Las Vegas is a fabulous city, fun, frenetic but rarely free. If you’re looking for some time away from the crazy then make sure you schedule in a walk down the strip to take in all the iconic spots. It’s a great way to get the best shots for your instagram, an awesome workout and best yet, its totally free. Heading North to South here’s what to see on the Las Vegas Strip.
Although the Strip officially starts at the Stratosphere Hotel it’s a long way from the main sights and sounds you’re looking for so a bit far out to start your walk. To begin, I suggest starting at Fashion Show Mall and heading down. None of these Vegas sights require you to go in to a hotel or attraction but feel free to veer off if you want to.
Be transported to Italy at the Venetian
The outside space at the Venetian is truly spectacular. Its lavish design is impossible to miss on a walk down the strip. You don’t have to enter the hotel to watch the gondolas meandering the outdoor canal. Or crane your neck looking up at the Campanile Tower and cross the Rialto bridge.
Pop in to the Venetian itself to visit the uber impressive St Marks square and its ever changing ceiling.
Watch the Mirage Volcano explode
This is one to visit in the evening although it is pretty impressive even in the day. The Volcano outside the Mirage hotel explodes each night on the hour, every hour between 7pm and 10pm. It’s fireballs shooting 12 feet into the air, choreographed to an amazing soundtrack. You can feel the rumble of the explosions and even feel the heat of the fire. Currently you’ll be able to catch this Thursday to Sunday.
Soak up the vacation vibes near the High Roller Observation wheel and Zipline
The promenade at Linq hotel feels to me like a little vacation town, it’s lined with outdoor restaurants, kiosks and several shops. I love wandering through and people watching during the day as it feels a little less crazy than the main strip. Just turn left before the Flamingo Hotel. The tree lined pedestrian walkway really appealed to us as so much of Vegas happens indoors – we like to feel a little sun on our faces. This area can get a little rowdy in the evenings so if you’re visiting with kids it’s best to plan your visit before the sun goes down.
You can of course pay to ride the wheel or have a go on the zipline but this is a free guide and I think you will get plenty of enjoyment just soaking up the atmosphere here. However the views from the top are amazing, have a go if you have time. The entrance is at the Linq hotel and a rotation takes 30 minutes.
Visit the pink Flamingoes
This one is a bit of a cheat as you’ll have to step through the hotel to reach it but it’s outside and free so I’m including it! Walking manicured paths through the Flamingo enclosure allows you to see these beautiful pink birds who live alongside amazing Koi fish, turtles and many other feathered friends. In total there are 25 species to spot.
Dance with the Fountains at the Bellagio
One of the most well known free activities on the Vegas strip are the dancing fountains outside the Bellagio Hotel. These are well worth a visit during the day or the night when the fountains are beautifully uplit. It’s probably easier to find a good spot during the day but you don’t get the added drama of the light show. The fountains come alive everyday from 3pm until midnight. Before 7pm they are every half hour and after it’s every 15 minutes. On weekends the display starts at noon.
The fountains soar 460 feet into the area, choreographed to excellent music and honestly do look like they’re dancing.
People watch in Paris
Cross back over the road from the Bellagio and you’ll get to Paris Hotel – you can’t miss it due to the 540 foot replica of the Eiffel Tower. Before you explore the Parisian vibes I recommend taking a break from your walk down the strip and grabbing a coffee on the North side of the hotel. The onsite cafe/restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi, spills out onto the street and you can pick an outdoor table and simply watch the world go by. If you really squint you can definitely imaging you’re in Europe!
Satisfy your wanderlust at the Eiffel Tower
Once you’ve refuelled, make sure you explore the exterior of the hotel before heading on. There are so many nods to the City of Love it’s easy to spend half an hour spotting them all. Of course there’s the Eiffel tower itself. Half the size of the original but still incredibly impressive and the super colourful Montgolfier Balloon.
The hotel itself is reminiscent of the Musee d’Orsay and the Paris Opera House. Having been to actual Paris this summer, I was seriously impressed by the attention to detail. If you head on past the hotel, look to your left (where all the taxis are headed) and you’ll spot a replica Arc De Triomphe.
