Las Vegas was half way through our 2 week US road trip and wow we were amazed! But also rather overwhelmed. The lively city was nothing compared to the the cities along our route from Salt Lake City to Page, Arizona. We arrived on a busy weekend full of events, so we had the full experience of Las Vegas as soon as we arrived.
Our 4 nights in Las Vegas were booked at the Excalibur Hotel at the lower end of the strip. My partner had heard a trick that when you check in, to tip the employee in the hopes for a better upgraded room. Out room was officially a 1 small bed ‘’whatever is available’’ room through booking.com at a low price. We handed over our passports, credit card and a $20 tip to the employee in the hopes for a bigger room with a view. Within 15 minutes we were walking from the lift on the 23rd floor to our double queen bed size room with a view of the Luxor/Mandalay hotels and the airport. It was a busy weekend but she upgraded us and it had worked!
The Famous Las Vegas Strip
Taking a walk along the strip was surreal, everything was large, music playing and people everywhere! From a rollercoaster whizzing around New York, the fountains of the Bellagio to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was a lot to take in on our first night (my partner had been before so he was now my tour guide), and after lots of driving we headed to our room for some well-earned rest!
We used our time in Las Vegas to visit Hoover Dam. We’ve made a separate detailed post about the Hoover Dam here! Easy to reach from Las Vegas by car, we spent at least an hour here walking over the Dam.
Area 51 – Extraterrestrial Highway
We couldn’t help ourselves to look for Aliens while in Nevada. We’ve made a separate detailed post about our day trip to the famous Nevada town of Rachel, looking for aliens and checking out the Area 51 entrance here!
Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour
A surprise tour planned by my partner meant that we were up at 07:00am for a helicopter tour through the Grand Canyon! I found out what the surprise was when the bus came to pick us up at the hotel with a massive helicopter tour advertisement on the side. We’ve made a separate detailed post about the Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour here!
Downtown Fremont Street
We arrived here with a short journey with the car, driving through the strip past the pawn shops and wedding chapels. We parked at the Mob Museum that we wanted to visit this first and afterwards walked to Fremont Street to experience the downtown area. Greeted with live music, performers dressed in basically nothing and lots of tourists, it was actually quite ‘gezellig’. People were dancing to the live music and drinking in the street while others were whizzing past above us on the popular zip line attraction. We didn’t spend too much time here, but it was interesting to experience compared to the strip.
We highly recommend visiting this museum if you are interested in the life of the American mobsters, not just within Las Vegas but within America. Full of artefacts and memorabilia allows you to step into the world of a mob boss. You also learn the history of the gambling in Las Vegas and how it became how it is today. It was a little confusing at times switching from one mob story to another topic, not knowing if it was linked or not, but the museum displayed everything so well that it didn’t give us a negative feeling. By the last floor it was a lot to take in, to which we skipped a little. Recommended to visit during your time in Las Vegas for a bit of dark tourism.
Taking the lift at night, we enjoyed the views of Las Vegas from the top. It wasn’t as busy as we had expected, easily walking around the tower or finding a seat to sit on. For the price we found it rather expensive, but that can be said for everything along the strip. We didn’t fancy it ourselves but it was amusing to watch the two coaster rides at the top as well as the bungee jump to the bottom that you can do.
The first night arriving by car to Las Vegas and seeing all the lights was definitely an impressive view. Once we were checked in and took a walk around it was a lot to take in. Crazy that there are casinos everywhere you look! We loved walking the strip and checking out other hotel lobbies like Paris, Venice and New York. It was a good location to stay while visiting Hoover Dam and Area 51.
Towards the end of our 4 nights it was too much, hardly anywhere to buy healthy food, the excitement had worn off and the realisation that everything was fake was true. Walking through the hotels there is a musty smell of the air circulation, that I can only explain as fake cold air, allowing you not to smell the smoke or alcohol within the hotel lobby. Everything was also expensive, which didn’t give you a positive feeling after 4 days. Especially after eating cheaply in the previous places we had stayed at during the road trip, but we knew this and had expected to be paying more.
Our Top Tips for Las Vegas:
- Expect to pay more for everything
- Don’t spend longer than 3 nights here during a road trip, unless you explore outside the city too like we did
- Try the $20 trick when checking in, it worked for us and might work for you too!
- If you have access to a car, visit a Walmart for snacks & drinks to help keep costs down.
- Don’t gamble all your money away!
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Have you been to Las Vegas before? What did you enjoy during your stay? Let us know in the comments!