Heads up: some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you click and make a booking or purchase, I’ll make a commission (at no extra cost to you). I partner with companies I personally use and the $$ goes towards creating more awesome, free travel content.
Vegas is an adult’s Disneyland. Every time I visit Vegas I feel a rush of excitement as I look out the plane window and see the bright lights of The Strip. Anything is possible in Sin City and you just don’t know what’s going to happen or who you’re going to meet.
There’s so much to see and do here and it’s the perfect place for a long weekend with friends. With 3 days in Vegas you can gamble in the casinos, eat in some great restaurants, hit up a pool party, dance the night away in a club or two and visit some of the city’s top attractions.
I’ve been to Vegas countless times and every time I leave with a giant hangover but also knowing I had a blast. If you do Vegas right, I’m sure you will too!
Getting from the airport to the Las Vegas Strip
What I love about Vegas is that the airport is so close to The Strip. If you only have a few days in Vegas, this means you can hit the ground running and maximize your time.
The easiest way to get to the Las Vegas Strip is usually by Uber or Lyft. However, it seems that in the wake of the pandemic, you can expect long wait times and higher prices. So I’d advise planning ahead and ordering your Uber as soon as you touch the tarmac (that’s if you only have carry on luggage).
In addition to rideshare services there are regular taxis outside Terminal 1 and 3 arrivals. Taxis are more expensive and you may have to wait in line but they’re a convenient option for getting to The Strip.
If you’re on a budget, you can book a shuttle bus like SuperShuttle to take you to your hotel on The Strip. Prices start at around $30 round trip. The only downside to taking a shuttle is that they usually stop at lots of hotels on the way to drop off other customers. So, if you’re in a hurry to get to The Strip, this wouldn’t be the quickest option.
Your other options would be to hire a car from the airport and stay at a hotel with free parking, or if you’re splashing out on your vacation, you could book a limousine service to whisk you to your hotel.
Where to stay in Las Vegas
First, a note about where to stay in Las Vegas. The Strip is long. Personally I like to stay in the center of The Strip so I have easy access to everything and can walk around without having to take cabs. The Strip is around 4.2 miles long and often you have to cross bridges to get across the roads.
It’s a lot of walking, so if you stay in the far north or south of The Strip then you should factor in that you’ll probably be taking a lot of taxis, or the monorail. In the center of The Strip you can’t go wrong with The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which has a hip, trendy vibe. I also like The Bellagio, Caesar’s and Paris Las Vegas.
If you don’t want to fork out too much on your accommodation but still want a fun vibe, I really love The Flamingo and I’ve stayed there several times. The prices are usually more affordable and the Go Pool party is super fun and laid back. Plus, it’s slap bang in the middle of The Strip and the casino is super welcoming.
At the far north end of The Strip you have the upscale Wynn Resort, which is where you’ll find XS Nightclub and Encore Beach Club. The Wynn also boasts a number of fine dining restaurants, including Cipriani, Mizumi and Casa Playa.
At the far south end of The Strip there’s the Mandalay Bay, which is known for its aquatic playground, Mandalay Bay Beach. The 11-acre beach area features a wave pool, lazy river, a lagoon, cabanas and a Beach Bar & Grill.
You’ll also find a multitude of themed hotels in Las Vegas, which are usually reasonably priced and great for families. Want an Egyptian theme? Stay at Luxor. Want to feel like you’re walking through the streets of Manhattan? Stay at New York, New York. Want to ride a gondola through the Venice canals? Stay at The Venetian.
When it comes to hotels, there’s something for everyone in Vegas. Whether you’re traveling to Las Vegas on a budget or you plan to splash out, there are so many different types of hotels to suit all budgets. When I visit Las Vegas I often book different hotels so I get to have a different experience every time.
Now we’ve got that covered, let’s take a look at how to spend 3 days in Las Vegas.
3 Day Las Vegas Itinerary
Day 1: Sightseeing on the Las Vegas Strip
Once you’ve reached your hotel and checked in you’ll want to head straight to a store to buy water and alcohol. Drinking in Vegas is expensive, so you’ll want to do some pregaming in your hotel room before you hit the bars.
Walgreens and CVS sell water and booze – you’ll find them dotted around The Strip. There are also multiple liquor stores, including Strip Liquor, Liquor Outlet, Liquor City, Liquor World…you get the idea. If you’re staying in the center of The Strip there are liquor stores at The LINQ, Flamingo and Harrah’s. Stock up and you’ll save yourself some $$.
Next up it’s time to familiarize yourself with the Las Vegas Strip!
I’d start out by checking out The Venetian, where you can take a gondola ride and feel as if you’re cruising the canals of Venice. You’ll ride through the Grand Canal Shoppes, which is a shopping mall with canals and bridges, just like in Venice.
