Best Las Vegas Hotels for First Timers (and Things To Do)


Picking a hotel in Las Vegas can be difficult if it’s your first time visiting Sin City. After staying at almost every hotel in Las Vegas, I can attest that there are certainly some hotels that are better for first-timers than others.

If you’re staying in Las Vegas for the first time, these are the best hotels:

  • Encore at the Wynn
  • Caesars Palace
  • LINQ
  • Bellagio
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Venetian and Palazzo
  • Treasure Island
  • Aria
  • Golden Nugget

Staying at the wrong hotel can cause headaches and major logistical issues capable of ruining your vacation. In this article, I’ll walk you through which hotels are the best for your first Vegas trip. I’ll also cover the amenities, nearby attractions and price of each hotel, so you’ll know exactly what to expect.

Where to Stay Your First Time Visiting Las Vegas

A big part of your Vegas experience is dependent on picking the right hotel. You’ll want to stay at a resort that’s close to the action, but also has great amenities. There’s nothing worse than staying in a dirty, or outdated hotel room.

Picking a hotel located near the attractions you want to see is key, but you aren’t required to stay at those specific hotels. You’re able to walk into any hotel on the Strip and use their casino, see their shows and eat at their restaurants. The only thing you won’t have access to is their amenities.

Encore at the Wynn

Hotel overview: The Wynn and Encore (they are both attached) are two of the most luxurious resorts in Las Vegas. I stayed at the Encore during my first Vegas trip and was not disappointed. This super high-end resort has everything: 5-star restaurants, an excellent spa and a bustling casino.

The Encore also has the best nightclubs and pool parties in Las Vegas. If you want the stereotypically Vegas night out, I highly recommend you head over to XS Nightclub. However, if wild parties aren’t your cup of tea, don’t worry-the Wynn has superb management, so you’ll never have to deal with parties overflowing into other parts of the resort.

  • Location: North end of the Strip
  • Average Price (weekday): $250
  • Average Price (weekend): $300
  • Rating: 4.7/5 stars

On-site amenities: Amenities at the Encore and Wynn include: pool, spa, fitness center, restaurants, golf course, casino, shows, shopping mall, bars, XS Nightclub and Encore Beach Club pool party.

Nearby attractions: The Wynn and Encore are located directly across the street from the Fashion Show Mall. They’re also within walking distance of the Venetian, Palazzo, Resorts World and Treasure Island.

Caesars Palace

Hotel overview: Anyone looking for an awesome first Las Vegas experience needs to stay at the iconic Caesars Palace. This lavish resort is located at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, and it never disappoints. The service is top-notch, and you’ll be blown away by the décor.

Caesars Palace has a lot going on both from an entertainment and restaurant standpoint. First, you have Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen on the property, but you can also eat at a number of other fine-dining establishments. Caesars is also known for its massive OMNIA Nightclub and popular shows that feature artists like Adele.

  • Location: Center of the Strip
  • Average Price (weekday): $200
  • Average Price (weekend): $250
  • Rating: 4.6/5 stars

On-site amenities: Some of the amenities at Caesars Palace include: restaurants, casino, shopping mall, hotel pool, OMNIA Nightclub, bars, shows, concerts, spa and fitness center.

Nearby attractions: Attractions within walking distance from Caesars include: the Bellagio, LINQ Promenade, Flamingo, Paris and The Cosmopolitan.

LINQ

Hotel overview: The LINQ is a solid budget-friendly resort with a fantastic location. It’s located directly across the street from Caesars Palace, so you get quick access to everything over there. The LINQ is a modern resort, populated by a younger crowd. It’s also home to the LINQ Promenade, where you can take a ride on the High Roller Observation Wheel.

The advantage of staying at the LINQ is you get access to all the casinos in the center of the Strip for a very reasonable price. My only complaint about the LINQ is the loud music played at their pool that starts around 10am. If you stay here, request a room that’s not facing the pool.

  • Location: Center of the Strip
  • Average Price (weekday): $50
  • Average Price (weekend): $150
  • Rating: 4.3/5 stars

On-site amenities: A few of the amenities at the LINQ include: hotel pool, spa, fitness center, shows, casino, bars, restaurants, the High Roller and the LINQ Promenade.

Nearby attractions: Attractions near the LINQ include: Caesars Palace, the Bellagio, Flamingo, Paris and The Cosmopolitan. It’s also not very far from the Venetian.

