Las Vegas, Nevada

The Vegas you think you know — buffets, nightlife, and gambling — also folds in other arts and culture activities, not to mention pool lounging, so that the Vegas vacay of your dreams is within reach. Clustered in either downtown Vegas or along Las Vegas Boulevard (“The Strip”) are mega resorts featuring dining, spas, casinos, nightlife, and lavish accommodations all under one roof. In recent years, Vegas’ neighborhoods have begun to attract more than locals, providing excuses to stray from the well-trodden Strip, including Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas in Springs Preserve or buzzy galleries, bars, and restaurants in the Arts District, also called 18b.

The Best Time to Go to Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada / bennymarty/iStock

There’s no getting around it: summer is hot in the desert. But this is also when you can find $25 hotel rooms. The best time to go to Vegas is in the spring or fall, with its cooler nights and mild daytime temperatures. Stay clear of holidays including New Year’s and three-day weekends — that’s when prices spike.

Renting a Car in Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area / pabradyphoto/iStock

Most car rental spots are located at McCarran International Airport, in the adjacent community of Paradise and three miles from the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard (“The Strip”). Parking at only a few casinos and resorts is free for visits, including The Venetian and Palazzo, Tropicana, Treasure Island, and Circus Circus. Otherwise, be prepared to pay by the hour for either self- or valet-parking. You’re more likely to find free parking at a downtown hotel than one on The Strip.

To reach Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (which has a beautiful 13-mile scenic drive), you’ll need a car as the nearly 200,000-acre park is west of the Strip near the town of Summerlin. The same goes for Hoover Dam. While Grand Canyon tours from Vegas are popular, some travelers prefer to drive themselves. Just know it’s a five-hour ride and may require tacking on two days to your Vegas vacation.

Things to Do in Las Vegas

Volcano at The Mirage / diegograndi/iStock

In recent years, a variety of kid-friendly activities — from witnessing an atomic explosion at the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas to the High Roller Observation Wheel at The LINQ Hotel— have popped up in Vegas, turning this affordable location into the next family vacation. Honoring its roots as a cheap destination, even while ushering in luxury resorts and celebrity-chef restaurants, plenty of free things to do in Vegas still exist, like Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Garden or nighttime outdoor shows at Bellagio (water fountains) or a volcanic eruption at The Mirage. Venture to the Arts District for performance spaces and art galleries tucked into former warehouses, including Cockroach Theatre’s plays and First Friday block parties.

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