How to Spend 36 Hours in Las Vegas (without gambling)

9 min read
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36 hours in Las Vegas - Las Vegas Sign on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, USA
Las Vegas Sign on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, USA

When people think of Vegas, the first things to come to mind are often endless partying, drinking, and gambling. However, there is much more to Vegas than just its amazing nightlife, grand casinos and buzzing entertainment. Vegas has lots of non-gambling activities as well, most of which you can do with just 36 hours in Las Vegas!

Las Vegas (or Vegas for short) is located in the state of Nevada, in the United States. It is a frequented go-to destination for girls trips (i.e. bachelorettes), couples and adults where they can relax without children. Many people from Vancouver, Canada also love to hop across the border for a weekend getaway throughout the year.

Some of the fun things to do in Vegas include visiting the Effiel Tower in Paris Las Vegas, walking 'The Strip' at night to see the twinkling city lights, and catching a water show at the Fountains of Bellagio.

On the first day you arrive, you will most likely only have half a day to explore the city, so take it easy during this time as your next 24 hours in Vegas will be pretty full-on. One of the best things to do in Las Vegas in the summertime, after all, is to lay by a pool with a drink (or two) in hand! You will definitely also eat like a queen (or king!) while here.

So, if you find yourself convinced to visit Vegas for a quick weekend trip, continue reading my Las Vegas itinerary to learn what to do in Vegas in 36 hours.

  • 2 day itinerary
  • Average of 6 stops per day

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Las Vegas Map

Using the map of Las Vegas, you can explore all the days and stops.

An Evening in Vegas

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Aerial view of buildings and the Las Vegas Strip at night, Nevada, USA
Aerial view of the Las Vegas Strip at night

Some people fly into Vegas during the day, some people visit in an RV, and if you do as well, then the morning and afternoon portions of your first day will be spent travelling to Vegas. Once you've checked into your accommodation and settled in, though, you can start exploring Vegas!

If it is your first time in Vegas, definitely stay on the Las Vegas Strip. The Strip, as it is often referred to, is on the southern end of the South Las Vegas Boulevard - the end of the boulevard that has all the large hotels and casinos. If you opt to stay in another part of Vegas, you'll be missing out on an authentic Vegas experience.

Another reason to stay near the Strip is that during this 36 hour Vegas itinerary, you'll be busy touring up and down the Strip, exploring the hotels, seeing famous Vegas landmarks and eating delicious food! So you might as well stay in the area to make the most of the 36 hours!

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Have Dinner and Drinks at Peppermill Restaurant

Before you start exploring Las Vegas, I recommend filling up with a good meal. The Peppermill Restaurant is a well-known, iconic restaurant on the Strip.

Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge is an American-style restaurant with large portions of typical American dishes at reasonable prices. The restaurant is fitted out with neon lights, large booths, and a pink colour scheme throughout.

If you are looking for a hearty meal and menu consisting of burgers, steaks, fries, and salads, then the Peppermill Restaurant is a great place to kick off your 36 hours in Vegas.

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Ride the High Roller Ferris Wheel at Caesars Palace

The High Roller is a 550-foot tall, 520-foot diameter Ferris wheel and an icon of Las Vegas. The Ferris wheel offers magnificent views of the city and is a popular attraction amongst families and couples.

As of today, the High Roller Ferris Wheel is the tallest in the world. However, you better visit this Ferris wheel soon because before long, it will be overtaken by the Ain Dubai, which should supersede the High Roller as the tallest in the world.

If you are planning to visit the High Roller, I recommend visiting during sunset as the skyline of Las Vegas looks magnificent with the sun setting in the background!

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Fountains going off in front of tall buildings, Vegas, Nevada, USA
Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada

Watch the Water Show at the Fountains of Bellagio

The Fountains of Bellagio are themed music fountains located in the Bellagio Resort and are free and open to the general public. The fountains are quite popular and are one of the best free things to do in Las Vegas.

The Bellagio is centrally located on the Strip, so there are often crowds of people walking between venues and stopping to admire the show.

The fountains also make for a great photo opportunity. If you are in the area, I recommend slowing down and watching the show. The showtimes for the Fountains of Bellagio are as follows:

  • Monday to Friday
    • 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm, show every 30 minutes
    • 8:00 pm to 12:00 am, show every 15 minutes
  • Saturday and Sunday
    • 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm, show every 30 minutes
    • 8:00 pm - 12:00 am, show every 15 minutes

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A Walk on the Strip to See the Highlights

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Aerial view of Las Vegas Strip during the day, Nevada, USA
Las Vegas Strip during the day, Nevada

The Las Vegas Strip, also known as the Las Vegas Boulevard, is the main central street in the city and is where you will find the most popular hotels and nighttime entertainment. The Strip is also famous for its great theatre shows and restaurants where you can eat as much food as you want and can.

The street starts with the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada" sign, which is said to be one of the most visited locations in the city by tourists.

Just a caveat though, while the itinerary for today begins at the Las Vegas Sign, you can visit the attractions in any order you like. Also, I recommend walking the Strip again at night as the city takes on new energy in the evening.

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Las Vegas sign during the day, Las Vegas Strip, Nevada, USA
Las Vegas Sign

Snap a Picture of the Famous Las Vegas Sign

The "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign was erected in 1959. It is located near 5100 Las Vegas Boulevard South, which is about 2 miles from the Bellagio Hotel and about a 50-minute walk from the popular end of the Las Vegas Strip.