Once night falls, pay a visit to The Bellagio fountain, which is a beautiful illuminated fountain show synchronized to music. It’s one of the top things to do in Las Vegas!
Show times: Weekdays every 30 minutes from 3pm to 7pm and every 15 minutes from 7pm to midnight. Weekends and holidays every 30 minutes from noon to 7pm and every 15 minutes from 7pm to midnight.
Next up it’s time to get dinner. There are SO many choices on the Las Vegas Strip. Some suggestions:
- Gordon Ramsay Burger – located at Planet Hollywood, serves gourmet burgers and hot dogs
- Sinatra – Classy Italian restaurant at Encore paying tribute to Frank Sinatra
- Sushi Roku – great sushi restaurant inside The Forum Shops at Caesars
- Yellowtail – upscale sushi spot inside The Bellagio. Order the Tuna Pizza!
- SW Steakhouse – steakhouse at The Wynn with views of the Lake of Dreams show
- Wing Lei – swanky Chinese restaurant also at The Wynn. Order the Peking Duck!
- LAVO – Italian restaurant at the Palazzo with an outdoor restaurant overlooking the Las Vegas Strip
After dinner you can do some gambling in the casinos. The best thing about gambling in Las Vegas is the drinks are free! Obviously they’re not that “free” if you’re losing money but if you’re lucky you could find yourself winning money AND scoring free drinks. What I like to do is play roulette, put $1 chips down across tons of numbers, then I usually get to at least keep my money, keep playing for a while and score some free drinks. If you want good service you’ll need to tip the server so she keeps coming back.
Once you’ve pregamed in the casino you and your friends can head to a nightclub to experience what Vegas is all about. Top nightclubs in Vegas include:
- XS Las Vegas
- Omnia Las Vegas
- Drai’s Las Vegas
The clubs aren’t open every night in Las Vegas so the best thing is to figure out which one is open and who is playing. Men usually have to pay more than women to get into clubs in Vegas. When clubs are really busy it can be difficult for a group of all guys to get into a club. If you’re traveling in a group of guys your best bet is to recruit a bunch of women to make the group an even split or to pay $$$ for a table to get in.
Clubs close around 4am in Vegas. One thing I was surprised about is that it’s not really 24 hours, except if you want to stay up gambling in the casino. If you’re hungry, hit up McDonalds, Denny’s or any restaurant that’s open offering a good steak and eggs special.
Day 2: Hit up a pool party
On day 2 it’s time to get ready to hit up a Las Vegas pool party. Make sure you line your stomach with a good breakfast!
One of my favorite places to grab breakfast is Mon Ami Gabi, which is located at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Mon Ami Gabi is one of the few places where you can dine outside on The Strip, so I love sitting on their terrace and people watching. Try their French Toast, Skinny Crêpe du Jour or Eggs Benedict and wash it all down with a Bloody Mary or a mimosa to get your day going.
After that it’s time to pop your bikini on and soak up that Las Vegas sunshine! Forget the nightclubs, the day parties are my favorite thing about Las Vegas! There are so many great pool parties to choose from, including:
- Drai’s Beach Club
- Wet Republic at MGM Grand
- Go Pool at Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas
- Encore Beach Club at Wynn/Encore
- Daylight at Mandalay Bay
- Marquee Dayclub at Cosmopolitan
In the summer months the pool parties have some great headliners so check out which DJs are performing at which venue before you go. Make sure you pack your best swimsuit! Vegas is the few places where you’ll see girls in full make-up and heels by the pool. Pool parties in Vegas are rowdy and fun, with lots of drinking and general debauchery.
After drinking in the sun all day it’s time for a nap! Every time I go to a pool party I’m dead for a few hours. So close those blackout shades, set your alarm and take a well-needed siesta.
After that you can grab dinner on The Strip. If you haven’t tried a Las Vegas buffet before then head to a buffet for all-you-can-eat prime rib and crab legs!
Some of the best buffets include:
- The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas
- Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars
- Wicked Spoon Buffet at Cosmopolitan
- Le Village Buffet at Paris
- The Buffet at ARIA
- Carnival World Buffet at Rio
- The Buffet at Bellagio
If you really feel like pigging out you can buy a Buffet of Buffets pass which lasts 24 hours and gets you into any of the Caesars Entertainment’s hotel buffets. Start at dinner time and you can get a dinner, then breakfast, then lunch and dinner the following day!
Once you’ve indulged at the buffet, catch a Las Vegas show. Cirque du Soleil shows such as “O”, “KÀ” and The Beatles™ LOVE™ are incredibly popular with visitors. You could also get tickets to see a concert or a comedy show!
Tip for show tickets: Either buy online or visit one of the Tix4Tonight half price ticket booth locations. Make sure you get in line early to have a chance of scoring tickets. Booths can be found at Bally’s, Showcase Mall and Casino Royale.
