Las Vegas

If a honeymoon in Las Vegas guarantees anything, it’s neon lights, towering resorts and casinos, dazzling entertainment, over-the-top luxury shopping, and world-class fine-dining.

Given its reputation for debauchery (no doubt you’ve seen The Hangover), couples might assume Vegas is reserved for rowdy bachelor/bachelorette weekends. But you’d be surprised just how romantic Sin City can be.

Of course, there’s the glitz and glam of its luxury hotels, which are packed with every amenity under the sun—24-hour casinos, blissed-out spas, butler service, Michelin-starred restaurants, mixology-led cocktail bars, and more. But beyond the obvious in-your-face luxury, Vegas offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences: Want to sleep in Venice? Dine in Paris? Pop over to the Grand Canyon? Check, check, and check.

Sure, it might be a little cheesy to take a “Venetian” gondola ride beneath hand-painted frescos of blue skies, or twirl beneath a scaled-down replica of the Eiffel Tower, but Vegas is the kind of place where, if you just embrace the kitsch and accept the city for what it is, you’ll find the true romance at its core. Read on for our picks for the best Las Vegas hotels, restaurants, attractions, and more.

When to Go

Like most desert regions of the Southwest, the best times to visit Las Vegas are spring and fall, when daytime temperatures hover in the mid-60s. Summer can be very hot and dry, with average temperatures in the high 90s to low 100s. Regardless of when you travel, pack lots of SPF: the city sees more than 310 days of sunshine each year.

Getting There and Around

The most common form of transport in Las Vegas are taxis, which can be found at designated taxi stands. (FYI: It’s illegal to hail a cab on the Strip.) Uber and Lyft are also now available in the city. Couples on a tight budget can catch the monorail (which runs between the MGM Grand and Sahara Avenue; day pass, $12) or the RTC buses, which criss-cross the city on 39 different routes (day pass, $8). While you may be tempted to walk, don’t—the Strip is deceptively long. And crowded. And hot.

What to Do

Las Vegas gambling

  • The Fountains of Bellagio - This extraordinary fountain display on an eight-acre lake fronting the Bellagio is set to lights and music. The dramatic show, which runs every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes at night, is the perfect romantic cap to the day.

  • Cirque du Soleil - No doubt you’ve heard of the largest theatrical producer in the world, which started in the 1980s with acrobatic performances on the streets of Baie-Saint-Paul, a small village near Quebec City. Cirque du Soleil has since expanded with permanent productions in Las Vegas, Asia, Europe, and South America. The inaugural Vegas show, Mystère, is still going strong since making its debut in 1993, now joined by such productions as O, Zumanity, Kà, The Beatles Love, and Michael Jackson ONE. Expect to be wowed by the mind-bending physicality of Cirque’s famous performers.

  • Le Rêve - The hallmark show at the Wynn Las Vegas, which opened in 2005, wows show-goers with its unique blend of athleticism (synchronized swimming) and artistry (aerial acrobatics). At its core, the show, which takes place in a theater-in-the-round, tells a visual love story. One that’s made all the more dramatic by the use of water: The stage raises and lowers into a 27-foot-deep pool, plus there’s a 47-foot-tall rain curtain and 172 high-powered fountains. The performance is also punctuated by special effects like fire and video projection.

  • High Roller - Las Vegas is home to the highest Ferris wheel in the world (higher than the London Eye or the Singapore Flyer), towering 550 feet above the Strip. The relaxing, scenic ride offers 360-degree views of dramatic landscapes, cocktail in-hand—this being Vegas, you can book a pod outfitted with an open bar. (There are also rides featuring yoga classes and wine-and-chocolate tastings hosted by local chocolatier Ethel M.)

  • Hoover Dam - The completion of the Hoover Dam in 1936 had a profound impact on Las Vegas. It provided not only a reliable water source but also affordable electricity to millions of people within the desert-locked community. Today, the Hoover Dam supplies more than 23 percent of Nevada's power. A tour of the site—you can even go inside the dam walls—will leave you in awe this feat of technology and engineering.

