How to Survive Vegas When You’re Under 21
Yeah, Las Vegas is a pretty awesome place—nightclubs, gambling, amazing bars and more—if you’re over 21, that is. And despite what everyone says about it being an adult Disneyland, there’s actually loads of stuff to do with kids, too. But what about when you’re neither of those? Of course, EDC is #1 on your radar, but if you want to check out the rest of the city, is there anything to do?
Before we get into it, let’s just get this out of the way: We’re not your parents. However, we’d be remiss not to point out that Vegas is a crazy place full of shady characters and opportunities to separate you from your money. So, whatever the situation, keep your head on. Cool.
Let’s start with the Strip: No, you can’t gamble, and you can’t do the nightclubs (and no, they’re not gonna buy that cheesy fake ID, so don’t even embarrass yourself). However, most of the best parts of the Strip are completely age-neutral: shows, restaurants, shopping and non-“dayclub” pools.
We hope to cover all of these in more detail later on, but in brief, some shows you want to check out include Absinthe, all the Cirque du Soleil shows including The Beatles LOVE and Michael Jackson ONE, Jabbawockeez:Jreamz and Penn & Teller. Also, shows at Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq are mostly 18+ if you’re looking for live music (and bowling).
And even if you can’t do the clubs, you can eat at sister restaurants at TAO and Hakkasan (if you have the $$$), and you’ll also find cool dining scenes at STK, Yellowtail and Lavo. Shopping is everywhere, but the best brands can be found at Fashion Show Mall, Miracle Mile Shops, Forum Shops at Caesars and Las Vegas North Premium Outlets.
As for pools, all the big resorts have pretty good ones, and if you or a friend is staying at one, you should be good to get a few people in with a room key. Some of our favorites for scene, vibe and fun would be Mandalay Beach, Cosmopolitan, Aria, MGM Grand, the Venetian & Palazzo, Bellagio, Mirage and Golden Nugget—pretty much in that order.
What else? Well, there’s all the stuff to do outdoors, and if that’s all too mellow for you, then 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. If it’s way too hot for that, consider indoor karting at Fast Lap or Pole Position. Then there are all of the “so dumb they're awesome” things we talked about, all of which are good to go for 18+, plus a pretty decent roller coaster at New York New York and the indoor amusement park, Adventuredome, at Circus Circus (don’t miss the old-school midway, either, if you’re jonesing to win an oversize plushie).
Maybe you’ve seen all those ads for shooting machine guns. If you want to shoot a whole lot of badass weapons in a controlled environment, Vegas is a wonderland for this, and 18+ is good to go. We like the indoor/outdoor Shoot Las Vegas, but there are honestly a bunch of reputable places.
Speaking of indoors, don’t rule out interactive exhibit-type things like CSI: The Experience (MGM Grand), the Mob Museum (Downtown), Titanic—The Artifact Exhibition and Bodies (Luxor), and Akhob by James Turrell at the Louis Vuitton store (make an appointment if you can: 702-730-3150). And keep in mind the loads of multiplex movie theatres, game arcades and bowling alleys, particularly in the off-Strip Boyd and Stations casinos like Gold Coast, the Orleans, Red Rock, Texas Station, Suncoast, and Sam’s Town.
For the full Sin City experience, you’ll be happy to know the all-nude strip clubs in Vegas, like Little Darlings and Sheri’s Cabaret, are almost all alcohol-free, and thus 18+. For a more straightforward slice of sexiness, check out some of the topless shows on the Strip, like X Girls, Fantasy and Crazy Girls. Looking for hunks in hammocks? There are several male revues around as well, and we can confirm that the popular Thunder From Down Under and Chippendales at least are both 18+.
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