Here’s what to do with only 24 hours in Vegas

So you only have a day in Vegas? We got you covered.

Ah, Las Vegas. The adult playground of the world. The city that never sleeps. The gem of the desert. The gamblers’ paradice (see what I did there?)

Ok I’ll stop.

My favorite place, so it’s sad to only think of things to do during a 24-hour period, but here’s my best shot. We’ll break this down for you nice and easy. Three sections; Preparation, What to Pack and Hourly Breakdown. Let’s go.

It’s Vegas. So you’ll probably want to maximize your time having fun, so I definitely would mentally and physically prepare yourself. No, I’m not going to suggest a meditation or breathing strategy – although that’s not entirely true. You might need that later. What I’m talking about is preparing your fun and mapping out what you will do during your trip – that means hotel accommodations (don’t stay up all night) and club crawl deals for the evening.

I’ve stayed in multiple hotels in the area, and I would recommend three; MGM Grand, Aria and Mirage. If you have the MLife card, you can get these hotels for as cheap as you can get Flamingo or Mandalay Bay. If you really want to do this right, I would suggest a club crawl for your evening plans. You can get them fairly cheap <$40 each on Groupon (see here:, and this will set your trip up very nicely.

What to Pack
Bathing Suit
Nice Jeans
Black Shoes
Pressed Button-down Shirt
Protein Bars or some sort of heavy snack
Water or Gatorade (bought in airport – after security)
Nips (2 ounce bottles of booze you can get past security with)
Your Favorite Shorts
Your Favorite Tee
Lounge Pants for the plane
Comfortable casual shoes
Spending Cash
Gambling Cash (my rule of thumb is to bring the highest amount of money that you don’t mind losing)

Hourly Breakdown
Start your trip
En route via your local airport. Mine is Midway in Chicago, so I’ll definitely be having McDonald’s breakfast with my iced coffee to spark some energy. While you’re in the air, I would suggest bringing nips of booze, so that you can start your drinking and not be limited by the watered-down in-flight drinks. You’ll be sure to land in Vegas with a minor buzz going. Try to get a flight that gets you there around…

Land at McCarron Airport. The majority of the terminals will have slot machines that you can’t miss. Since you’re in Vegas and depending on your bankroll, I would suggest doing a $10-$25-$50 slot pull. If you win, this sets up the next 23 hours. If you lose, no worries. This’ll get you in the gambling mood right off the bat, trust me it’s a good idea (doesn’t hurt to test your luck right away)!

You should be arriving at the MGM Grand about now so you can check in. Since you’re here only for a day, you might not have that much stuff, but I’d suggest checking your backpack or duffle, so you can be quicker on your feet. You don’t have much time left.

The breakfast in the airport should hold you over, but if it doesn’t, I would suggest the café right next to the fake alligator near the Rainforest store (aka next to the Poker Room) for a bagel or snack. Register for the $70 buy-in daily tournament at the MGM that starts at 11:05 AM. This tournament used to be my favorite when it was $80 – payouts were better and the tournament levels were shorter, but this one is still good and a tradition for my group. Gotta do this one.

11AM – 2PM
Tournament starts – good luck. I would suggest Screwdrivers as you play. They rejuvenate you from the stress of working the table. If you don’t want to play Texas Holdem, here’s my alternative.

The last time I was in Vegas, we lasted roughly 5 hours at the Craps table and each went up about $300. It was amazing, and a great start to the trip.

This is the perfect time of the day, because 1) it’s generally the time when you are allowed to check into your room, 2) know how your luck went with Poker, Craps or Blackjack, and 3) Pool Time. If you played poker for all that time, you probably have a pretty good buzz going. If you played Craps, I hope you got something better than just Bud Lights from the floor waitress (my suggestion would be Jack and Gingers) and still have a good buzz going. Use this hour to get to your room, take a load off, and change into your pool wear. Make your way down to the pool. Find a spot, and go over to the Cabana Grill where you can get a big lunch to prepare yourself for the rest of the day. Surprisingly, they make a great club that is huge and will pad your stomach for additional drinks. Also, now’s your time for a frozen cocktail. In the Vegas heat, this will be wonderful.

Chillax at the pool, and enjoy some down time. The need to go, go, go isn’t necessarily a good thing (even if you don’t have a lot of time here). This is required. Get some pool time in – and yes, only for an hour. Let’s pack in enough stuff for you to get the full experience.

