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Leaving Las Vegas? Not So Fast

Leaving Las Vegas? Not So Fast

Las Vegas is having a moment—well, it’s been a bit longer than a moment.

Almost as far back as I can remember, stories about the reinvention of Vegas have popped across my screen, rather that’s the construction of new casinos or hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, the tech-fueled reinvigoration of underrated downtown or the plethora of ecotourism opportunities in the desert that surrounds the city.

Some of this, of course, is hype, but the fact remains: There’s more to do in Vegas than ever before. The question of how many days in Las Vegas you should spend is an extremely good one to be asking.

Las Vegas Isn’t (Only) About Casinos Anymore

No matter how long you spend in Vegas, you probably want (at a minimum) to set foot in a casino. Even if you’re not a seasoned player, it’s impossible after all to separate the idea of finding fortune amid the sands from the mythology of the city. At the same time, as I’ll be explaining over the next few paragraphs, there’s so much else to do in Vegas, from award-winning dining, to world-class entertainment, to desert ecotourism.

I mean, in this day and age, there’s an argument to be made that you’re better off playing poker online, rather than going to a physical casino at all. For some travelers, it may make more sense to go this route, and then use their winnings to enjoy a trip to Vegas that transcends its most famous attractions. (Even if, as I’m about to explain, they may still have a place in your Vegas itinerary!)

What to Do in Las Vegas

Try your luck on The Strip

Forget, for a second, what I said above: Las Vegas, after all, is rightly regarded as the world’s best gambling destination. From legacy casinos like Caesar’s Palace and MGM Grand, to new and innovative properties like Resorts World Las Vegas, you’ll always feel welcome at a blackjack table or a spinning roulette wheel, and of course at a slot machine.

Explore exciting attractions

No matter how many days in Las Vegas you decide to spend, there’s always something to do. From the sky-scraping Stratosphere Tower, to the make-you-feel-like-you’re-in-Paris Eiffel Tower, to the Bellagio Fountain, to the High Roller Ferris Wheel, Las Vegas is like a merger of an amusement park and a city. You can also visit the just-opened Las Vegas Sphere, which is downright futuristic!

Eat (and sleep) luxe

Most Las Vegas accommodation is high-end by design—and many hotels are connected to the city’s best casinos. However, regardless of where you’ll stay, I encourage you to dip into the city’s amazing dining. And not just at famous restaurants like Nobu, or ones run by celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsey and José Andrés, although those are definitely good for a meal or two.

Day-trip into the desert

Another argument for spending many days in Vegas? The desert just outside the city is becoming as much of a mecca for ecotourism as the city itself is for entertainment. Gorgeous attractions just outside the city include the aptly-named Valley of Fire, where the red sandstone of the desert appears to blaze, while the verdant water within the Emerald Cave definitely lives up to its name.

Make a southwestern adventure of it

Las Vegas doesn’t need to be where your trip ends. While you might not drive all the way to Los Angeles or even down to San Diego, there’s plenty to explore in the immediate region. Head to Utah and visit national parks like Zion, Arches or Bryce Canyon, or to Arizona to visit the famous Grand Canyon or the spiritual mecca of Sedona. Or, head elsewhere in Nevada, namely to famous Lake Tahoe.

Is Las Vegas Worth Visiting?

I have a complicated personal relationship with Las Vegas. I initially went there primarily to pursue (an ultimately doomed) romantic relationship. My first memories of the city were as much about walking through the streets wasted and trying my luck as slots as they were about seeing the writing on the wall and refusing to read it. (Actually, thinking back on the movie “Casino,” dysfunctional relationships might be par for the Vegas course!)

Indeed, no matter how many days you decide to spend in Las Vegas, the city definitely has a way of molding itself to whatever your reality is, which to me is why it’s so worth visiting. You know that saying about “what happens in Vegas”? Whether you come with demons or meet on there, consider leaving the little gremlins in Sin City, and using your trip as an exorcism.

Other FAQ About Visiting Las Vegas

Is 5 days enough for Las Vegas?

Depending on what you plan to do, 5 days might be the perfect amount of time to spend in Las Vegas. This will give you a full 2-3 days to enjoy gambling, dining, drinking and entertainment on The Strip, as well as one day to explore the desert and another to simply lie by the pool and think back on it all.

Can you go to Vegas for 3 nights?

You can absolutely go to Vegas for just 3 nights—many people do. However, this will require you to condense your sightseeing a bit. In addition, since many travelers on shorter Vegas trips opt not to rent a car, coming for three days—a long weekend, in other words—may preclude a day trip into the desert.

Is 4 nights in Vegas too much?

Four nights in Vegas is definitely not too much, at least not objectively speaking. On the other hand, if you plan to lean fully into the “Sin” of Sin City (namely drinking, and especially if you’re over the age of 40), you might be feeling pretty awful at the end. The key to a successful, long Las Vegas trip is balance—and pacing yourself!

The Bottom Line

No matter how many days in Las Vegas you decide to spend, you’ll definitely have the time of your life in Sin City. On the other hand, giving yourself space to enjoy life off The Strip (and on it—don’t worry) will allow you to get a more panoramic picture of one of America’s most enduring (and dare I say underrated?) destinations. I recommend staying at least three days, which gives you one to try your luck in a casino, another to dine and drink your way through the city and a final one to take a day trip out into the desert. Need personalized help planning your next trip? Consider hiring me as your Travel Coach!


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