Over 40 million visitors flock to Las Vegas, Nevada, each and every year, and most spend every second of their stay on the Strip.
The world-famous four-mile stretch along Las Vegas Boulevard is home to 28 casino resorts, each of them boasting their own unique theme, amenities, and attractions. The spectrum of offerings on the Strip ranges from old-school classics like Circus Circus, gilded behemoths like Caesars Palace and Venetian, and blasts from the past like the newly revitalized Sahara.
Gamblers have no shortage of table games, slot machines, sportsbooks, and poker rooms to choose from. But while the business of Las Vegas Boulevard will always be gambling, the beauty is how it’s set up in such a way that tourists who have no interest in placing a bet can still spend days exploring and discovering new wonders.
Whether you’re planning your first trip to Vegas, or you’ve been dozens of times and want to scratch the essentials off your bucket list, this page is for you. Below, you’ll find a guide to the seven sights you must see on your first visit to the fabulous Las Vegas Strip.
1 – The Iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” Sign
For millions of people who drive into town, the first sign that they’ve reached the Strip is one of the most famous signs ever constructed.
Designed in 1959 by Betty Willis, the 25-foot tall roadside sign reading “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” is legendary. Everything about the old-school lettering and neon lights just screams Sin City, and there’s simply no better place to begin your visit.
Day or night, you’ll find dozens of tourists lined up to get their photo taken with that picturesque red, white, and blue sign. Thankfully though, the sign itself isn’t managed as a tourist attraction, so you don’t have to pay or wait in line to snap a pic.
The line is supervised by “volunteers” (enterprising locals looking to make a quick buck by soliciting tips) who provide quirky history lessons and get you situated at the perfect angle.
This is all part of the hustle and bustle that defines the Las Vegas lifestyle, so feel free to hop in line and take part in one of the city’s most unique and cherished rituals.
But if you don’t want to tip $5 for a photo you can take for free, by all means, stand a little ways away from the line and whip out your smartphone to snap a few keepers.
2 – Bellagio’s Famous (and Free) Water Fountain Show
Once you’ve filled your phone’s gallery with cool photos of the welcome sign, head up Las Vegas Boulevard to the Bellagio.
You can’t miss it either, as the golden hued exterior looms large even amidst the mega-casino resorts nearby. But what really separates the Bellagio from similarly designed buildings surrounding it is the gorgeous eight-acre waterway that greets visitors out front.
There’s something about seeing its blue water, all while you’re standing in 110-degree heat of the Mojave Desert, that stirs the soul.
Stick around though, because soon enough, a musical cue signals the start of one Las Vegas’ most enduring attractions of all-time, the Fountains of Bellagio.
Starting every 30 minutes during the afternoons, and every 15 minutes between 8:00 PM and midnight, the Bellagio’s waterway lights up and comes alive. In a highly-choreographed display, “dancing” fountains shoot skyward, their sprays timed perfectly to the music in an aquatic concert like no other.
I’m talking a “hair standing on end” and “full goosebumps” moment when you see the Fountains of Bellagio for the first time, and the second, third, or fourth time, for that matter.
Among the popular song selections used to direct the dancing fountains are “Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli, “Luck Be a Lady” by Frank Sinatra, and of course, “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis Presley.
The Fountains of Bellagio are the perfect place to begin a romantic date, give the kiddos a treat they won’t soon forget, or to simply sit in silence while enjoying a solitary moment of splendor.
And the best part about this must-see Las Vegas attraction is the price, as anyone can soak in the sights and sounds of the Fountains of Bellagio free of charge.
3 – Observation Deck and Adrenaline Rush Rides on Top of the Stratosphere (STRAT) Tower
This one may not be free but, for between $20 and $40, you can take to the very top of the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower.
Recently rebranded as The STRAT, the old Stratosphere tower lives up to its astronomical reputation as the highest point in all of Las Vegas. When you reach the rooftop observation deck, you’ll be standing 1,149 feet above the Strip, ensuring unobstructed 360-degree views of the entire city and surrounding valley.
The Stratosphere observation deck offers several ways to see Sin City from up high, including the aforementioned outdoor area complete with telescopes to zoom in on your favorite attractions down below.
