How to Make a Weekend Trip to Las Vegas Happen! (Plus a Downloadable 2-Day Itinerary for Your Next Trip!)

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It seems like now’a’days everyone is focused on creating Trip Itineraries for Long weekends. And sure, you’ll definitely benefit from adding an extra day to your weekend, but what about all those other weekends that are only two days long? Are you just supposed to sit at home and watch Netflix and Meal Prep? For some of them, sure. But just because you’ve only got two days, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend it traveling! Even on a trip that makes you hop on a plane!

Our trips to Las Vegas have ranged from a 4-night stay to 36 hours of hustle. Luckily, Vegas is one of those cities that never sleep (New Yorkers, please don’t send me hate mail, I know that New York City owns that title…) and because Vegas never sleeps, time isn’t an obstacle!

If you’re looking for a quick weekend in Vegas, here’s what you need to do.

Friday Night

You’re still at home! I told you, this is a 2-day trip, and I meant it! But here are some things you should be doing at home to get ready for your trip:

  1. Packing! Assuming I’m not the only one who procrastinates packing until the last possible second, you’ll want to take care of this one as soon as you get home from work on Friday evening.
  2. Laundry? Getting things packed might also mean doing a quick load of laundry. That is unless you are planning on wearing stretched out jeans and pre-worn bras during your trip. Get that started early so you don’t have to sit up all night waiting for the dryer.
  3. Check into your flight! Okay, so if you’re flying Southwest, you should have done this hours ago (you probably have a terrible boarding number now…) but save yourself some time at the airport and get your boarding pass ready to go! Pro Tip: Take a screenshot of your boarding pass just in case your wifi is spotty at the airport. Everyone in line behind you at security will thank you for this.
  4. Do you have a pet? If so, you’ll probably want to get them wherever they need to go. Set a timer for your fish feeder, fill up the water and food bowls for your cat, or haul your dog and her four million toys over to your mom’s house. Whatever you need to do, get them taken care of, too!
  5. Go to sleep already! You’re going to have a crazy weekend. Get to sleep!

Saturday

Today is the big day! You’re headed to Vegas! Set your alarm early, and be sure you’re getting to the airport at least an hour before your flight leaves! (Adjust this timing based off your city and how long it typically takes you to get through security! If you’re in a busy airport, give yourself more time!)

Early Morning (Pre-Vegas)

You’re at the airport hella early. Like earlier-than-coffee early. Luckily you already have your boarding pass ready and your bags packed, you probably called an Uber to get here, so you’re basically just floating in a dream right now. But, hey! You made it! Get through security quickly and go grab some coffee!

The time you’re sitting at your gate waiting to board is a great time to plan out the rest of your week (I know it sucks to think about anything but vacation, but you’ll thank me later, trust me.) Make a list of groceries you’ll need to buy, appointments you have, general to-do’s for the week ahead. Whatever you typically get done during your weekend errand session, write that down. Those are the things you’re going to need to find time for this week (and you’re not going to be thinking about them at all this weekend!)

Late Morning / Early Afternoon (You’re here!)

Depending on where you live in the country, it might be late morning or early afternoon for you. Either way, you’re here! Awesome! Let the fun begin! If you’ve never been to Las Vegas before, go ahead and stick a $5 bill into one of the airport slot machines. You probably won’t win much, and will likely lose it all, but hey! You’re gambling in an airport! Can’t do that at home!

If you want to grab a quick bite to eat at the airport, grab a sandwich at The Great American Bagel (if you want to be just like me, grab a Tomazzo Bagel with cream cheese. I know you can get these all over the place, but I’ve got a weird association with Tomazzo Bagels and the Las Vegas Airport.) Any quick bite will do, and there are loads of places to eat in the airport. Don’t spend too much time here though, it’s time to get on the road!

From here, catch a cab, Uber, or Lyft to your hotel. You likely won’t be able to check in yet (although it doesn’t hurt to ask!) but you can check your bags in with the bellhop (free of charge!) so you don’t have to worry about carrying around your bags all day. Every casino on the strip has a place where you can check your bags. It would be easiest to go straight to your hotel so you don’t have to move them twice, but if you would like to check them from hotel-to-hotel, you can do that, too! The Casinos want to make spending money as easy as possible, they’d gladly hold all your stuff while you explore!

If you’re not sure where to stay while you’re in Las Vegas, I highly recommend staying at Park MGM. I love it! But no matter where you stay, your hotel is going to have something for you to eat, so if you didn’t take me up on the airport bagel (and I guess I’d understand if you didn’t…) now would be a great time to get your first taste of Las Vegas.

Front Entrance of Park MGM in Las Vegas
The Entrance to the Park MGM Resort.

There are tons of options at Park MGM. They have a sports bar inside the casino, a restaurant, and their very own “Eataly.” If you’re not familiar with Eataly, it’s a small farmer’s-market-styled eatery where you can grab freshly made Italian food. Don’t put too much stake in it’s street-market style, though. Eataly is a chain franchise. There are also lots of quick bite options just next door at New York New York.

