You’ve heard about Las Vegas being a wild place where anything goes, but the minute you get off the plane, all you see are those 21+ signs everywhere. What are you supposed to do when you’re still underage but a little bit beyond M&M’s World, if you know what we mean (not saying there’s anything wrong with M&M’s, mind you)? Don’t bum; we got you covered.
Where to Stay
Figure this out before you get here, but your best bets are going to be Airbnbs and non-gaming hotels. Map out where they are relative to the EDC shuttle stops, and you’ll be glad you did—distances are deceiving in Vegas.
Speaking of distances, if you can’t get a rental car, don’t worry; Lyft and Uber are all over Vegas these days, in addition to traditional cabs (we prefer the former). You can also get the Deuce bus up and down the Strip and to Downtown, the Monorail runs from MGM Grand up to SLS and the Convention Center, and Downtown even has a free loop shuttle. And check out this map for all the bike share stations downtown, too.
Things to Do
Let’s start this list with the only-in-Vegas kind of stuff. There are all of the “so dumb they’re awesome” things we talked about a while back, all of which are good to go for 18+, and all the stuff to do outdoors. If you want something more intense, you can do off-road ATV adventures like ATV Las Vegas—as long as you’re over 16 and have a valid driver’s license. Feel like shooting a machine gun, or something even bigger? Vegas is the place for this, and 18+ is good to go. Indoor/outdoor Shoot Las Vegas is one favorite, but there are plenty of others.
There are a bunch of alternative museums like the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, Springs Preserve, and the Atomic Museum (something definitely on-topic these days). There’s a decent roller coaster at New York New York, as well as Adventuredome, the indoor amusement park at Circus Circus (don’t miss the old-school midway, either). Then there are interactive-exhibit-type things, like Fear the Walking Dead Survival (Fremont Street Experience) or CSI: The Experience (MGM Grand), not to mention loads of escape rooms all over town.
Wanna buy stuff? If you love vinyl, there’s a good number of places to go searching for new and vintage records, including two Zia Records, 11th Street Records, Moondog Records, and others. For vintage gear and clothes, hunt around Antique Alley, which is Main Street below Charleston (or try your luck at Savers, Goodwill, and Salvation Army stores throughout the valley). For new gear and fashion, hit the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets (right near Antique Alley) or any of the retail malls on the Strip—like Fashion Show, Miracle Mile, or Forum Shop—for places like Superdry, H&M, or an Apple Store.
We’re guessing you’ll probably be more on the fast-and-furious vibe for food, but that doesn’t mean you need to slum it. Some of our favorite quick spots are in the LINQ—In N Out, Jaburritos, Flour & Barley, Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips—but also check out LobsterME in the Venetian, 550 Pizza in Aria, and Eggslut at the Cosmopolitan.
If you do want that “one nice meal,” Cosmopolitan, the Venetian, or Aria would probably be the best spots on the Strip—try STK, Jaleo, Momofuku, or Beauty & Essex at Cosmo; Yardbird, TAO or Bouchon at Venetian; or Bardot Brasserie, Jean-George Steakhouse, Sage or Herringbone at Aria.
Off-Strip, the buzzed-about new spots are definitely Sparrow & Wolf, the Black Sheep, Other Mama, and District One.
You can’t get into the dayclubs, but for pools that are a pretty cool scene anyway, check out the Cosmopolitan, Aria, Mandalay Bay, and Stratosphere on the Strip. Downtown, we recommend the Golden Nugget (the shark tank!), the Plaza, and Downtown Grand.
Oh, and one more thing: We’re not your parents, but take a tip—as corporate as Vegas is these days, it’s still a crazy place full of shady characters, scammers, and your plain-old freaks. So, keep your head straight, whatever you do. Cool.