And speaking of the ledge, thrill-seekers can take the plunge by bungee jumping straight from the Stratosphere’s roof.
Another hair-raising way to experience Las Vegas’ highest point is to strap in and ride the Big Shot, Insanity, or X-Scream. Each ride offers its own distinct theme, but in each case, you’ll be flung into space and hung out over the edge to feel gravity and vertigo at their finest.
4 – The Cuisine and View at Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris
For a more refined affair, but one which still offers spectacular views of the Strip’s skyline, head to the Paris casino’s Eiffel Tower replica.
An elevator ride 46 stories up takes you to the Eiffel Tower viewing deck and, at night, you can’t ask for a better view.
Before you take in the atmosphere up top, be sure to book a reservation at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant on the 11th floor, which ranks as one of the most sought-after eateries in town. Don’t forget to request a window facing the Strip either, because you’ll get to see the Fountains of Bellagio from one of the more beautiful vantage points I’ve yet encountered.
The cuisine here is absolutely exquisite, fine dining at its finest complete with world-class customer service. If you’re looking for a recommendation, my personal favorite meal starts with the warm Maine lobster, corn and tomato succotash, double-smoked bacon ($28) as an appetizer, Rossini-style filet mignon, foie gras, truffle sauce ($79) for a main course, and the soufflé ($26) for dessert.
5 – Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage
Devoted to the legacy of Siegfried and Roy, the famed tiger trainers who used to host the most beloved show in Las Vegas history, the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage is a fitting tribute.
The duo themselves may have retired, following Roy Horn’s tragic and nearly fatal mauling in 2003, but their influence on this attraction remains alive and well. To begin, you’ll enter a Sea World-esque water exhibit where trained dolphins frolic and fly through the air.
I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical about aquatic animals in captivity after watching the “Blackfish” documentary, but this place has nothing in common with other dolphin-centric water parks. The facilities are clean and well-maintained, and the staff trainers are highly professional people who exude love and compassion for their partners.
Depending on the ticket you purchase, you can even get up close and personal with the special stars of the show.
I know all about anthropomorphizing animals, and dolphins definitely have a face that seems to be smiling all the time, so take this with a grain of salt. But I swear, these amazing underwater mammals seem to be genuinely pleased to provide people with such a unique and unforgettable experience.
Once you’re done dancing with the dolphins, the Secret Garden aspect of this attraction is devoted to the tigers, lions, and other big cats that Siegfried and Roy worked with for so many years. These are the very same animals that once stalked the stage nightly at the Mirage, so they’re admittedly a little long in the tooth.
Typically sleeping and sunning themselves by day, the big cats might not be as interactive as their dolphin counterparts. Nonetheless, watching a massive white tiger stroll by just a few feet away inspires a sense of awe that few other Las Vegas attractions can match.
6 – The High Roller Ferris Wheel at the LINQ
One of the newer Vegas attractions is the High Roller, located at the Strip’s LINQ Casino. The High Roller is billed as the biggest and tallest Ferris wheel in all the world.
At its peak, you’ll be sitting 550 feet above Las Vegas Boulevard, making for amazing 360-degree views of the entire city. And depending on the ticket you purchase, you can even take the edge off a bit with an open bar offering happy hour on demand, right inside of your personal “bubble” compartment.
7 – The Free Outdoor Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo
The perfect place to end a long day of exploring the Strip, the outdoor wildlife habitat within the Flamingo casino complex offers an oasis of calm amidst the hubbub.
Without paying a penny, visitors can feel free to stroll through palm tree-lined pathways, all while pink flamingos strut their stuff just a few feet away. A babbling brook has been built in to give the colorful aquatic birds their preferred habitat, so stay on the lookout for turtles and koi fish to complete the ambience.
Benches and gazebos make a great place to take a load off, so after you’ve had your fill of neon lights, heights, and the Strip’s endless sightseeing opportunities, make your way to the Flamingo’s outdoor wildlife exhibit to relax in style.
Simply put, there’s no place on the planet quite like the Las Vegas Strip. An adult wonderland, Disneyland for gamblers, and utterly unique attractions all in one, the Strip literally has something for everybody.
First-timers and veteran visitors alike will always find new wonders awaiting discovery, so on your trip, don’t forget to check out these seven must-see sights!