Play in the Park
Pop back across the road to the relatively new Park at MGM, another Vegas hotel but this time focussing on the outdoors and green space. This is also where you’ll find a huge food emporium called Eataly where you can find pretty much any food you crave. This outdoor space is not massive but it is nice to find a bit of green space on the actual Vegas Strip. There are benches to sit on and it has a lovely European feel. It’s also here that you’ll find the super colourful Hello Kitty Cafe, what kid doesn’t love the overload of hot pink?
See the giant guitar at the Hard Rock Cafe
Back on the other side of the road is the infamous Hard Rock Cafe, a super fun place for brunch or dinner but equally worth a visit just to check out the Iconic Neon guitar you’ll walk under to enter. The original 82 foot guitar sign which was located at the Hard Rock hotel can now be found at the Neon Museum, another great attraction in Vegas. This is also where you’ll find the world’s largest Hard Rock Shop if you’re collectors like us.
Roar with the MGM Lions
The MGM hotel is one of the largest hotels in the world and has so very much going on within its doors you could easily spend a full day there. Whilst the exterior is as pretty as the Venetian or Paris or as iconic as New York, it’s still worth adding to your list of What to see on the strip due to its famous lion watching proudly over the city.
Leo the lion is over 45 feet tall and weighs around 50 tonnes which makes it the largest bronze sculpture in the US. Vegas sure does like its records! Luckily there are no longer live lion shows at the MGM, I think Leo more than makes up for it!
Stop for a smooch at Hershey’s Chocolate World
Take the overhead bridge back over the road towards New York New York hotel and you’ll come to the most colourful part of the Strip. I love this spot for a cute photo op but this whole section is super bright and insta worthy. Inside the shop you’ll find over 800 varieties of Hersheys chocolate which is very exciting for us Brits and it’s not that easy to find back home. One of the main attractions is the 800 lbs chocolate Statue of Liberty.
New York New York Hotel, so good they named it twice
Another must see on the Las Vegas Strip is the New York, New York hotel. Another of my favourites and also very kid friendly. The detail of this hotel is phenomenal from the 300 ft replica of the Brooklyn bridge to the 150 ft tall statue of liberty. This really is a fun place to hang out on the strip. If you time it right you will be able to watch a life performance on the small stage next to the bridge.
For the brave among you, try the Big Apple rollercoaster which travels the outside of the hotel. It includes a 203 ft drop. Eeek! It’s open between 1pm and 9 pm each day and costs $19 per ride. Or you could just be like us and watch others scream!
Step into a fairytale at Excalibur Hotel
Excalibur hotel is a great one for the kids. It’s built like a cartoon fairytale castle with huge white turrets with colourful coned tops. East to imagine King Arthur and his knights reigning over their medieval kingdom from the domed windows. If you fancy heading in to the hotel there’s a huge arcade on the bottom floor with loads of retro carnival games. For the best views of the Castle it’s best to head back over the road.
Transport yourselves to Egypt
This one’s a little bit of a cheat as its best to be seen from the monorail. But you can hop on for one stop from Excalibur, it literally takes seconds! Get off at the Luxor stop and you’ll see the huge sphinx statue. This one is actually larger than the Great Sphinx in Giza that it was modelled on. Standing 110 ft in total.
Light up the sky at Luxor’s Pyramid
Part of me wants to suggest that Luxors pyramid is best seen from the sky. It has a huge Sky Beam shining from the tip of the 350 ft Pyramid up into the stars. But it’s also pretty impressive viewed from the strip at ground level. It’s created by 39 7,000 watt bulbs and really lights up the sky. It’s in fact the strongest beam of light in the world!
The Reflective Walls of Mandalay Bay
Made famous by that catchy Robbie Williams song Mandalay Bay hotel is home to an aquarium and massive exhibition space. It has appeared in many famous movies like Rocky Balboa and the Ocean’s series. There’s loads at Mandalay Bay for kids so if you’re visiting Vegas with little ones, this is the hotel for you. This is also where you’ll find the Shark Reef Aquarium, another great attraction in Vegas for kids.
You’ll get the best shot of the Mandalay Bay Hotel from up near the Vegas sign. Or you might even want to safely cross the road to get it all in, including the Delano, it’s sister tower.
