What to Do with One Day in Vegas

What to Do with One Day in Vegas

How to See the Best Sights with just One Day in Las Vegas

Ah, Vegas. If you’ve been, you know. If you haven’t been, we highly recommend a trip. It truly is a completely different place than we have ever experienced. There is so much opulence, from the casinos to the food to the people. Everything is done so much bigger in Vegas!

There are also no rules, and the never-ending sights and sounds can get overwhelming. We recommend seeing Vegas in small doses and weekend trips. Also, Las Vegas is the perfect starting point on a Nevada or California road trip due to the central location, major airport with rental car options, and tons of hotel choices. Here are our tips for making the best out of one day in Vegas, plus options if you have a little more time.

Start Early at the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" Sign

Located on Las Vegas Boulevard towards the south end of the Strip, this iconic piece of art welcomes guests in the bold and bright way that Vegas is known for. Start your day in Vegas early and head straight here, then pick up some caffeine at one of the local quirky coffee shops such as Hello Kitty Café or The Coffee Bean and gear up for a day of adventure!

Tip: This area gets packed during the day with long lines of people waiting for their turn under the sign. Even at 7:00 in the morning we had to wait a few minutes to get to the front of the line, and it gets longer as the day goes on. 

One Day in Vegas

…and who knows, you may even run into Elvis!

One Day in Vegas

Cool Off and Lounge by an Extravagant Pool

I don’t know about you but when I picture Las Vegas, I think of casinos, Elvis Presley impersonators, and opulent hotels with lavish pools. And this is spot on! If I’m being totally honest, we booked our room at Caesars Palace just based on the pools alone- there are seven to choose from, each one better than the next. Oh and don’t forget the five swim-up blackjack tables, 48 Cabanas, and 65 daybeds.

Plan on spending a few hours lounging, people-watching, swimming, and relaxing at an oasis in the desert. This is also a great time to grab lunch, either by the pool or back at your hotel room.

Other hotel options with amazing pools: 

Try Your Hand at Gambling

You really can’t plan a trip to Las Vegas and not try your luck at the card tables at least once. I mean, right when you step off of the plane at the airport you are inundated with all kinds of slot machines lining the walkways.

From our experience, Caesars Palace had the biggest bang for your buck in regards to the amount of games, from roulette to all types of slots, huge poker rooms and plenty of other table games. Plus the parking garage is huge, easy to access, and located at the beginning of the strip so it’s a great central location to park and walk, which is next on the agenda. 

Tip: There are a few hotels that have lower table minimums for games like blackjack, but prices do increase at peak times. So if you want to try your luck at gambling, do so during the day for the best prices. Then it’s time to get ready to head out onto Las Vegas Boulevard!

Watch the Water Shows at the Bellagio Fountain

Of course we have to mention the Bellagio fountains. Even if it feels touristy to do, it is well worth a visit. The shows are entertaining and lively, with water spraying almost 500 feet in the air at times. And the shows are free which is a rare term in Vegas! 

The Bellagio is located directly next to Caesars Palace. During the week the fountain water show happens every 30 minutes from 3 to 6:30PM and every 15 minutes from 7pm to midnight, and on the weekends and holidays it starts at noon. Each show is completely unique and different from the last so try to stay for a few songs. 

Tip: The fountain can be viewed from several areas along the strip so try to catch a new view each time. 

California road trip

Walk the Las Vegas Strip

There truly is nothing like the Las Vegas Strip. There are no rules in Sin City, which is apparent when walking the Strip at night. Partially-clad cabaret dancers, guys handing out cards for call girls, groups of people sharing open bottles of wine… it is a lot to take in. As you know, “what happens in Vegas”…

Tip: When traveling to Vegas as a family, we suggest walking the Strip during the daytime. Here is an epic list of things to do in Las Vegas with kids!

While the whole strip is over four miles long the main section is 2.5 miles, so about an hour of walking at a leisurely pace from end to end. Starting at Caesars Palace, head north along the Strip to Treasure Island to start your trek. Then heading south you will pass the Venetian, the Mirage, Caesars, the Bellagio, Paris and the Eiffel tower, and New York-New York hotels.

One Day in Vegas

View the Over-The-Top Decor inside the Major Hotels

The word that keeps coming to mind is lavish, bordering almost gaudy. But hey, it’s Vegas baby! Entering inside some of the lobbies of the casino hotels along the strip you are met with marble walls, towering Roman sculptures, seasonal botanical gardens and crafted glass ceilings. 

Hotels worth visiting are Caesars (it is massive, spanning 85 acres with 26 restaurants, and is worthy to be called a Palace), the Bellagio and the Botanical Conservatory, and the Venetian with its Venice-esque canals and gondola rides. 