Bellagio

Hotel overview: Not only is the Bellagio the most famous resort in Las Vegas, but it’s also one of the most luxurious. You won’t want to leave once you’ve been pampered by the Bellagio’s excellent service. The casino is among the best too, especially if you like to play poker.

Staying at the Bellagio will guarantee you get a chance to see the Bellagio Fountains and the beautiful Botanical Garden every day. You’ll also enjoy an array of gourmet restaurants and highly-reviewed shows.

  • Location: Center of the Strip
  • Average Price (weekday): $200
  • Average Price (weekend): $350
  • Rating: 4.7/5 stars

On-site amenities: Bellagio amenities include: hotel pool, Bellagio Fountains, Botanical Garden, shows, restaurants, spa, fitness center, bars, shopping mall and casino.

Nearby attractions: The Bellagio is right next door to The Cosmopolitan and Caesars Palace. It’s also very close to the Aria, Shops at Crystals and the Miracle Miles Shops.

Planet Hollywood

Hotel overview: Planet Hollywood is a mid-tier hotel with one of the best locations in Las Vegas. It’s right across the street from both the Bellagio and Cosmopolitan, so you don’t have to venture too far to get to the premier properties.

One of the things that makes Planet Hollywood so popular is the fact that it’s attached to the Miracle Mile Shops, where you’ll find a bunch of budget-friendly restaurants. This is a major plus since food on the Strip can get really expensive.

  • Location: Center of the Strip
  • Average Price (weekday): $75
  • Average Price (weekend): $150
  • Rating: 4.4/5 stars

On-site amenities: Some of the amenities at Planet Hollywood include: the Miracle Mile Shops, pool, surf machine, casino, bars, restaurants and shows.

Nearby attractions: Within walking distance of Planet Hollywood, you’ll be able to get to the Bellagio, Cosmopolitan, Paris, MGM Grand, Aria and Caesars Palace.

Cosmopolitan

Hotel overview: You can’t go wrong staying at the Cosmopolitan during your first time in Las Vegas. This is another classic Las Vegas hotel that will leave a lasting impression. The Cosmopolitan is elegant and stylist from the gorgeous hotel rooms all the way to the casino floor. It’s one of the few hotels that offers balconies in almost every room.

The Cosmo is home to several posh restaurants and nightclubs that bring a crowd nearly every day of the week. The Chandelier Bar and Marquee Nightclub are both great places to grab a cocktail. I recommend you visit Eggslut for breakfast and STK for dinner.

  • Location: Center of the Strip
  • Average Price (weekday): $150
  • Average Price (weekend): $250
  • Rating: 4.6/5 stars

On-site amenities: The on-site amenities at the Cosmopolitan include: shows, bars, restaurants, Marquee Nightclub, Marquee Dayclub, casino, pool, spa and fitness center.

Nearby attractions: The Cosmopolitan is within walking distance to the Bellagio, Aria, Shops at Crystals, Caesars Palace, Paris and the Miracle Mile Shops.

Venetian and Palazzo

Hotel overview: The Venetian and Palazzo are sister hotels situated next to the Wynn at the north end of the Strip. They are both luxury Italian-style resorts modeled after the canals of Venice. You can even take a gondola ride through the Grand Canal Shoppes located within the Venetian.

When you stay at the Palazzo, you also get access to the amenities at the Venetian and vice versa. The rooms at these two hotels are among the best in Las Vegas, along with service. If you want to enjoy the nightlife scene, the Venetian has a small, intimate nightclub called Tao. The Palazzo also throws a crazy brunch party at the Lavo restaurant during the winter.

  • Location: North end of the Strip
  • Average Price (weekday): $200
  • Average Price (weekend): $300
  • Rating: 4.7/5 stars

On-site amenities: Some of the amenities found at the Venetian and Palazzo include: shopping mall, spa, fitness center, Lavo Party Bruch, Tao Nightclub, Tao Beach, hotel pool, restaurants, shows, bars and casino.

Nearby attractions: The Venetian and Palazzo are within walking distance from the Wynn, Encore, Treasure Island, Fashion Show Mall and Caesars Palace.

Treasure Island

Hotel overview: If you have some budget constraints on your first trip to Las Vegas, Treasure Island is a superb hotel to stay at. It’s located right across the street from the Venetian. It’s also really close to Caesars Palace.

This high-energy resort has a lot to offer, including plenty of bars, lounges and shows. The appeal of Treasure Island has a lot to do with its affordable rates and location of the Strip. It’s only a 30-second walk from one of Las Vegas’ largest shopping malls, the Fashion Show Mall.

