It would be impossible to see everything Las Vegas has to offer in a single weekend, but you can certainly catch a few highlights with 48 hours in the Entertainment Capital of the World. Whether you’re a local showing around friends or a first-time visitor, there’s something for everyone.
Check out Fremont East
OK, so the Fremont Street Experience is what makes most Las Vegas must-do lists. But you can stumble through the buskers and eat at Heart Attack Grill (and hate yourself later), or you can head across the street to Fremont East for a more local vibe. Hit any of the bars lining the street on your way to check out the fire-breathing praying mantis at Container Park, then head back down to the corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and Fremont Street for a late-night snack at Park on Fremont.
Head to the Arts District
If you happen to be in Las Vegas at the beginning of the month, check out First Friday, a monthly celebration of the arts with gallery showcases, food, performances and live music. The main Art Walk event stretches from the north side of the Charleston/Casino Center intersection, three blocks south to Imperial.
There’s still plenty to see if you miss First Friday. Get coffee at Makers & Finders and check out The Arts Factory. Wander around Art Square before eating at Bronze Cafe in the Center or the Bier Garten. Grab a drink at Artifice to close out the night.
Visit a museum
There are a few exhibits dotting the Strip, but for a truly Las Vegas museum experience, head downtown to visit the Mob or Neon museums (or both).
The Neon Museum, which turns 20 next year, is the location of more than 200 signs that tell the story of the development of Las Vegas. Take a tour of the Neon Boneyard for a museum experience you won’t find anywhere else.
The Mob Museum — technically The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement — is dedicated to the history of organized crime and law enforcement, from the birth of the mob to current events. You can get a combo ticket for both museums here.
See the Strip
Yes, it’s obvious, and if you live in Las Vegas you end up doing it every time a friend comes to town. But there’s a reason it’s a can’t-miss experience — you won’t find something like it anywhere else.
Make sure to stop to watch the Bellagio fountains and take in one of the plethora of shows Las Vegas has to offer. If you’re not easily offended, try Absinthe or Zumanity. The Blue Man Group or one of the Cirque shows will never disappoint. Check out everything the Strip has to offer here.
Do something daring
Las Vegas is the place to let go of your inhibitions, in a good way. Afraid of heights? Try Slotzilla or do the SkyJump on the Stratosphere. Have a fear of public speaking? Try some karaoke in Chinatown. Have a need for speed? Race a Ferrari at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Find some nature
If you’re in the mood to be one with nature, there’s a bevy of options surrounding Las Vegas. Head west on Blue Diamond Road or Charleston Blvd. and drive the scenic loop through the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Hike one of Red Rock’s many trails that lead to great views of the Las Vegas Valley, or pay a visit to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. Head north of the city and you’ll find Mount Charleston, the highest mountain in Clark County and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser if you’re looking for a taste of fall in Las Vegas.
Want to stick closer to the city? Check out Springs Preserve off the US 95 for a taste of nature where you wouldn’t normally find it.
Contact Stephanie Grimes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find her on Twitter: @stephgrimes