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One day in Las Vegas

Desert plants in Red Rock Canyon

If you’ve followed me for a while over on Instagram, you know I’ve been making pretty frequent Las Vegas trips over the last couple of years. My sister lived out there for a while, but she found out she’d be moving right before we began making our way across the country on our own moving road trip. Although it was (very, very) out of the way, I knew we had to stop for one day in Las Vegas before she left!

Las Vegas, Nevada
November, 2018

GETTING THERE

We drove to Las Vegas from Sedona, which was an easy drive of about 4:25. We actually forgot we’d be picking up an hour because of the time change, so when we began passing signs for Hoover Dam, we decided to stop on the way with our newfound time. Guys, Hoover Dam was WAY COOLER than I thought it would be—and the surrounding area is so beautiful! After watching the sun sink behind the bridge and then heading up to the Lake Mead overlook to catch a sky full of pinks and purples, we completed the last 45 minutes or so of the drive. We pulled into Vegas just as the city’s famed neon lights began coming on for the evening. 

Carly looking out over Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
Bridge over Hoover Dam
Jake taking a photo of Lake Mead
Carly overlooking Lake Mead
Lake Mead at sunset

ACCOMODATIONS

We stayed with my sister in nearby Henderson the night we visited—one of just three nights on our two-week trip that we didn’t use points for a free hotel stay. If you’re looking to experience a version of Las Vegas that doesn’t revolve around the Strip, Henderson has plenty of hotels where you can earn and redeem points. This off-Strip guide to Las Vegas outlines how to find them (and what to do, see and eat after you arrive)!

FOOD

Upon arrival, we went straight to Bottiglia and proceeded to order basically everything on the menu. It’s definitely one of the better sit-down options I’ve tried off the Strip! Afterward we tried our best to fit in Nielsen’s Frozen CustardI recently learned that people outside the Midwest don’t all know what frozen custard is, so if you’re in that camp, this is a great place to find out.

The next day brought stops at Toast Society and Taco y Taco, which are great, fast options for breakfast and lunch (respectively).

Shelf with flowers and letterboard

DRINKS

In the morning, we stopped at Bad Owl Coffeea vaguely Harry Potter-themed spot where you can pick up a drink with a magical-sounding name if that’s your kind of thing!

SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES

We spent the bulk of our time split between Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and the Neon Museum Las Vegas. At Red Rock Canyon, we attempted to do some hikes but had some trouble finding the trails; the scenery was still beautiful, though! And the Neon Museum was very cool and unlike any other museum you’ll find. We didn’t have time to take a tour, but if I went back I absolutely would! It’s really cool to see how the signs tell the story of the history of the city. For tips on hiking in Red Rock, you can check out this post, and I recapped my trip to the Neon Museum here!

Yucca sign at the Neon Museum
Signs at the Neon Museum
Trail in Red Rock Canyon

NEXT TIME

I still haven’t spent much time in Downtown Las Vegas, and I LOVE a good dive bar, so I feel like I could probably find a way to appreciate it! I would also love to catch a Golden Knights game, especially if my hometown Blackhawks were visiting. 

MILES MATH

I always pay for museum tickets (see here, here) using my Citi ThankYou Premier since it gets me a 2x bonus on all entertainment purchases, and the Neon Museum was no exception! With dining purchases (including coffee shops), I use my Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn a 3x bonus on eating out. 

For more on earning and using points and miles to travel for free, visit the 52 Cities free resource library or register to join me on my next live masterclass. And for more on my cross-country moving road trip, head to this post, which links to roundups from each stop on the journey!

CHECK OUT THESE POSTS FOR MORE ON LAS VEGAS:

Las Vegas tips: Know before you go
The off-Strip guide to Las Vegas
Exploring the Las Vegas Neon Museum
Know before you go: Red Rock Canyon hikes
Staying at the MGM Grand Signature hotel in Las Vegas

What would you do with one day in Las Vegas? Let me know in the comments! >>

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Hunter S. Thompson Quote, One day in Las Vegas
One Day in Las Vegas
Hunter S. Thompson Quote, One Day in Las Vegas

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Carly

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