  • The Grand Canyon - This iconic natural landmark isn’t exactly around the corner—it’s located about 250 miles from the Strip—but getting there is easy thanks to seamless helicopter transport. (Those in need of fresh air can alternatively make the four-and-a-half-hour road-trip; plan to stay a night or two at El Tovar Hotel so you can explore the area on hikes, whitewater rafting excursions, and more.) Those who prefer a quick day-trip can book a scenic helicopter tour with Sundance Helicopters, stopping for Champagne on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River.

Where to Stay

Las Vegas luxury resort and casino

  • Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore - If you’re worried about honeymooning in Vegas amid rowdy bachelor/bachelorette groups, choose this enclave, nested at the end of the strip. It’s where high rollers and jet-setters choose to unwind. The rooms are decked out with custom pillow-top beds and 320-thread-count linens; there’s a championship golf course; and the art collection (owner Steve Wynn’s personal hobby) is museum-worthy.

  • The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas - This sleek hotel-casino is an ideal home base for couples with short attention spans: There are 22 different bars and restaurants, a plethora of high-end shops, one of the city’s hottest day-parties (at Marquee Dayclub), and a full on-site casino.

  • Aria - From the sleek, curvilinear building to the monumental glass atrium, this resort-casino strikes a contemporary vibe the second you walk through the door. Expect thoughtfully curated art all around and an upscale crowd that appreciates the on-site chef-driven restaurants and luxurious accommodations.

  • Delano Las Vegas - The all-suite Delano pulls off an odd combination: beach-inspired decor in a high-rise hotel in the middle of the desert. Go figure. We also love the spectacular views (request a room on a high floor), and the fact that the hustle and bustle of the Strip is just downstairs within Mandalay Bay—the hotel is located inside the 43-story Mandalay complex, though you’d never guess it from the secluded vibes.

  • The Venetian - Sure, it’s got a bit of kitsch—that is a recreation of St. Mark’s Square out front—but spacious rooms, extensive shopping, an accommodating staff, and a full-full-service Canyon Ranch Spa make this a worthwhile place to lay your head (or not; it is Vegas, after all).

Where to Eat

Las Vegas upscale buffet

  • Picasso - This two-Michelin-starred classic hasn’t changed much over the years—and with good reason. The teracotta-tiled room, extensive list of Spanish wines, and artfully plated dishes (such as pan-seared scallops with potato mousseline and a perfectly roasted loin of Colorado lamb) are the backdrop for something you don’t mess around with: original Picasso paintings. The artist’s masterpieces hang right beside you—so close you can reach out and touch them (please don’t)—giving the dining experience an otherworldly feel.

  • Joel Robuchon - The 16-course tasting menu at this classic French restaurant within the MGM Grand is the stuff of culinary legends. We won’t call the food fussy, but it is fancy: Robouchon is famous for plating so artful, you’d think that serving of osetra caviar in a crustacean gelée should be hanging in a gallery somewhere in Europe. Culinary-minded couples will find a transcendent (notably pricey) experience amid these Pierre-Yves Rochon-designed walls.

  • Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres - As the name implies, the eponymous restaurant from top Spanish-American chef José Andres is dedicated to, well, meat. (So, it goes without saying, don’t eat there if one of you is vegan.) Besides the distinct scent of suckling pig that permeates the air, the room is decorated with chandeliers made of antlers and hanging hocks of jamón Ibérico. A hip, adventurous crowd comes here for creative takes on classic meat dishes, as well as a long, long wine list.

  • Bouchon - Thomas Keller's famous French bistro made its second home at the Venetian. The scene is uber-romantic; the food, classic bistro fare. More than a dozen wines are available to order by carafe, so take advantage of the opportunity to sample a few different French or Californian vintages. If you’ve come for dinner, you won’t be able to see much of the outdoors, but if you did, you’d be looking at gardens so manicured, you’ll think you’d transported to France.

  • The Chandelier - This three-floor lounge at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas is so-named for its chandelier centerpiece, made up of two million Swarovski crystals. Each floor has its own distinct vibe, but each serves a mixology-forward menu that incorporates every kind of garnish, purée, and foam possible. (Good luck recreating one of these cocktail masterpieces back home.)