I’ve lived in Vegas since 2007 and I always get asked, “what are the coolest ways to see the Las Vegas Strip.” Let me start by saying, people have an extreme love/hate relationship with Las Vegas. And that usually has something to do with how much money they’ve either lost, spent or won during their trip. It’s one of the most famous destinations in the world, and even if you haven’t been to Sin City yourself, chances are you know at least one person who has. And they’ve probably got their very own stories to laugh (or cry) about from that fateful trip. The Las Vegas Strip is also one of the best places in the world to people watch, unless of course, you are one of those people being watched (if we’re being honest with each other, that’s just as likely).
There are few places on the planet that encourage you to blow off more steam than a geyser the way Vegas does. Is it all out debauchery? It can be. Is it liberating? It can be. Is it memorable? One hundred percent. For some of you, I’m about to sum up your Vegas experience in a nutshell. You came, you saw, you were conquered – by that cheap bottle of gas station vodka you insisted on getting instead of paying for drinks at a real bar. So provided you don’t find yourself face down on that stale casino carpet, you’re going to want to look around a little, because what you’ll find is truly spectacular. But how you see it, can make all the difference.
These are some of the coolest ways to see the Las Vegas Strip.
Cruising down Las Vegas Boulevard at night is a rite of passage, and just one of the great ways to see the Strip. Just ask any of the bass-bumping cars with all the out-of-state plates – that is, if you can get their attention with all the rump shaking going on inside. In case you hadn’t noticed, the fun starts on the way to Vegas, not just when you arrive. Hence why there’s a party atmosphere on the plain and everyone claps when they land at Harry Reid International Airport (McCarran for all you Vegas old timers, but they changed the name because he was apparently a xenophobic racist).
But one of the easiest, safest and legal ways to pop bottles (and booties) while driving is to hire a limo or party bus. If you do that, you can mind your own business in the back and the driver will be doing the same in the front. Catch my drift?
If you prefer to drive yourself, you might as well do it in style. Picture this, you’re pulling up to a stoplight on the most famous street in the world…in a jet-black Ferrari F8 Spider convertible. The night is warm, the lights are sparkling and the growl of that V8, 710 horsepower motor tickles you in all the right places. Are you a high roller or did you just star in the latest Hollywood blockbuster? Probably neither, but to the poor people sweating to death on the sidewalk, you’re probably both. Renting an exotic car in Las Vegas is not only a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it may also be your only chance to slide behind the wheel of some of the world’s sexiest cars.
If you’re craving a little more sensory exposure to the lights and sounds, and you have that tiny “m” on the back of your driver’s license, motorcycle rentals put you in the middle of the action. There’s nothing like rolling back that throttle to rack your pipes while everybody on Las Vegas Boulevard turns to see who you are. The fun thing about renting a motorcycle in Las Vegas is that you’re not limited to the Strip. There are plenty of incredibly beautiful places to explore nearby like Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, Death Valley and Valley of Fire State Park.
Oh, so you’re not on the prowl for someone to put on the back of that bike? No problem. Big Bus Tours is a great family-friendly option that gives you so many chances to hop on and hop off at multiple stops. You can sit up top for a front row seat view of the most iconic attractions on the Strip or relax in the air-conditioned level below. So technically, a giant tour bus leaves a little to be desired on the sexy factor. But hear me out, when I say this is one of the coolest ways to see the Las Vegas Strip, this is temperature related. Just ask anybody walking down the sidewalk in July.
For the more adventurous, or the just plain curious, Segway tours are taking over as the new eco-friendly travel method du jour. Especially in downtown Las Vegas, which is also a must-see destination. Just remember to watch for the average drunken tourist who hasn’t seemed to make it to his hotel room just yet.
There are plenty of places you can keep your feet on the ground, but a helicopter tour ain’t one of ‘em. There’s no better way to see the blinking neon on the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas than from the sky. Maverick Helicopters offers a nightly helicopter ride for around a hundred bucks and truthfully, it’s one of the best and most unique things to do in Las Vegas by far. Just make sure you go up at nighttime and check the Bellagio Fountain schedule beforehand so you can make sure to see them from 1,000 feet (305 meters) above.
For an early morning bird’s-eye view of this man-made wonder in the desert, try a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Of course, when you’re in a basket 800 feet (244 meters) up, you get a stellar view of everything in the Vegas valley, especially the surrounding mountains. The balloon takes off from the same location every time, but the pilots never quite know where they’re going to be able to land, which is part of the fun.
If those are a little too adventurous for your taste, you can peer down at all the glittery goodness from the Eiffel Tower Experience. The top is standing room only and a great place to watch the Bellagio Fountain shows. Just remember, while this is definitely one of the best places to take photos of the Las Vegas Strip, you can’t take any camera equipment up with you.
The High Roller in the LINQ Promenade is 30 minutes of rest, relaxation and panoramic views on the world’s biggest observation wheel. Plus they’ve got booze. The Happy Half Hour package includes an open bar with the price of admission.
Here’s that recommendation again, check the schedule to make sure you reach the top when the Bellagio Fountains are going off, so they’ll be in the background of your photos. The reason this is so important (and why I keep saying it) is because at night, the Bellagio’s lagoon is dark, and it looks like a black blob in the middle of all the incredible lights. But if the fountains are erupting, you can capture incredibly cool lines and sprays of water that rocket 460 feet (140 meters) into the sky.
The highest point on the north end of the Strip is the STRAT SkyPod. There’s an outdoor observation deck 108 stories up with a 360-degree view, 1149 feet (350 meters) above the ground. Remember that helicopter ride I recommended earlier? From this vantage point, you’ll be at eye level with the pilots and passengers as they circle around the tower to go back down the Strip.
If you want to kick back and soak up the view with a drink in your hand, you’re in good company. Here are a couple of options that will not disappoint. But this is where I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to say, I don’t have to tell you not to drop anything off the patios, right? Glad we cleared that up.
The Ghostbar inside the Palms is probably one of the best and highly coveted views of the Las Vegas Strip because you are set back a bit, but smack-dab in the middle. Las Vegas Boulevard stretches out to the north and the south (or to the left and right if you’re one of those people like me) making it possible to have an uninterrupted view of the entire Strip from the 55th floor.
The rooftop ultra-lounge has a swanky outdoor patio that offers premium drinks and bottle service. If you’re not into the ultra-lounge or club scene, Vetri Cucina is an excellent Italian restaurant just below Ghostbar and offers the same incredible views, albeit behind glass.
The Foundation Room sits on the 63rd floor at the top of Mandalay Bay. It’s a lush setting with an exotic, Far-East vibe where you can dance your face off then cool down on the outdoor terrace with a jaw-dropping view to the north.
Although not as high as the STRAT but still skyscraper status, the Legacy Club is a swanky rooftop cocktail club on the 60th floor at Circa in downtown Las Vegas. Sip on creative and extremely photogenic cocktails on the outdoor terrace, where you can watch the sun sink below the skyline and huddle around the flickering fire pits.
As you can see, there are so many super cool ways to see the Strip, if you know how to find them. Did I leave out your favorite? Drop it in the comments below.
The coolest ways to see the Strip at a glance
More cool things to see in Las Vegas
Ashley Oñoz-Wright has been a travel writer and editor based in Las Vegas, NV for the last ten years. Her work has been featured in Manifesting Travel, Modern Luxury, Sophisticated Living, Greenspun Media Group, Vegas.com and LasVegas.com. She holds a degree in Sociology & Anthropology from DePauw University.