After about an hour at the pool, you’ll be getting pretty antsy – plus you might be sunburnt in the 100 degree heat that Vegas has on a daily basis. Depending on what club crawl you get, stick around – those generally have Check-In times anywhere from 7-10pm. Since we’re maximizing the goodness of Vegas, we’ll probably shoot to check-in closer to the later time as opposed to right away. Get another frozen drink and enjoy scenery and heat, but get ready to pack it up.

For the next four hours, we’ll need to eat dinner, walk the strip, gamble along the way, and make our way to check-in to the club crawl. I generally go to Vegas for about 2-3 days, and this is always my favorite night, so to pack this in 2 hours is going to be tough (but definitely do-able). If I’m feeling fancy, I would suggest Brand Steakhouse at the Monte Carlo, which is just a short walk across the street. If I’m feeling adventurous, I would take a short cab ride to In-N-Out Burger on the south end of the strip. If I’m feeling cheap, I would probably get some food at the Showcase Mall (mid-strip). After you are done scarfing down food, I’d make my way back to my hotel and change into clothes for the night out.

If you think you’re running behind, don’t worry about it. This trip is supposed to be what you want to do. Whenever you are done with dinner, change into your ‘going-out’ clothes, start at the MGM and walk north. As you exit the building through the West Wing, there’s a bodega that sells cheap 20 ounce cans of Bud Light, so I would suggest getting 2-4 of those per person. Vegas is a city where you can walk the strip with an open can or bottle – everyone will be doing it and it’s great, so don’t stick out. Walk up through Planet Hollywood & Paris putting down about $100 on each table. Play a few tosses or hands, pack up your winnings and move on. After that, use the pedway to cross the Boulevard over to the Bellagio and Caesars. This is such a unique experience because you can stop and watch the fountain show in front of the Bellag or take a walk through the old style casino and stores that makes Caesar’s the way it is. These casinos are normally the most expensive, so it might be that you just walk through these, but if you’re willing to put $25 min, go for it. Lastly, I’d use the pedway again to walk back across the street to catch the Venetian and Palazzo. These are the most luxurious hotels, and it’s great to see some of the architecture. After catching these, the trek to the club crawl check-in begins.

Depending on what day you arrive and the club deal you got, you’ll most likely need to start heading over to the hotel where the club crawl starts. Let’s assume you get this Saturday deal from and start at the Pete Rose Bar and Grill. Skip that one and head straight to Blondie’s at the Planet Hollywood to meet up with your group. This bar is awesome. Sports. Beer Pong. Competition. Beer. What more could you ask for? This is a great place to meet your group, and begin the night with a couple games of beer pong.

Usually you spend about an hour to an hour and a half at each bar or club. That’s plenty at Blondie’s because there will never be a moment you won’t be playing. They have a lot of tables. At around 11:30, you’ll be headed to your next place – the first real ‘club’ in Vegas. These are usually DJ-run places where it’s standing room only. Drinks are expensive, but hey, the first one is free with the club crawl wristband! My favorite was Tryst – this club has a DJ in the back in front of a huge waterfall with the name in the water. The last club is usually the one you won’t remember as much, but probably the best out of the bunch. The last time I was in Vegas, the night cap club was 1OAK or ‘One of a Kind’. This club is for those who like to celeb-watch. Lots of famous people like to hang out here, so that’s probably why it was the last one of the night. With the club crawl, that club is usually access-able around the 1-1:15AM time frame. By this time, you’ve had multiple games of beer pong, at least 2-3 cocktails at the other bars, so you’re feeling pretty good by now. Get the free drink from this last bar, and then head on out.

You’ll get done with the club crawl around this time, and probably be ready to make your way back to the MGM. Depending on where your last club is, you can easily find your bearings and set your way back.

By this time you should have made it back to the MGM and ready to crash. If you have the slightest bit of energy and/or money to gamble, this is a great time to start a Craps or Blackjack session. Most of you will want to go back to the room and crash for the 3 hours until your flight out, but I implore you to carry on! Get some caffeine or a nice coffee cocktails. Those are money right about now. Throw some great Craps and keep your eye on the watch. After you’ve spent a couple of hours soaking in the last few moments of Vegas, get a cab and head to catch your flight at 8AM.

Board flight and start booking your next 24 hour trip to Vegas.


And there you have it.  It’ll be one crazy, but probably the most fun day you’ll have in your life.  Hopefully you can share my love for this great city in the West that I grew to love over my many visits.


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Featured Photo by ADTeasdale