  • Location: North end of the Strip
  • Average Price (weekday): $75
  • Average Price (weekend): $150
  • Rating: 4.3/5 stars

On-site amenities: A couple of the on-site amenities at Treasure Island include: restaurants, hotel pool, shows, exhibits, spa, fitness center, bars, restaurants and casino.

Nearby attractions: Treasure Island is situated near the Wynn, Encore, Venetian, Palazzo, Mirage and Fashion Show Mall. Caesars Palace is also in the area.

Aria

Hotel overview: The Aria is a posh resort located in Las Vegas CityCenter near the Cosmopolitan. The Aria isn’t as well known as the Bellagio or Cosmopolitan, but this 5-star resort is just as good. It overlooks the central part of the Las Vegas Strip, offering breathtaking views from every room.

Aside from the views, there’s plenty to do at the Aria. It has a giant casino, a nightclub, one of the best spas on the Strip and arguably the best lineup of restaurants in Las Vegas. I highly recommend you eat at Jean Georges Steakhouse, Javier’s, Catch or Carbone, even if you’re not staying at the Aria.

  • Location: Center of the Strip
  • Average Price (weekday): $200
  • Average Price (weekend): $250
  • Rating: 4.6/5 stars

On-site amenities: Some of the in-house amenities at the Aria include: shopping mall, spa, fitness center, hotel pool, Jewel Nightclub, restaurants, bars and casino.

Nearby attractions: The Aria is only minutes away from the T-Mobile Arena where you can see sporting events and concerts. It’s also close to The Cosmopolitan, Bellagio, Miracle Mile Shops and MGM Grand.

Golden Nugget

Hotel overview: If you prefer to stay in Downtown Las Vegas, the Golden Nugget is the place to do it. Downtown Las Vegas is much cheaper than the Strip, and it has a much more casual vibe. Your money will go a lot further here.

The Golden Nugget has one the biggest casino floors in Downtown Vegas, along with some of the most modern rooms. I’m a big fan of their award-winning pool, which features a shark tank with a slide through it.

  • Location: Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas
  • Average Price (weekday): $75
  • Average Price (weekend): $150
  • Rating: 4.3/5 stars

On-site amenities: A few of the on-site amenities at the Golden Nugget include: restaurants, bars, casino, pool, shows, spa and fitness center.

Nearby attractions: The Golden Nugget is located directly on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, so it’s within walking distance of 10+ other nearby casinos.

Best Hotel for Your First Time in Las Vegas

If it’s your first time visiting Las Vegas, you’ll want to stay on the Strip. You’re likely going to be spending most of your time on the Strip anyway since that’s where most of the major attractions are.

The Las Vegas Strip is deceptively long (over 4 miles) and takes over an hour to walk end to end. There’s no need to create a logistical nightmare for yourself by staying off of the Strip. For most people, I would recommend selecting a hotel near the center of the Strip.

How long should I Stay in Vegas for the First Time?

Most people stay in Las Vegas an average of 3-5 days. This allows just enough time to see most of the major attractions, without getting burned out. Make sure you stay for more than just a 2-day weekend, or you’ll run the risk of running out of time to do everything you want.

Things to do Your First Time in Las Vegas

There are a million things to do in Las Vegas. You probably won’t get to all of them on your first trip, but these should be a good starting point:

  • Enjoy the food at a restaurant or buffet
  • See a show
  • Go to a nightclub or bar
  • Relax by the pool
  • Visit a day spa
  • Walk the Strip
  • Go shopping
  • Check out Fremont Street
  • See a show
  • Go to a comedy club
  • Visit a museum (I recommend the Mob Museum)
  • See the Bellagio Fountains
  • Take a ride on the High Roller
  • Go to the Skypod at the top of the Strat
  • Go ziplining (at the Rio, Fremont Street or the LINQ Prominade)
  • Do a bus tour of the Grand Canyon

There is a lot to do in Las Vegas. I wrote a much more in-depth article about the best things to do in Las Vegas here.

What to do Your First Night in Las Vegas

You shouldn’t make solid plans for your first night in Vegas. There’s a good chance that your flight will be delayed coming in, or you run into traffic on the Strip. Leaving an open schedule will prevent you from rushing around and feeling stressed out.

If you do end up with some extra time, the best thing to do is grab something to eat and hit the casino floor. You also have the option of seeing a show or grabbing a drink at a bar or nightclub. You won’t have too much trouble finding a bar, there are thousands of them in Las Vegas.

Useful Resources for Your First Trip to Las Vegas

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