Day 3: More Las Vegas Strip sightseeing & Fremont Street
On day 3 I’d suggest visiting The LINQ, which is located in the heart of The Strip. This pedestrian promenade is lined with shops and restaurants and features a 550 foot-tall ferris wheel called the High Roller. It’s the largest observation wheel in North America and takes 30 minutes to complete a revolution. If you want to snap some photos of Vegas from above, take a ride in on the wheel for 360-degree views over the city.
If you don’t want to spend too much money on lunch, there are some great casual restaurants at The LINQ, including Haute Doggery (my personal fave), Jaburritos and In-N-Out Burger.
Just a short walk away is The Flamingo Hotel, where you can visit the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat. This serene four-acre garden features streams, waterfalls, Chilean Flamingos, Brown Pelicans, exotic waterfowl, turtles and fish. If you’re a fan of flamingos I’d also recommend paying a visit to the hotel’s gift shop, where you can find all sorts of flamingo-related merch.
In the afternoon/evening, hop in an Uber and pay a visit to Downtown Las Vegas, which is the “old Vegas”. Visit The Neon Museum, which displays a collection of iconic Las Vegas signs. The outdoor collection space, known as the Neon Boneyard, contains more than 200 unrestored signs which are illuminated from the ground, as well as a number of restored signs that are switched on.
After visiting The Neon Museum, head on over to the Fremont Street Experience, which is a pedestrian mall and tourist attraction in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas. Here you can see free Viva Vision light shows on the top of each hour, zipline over the crowds on the SlotZilla zipline and enjoy free live music performances from local Vegas acts.
Make sure you visit The Mob Museum and the Golden Nugget hotel, which features a $30 million pool with a 200,000 gallon shark tank aquarium. There’s even a water slide that takes you through the shark tank!
There are lots of things to keep you busy at the Fremont Street Experience – see a full list of things to do here.
Once you’re done with sightseeing, grab a cocktail or two at a speakeasy. The Laundry Room is strictly reservation only, serving a menu of 27 drinks in a repurposed laundry room.
If you don’t have a reservation at The Laundry Room you could also grab a drink at Downtown Cocktail Room, which is one of the oldest bars in East Fremont. This dimy lit bar has a hidden door that you push from the outside and offers a 50% off Happy Hour Tuesday through Saturday.
On your way back to The Strip, grab dinner at Las Vegas institution The Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge, which been running since 1972. This 24-hour restaurant has a retro old-Vegas atmosphere and serves reasonably priced food and drinks.
Best time to visit Las Vegas
If you want to party hard then the best time of year to visit Vegas is in summertime when all the pool parties are in full swing. Yes, it gets really hot, but it’s the best time to go if you want to hit up the day clubs. Pool season begins around March and ends in October.
If you visit around July 4th or EDC Festival then hotels will be expensive but also really, really fun. Las Vegas goes into full party mode around those times.
The months of July and August are definitely the priciest, so if you want to save money then consider May or September, when the pool parties are still happening but it’s not quite as hot.
If you’re not that bothered about partying then any time of year is good. Winter (November to February) will be the cheapest and least crowded time to go. The weather is also cooler during these months.
If you want cheaper hotel rooms, also consider visiting midweek instead of on the weekends, when prices rise dramatically.
How to get around Las Vegas
If there’s a lot of traffic, sometimes the quickest way to get around Las Vegas is simply by walking. The Strip is long though and the hotels are huge so it really depends where you’re going. In the summer months though it can be really hot, so you probably want to avoid walking around in the peak of the day when the sun’s at its strongest.
If you have to travel a distance then it’s easiest to order an Uber or Lyft, or you could order a taxi. You can also pre-book to make things easier if you know what time you’re going to be heading out.
The Las Vegas monorail is also another great option for getting around, particularly if you’re in Vegas for a convention. A one-ride ticket costs $5 or you can get a 24 hour pass for $13. You’ll find monorail stations at:
- SAHARA Las Vegas
- Westgate Las Vegas
- Las Vegas Convention Center
- Harrah’s/The LINQ
- Flamingo/Caesars Palace
- Bally’s/Paris Las Vegas
- MGM Grand
A final word…
3 days in Las Vegas is the perfect amount of time. Not too short that you’re rushing around but also not so long that you feel like you’ve overdone it.
If you’re the kind of person who can party till the sun comes up, take a nap and then drink Bloody Marys at breakfast, you’ll likely leave Vegas feeling like you’re dying. Make sure you chug some Gatorade at the airport and pack a blanket and a pillow so you can get some sleep on the plane home.
Vegas is SO much fun and with this 3 day Vegas itinerary I think you’ll have fun too. Of course, you may end up having so much fun partying that you don’t do anything on your itinerary but that’s what Vegas is all about. Relax, let your hair down and see where the wind takes you!