One of the great things about Las Vegas is that there’s something for everyone. However, because the city was built to provide endless entertainment, it can be overwhelming trying to decide what to do first once you get here.
Some things to do on your first night in Vegas are to visit the Fountains of Bellagio, ride the High Roller Wheel, or see a Cirque du Soleil show. You can also walk the Strip and hit up the slot machines at a few casinos.
This article lists eight not to miss things you might want to plan for your first night in Vegas. You’ll notice that each activity is tagged with one or more of the following: Classic, Free, or Unusual. I’ve found that these three categories often define the Vegas experience, so read on to find out what to do for the perfect first night in Las Vegas.
1. Take a Picture in Front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” Sign (Classic and Free)
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You’ve seen the picture a dozen times, and now it’s your turn to be the star of that classic photograph. The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign was put up in 1959. Found at the south end of the Strip, the sign is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and a great place to kick off your trip.
While it’s free to visit, you’ll still need to do some planning. The sign isn’t necessarily in a convenient location – it’s located in the town of Paradise – and there can often be a significant wait to get a picture!
I’ve written an article that gives more detail about where to find the sign and the best times to visit. Be sure and check it out.
2. Watch the Fountains of Bellagio (Classic and Free)
Another iconic location in Vegas is the Fountains of Bellagio. The fountains not only offer a spectacular backdrop but are also visually stunning entertainment in their own right. The fountains have been featured in numerous high-profile performances and movies like Ocean’s Eleven, The Hangover Part III, and Jason Bourne.
You can find the Bellagio Fountain schedule and song list here.
And you don’t need to watch the fountains from the front curb. While this is the most famous spot, several surrounding areas offer spectacular and unique views of the fountains. In fact, consider watching the Fountains of Bellagio from one of several restaurants with a view for a classic (and romantic!) Vegas night out.
Do you know whether you’re allowed to swim in the Bellagio Fountain in Vegas? Read my in-depth guide to learn more about the rules.
3. Ride the High Roller Las Vegas Strip Observation Wheel (Classic)
There’s something magical about Ferris Wheels, and the High Roller Las Vegas Strip Observation Wheel made Fodor’s list of the best Ferris wheels in the world. While you can ride the High Roller anytime, Fodor’s actually recommends a nighttime ride when this iconic Vegas attraction is illuminated with over 2,000 LED lights.
Tickets are $34.75 for an adult nighttime fare, and you’ll enjoy a fantastic evening view of the city. Since the High Roller is an approximately 30-minute ride, you’ll have plenty of time left for more Vegas fun.
4. Visit the Mob Museum and the Speakeasy Underneath (Unusual)
The Mob Museum is one of the most interesting places in Las Vegas, especially for history buffs. The Mob had a significant influence in the city’s early days, and this museum documents the Mob’s bloody relationship with Las Vegas beginning in the 1940s and spanning decades. [Is the Mob Museum in Las Vegas Worth Visiting?]
The reward at the end of the museum is a prohibition-era cocktail in the museum’s very own speakeasy. You can access the speakeasy if you visit the museum beforehand or seek out the side door and provide the password. The password changes weekly, so be sure to obtain it on the Mob Museum website before knocking!
5. See a Cirque du Soleil Show (Classic)
Many agree that Cirque du Soleil is the go-to show in Las Vegas. And what better time to check it off your Vegas to-do list than your first night in the city? The performance is visually stunning, boasts incredible music, and showcases some of the most impressive acrobatics in the world.
You may be surprised that there are six different Cirque du Soleil shows in Vegas, all hosted by various resorts. KA is a battle-themed show at the MGM Grand; O is aquatic-themed and located at Treasure Island; Mystere is the original Cirque du Soleil show at the Bellagio.
If it’s your first time in Vegas, I recommend Mystere as the must-see original. You can review tickets for Mystere by Cirque du Soleil at Viator.com.
You should also check out my other guide to find the best Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas.
6. Visit Illuminarium After Dark (Unusual)
Illuminarium bills itself as an immersive entertainment experience like no other, enveloping club guests in a 360-degree projected space. Illuminarium After Dark is an adults-only nightclub experience where you can enjoy specialty cocktails in a variety of rotating destinations – including the jungle, Tokyo, underwater, and the surface of the moon!
You can get Illuminarium tickets on Vegas.com for between $20 and $30.
7. Walk the Strip (Free)
There’s no charge for a self-guided walking tour of the main attraction of Las Vegas – the Strip. You can even bring an alcoholic beverage to sip as you marvel at the illuminated signs and people-watch.
Since drinks can be expensive in Vegas, walking the Strip with beers in hand can be a great night out on a budget. You may be surprised to know that one of the most popular places to buy beer on the Strip is CVS. There are several convenient CVS locations dotted along the Vegas Strip. The one between Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas (across the street from the Bellagio Fountains) is probably the most convenient one for many tourists.
8. Play the Slots (Classic)
What’s more classic than playing the slots in Vegas? While slot machines have various themes and designs, they’re one of the most popular casino games for two reasons: they are easy to play and give you the opportunity to win big! Additionally, you don’t need to have superhuman mathematic abilities or the ultimate poker face – it’s just you and the machine.
However, the folks at Weekly Slots News point out that not all slots are created equal. In fact, they recommend the older, less flashy slots at the north end of the Strip as potentially having a better Return to Player (RTP) amount.
If you’re looking for that classic coin-operated Vegas slot machine, read our article, Coin-Operated Slot Machines in Las Vegas – Where to Play!
First Night in Vegas – Conclusion
So, now you know about eight fun things you can do on your first night in Vegas. And this is just the beginning. There are so many things to do in Las Vegas you can’t possibly get to them all in a single trip.
Hey, that makes for a great reason to begin planning your next trip to Las Vegas!