If you’re ready to dive into Vegas headfirst, you might even want to hit up a buffet! The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino has a great buffet and it is right across the street from Park MGM.

If you’re looking to try something a little more locally grown, check out Bruxie, just outside of the New York New York Complex.

It’s still the early afternoon and you’re already taking Vegas by storm. Next, why don’t you go check out the Bellagio Fountain. You can hoof it on the strip, or you can take a free Tram from Park MGM to Bellagio (It’s called the Aria Express Tram). Honestly, they’ll both probably take about the same amount of time, but you’ll save a bit of energy for later!

Bellagio Fountain on a Stormy Day in Las Vegas
The Bellagio Fountain on a Stormy Day in Las Vegas. The High Roller Ferris Wheel is in the background (more on this later!)

The Bellagio Fountain runs every half hour in the afternoons, so be sure to check your clock to make sure you’ll time it out right! There’s nothing worse than finding your spot at the fountain only to realize you’ve got 27 minutes to go until the next show.

Since you’re already at Bellagio, the next stop to check out would be the Paris Hotel. (Look for the Eiffel Tower and head that way!) You can go up into the Eiffel Tower if you’d like. Tickets are $16 during the day, or $22 at night. You might be able to find a better price on Groupon, so be sure to check that before you buy! (I love using Groupon when in Las Vegas. Check out the other apps I love on my post 3 Apps that can Make Your Next Trip to Las Vegas More Affordable.)

The Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
The Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas.

Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, you might have burned up a good chunk of daylight already. If you’ve still got some time left before sunset, check out the French Onion Soup at the Paris Hotel’s Mon Ami Gabi French Bistro. It’s delicious!

Saturday Evening (After Sunset)

Now would be a great time to grab a Lyft and head towards Fremont Street. While I don’t recommend spending a ton of time here (this place screams tourist trap to me!) it’s worth checking out. You can visit some of the older hotels and check out the Light Show on the ceiling (yes, ceiling) that runs above Fremont every hour on the hour between 6pm and 1am. If you’re feeling extra daring, you can even zip-line above the crowds of people. The zip-line, called the “Slotzilla,” will cost between $20 and $45 per ticket depending on which package you choose.

Again, I don’t recommend spending a whole lot of time down here. If you’re absolutely in love with the Fremont vibe, feel free to skip the next suggestion and hang out down here all night. But just a short ways away from Fremont is the Neon Museum. Even though it is close by, I would recommend grabbing a Lyft to take you there, it doesn’t appear to be the safest walk once you leave Fremont.

The front entrance to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas at night
The Neon Museum, a must see spot on your next trip to Las Vegas!

The Neon Museum is an absolute treasure to the City of Las Vegas, and I highly recommend you make this a part of your trip! While you can visit the Neon Museum any time between 9am and 10:40pm, I really recommend visiting at night. All the working neons will be lit up! There is a guided tour (the only option available at night) where a docent will tell you the stories behind each and every sign. It’s a great way to get to know the history of this area a little bit better. Cannot recommend this enough! For more about our visit to the Neon Museum, check out this post.

Saturday Night (Late Night)

At this point, we are about to separate the psychos from the normal humans. Most people would say, “Okay, that was great, but I’m ready to go to bed and do this all again tomorrow.” But if you’re like me, you might be saying, “Sleep? Who needs sleep? What’s next!?” If it’s not too late, I’d suggest getting a Lyft to take you straight back to the Bellagio Fountain to watch the show again at night. It’s a completely different experience after dark! Bellagio Fountain Shows run until midnight every day of the week.

Another must-see for Las Vegas is the High Roller Ferris Wheel at the Linq Hotel. They host a “Happier Half Hour” ride which, as they say, is a happy hour in the sky. Ride in the Ferris Wheel car that comes with a full bar! The name of the game seems to be to drink as quickly as you can to get your money’s worth. Ask for your bartender to make you a Green Tea. It’s Jason’s favorite drink in Las Vegas! Tickets for the High Roller can be pricey, but Groupon can help you out with discounted tickets. Check out my post over here to see what other ways you can save in Las Vegas!

The High Roller Ferris Wheel in Las Vegas at night
The High Roller Ferris Wheel at the LINQ hotel in Las Vegas,
home to the “Happier Half Hour” an open bar in the sky!

At this point in the night, feel free to go to bed. But if you’re ready to keep rolling, it’s time to hit the Casinos! New York New York and Excalibur are my two favorite spots to play at. I always seem to be very lucky at New York New York, and find some games here that I can’t find anywhere else. I love Excalibur because they are the only place that has $1 video Blackjack. This “table” is usually very crowded, but worth it if you can get a spot. We can play here for hours! The cocktail waitresses will set you up with a few free drinks (be sure to give them a tip!) and you can settle in for a good time.

