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Las Vegas Skyline
Original photo by Katelyn Hampton

The Best Things to Do in Las Vegas Before You’re 21

Las Vegas is notorious for the glamorous party life, but there are actually plenty of things to enjoy in and around Las Vegas aside from the drinking and parties. As someone who has been to Las Vegas three times, all while under 21, I thought I would share all the best things to do in Las Vegas before you turn 21, or if you’re just not into the whole party scene!

Watch A Show
The Mirage Hotel Las Vegas
Original photo by Katelyn Hampton

Vegas is famous for its variety of elaborate shows, and it’s easy to see why. You can see any type of show in Las Vegas, from circus acts and magicians to comedians and impersonators there really is something for everyone! My personal favorites are the Cirque du Soleil shows, which are circus shows filled with acrobatics, dancing, aerialists, music and so much more. They currently have five different performances in Vegas (and a fifth coming soon!). I’ve been to both Michael Jackson ONE at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Beatles LOVE at the Mirage, and both were absolutely amazing! You can watch a preview of Michael Jackson ONE here! There are also tons of concerts in Las Vegas, including many different award show performances and residencies.

GO Shopping!
The Venetian Hotel & Shops Las Vegas
Original photo by Katelyn Hampton

Shopping in Las Vegas is on another level. Everywhere you look there are shops and malls just lining the strip, and there is just about every store you can think of! I absolutely love shopping in the Forum Shops at Caesars because they have a three-story H&M and the ceilings are painted to look like the sky! The dedication to theme and details makes even just shopping an exciting activity. Additionally, there are two outlet malls just a quick Uber or Taxi ride away that have great deals that are a must to go to.

Go Hotel-HOpping

The hotels on the strip in Vegas are so elaborately decorated to match their respective themes, that you can definitely make a day out of walking through each of the hotels! Each hotel also has different restaurants and events to go with their theme so as you walk through there’s always something new around the corner. I like to stay in Caesar’s Palace which is decorated with white columns, statues of gods and goddesses, and lots of fountains. There’s also: New York New York, which looks like a ton of skyscrapers complete with a mini Statue of Liberty; Paris Hotel, complete with a mini Eiffel tower; The Venetian, designed to look like Venice, Italy complete with a “canal” where you can take gondola rides; and so many more including the Cosmopolitan, Treasure Island, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Aria, and MGM Grand that are all super decorative and just exciting to visit.

Drive to the Hoover Dam & Grand Canyon!
Grand Canyon
Original photo by Katelyn Hampton

If you’re able to rent a car, I definitely recommend taking a morning and driving to the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. Hoover Dam is only about a 40-minute drive from Las Vegas and is on the way to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is an additional 4 hours from Hoover Dam. The drive is absolutely beautiful, and if you head out in the morning, you still have plenty of time to enjoy a Vegas dinner and nightlife when you get back! The Grand Canyon, to me, is just a must-see. I’m not one to hike in the desert in August, so just spending a couple of hours there walking around the edge, taking pictures and going out on the glass sky bridge was enough for me!

Try different Restaurants!

If there is one thing Vegas knows how to do, it’s how to eat. There are so many different cuisines and unique dining to explore that it can take so long just to decide where you want to go! You may even end up with a list of places you want to try next time you’re in town!

I definitely can’t pick just one favorite, but for breakfast, my favorite is Mon Ami Gabi. It is located in front of the Paris Hotel, and has the best crepes! Aside from breakfast, a clear favorite in my family is Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar. The menu consists of signature burgers, wings, and appetizers including Guy Fieri’s signature Trash Can Nachos which are always a great choice! There’s also the coolest sushi-burrito place called Jaburritos located at the Linq Promenade!

Have a pool day!
Caesar\'s Palace Pool Las Vegas
Original photo by Katelyn Hampton

There’s nothing quite like hitting the pool in 100+ degree heat in the middle of the desert. Additionally, Vegas hotels have some of the most beautiful pools I’ve ever been to! The pools are also all themed like the hotels they’re located at, making the experience even more fun. I personally love spending the day at Caesar’s Temple Pool (pictured above) because there is so much space to lounge, and the pool is absolutely stunning complete with a giant temple in the center of the circular pool.

Go to the old strip!

The “Old Strip” is actually called Fremont Street, and this is where all the Las Vegas action used to take place before the new strip was built. While it is less popular now, it is still very much alive and an exciting place to visit nonetheless. There is lots of live music, restaurants and an incredible projection show overhead that makes this place burst with energy! You also get to see a lot of the classic casinos and hotels like the Golden Nugget!

Visit the Las Vegas Sign!
Las Vegas
Original photo by Katelyn Hampton

A must-do if you’re visiting Las Vegas for the first time! Located at the end of the strip, you may want to take a cab or an Uber, but it’s definitely worth it! Normally, there’s a pretty long line, so you may want to go in the morning so the line is a little shorter and you don’t have to stand out in mid-day heat! However, there is typically someone there to take your picture, which is great for families!

Visit the Neon Museum
Hard Rock Neon Sign Las Vegas
Original photo by Katelyn Hampton

Think of the Neon Museum as a graveyard of all the neon signs that have ever lived in Las Vegas. They do independent tours that walk you through the graveyard of signs via an app on your phone during the day, or if you go at night, you can get a guided tour of all the signs, with the restored signs lit up! They also use light projection to show what un-restored signs looked like in their prime with a late-night show called “Brilliant!”

Vegas is a pretty expensive city. However, there are definitely ways you can make it more affordable for you! Check out this article on Traveling on a Budget for some tips and tricks! And, while Vegas is a very 21+ city, there is truly something for any age! Whether it’s shopping all the deals at the Outlet Malls, or walking through all the hotels, you’re sure to have a great time! And, who knows, maybe I’ll create a 21+ list next year ;)

Kate is a sophomore Mechanical Engineering student with a concentration in Biomedical Engineering at Bradley University. In her free time, she enjoys shopping, watching Netflix, working out, creating art projects, and cuddling with her dog and two cats. Kate is the Assistant Graphic Designer on Bradley University Her Campus's Social Media Team as well as Public Relations Exec Chair for Epsilon Sigma Alpha, a member of Society of Women in Engineering, and a member of Bradley's Honors Program.
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