Plan for Happy Hour at a Rooftop Bar

Find one of the many rooftop bars and enjoy an evening of people-watching. Beer Park is right across the Strip from the Bellagio and offers a great view of the fountains. Or, located under the Eiffel Tower replica, Chateau Nightclub & Rooftop offers panoramic views of the Las Vegas skyline. Find a seat and check out the Strip from above!

One Day in Vegas

Enjoy a Fabulous Dinner

One of the top foodie-towns in the U.S., Las Vegas does not disappoint when it comes to culinary delights. Almost all of the top chefs in the world have a place here. Amalfi by Bobby Flay inside Caesars Palace, Lago in the Bellagio overlooking the fountains, and Restaurant Guy Savoy owned by the Michelin-star chef are just a few examples of extravagant places to dine.

The Peppermill Restaurant, Tacos El Gordo, and Gordon Ramsay Burger have consistently come up on searches for the best restaurants in Vegas that won’t break the bank.

Tip: If you are trying to save a little money on your day in Vegas but want to enjoy some of the fine dining options, just order appetizers or split a meal.

If you have more time...

Take a Day Trip

The Valley of Fire State Park and Red Rock Canyon are each less than an hour outside of town, but both will make you feel like you have entered another world. Away from the bright lights, noise, and general bustle of downtown Las Vegas is a quiet and calm landscape. These are beautiful places to hike, rock climb, and spend a day exploring the outdoors.


one day in Vegas

The Hoover Dam is located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, and also takes less than an hour to get to from Vegas. The Dam is considered to be one of the seven engineering wonders of the world, and is free to visit (without entering the visitor center).

Visit a National Park

The West Rim of the Grand Canyon and Death Valley National Park are both around two hours from Las Vegas, and exploring either one would take at least one full day. Death Valley is the most amazing at sunrise and sunset, so if you are up early enough to get there in time you will not be disappointed. We detailed our road trip from Las Vegas to California through Death Valley in our post the ultimate California Road Trip!

Drive through Death Valley

Check Out a Concert or Show

Las Vegas is known as the entertainment capital of the world due to the top-of-the-line shows, from magic acts to high-powered musical concerts, well-known comedians, and displays of death-defying feats. Several musicians have taken a residency in Vegas such as Garth Brooks, Adele, Lady Gaga, and U2. If you aren’t into gambling at all, that leaves you time to see some of the world-class shows!

Tip: If you only have one day in Vegas and you have a specific show you want to see, book your tickets first (and plan ahead, they sell out constantly) and then plan your trip around that. 

One Day in Vegas

Take a Helicopter Ride Over the Strip

The ultimate way to view the lights of Vegas is by taking a helicopter tour. Several options abound including night flights, tours from Vegas to the Grand Canyon, or daytime tours with champagne- there’s something for everyone. 

Tips for Visiting Las Vegas

  • Staying on the Vegas strip is super convenient because you are a few miles from the airport and car rentals, and you are right in the middle of everything you want to see.
  • Wear sunscreen, and remember to reapply. The sun is super strong here! Also, UPF clothing, and a good hat help shield you from the sun rays. 
  • Hydrate! You are officially in the desert. Add to that heat and alcohol, and you will need way more water than you think. This is our absolute favorite travel mug. It stays cold all day, holds 40 ounces of liquids, comes in over 10 colors, AND fits in our cup holders! 
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes, you will need them! We clocked over 7 miles of walking in just one afternoon.
  • Make reservations ahead of time, for everything. Dinner, pool cabanas, shows, car rentals- everything fills up fast.

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission should you choose to make a purchase using my link to Amazon.com. 

One Day in Vegas

Is One Day in Vegas Enough?

Spending one day in Vegas can seem overwhelming, but planning ahead makes it totally worth it if that is all the time you have. It is important to see the city during the day and at night, because it is a completely different vibe. So try to spend one night at a minimum, and then head out to your next stop the following morning. 

Is Las Vegas Safe?

While there are no rules along the Strip, we felt completely safe. There were plenty of people around, no one was getting rowdy, and everyone was there to have a good time. After dark though it isn’t wise to venture too far away from the main hotels and casinos, just like any other big city like Chicago or New Orleans

When is the best time to visit Las Vegas?

Las Vegas is in the Mojave Desert, and such gets extremely hot and dry for most of the year. Visiting in the shoulder seasons such as March-May and September-November allow for less crowds, slightly cooler temperatures, and cheaper prices. A lot of casinos and hotels even run specials this time of year.

Spending a day in Vegas was the perfect starting point for our California road trip. It was just as I had expected but also more than I could have imagined. We can’t wait to go back and see some of the fabulous shows, eat at the top restaurants, and overall have a world class weekend!

Other One-Day Itineraries:

Happy Travels!

One Day in Vegas

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