Destination Debrief: Las Vegas

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Fora Author Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


  • Las Vegas

  • Nevada

an elegant hotel room with a large white bed and views of an illuminated city at night

Image courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas

The beauty of Las Vegas is that there’s something for everyone. The southern Nevada city may be famous for 24-hour marriages and less-than-savory behavior, but there’s more to the city than its reputation implies. Gambling is alive and well, and can certainly be fun. The entertainment is prime, the nightlife unmatched. 

But you can also come here to explore the stunning natural environs (deserts, hikes). Or you can organize a luxurious spa getaway at one of the city’s many five-star hotels. See a show, dine on farm-to-table cuisine, shop…it’s all here if you know where to look.

Below is a sampling of places to stay, things to do and places to eat in Las Vegas. There’s a mix of more under-the-radar gems and activities, plus big-name locales that can be fun and satisfying, if a little over-the-top. This is Vegas, after all.

To really see all that Vegas has to offer, connect with Fora to plan and book your trip. Our advisors will craft an itinerary tailored to your unique interests. Or, they can also just book your hotel and unlock VIP partner perks if that’s all you need. There are no rules, which is especially true here.

Need to know:

Airport: Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)

Transportation: The city’s public transportation is excellent: there are trams, trains, a metro and more.  Stick to that, rent a bike or walk. Avoid taking a car when you can.

Best time to visit: Spring (March–May) and fall (September–November) are the best times weather-wise. In the summer, Vegas can get scorchingly hot, and the winter holidays are particularly busy.

Ideal length of stay: A long weekend is the perfect length. Consider tacking on a few extra days if you want to explore the city’s natural environs (state parks, Lake Mead).

Dress code: Swimsuits by day, and your swankiest, most glamorous ensemble by night. Don’t forget your hiking gear if you’re up for outdoor adventures in the surrounding natural playgrounds, a bit outside of Vegas proper.

Where to stay in Las Vegas

a swanky hotel room with a dark couch with red pillows and a bed with a furry white blanket

Image courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Wynn and Encore Las Vegas: Sophisticated luxury that feels grown up. Fora’s VIP partner perks include $100 resort credit, $60 daily breakfast credit, an upgrade and extended check-in/out.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: Playful, eclectic and cool, with a vibrant art collection to boot. Fora’s exclusive partner perks include $100 food / beverage credit, breakfast daily, an upgrade and extended check-in/out.

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas: An elegant, tranquil, casino-free stay with access to all the amenities at Mandalay Resort & Casino. When you book Four Seasons through Fora, you’ll enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner amenities.

Conrad Las Vegas at Resorts World: A contemporary, colorful and stylish stay on the Strip. Fora’s Hilton Impresario partner perks include $100 resort credit, breakfast daily and an upgrade. 

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas: A five-star stay with sleek decor and stellar views. Fora’s Hilton Impresario partner perks include $100 resort credit, breakfast daily and an upgrade.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas: Breezy and effortlessly stylish, with the brand’s signature cheeky sense of play.

Nobu Hotel Las Vegas: A serene, luxe hideaway within Caesars Palace.

The Venetian Resort: An all-suite hotel with a Mediterranean flair.

What to do in Las Vegas

posh red furniture near a pool on a sunny day

Image courtesy of the Wynn and Encore Las Vegas

Needless to say, if you like to gamble, you’re in the right spot. But there’s more to Vegas than gambling. The city’s proximity to stunning desert landscapes makes it a fun homebase for the outdoor enthusiasts among us. (There’s a reason so many rock climbers call Vegas home.) Take the scenic route out to Red Rock Canyon, where desert hikes, diverse flora and fauna, campsites and stunning geological formations await. The Valley of Fire State Park — with its Aztec dwellings, ancient rock carvings and red sandstone landscape — also merits a visit. There are numerous hiking trails here, too, as well as areas for rock climbing.

If you’re into history and architecture, check the Hoover Dam, an engineering marvel which sets on Lake Mead. Lake Mead itself is a beautiful natural playground. Spend the day boating around America’s largest reservoir, relaxing by its shores or exploring the surrounding hiking trails. 

In Las Vegas proper, activities abound. The Sphere is the city’s latest feat of entertainment. The massive spherical structure is outfitted with impressive technology, which takes the venue’s shows and concerts to an entirely new level. Watch multi-sensory films on its exceptionally high-definition, 270-degree screen. Listen to world-renowned artists (Bono recently ended his Sphere residency) as the Sphere’s interior glimmers with LED patterns and natural motifs. 

This being Vegas, there is an abundance of shows and residencies — Cirque du Soleil, Adele, Mariah Carey — to check out. There’s always something going on. A Fora Advisor can help narrow down your options based on your preferences and what’s available. 

If you’re traveling with kids or love roller coasters, consider The Big Apple Coaster, an exhilarating ride at Las Vegas’ New York New York Resort. There’s also an arcade on the premises, lest a family member opt out.

Where to eat in Las Vegas

a hotel restaurant with pale-wood furniture and a clean aesthetic, with a lit sign that reads "momofuku"

Image courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

The James Beard Foundation looked kindly upon Las Vegas this year. Among the semifinalists was MILKFISH Bakeshop, a pop-up bakery serving Philippine-inspired treats like ube jam cookies, empanadas or black-sesame-and-coconut cake. The no-frills (but absolutely delicious) Mexican restaurant Milpa also got the Foundation’s stamp of approval, as did Sparrow + Wolf, a community-oriented haunt with an Asian-leaning menu. Visit Anima by EDO, another semifinalist, for an international menu with a selection of tapas and heartier fare.

Downtown’s eat. supports local farmers, artists and charities. Head here for a well-soured breakfast, brunch or lunch of creative comfort food (truffled egg sandwich, cinnamon biscuits with berry compote). Another downtown gem is Carson Kitchen, a modern spot with a rooftop bar. PublicUs is a playful hipster café, while the fast-food joint In-N-Out is a classic for a reason. Don’t miss Makers & Finders, either, which serves Latin-inspired breakfast and bench, plus coffee and libations. 

Then there are the hotels. Many celebrity chefs and gastronomic mainstays have opened outposts in Vegas’ slew of hotels. But a few stand out. At the Wynn, try Cipriani for elevated, almost-over-the-top Italian in a sleek, vibey space. MGM Grand’s Joël Robuchon served the Michelin-Starred chef’s refined French fare in a fancy atmosphere. (For something a little more casual, try L’Atelier Joël Robuchon.) The NoMad Restaurant, housed in a 25,000-book library, is swanky, handsome and cool. Sample craft cocktails alongside playful, sophisticated cuisine. At the Venetian, you’ll find the beloved Israeli street-food spot Miznon, Thomas Keller’s Bouchon bistro and other noteworthy names. At The Cosmopolitan, you can’t go wrong with Momofuku or José Andrés’ China Poblano, where Mexican and Chinese flavors combine to glorious effect.

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Furnished room behind open barn style doors