The easiest way to get to the sign from the Las Vegas Strip is via public bus - Deuce on The Strip. "The Deuce" is a public bus run by Nevada's Regional Transportation Commission. If you are taking the bus, a one-way journey is only 10 minutes long and is very affordable.

The Las Vegas sign is 25 feet tall and is styled in classic blinking neon lights. Since 2009, the sign has been listed on the United States Federal Government's National Register of Historic Places. It is worth checking out and makes for a classic Las Vegas photo!

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Go for Breakfast at Denny's

Continuing on with the American-style dining from the night before, after you've worked up an appetite following your visit to the Las Vegas sign, I recommend stopping by Denny's.

Denny's has been in existence for over 60 years. It started as a doughnut stand in 1953 and has grown to be a huge America-wide chain with over 1,700 locations.

If you do choose to dine at Denny's - enjoy it! Go for one of their classic breakfast combinations - either pancakes with syrup, fruit, and cream, or a fried dish with eggs, or both!

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Explore the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden

Making your way back up The Strip after breakfast, if you head to the Bellagio Hotel, within the hotel near the reception, is the famous Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden.

Every couple of months, the hotel transforms this indoor garden to match the current season. For example, the colours, sights, and sounds in the garden are changed to match a theme for summer, winter, fall, and even for Chinese New Year!

In the past, the garden has also been restyled for special events, such as on Sanrio's (the creator of Hello Kitty) 60th anniversary. During this time, the garden was transformed into a Japanese-style garden. It was inspired by nature found in Kyoto and Osako, and topped off with large Hello Kitty dolls throughout the plants.

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Visit the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

If you continue walking through the Bellagio Hotel and head north, you will be able to enter Caesars Palace.

An important thing to note is that bridges and underground walkways link almost all of the casinos in Vegas, so check with hotel staff at the Bellagio for the best route to Caesars Palace.

Depending on where you are, it is very likely that you can make the entire journey without having to step outside. On a hot sunny day, being able to remain in the airconditioning is worth it!

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace are super impressive. This indoor mall feels like you are outdoors! The high ceilings are painted blue with beautiful white clouds. The fountains placed within the mall create the sound of running water, which combined with the realistic sky makes you feel like you are outside.

If you are into high-end brands, most of the large brands can be found here. If not, the Forum Shops are still worth exploring because the ambience here is quite lovely. Try and visit during the early or later hours to avoid the crowds.

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New York, New York in Las Vegas at night, Nevada, USA
New York, New York in Las Vegas

Ride the Roller Coaster at New York New York

Every hotel in Las Vegas has something unique to offer. At New York New York, it is the small adjacent theme park named The Big Apple Coaster & Arcade.

The Big Apple Coaster combines a 180-degree twist, called the heartline, with a 203-feet drop. Over 1.4 million people have ridden this roller coaster since it first opened.

If you are not into roller coasters, the arcade has lots of different games to keep you entertained - from racing cars to basketball hoop games and more.

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Eiffel Tower in Paris, Las Vegas at night, Nevada, USA
Eiffel Tower replica in Paris, Las Vegas

Take Part in the Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris Las Vegas

The Eiffel Tower is an iconic North American landmark located in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, which was obviously designed to look like a little Paris.

The Eiffel Tower is the most popular attraction at this hotel as it offers a fantastic observation deck. From the viewing deck, you can see the famous Las Vegas Strip and its well-known sights, such as the High Roller Ferris Wheel and the Fountains of Bellagio.

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Have Dinner with a View at VooDoo

VooDoo is a rooftop nightclub and lounge with a fantastic view of Las Vegas. They offer light meals as they are primarily a bar and nightclub.

VooDoo sits on top of the Rio Las Vegas and is 51 stories high. If you arrive between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm, you'll be able to enjoy the sunset social hour. This social event comes with free entry, great views, and if you time it right, a picturesque sunset.

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Visit the Canals, Ceilings and Shops at the Venetian

Another indoor marvel is the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian.

Similar to the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, the Grand Canal Shoppes is an indoor mall that has been made to feel like you are outdoors.

The Grand Canal Shoppes goes one step further though as they have built up a set of canals within the mall itself. If you are feeling romantic, consider taking a gondola ride down the human-made canals throughout the Grand Canal Shoppes mall!

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Watch the Spectacular Volcano Erupt at the Mirage

Finish off your last day in Las Vegas with an exciting, explosive eruption! Located at The Strip entrance to the Mirage Hotel is The Volcano - a human-made, volcano-like pyrotechnic display that takes place every night.

The Volcano erupts to the sound of rock music with fireballs and small flames being launched from a rocky mountain.

The volano erupts:

  • Sunday to Thursday
    • 8:00 pm
    • 9:00 pm
  • Friday and Saturday
    • 8:00 pm
    • 9:00 pm
    • 10:00 pm

If you are passing by this hotel in the evening, I recommend stopping by and watching the display.

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In Summary

And that's a wrap for our whirl-wind tour of Vegas! If you have more than 36 hours in Las Vegas, consider also adding a day trip to the Valley of Fire State Park or Zion National Park - a must for your USA bucket list!

There is so much to do in Vegas that does not involve gambling. I hope this Vegas itinerary has given you a few ideas of what to do once here.

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Written by Loredana Elena

loredanaelena STAFF Since leaving Vancouver, Canada in January 2015, I have visited almost 45 countries. Currently based in London, UK and enjoying exploring Europe with my camera. I am also passionate about mental and physical health (fitness) and photography.

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