Las Vegas Great Itineraries: For Families, Sophisticates, and First-Timers

With the number of options in Vegas, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. These itineraries can steer you in the right direction to help you plan your ultimate day, whether you brought the family along or are looking for the gambling and nightlife Vegas is famous for.

Bring the Kids

081214-Las-Vegas-Sights-NewYork.jpg

Though the casinos aren’t the place for your kids, you can still fi nd plenty of great family-oriented activities on the Strip. Check out the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, home to crocodiles, piranhas, and several types of shark that would love to have you for dinner. Next, head to Gameworks, in the Showcase Mall (next to MGM Grand). It’s a huge arcade and entertainment complex with tons of diversions for all ages. Break for lunch across the street in the lively Greenwich Village–theme food court at New York–New York, after which you might take a ride on the Roller Coaster. If you’re up for an afternoon of thrills, continue north along the Strip to the Stratosphere Tower. Here, the Big Shot, X Scream, and Insanity– The Ride fly high above the Strip at 1,149 feet.

When you’re ready for dinner, Roxy’s Diner at the Stratosphere is a good choice. For a mellower but still enjoyable afternoon, head off to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum at the Venetian. After posing next to Britney Spears and J-Lo look-alikes, go for a gondola ride on the Grand Canal through St. Mark’s Square. Finish your evening by taking in one of the Strip sidewalk shows, either the Bellagio fountains or the exploding volcano at the Mirage.

The Sophisticate

081214-Las-Vegas-Fountain.jpg

Enjoy breakfast poolside at the Verandah restaurant in the tranquil, nongaming Four Seasons resort, on the property of Mandalay Bay. Continue on to the Bathhouse Spa inside the chic THEhotel, the boutique hotel at Mandalay Bay, where you can soak in an Asian green-tea bath. Take a cab to Bellagio and cruise the Via Bellagio for Prada, Armani, Chanel, and Tiffany & Co. At lunch nab a window seat at Olives for views of the dancing fountains and Lake Bellagio.

In the afternoon, take a breather and relax by the pool of your hotel, margarita in hand. Then head to The Palazzo’s gallery of luxury boutiques. Annie Creamcheese is like a thrift store for the rich and famous where you can pick up modernized retroapparel (it’s not “resale” it’s “vintage,” dah-ling). Just be sure to give yourself enough time to for dinner at Italian steak joint Carnevino (the veal scallopini is the best in the city.)

End the evening by attending Love, the Cirque du Soleil homage to The Beatles. Or, as an alternative to a show, kick it at one of the city’s nightclubs; watch for B-list celebs at the Venetian’s Tao or admire the beautiful ones at Pure inside Caesars Palace.

The Vegas First-Timer

Head straight for the heart of the Strip to take in all that glitz and glamour you’ve been itching to see. Walk across the miniaturized version of the Brooklyn Bridge at New York–New York, get Francophilic at Paris, check out the dancing fountains in front of Bellagio, and do as the Romans would and take a stroll through Caesars (the Forum Shops have great lunch options, from simple to swanky). Ride a gondola at the Venetian and sip a martini as you watch the light and sound show on the backside of the Wynn’s mountain.

You’ll want to go back to your hotel to freshen up before your night on the town. Then splurge on dinner at a true destination restaurant like Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand or Alex at Wynn Las Vegas. Don’t even think about turning in until you hit the nightlife scene. Our picks? A burlesque show at Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce, or Mix atop THEhotel at Mandalay Bay for the sweeping view of the Strip. Then finish off with some gambling or a show.

Photo credits: (1) Photo by flem007_uk; (2) Photo by Markyboy81.