Nevada is, of course, most known for the casino capital of Las Vegas. But did you know there is a lot more to see in this incredible state? It spans from the desert all the way to the edge of California’s Lake Tahoe area.
Don’t get us wrong, we love Las Vegas and it should 100% be on your bucket list if you’ve never been, but we also love RenoTahoe’s charm and Lake Tahoe’s beachfront. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, pro gambler or just looking for adventure, Nevada certainly has something for you.
Accommodations in Lake Tahoe are typically on the higher end of the spectrum as there really are only a few luxury resorts in Lake Tahoe on the Nevada Side, such as the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe.
As you move East towards Reno, you’ll find a few options such as The ROW and the Renaissance Reno. Reno is a “mini” Vegas in terms of the casinos, but it’s also become a great “hipster” town with excellent coffee shops, art and festivals.
Our favorite properties in Las Vegas are the Wynn, the Bellagio and the Aria. You can see our side by side comparison of the Sky Suites v. Tower Suites on the blog, here.
Unless you are spending only a few days in Las Vegas, we highly recommend renting a car. There is lot to see in Nevada, beyond just the glittery lights of Las Vegas and it’s critical to explore by car. The Grand Canyon, for example, is within driving distance of downtown Las Vegas. Car rentals cost anywhere between $20 to $60 per day depending on the vehicle and demand.
Dining in both Reno and Las Vegas are world class. Reno has our favorite Nevada mediterranean restaurant, The Shore, and Las Vegas is home to world-renowned chefs. Our favorite Las Vegas restaurants can be found here.
In Las Vegas in particular, we recommend making reservations to ensure you can secure a spot, particularly when you are looking for the higher end cuisines.
Where Reno and Lake Tahoe are more know for adventure, Las Vegas is known for the great shopping. You can find just about any major chain store, from Urban Outfitters to Chanel. The tax rate is about the same as California when you are shopping in Las Vegas due to the local county add-ons. However, in Las Vegas you will find endless shops lining the strip. Prepare your wallet, and yourself, for the shopping.
Nevada (outside Las Vegas) has a wild-west kind of vibe. The adventure, wilderness and small-town feel are real, particularly in Reno. Of course in Las Vegas, you’ll encounter a slightly different kind of reality: one filled with lights, nightclubs and indulgence.
We recommend experience both, if you can. Spend a few nights in Las Vegas and head out to explore.
I have had the opportunity to stay in both the Aria Tower Suites and Aria Sky Suites. I’ve received a lot of questions about whether the Sky Suites experience is worth the price or not.
In terms of accommodations and dining, the prices are much lower in Nevada, than many places around the world. On a weeknight in Las Vegas, for example, you can see rates as low as $125 USD for a 5-star property. Reno, too, sees lower rates at higher end hotels driven entirely by demand.
You can get a lot of bang for your buck in Las Vegas, and Max and I often talk about how it’s rare to find such high-quality luxury at such an affordable price.
Typical food & beverage costs range depending on how high-end the hotel brand is, but we typically budget $300 per day for food & alcohol. Transfers to & from the hotel to the airport range as well, but we typically budget $30-40. Be sure to splurge on tickets to a show, like Le Reve or ‘O’.
The shoulder seasons, like Spring and Fall, are the best times to Visit Las Vegas - both in terms of price and by weather. Summer is incredibly hot, while winter can get into the low 50s. Fall and Spring brings nice weather in the high 70s and typically, lots of sunshine.
Check out some of our favorite Nevada hotels and what we like and don’t like about each of them.
To preface this, I planned a surprise birthday weekend trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas for my fiancé
Depending on your trip, here’s what we recommend:
Las Vegas only:
Las Vegas and surrounding: