Too many articles out there about visiting Las Vegas with kids are either out-dated or written by parents that are too prudish to really appreciate all the city has to offer.
As a Mama that brings her munchkins to Vegas regularly, I am confident in saying that Vegas is awesome for families – that is, with the right mindset and approach.
I think these photos do a great job of capturing our approach to Las Vegas with kids.
[For lots more details, see our Ultimate Family Guide for visiting Las Vegas with kids]
There is a taboo about Vegas and I get it. If you have never been to Vegas and have only heard the stories, then you are likely wondering, nervously, “should I take my child to Vegas?”
In this article, we answer a few common questions (and sometimes misconceptions) about Vegas and reveal our favorite insider tips for planning a fabulous trip to Las Vegas with kids.
Question 1. Is Las Vegas suitable for families?
While it is true that Las Vegas is a popular destination for bachelor parties, Vegas is also a popular destination for families with children. According the the survey by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 8% of visitors in 2017 traveled with children under the age 21, a total of around 4 million annual family visitors. Hotels have caught on to the trend and now offer plenty of attractions tailored specifically for families including lavish pools, expansive arcades, roller coasters, kid friendly shows, animal exhibits, and extreme candy stores.
But let’s get real…
I mean, Vegas is clearly suitable for our family as we have been visiting annually since my children were toddlers and we have never encountered any situation that would give us pause. Whether it is suitable for your family is something only YOU can decide.
For perspective on this, we travel often to cities across America with our young children to teach them about history and culture. All metropolitan areas have their share of poverty and serious issues amidst their amazing historical and cultural points of interest. And like most travel bloggers I know, we have a pretty broad definition of what qualifies as “kid-friendly”.
My advice is the same that we followed when we visited cities like New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York, Memphis, Nashville and Washington DC on our epic road trip last summer. The advice is quite simply: “Be careful on the streets after dark”.
That being said, we have walked the Vegas strip at night with our children numerous times and there are so many tourists around that we have always felt completely safe.
Question 2. Is Las Vegas safe for families?
The official crime rate for Las Vegas is higher than the national average, as it is for most metropolitan cities, but don’t let that scare you. First of all, the main strip area is teeming with thousands of tourists (and experienced officers) and is considered to be a relatively safe area for anybody, especially during the daytime. Second, there is little crime inside the grand mega-resorts along the strip.
If the marginal risk of city walking makes you uncomfortable, then you do have the option to simply to check in to your hotel and stay there the entire time experiencing the lavish restaurants and fun attractions inside. You can book a ride and hop from one resort directly to another if you are worried about the strip. There is very little risk in spending the majority of your time inside billion dollar resorts.
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Tips for Visiting Las Vegas with Kids
1. Find a family friendly hotel located on the strip that fits your exact needs
There are so many amazing resorts on the Las Vegas strip. In our experience the best family friendly Vegas hotels check some or all of these boxes.
- A fun and lavish pool with family-oriented design and activities
- A variety of affordable kid-friendly restaurants and quick eateries
- An amazing Vegas show or two that the kids will love
- Nearby family friendly attractions, exhibits or shopping areas
Personally, we like to stay at Mirage in the summer for the amazing tropical pool, and we like to stay at New York New York in the winter for the fun nightlife and affordable rates. But every family is different and deserves a perfectly customized Vegas experience.
Also, you should check out our awesome interactive Vegas Strip Hotel Map. (you’ve never seen a Vegas map quite like this one!)
My advice is to talk with your kids and find out what is most important to them, and then book the hotel that matches best (within your budget, of course!).
Here is a quick rundown to get the conversation started (click links to Learn more and check prices on Vegas.com):
…If your kids are excited about an arcade and roller coaster, then the obvious choice is New York New York
…If your family loves crepes and want to feel transported to France, then you should choose Paris
2. Respect the Vegas weather and be willing to adapt your itinerary
The Vegas heat in the middle of summer can be absolutely brutal. Winter can even be unexpectedly frigid, and during some times of the year there are random thunderstorms.
If you are in Vegas during the summer and it is over 100 degrees F, I would recommend spending no more than couple hours at the pool (with ample sunscreen, of course), and doing fun activities like walking the strip in the late evening around dusk. This way you will avoid heat from direct sunlight and you will be able to see the strip come alive with electricity. You may even catch a beautiful desert sunset.
Hot Tip: Around sunset is the perfect time to go up the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel, which is one of our favorite Vegas hotels for their delectable buffet and romantic cobblestone shopping area. Learn more about Paris Hotel on Vegas.com
If you are in Vegas during the winter, there are plenty of family friendly activities inside most of the big hotels on the strip, and there are several like Caesar’s Palace that have mind blowing shopping areas that are cheap fun and good exercise just to stroll. But let’s be honest, there are so many fantastic bars and restaurants in Vegas that we often find ourselves restaurant hopping and bar hopping with our kids.
Hot Tip: If you don’t think your kids will be good for a few hours in an Irish Pub while you drink a few beers, I hate to sound rude, but that is your fault. Kids learn to adapt to their prevailing environment, so the more you take them to places that you enjoy as parents, the more accustomed and comfortable they will become. My kids can sit happily and talk with us for 4 hours at a restaurant. Why? Because we do it all the time!
3. If possible, try to bring a babysitter along on the trip
This goes without saying, but you can get creative here. We often bring my parents and my mom will watch the kids for a few hours at night while we go out and gamble and have a little “adult time” on the town. No, this does not mean we go to clubs. We absolutely hate clubs, but you will definitely find us in one of the fun lounges and bars with live music. Just some place energetic or romantic where we can actually have a conversation without being interrupted!
Hot Tip: One reason we love staying at New York New York Hotel is that kids can eat NY Pizza any time of the night right outside the Times Square Bar which has live music and dueling pianos all night long. They can feel a part of the fun, and when the sitter gets them to bed, we can have a nightcap at our favorite Irish Pub, Nine Fine Irishmen, with outstanding live music nightly. Learn more about NYNY at Vegas.com
We have also brought teenage family members to enjoy Vegas with us, with the only caveat that they agree to babysit for a few hours before bed. They are under age and can’t do much at night anyways, so it is a win-win situation. Consider inviting a niece or nephew along for the trip. Trust me, you will bond with them so much more than you do with the obligatory hugs “hello” and “goodbye” at family holidays and get-togethers.
If you can’t bring a babysitter, don’t expect to gamble much because the floor managers are very strict about making sure the kids are always in transit on the casino floor. You can’t even stop with them for a moment without being harassed. I have heard there are also babysitting services for hire in Vegas, which we have never done, but I imagine some families would be OK with this.
4. Bring your walking shoes and get hip with Uber
The Vegas strip is very walk able for healthy adults, but it is difficult to walk from hotel to hotel for small children and especially hard for grandparents (this I know from experience). Regardless, even if you take a taxi or Uber to each new hotel, these resorts are enormous and a trip to Vegas always entails a fair amount of walking. Bring good walking shoes and be prepared to walk even more than you expect.
Hot Tip: Avoid long lines for taxi cabs and use Uber to find a cheaper ride to points of interest in Vegas. From experience, there are plenty of Uber drivers available in Vegas, and we have never yet had a bad experience using Uber as a family. In fact, it is a great way to meet locals and learn new insider tips about the city.
If you have an infant and you need an infant seat, I would recommend driving your own car or renting a car. It is a pain in the arse to navigate traffic on the strip and drive to different hotels, but most do still have free valet parking when you get there. Going back to tip #1, I would also recommend being deliberate about selecting a hotel that has all your favorite restaurants and activities so you won’t have to leave as often with your infant.
5. Perhaps most importantly, don’t listen to just the naysayers
Vegas is a great family vacation destination. Don’t’ let anybody tell you otherwise. No, there is not nudity, drunkenness and debauchery on every corner. There are tons of families with kids like ours that visit Vegas every single year. Do you have to be aware of your surroundings and avoid certain places at certain times? Sure. It’s just like visiting any other city in the world responsibly.
The truth is Vegas relies on tourists, and over the years more and more people have been bringing their kids to Vegas. As a result, Vegas has grown in parallel to be more family friendly over time. However, if you happen to be the type of parents that are bashful about exposing your kids to adults drinking, letting loose and having fun, then Vegas is actually probably not right for you. And there is no way we could ever be besties. No offense!
Check out our list of family attractions in Las Vegas for kids.
BONUS: Money Saving Tips
Get a Player’s Club card, even if you are not a big gambler. One card is good for multiple sister hotels. For example, one card works for MGM, Mirage, NYNY, etc. So make sure you collect them all. I have three. These little babies get you ridiculously discounted room rates, restaurant vouchers, game credit, holiday shopping points…you name it! This hot piece of plastic cost nothing, but it is priceless.
For the best room rates book your stay Sunday-Thursday. If you don’t have Player’s club card you can still find some good deals during the week, but if you have a card and you book during the week the room is practically free (but be aware that every hotel now includes a mandatory “resort fee” that runs about 30 bucks per night. Ugh).
There is a lot of competition on the strip for your attention and your dollars. As a result, you will find 2-for-1 coupons for everything from buffets to attractions at various hotels on the strip. Be on the lookout for these deals and before your trip, check out some of the coupons and deals available online, for example, at Vegas.com.
P.S. If you need advice planning your complete Vegas adventure, check out our other custom resources
- In-depth reviews of the 5 Best Family hotels in Las Vegas
- Ultimate guide for the 21 Best Las Vegas Shows for Kids
- Tips and activities for visiting Las Vegas while Pregnant
- See our interactive Map of Hotel on the Vegas Strip
- Read about 10 absolutely Free activities for families in Vegas
- Read about our favorite Affordable kid-friendly things to do in Vegas
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Have you visited Vegas with your family? What is your best tip for new visitors?
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