The Welcome to Las Vegas Sign
A further half mile walk South and no more than 15 minutes will take you to your final destination. Is there anything that screams Vegas more than its infamous sign? Designed by Betty Willis in 1959 it is considered to be the official southern end to the Las Vegas Strip. It is 25 ft high, a baby compared to many of the other neon signs in Vegas. A small parking lot was added to the signs location in 2008 as keen photographers were risking all on the main boulevard to get the perfect shot.
It’s much easier now and they’ll often be a friendly Elvis under the sign to help with your selfie. Just be sure to give him a tip, the photos really are great quality. If you can, be sure to visit the Vegas sign whilst the rest of the city is sleeping. Otherwise you’ll have to queue in the Nevada heat for ages for a crowd free shot. We arrived at 8 in the morning and had no wait at all.
Best time to walk the strip
Whenever we visit the USA I like to take full advantage of the jet lag and make an early start. Whilst I can be found wandering hotel lobbies like a zombie at 5am until I can find a coffee, it does mean we can get out exploring before the rest of the crowds. For me this is the best time of day to walk the strip. It’s really quiet and if you’re only looking for what to see on the Las Vegas strip, not visit any attractions, it won’t matter if nothings open.
Early morning is also by far the best time to explore the strip if you have kids. You’ll avoid the crowds of hen and stag parties and shot sellers.
If you can start early, I recommend switching this route and starting at the Vegas sign and heading North. That way you’ll avoid the queues at the sign and reach the busier part of the strip for breakfast.
Obviously if you want to visit some of the attractions mentioned you’ll need to check opening times but I do recommend keeping it as early as possible. The Nevada sun is pretty unforgiving at most times of the year. And this is a long old walk in the sweltering afternoon heat.
This would be a good time to remind you to take plenty of sunscreen and bottles of water. Don’t worry if you forget, you’ll pass plenty of shops on your walk but unsurprisingly these are on the expensive side.
Some of the attractions are best seen at night so don’t write off doing this after sunset. The strip is really, really busy at night. It and does take on a bit of a different vibe, especially at the busy North end.
Just keep that in mind. If you don’t fancy doing the whole of it in the dark just visit one on each night of your stay. You’ll feel safe walking the strip at night, there are cameras everywhere and police patrols looking out for tourists. Do not be tempted to venture off the strip after dark.
How long is the Las Vegas strip
The Las Vegas Strip is just over 4 miles in total although with the many bridges and walkways you’ll have to navigate, this walk is a little further. If you simply walk without stopping too often you can probably do it in around 2 hours. We took our time, starting really early and were done and back in our pool by lunch. This is one of the rare parts of the world where you can spend your whole holiday just on one street. Obviously you’ll miss out on some of Vegas’ other attractions but honestly, you could!
How to walk along the Strip
Walking the Strip in Las Vegas isn’t as simple as it should be. You’ll need to cross many raised walkways and bridges crossing the many intersections. You cannot just cross the roads unless you’re on one of these or at a crossing. All those escalators and stairs can seem pretty tiresome. They switch the escalators off during bad weather and when it rained they can be really slippy.
When things start to liven up around lunchtime the strip can feel oppressively crowded. You’ll have to navigate promoters, performers and panhandlers. As I was with my young daughter, they tended to leave us alone. But I imagine they could be pretty annoying if not. That’s why I love an early walk down the strip so much.
You don’t have to walk the whole strip at all. The Vegas monorail quickly and cheaply takes you from one spot to the next. You’ll have to add in a few steps to reach the stations. And there are only seven stops so you’ll miss a few attractions. It starts at the MGM and can get you all the way down to the Westgate (where the convention centre is). When there’s a convention in town (which is pretty much always in Vegas) it gets crazy busy at the start and end of the day. It’s only $12 for a day pass. You can cover the Southernmost hotels using the Mandalay Bay – Excalibur tram which is totally free.
A bit about the strip
The state of Nevada was the first to legalise gambling in 1931 and the “strip” was born. Back then there was no speed limit, no waiting period for marriages and no sales tax. It’s no wonder it became such a popular destination for the mob. Tropicana and the Flamingo hotels were amongst the first to open and are still there today. There always seems to be a new hotel being built meaning there’s always something new to see on the Las Vegas Strip.
Make sure you pin for later to plan what to see on the Las Vegas Strip.