Bonus Tip: If you get flustered ordering a drink without a menu, here is a list of a few cocktails that the casino will give you for free:

  • Gin & Tonic
  • Vodka Tonic
  • Jack & Ginger
  • Jack & Coke
  • Mimosa
  • Vodka Sprite
  • Whiskey Sour

Again, please tip your waitress $1 or $2 per drink at a minimum!

Now that you’ve had a few drinks (or a few too many drinks!) and lost a bit of money, it’s time to stumble up to your room and go to sleep for a few hours.

Sunday

Good Morning, friend! After getting a few hours of sleep, you’re ready to start your adventure all over again. It’s time to go grab some breakfast!

Sunday Morning (Earlier Than You’d Like, but Hey, You’re Short on Time!)

If you would like to stay close, MGM Grand, Excalibur, and Luxor all offer breakfast buffets at roughly the same price. We loved the buffet at MGM Grand! (And you can even get one of these buffets for free! Find out how from this post: If You Can’t Afford to Travel, Travel to Las Vegas.)

If you’re interested in venturing off the strip for breakfast, The Orleans and The Golden Nugget both have delicious buffets!

If you’re looking to try some semi-local fares, check out Bruxie or Eggslut.

It would be a good idea to check all your bags in at a Hotel Bell Desk while you explore the strip today. That way you don’t have to worry about rolling your luggage all over town.

Sunday Late Morning / Early Afternoon

The next stop is the Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay. Tickets will cost you $25, but you might be able to get these for free or discounted. These tickets are often a free reward on one of my favorite Apps for Saving Money in Las Vegas. Check out this post to find out how you can get yours!

Kelly Blick at the Mandalay Bay Aquarium having the time of her life.
I was very excited to see all the sharks at the Aquarium at Mandalay Bay.

Another must-see stop is the (free) Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Their floral arrangements are unbelievable! Sometimes we can’t decide if the animals are real or fake (they’re always fake…and made of flowers!)

Once you’ve made it to Bellagio, you’re only a few hotels down from the Venetian which has beautiful facade walls and fountains, and canals where you can take a gondola ride! The Venetian also has tons of shopping if you want to go window shop, or if you’re looking to bring home a high-end souvenir for that (extra) special someone.

Sunday Evening

Unfortunately, your time in Vegas has come to an end. It’s time to collect your bags from the hotel Bell Desk and get to the airport. Be sure to give yourself some extra time to get through airport security. I’d recommend at least an hour and a half in the Vegas airport, just to be safe!

Grab yourself a coffee, and relax at your airport gate until it’s time to head home. Scroll through some photos, post something to Instagram (and be sure to tag me in them so I can see it!) and unwind.

Since I had you make your to-do list Saturday morning (you’re welcome) you can take a nap on the plane and not have to worry about what needs to be done. Order a drink on the plane and get some much needed sleep. Don’t forget, you have to be at work tomorrow morning!

That’s my perfect 2-day Las Vegas Itinerary. You get your much-deserved vacation, and you’re back at your desk Monday morning!

If you’re looking to save money on your next 2-day trip to Las Vegas, check out my post: 3 Apps that can Make Your Next Trip To Las Vegas More Affordable. And for even more information about my favorite money saving app, MyVegas, you have to check out my post If you can’t Afford to Travel, Travel to Las Vegas.

Ready for a Free Download?

If you’re ready to take this itinerary on the road, check out my free downloadable 2-day Las Vegas Itinerary. It is filled with everything you need to make a jam-packed Las Vegas getaway.

Free Downloadable Las Vegas Weekend Itinerary

BONUS: Want a Free Customized 2-day Itinerary? I’ve got you covered! Check out this QUIZ that will find you your perfect Las Vegas Itinerary.

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11 thoughts on “How to Make a Weekend Trip to Las Vegas Happen! (Plus a Downloadable 2-Day Itinerary for Your Next Trip!)

  1. Love Vegas! Living in Canada makes it tricky to do it in only two days but I learned some things so that’s awesome. Eataly in MGM?!?! I can’t wait to check it out. We are heading there to see Lady Gaga in November. Very informative post. Thanks for sharing!!

    Like

  2. This is perfect. I love Vegas, but I never really want to stay that long. This itinerary would make me feel as though I got my money’s worth in just 2 days. Thanks!

    Like

    1. We’ve found our favorite time span is 3 days. Not too long, not too short. But most of the time we only have the weekend to spare!
      As they say, the house always wins, and after a while losing money stops being fun.

      Like

  3. What a great way to spend in Vegas and make the use of all of your time. We live about 2 hrs from Vegas, so we could drive, but just haven’t made the effort yet. With your tips on a weekend get-away, we are more inclined to go. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  4. What a great way to spend a weekend get-away at Vegas. You utilized your time so well and provided some great places to visit. My husband and I live about 2 hrs way, so we could drive, but just haven’t made the effort yet, but with your weekend get-away planner, I think we will have to take a trip soon. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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