.

 

You will have sore feet after a couple of days of pounding pavement but it will leave you wanting more rather than being overwhelmed by Sin City. It doesn’t all have to be stag parties and scenes from The Hangover, there really is something for everyone and if you are sceptical like we were, give it a chance – you might be surprised.

 

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Posted on by Maddie Posted in USA

8 Responses to Las Vegas in 2 days – if you don’t like to gamble

  1. Lucy

    Some great tips here, I’m never gambled at all when I was in Vegas (I’d have no clue where to start!) but really enjoyed my time there more than I thought. There’s so much to keep you occupied. The Mob Museum near Fremont Street is another I’d recommend, really interesting to find out more about the history of Vegas.
    Lucy recently posted..The World on a Plate: Spanish tortillaMy Profile

    • Maddie

      The Mob Museum is still on our list after reading your blog post a while back, we planned to see it on our last visit but it was cut even shorter because of the Grand Canyon last minute adventure! We’ll get there one day 🙂

  2. Carmel Montgomery

    I’m not much of a gambler either, but I do love going to Vegas for a couple of days. My brother used to always say you shouldn’t stay longer than 36 hours. I’m willing to go for 48, but generally I agree. Eventually the ringing bells and general nastiness of it all will become overwhelming. Shawn has never been and I’m dying to take him. I think he’ll enjoy parts of it.

    By the way – in the Bellagio there’s a bunch of Chihuly glassware…he is a hometown hero here and in our new city of Tacoma, there’s an entire glass museum. So if you ever feel the need to come explore more of that, you have a place to stay. 😉 And we can get free passes from our library. How’s that for high rolling?
    Carmel Montgomery recently posted..156 TUESDAYSMy Profile

    • Maddie

      He he 🙂 We don’t need any excuses to visit the PNW, your new home looks lovely from what I’ve seen so far in the photos.

  3. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family

    I am a HUGE fan of Las Vegas. Going to be there for a week at the end of this month. My third week there this year! Thanks for sharing my Priceline hack. We did a night at the Rio in January and I have to say it wasn’t my favourite. I found the casino area too smokey and it was a long walk from the car park to the room. We really like staying at The Trump as it’s smoke-free which is important with little kids. If we’re on a strict budget though we go for the Golden Nugget. I love the pool there and actually enjoy being Downtown for a change. We got a room there for $30 a night later this month!
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..60+ Ways You Can Pay for Travel With PayPalMy Profile

    • Maddie

      Wow, third week this year! Totally agree that the casino is smokey but we never really spend much time in the hotel apart from heading up to our room and when there’s just the two of us there’s less to worry about but… will definitely check out The Trump next time. Love your Priceline hack, the first time we visited I was amazed how cheaply you can get rooms in Vegas – such a bargain!

  4. rebecca

    Hi there, I have really enjoyed reading your past updates and most recent post 🙂 I have just started on WordPress since I am beginning my travels – not just as a recording of the journey for myself, but also to read the recommendations and insights of others. I would love to hear if you have any recommended travel bloggers that I can have a read of? I am 23 and my first blog post lists the places I will be travelling to. Thank you so much!

    • Maddie

      Hey Rebecca, thanks for checking out our blog 🙂 Our favourite travel bloggers are all listed in the Be Inspired section from the homepage. Best of luck with your travels, have an amazing trip!

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