Sin City, The Entertainment Capital of the World, America’s Playground – whatever you choose to call it, Las Vegas is big news. Home to a number of landmark buildings, hotels, casinos, and establishments, for first-time visitors, walking through Las Vegas will be like walking through a film set – especially along the iconic Strip. This city – the largest in Nevada – has been in so many movies over the years that it’s basically a household name, a brand in itself.
But we’re just talking about the cliched surface of Las Vegas, the result of the things you see in films. Las Vegas had to start somewhere, and it’s in the past relics of this city that you find more intrigue – even charm – as you discover 1950s casinos, bars, and restaurants of the historic Downtown district.
There’s also a darker side to Las Vegas; just 65 miles northwest of the city was the Nevada Test Site, known for its nuclear weapons testing. Las Vegas citizens could see the mushroom clouds of these explosions until 1963 when they moved underground.
Map of Las Vegas
1. The Strip · 2. Downtown Las Vegas · 3. West of the Strip · 4. East of the Strip · 5. Henderson · 6. North Las Vegas
Las Vegas is definitely an exciting place to stay. Thanks to its astounding popularity around the world, there is an avalanche of accommodation options. If you’ve got the budget for it, you could choose an iconic mega casino and hotel like the MGM Grand. If not, there are a host of hotels and motels that will undoubtedly fit the bill.
The Strip is the beating heart of Las Vegas. This road bisects the city and is lined with all the neon lights and giant, landmark features that make this city in the desert recognizable the world over. One of the most famous is the fountain outside the casino hotel, The Bellagio – these choreographed water fountains mesmerize crowds with their timed shows, complete with lights.
To get a better view of all the action, head to the High Roller observation wheel, best done at night, of course. Accommodation in this part of Las Vegas actually means being able to stay in an iconic hotel like The Bellagio, the MGM Grand, or Caesar’s Palace, or luxury hotels like the Delano – but these come with a price tag to match.
Thankfully, there are plentiful options in this area, many of which come in the form of affordable choices like budget motels. Most are also near McCarran International Airport, too. Getting around along the strip is also easy thanks to the Las Vegas Monorail.
Where to Stay on the Las Vegas Strip
- Bellagio – One of Las Vegas’ iconic hotels, the Bellagio should be the top of your list if you are looking for out and out Las Vegas luxury. This landmark of a hotel comes with the famous dancing fountains out the front, while inside, the rooms are all about elegance and polished style. Swim in its pools, eat at its restaurants, and use the casino itself – it’s packed full of amenities. As an added bonus, McCarran International Airport is just a couple of miles from the Bellagio.
- The Venetian® Resort – Another of the handful of 5-star hotels boasted by Las Vegas, The Venetian is a Venice themed wonder of a place to stay. There’s a replica of St Mark’s Square – complete with a bell tower – as well as gondoliers on canals. There’s a nightclub with an infinity pool, a whopping 20 restaurants, ten outdoor pools, a spa… Needless to say, you won’t be getting bored anytime soon with this veritable town of a hotel to explore at your fingertips. That’s if you can even make it out of your decidedly plush room.
- The Mirage – This Polynesian themed 4-star hotel is another Las Vegas staple packed with amenities. You’ll be able to choose from 14 different eateries, relax in a spa, do a bit of shopping, check out the aquarium – all without even leaving the hotel. Some of the laid back but simple and stylish rooms (there are 3,044 of them) at The Mirage overlook ‘The Volcano’ – the fire equivalent to the Bellagio’s fountains, with choreographed flames to wow any spectator. A free tram runs between this hotel and Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in the north, too.
- New York New York – The incredible New York, New York is, as you may have guessed, New York themed. In fact, you may actually think you’re staring at the New York skyline as you gaze up at this 4-star hotel. It’s quite literally built to resemble the skyscrapers of the Big Apple – and it works. Of course, this impressive building is fronted by the Statue of Liberty.. Set between the Monte Carlo and Excalibur, here you’ll find a roller coaster, multiple bars, restaurants and cafes, rooms with marble bathrooms… Why would you even want to leave?
- Park MGM Las Vegas – The Park MGM Las Vegas features rooms that are all about simple sophistication and come with marble bathrooms. Choose from one of the many restaurants for an evening meal, or hop onto the Strip itself and find an eatery with ease. There are three pools to splash around in at this 4-star offering, as well as a casino (of course), and a gym.
- Luxor Hotel – Fronted by replicas of Egyptian icons like the needle and the Sphinx, this insane Las Vegas hotel is mainly located within a huge, black pyramid. The Egyptian theme continues inside the impressive building, with replicas of Egyptian streets and ancient monuments galore. Chill by the pool – complete with mock ruins – eat at the steakhouse, or indulge yourself at the Mexican cantina. If you can tear yourself away from this 30-story monument, don’t worry about finding your way back; the pyramid emits a 315,000-watt beam of light after dark.
- Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino – Yet another landmark hotel and casino combo in this landmark city, Bally’s is the home of a gigantic Eiffel Tower replica and a number of towering buildings in its sprawling complex. Choose to sip evening drinks in one of three bars, eat dinner in one of many restaurants, splash in the huge outdoor pool, relax in the spa, get down at the nightclub – the world is your oyster! Nearby is The Linq, an elevated promenade of shops and eateries where you can stroll amidst the high-rise, high-roller lifestyle of Las Vegas.
As opposed to the newer, more famous Strip, Downtown Las Vegas is the city’s historic center. Positioned roughly in the middle of the Las Vegas Valley, the Downtown area still boasts a good portion of accommodation in the city, ranging from motels, affordable hotels, casino, and hotel combinations, as well as towering hotels for more a more luxe stay.
Many of these are centered around Fremont Street, a casino district whose casinos existed long before Las Vegas Strip was even a thing. The retro casinos of this area, with their neon lights, and nearby eclectic restaurants and bars, give a sense of charm to Las Vegas that is otherwise difficult to see in the large scale, exclusive glitz of the Strip.
History is the thing here; head to the Neon Museum for a cool collection of vintage neon signs, or the imposing Mob Museum for a history of organized crime in America – connected to the Strip via the monorail, too.
Where to Stay in Downtown Las Vegas
- Golden Nugget Hotel – Representing the Las Vegas of the past, this historic hotel dating back to 1946 features the classic glitz and flashing lights that you would expect of this city. The rooms here are modern and swish and set across the four towering buildings that make up this hotel. Cool amenities include a pool complete with a waterslide that whizzes through a shark tank! There are numerous eateries to choose from, as well as bars. Location wise, it overlooks the Fremont Street Experience, and the Mob Museum is a few minutes’ walk away.
- Resort The D – One of the crowning glories at The D Las Vegas is the bar: it’s a massive 1,000 feet long! Things get very lively at this 3-star option, with a steakhouse, hot dog stand, and grill to tempt your tastebuds when you get peckish. Of course, there’s a casino here too. The rooms are simple and modern, but you’ll be out most of the time. Nearby is the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, and the absolutely wild Fremont Street Experience.
West of the Strip in Las Vegas – or west of Interstate 15, to be more technical – is an area that is relatively calmer than anywhere near the Strip itself – even the Downtown area is northeast of the famous Strip.
West of the Strip is where to be if you want to sample a different side to Las Vegas – exploring its Chinatown, for one thing, which not only features Chinese food, but Vietnamese and even Japanese.
A couple of miles west of the Strip itself, there is a massive selection on offer here; it’s definitely an unexpected side to what is the norm for Las Vegas. Being in this part of town makes it easier to get out into nature as well, with the large Spring Mountain Ranch State Park in striking distance of West of I-15.
Hotels aren’t as concentrated in this area, being dotted around the place, with much the same on offer in terms of budget-friendly to decidedly more expensive options as well.
Where to Stay West of the Strip
- Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino – Complete with a gigantic and glimmering outdoor pool, a towering complex of buildings, and a vast casino, this 4-star offering boasts spacious rooms with calming decor and great views of the city. Some suites even come with their own private pools and balconies. With multiple restaurants and bars to choose from, poker fans will also be interested to note that this hotel plays host to the World Series of Poker tournament. But if you feel like seeing the more iconic side of Las Vegas, the Strip is around a 20-minute walk away.
- The Orleans Hotel and Casino – The Orleans Hotel and Casino boasts classic rooms with a simple style, several different onsite restaurants, and a number of casino tables and slots. But that’s not all; guests will also be able to enjoy a bowling alley, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, an arcade, and even a cinema, amongst other things. If you need to leave all this entertainment, the hotel puts on a free shuttle to the Strip, which is just a mile and a half away.
East of the Strip in Las Vegas isn’t exactly where you are going to find the most lively, interesting or touristy areas of town. But if you are looking for something a little bit off the beaten track – relatively, for Las Vegas – then the East side of the infamous Strip should be a good option for you. With less prestigious sights and attractions than its western and northern district neighbors, the area east of Las Vegas Strip is not exactly awash with accommodation options; the further east you go, the fewer hotels you will find.
Nevertheless, there are a handful of mostly mid-range options to choose from. As well as being very close to McCarran International Airport, this area also has a few quaint and kooky things to do. These include the Pinball Hall of Fame – a collection of vintage pinball machines, of course – and the National Atomic Testing Museum.
Where to Stay East of the Strip
- Hard Rock Hotel and Casino – With its rock-and-roll theme, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is definitely a lively place to stay in Las Vegas. There are no less than four venues here, where live bands, DJs, comedians, and other entertainment is a nightly occurrence. Hungry? Don’t worry; there are ten different eateries to pick from at this iconic hotel. And if you are worried about being too far from all the action of the Strip, don’t be: it’s just a couple of blocks away.
- Desert Rose Resort – The convenient location of Desert Rose Resort is something that really sells it. This 3-star hotel is practically next door to the airport, meaning getting into or out of Vegas shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Once you’re here, you can recline in your very own warm and homely feeling condo-esque suite. Go for a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool after exploring the Strip – a few minutes’ stroll away – cook up a storm with the BBQ facilities or keep up with your workouts at the fitness center.
A separate town in its own right, but still part of the urban sprawl that makes up the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area, Henderson lies to the southeast of all the main action in town.
Staying in Henderson is an excellent idea if you aren’t interested in being in the center of all the action – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to be saving money as a result. Henderson is known for its affluent communities, like the MacDonald Highlands which overlook Henderson and Las Vegas.
There are also many, many malls, movie theaters, and – of course – a few casinos too. In terms of famous sights and other things to do, the world-famous Hoover Dam is in easy reach of Henderson, as are natural escapes like Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area and Clark County Wetlands Park. Buses make getting to the Strip pretty easy, but you could always rent a car.
Where to Stay in Henderson
- Sunset Station Hotel Casino – Amenities – this 3-star hotel certainly packs a punch when it comes to those. From its Gaudi-themed bar and selection of restaurants (including a good buffet eatery) all the way to its vast 72-lane bowling alley and very large outdoor pool, there’s not a lot that isn’t on offer at Sunset Station Hotel Casino. And when you fancy a flutter, there are a whole lot of gambling options at its casino, with tables and slot machines galore. If you feel like shopping, the Galleria at Sunset mall is just across the street.
Bordering the Downtown area, North Las Vegas is a good alternative if you want to be a little bit removed from the exciting lights and shiny hotels that Las Vegas boasts. A separate city in its own right, North Las Vegas has a few hotels to choose from, with a few hotel and casino options itself – as well as choices from budget to mid-range.
The Interstate 15 runs through the southern and western areas of North Las Vegas, easily connecting it to the rest of town. The RTC bus network serves this area, as it does all of Las Vegas Metropolitan Area. It’s also home to North Las Vegas Airport. Shadow Creek Golf Course, a famous, exclusive course that’s available to MGM Grand guests, is located in North Las Vegas.
Where to Stay in North Las Vegas
- Aliante Casino + Hotel – With fancy rooms decked out in a warm color scheme and stylish furnishings, the Aliante Casino + Hotel is set practically in the desert away from the madness of town. So it’s a good thing there is a big selection of things to do here. These include multiple restaurants to dine in, a huge outdoor pool, an IMAX cinema, a spa, and even bars with nightly entertainment. If you feel like heading to all the glitz and glamour of the Strip, it’s a 15 miles drive away.