If you have been following me for a while, you would know that I was born and raised in Las Vegas and even though I have traveled to beautiful cities around the world like Bangkok, Paris, New York City, and San Francisco… Las Vegas is still the BEST city that I come back to time and time again.
I want to share with you some local tips on how I and many of my friends have celebrated their 21st Birthday in Las Vegas, so you can have the best birthday yet!
Just a warning before we dive in… Las Vegas is extremely expensive, especially for the most epic party scenes. I will definitely share some budget-friendly party ideas, but things like nightclubs, gambling and fancy hotels will cost a pretty penny! But hey, you only turn 21 once!
If you are traveling to Las Vegas on a budget, don’t forget to check out my guide on FREE things in Las Vegas (actually worth doing).
There’s a chance this post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you), that goes directly towards little Rosie’s dog treats!
Where to stay in Las Vegas?
There are so many great options on where to stay in Las Vegas, but the main two areas you will want to focus on are the Las Vegas Strip OR Downtown. These are both great options and is just going to depend on what you want to do while you’re in Las Vegas and your budget.
Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is the flashy, modern, and epic nightlife scene you are probably wanting when you picture your 21st Birthday in Las Vegas. Along the strip is where you will find most the famous sites, best nightlife, and most crowds. With all this of course means most expensive! Staying on the Las Vegas strip you will be staying in luxurious hotels with expensive restaurants. If money is not a big issue, I would definitely recommend staying in the middle of all the action.
If you are wondering what is the Las Vegas strip, it is the area of Las Vegas Blvd between Sunset and Sahara. Past Sahara, you are in a worse part of town in between the Strip and Downtown.
Looking for an exact hotel? Here are my top picks per price range:
Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown is going to give you the best bang for your buck, not only on hotel prices but restaurant prices too. This area is old school, trendy, and attracts a younger and local crowd. If you want to wander the streets looking at street murals, going to trendy coffee shops and bar hopping, this is the area for you!
I LOVE downtown and spend a lot of time in this area as a local. The only downside is it is not walking distance from the Las Vegas strip, so if you plan to go to a lot of nightclubs and day clubs, you will need to take an Uber/Lyft. Luckily, Uber and Lyft are abundant in Las Vegas and you will have no problem getting one at any time of the night.
I think Downtown is a great option if you are looking to spend more money on your experiences rather than the hotel you are staying at. You will still get to be in a fun and lively area, walking distance from bars and restaurants!
Looking for an exact hotel? Here are my top picks per price range:
$$$: Golden Nugget
Best time to go to Las Vegas?
Anytime except for winter months are always going to be a good time. It is fairly warm in Las Vegas year-round, and extremely hot in the summer months. If you come in spring and fall, you will get amazing weather (70-80 Degrees). The summer is extremely hot, but every hotel has a great pool and you can enjoy the day-clubs that are only open late spring – early fall.
Recommended Read: Best Instagram Spots in Las Vegas!
What to pack for your 21st Birthday in Las Vegas?
I know this sounds cheesy, but it’s a popular thing to wear a birthday or bachelorette sash while partying in Vegas! It’s a fun conversation starter and great way to get people to buy you drinks all night! There are really cute ones on Etsy (but take forever to ship), but Amazon also has some good ones, like this one!
Bathing Suit Cover-up
If you’re looking for a cute bathing suit + cover-up, look no more! ShowPo has the CUTEST swimsuits and so many different variations so you can twin with your friends! My favorite item that is always my go-to is their shear skirt. It’s adorable for not only the day clubs but a regular day at the pool. Click here to see pricing!
Cute but Cheap Sunnies
You don’t want to bring your nicest pair of sunglasses on a trip to Las Vegas because there’s a dang good chance you’re going to loose them! I always get a pair (or two) of cheap sunglasses when I travel from Amazon. Click here to browse more options!
If you want more ideas on what to pack, I have a full guide on my go-to travel essentials! You can read that here!
What to do in Las Vegas for your 21st Birthday!
Ready for an epic Las Vegas Birthday? These are all of my ideas to make your birthday one to remember!
Go to a Nightclub
This is obviously the top thing to do in Las Vegas, especially for your 21st birthday. If you have a larger group, paying for a table with bottle service will insure you have an epic night. These are EXTREMELY expensive, and vary depending on the popularity of the club, day of the week, and DJ performing that night.
Getting a table with bottle service is not the only way to have a fun night in Las Vegas though, you can go on guest list and still have a great time dancing and hanging out around the bar. If you are a lady, you can get into the clubs on guest list or even an all-girls comped table for FREE. There will be nicely dressed men wandering Las Vegas offering to add you to their guest list, this is not a scam, they really just want to give you free entry to the club! They need to meet a certain quota every night and will often offer you free entry + free drink coupons.
TIP: Always grab some alcohol to drink BEFORE going into the nightclubs, even if you opt in for a table + bottle service. Drink are very expensive inside, around $30 per drink.
Rent a Pontoon Boat at Lake Mead
If you have a larger group (5-15 people), rent a pontoon boat to party out at Lake Mead! You can rent double-decker pontoon boats for the entire day, where you can bring a big cooler and food to enjoy. These run for around $500 for the day, so if you split it up its extremely affordable!
This pontoon boat is two story, has a water slide, inner-tubes, and full bar area. You can look at rates here!
Bar Hopping in Downtown Las Vegas
I would go as far to say a trip to Las Vegas isn’t complete without a night bar hopping downtown. While the strip night clubs are extremely fun, this is a completely different type of fun! Experiencing both atmospheres will give you a full look into Las Vegas nightlife, in my opinion.
Downtown Las Vegas is very old school with flashy lights, drag queens walking down the streets, and music blasting in all corners of the town. All of the bars are located within walking distance, making it such a fun night to experience so many different places. You can experience a twinkly-lit rooftop bar one minute and an old-school disco bar the next!
Ladies get in for free at all of these bars (except for holiday weekends) and guys might have to pay a small cover fee to enter, but nothing like the prices on the strip.
Do happy “half” hour at the Linq High Roller
The Linq High Roller is the large Ferris Wheel in the center of the strip. What’s unique about this Ferris Wheel is instead of a small cabin/gondola that only fits 2-4 people, the High Roller has glass pods that fit 40 people! You could rent out a pod for a party, or you could buy tickets to their happy “half” hour!
With the happy half-hour ticket, you get to get beautiful views of the Las Vegas strip while taking a ride in the Ferris Wheel. And the best part…. it’s open bar for the entire ride! For tickets to happy half-hour, click here!
Have cocktails at The Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan
This is hands down the most beautiful bar in all of Las Vegas! This three story bar will make you feel like you are having a cocktail in a chandelier. Located inside the Cosmopolitan, this unique bar will stand out the second you walk in the doors.
The entire bar is lit up to be a pink/purple color with plenty of lounge seating to enjoy a cosmo in the Cosmo!
So I actually haven’t done this yet, but I have heard the BEST things! I plan to do this with all my friends on my next birthday!
You can rent tickets to drag brunch where you can get bottomless mimosas, brunch and a drag show for only $50 per person! Click here to look at show times and current pricing!
Rent a Karaoke Room
Hear me out before you skim over this entire section, because while most people hate publicly embarrassing themselves, this is completely different! There are a few places in Las Vegas that you can rent out a private karaoke room to have a little party with your closest friends! The room has disco lights, a big booth to stand or sit on, and a full bar and restaurant to order drinks and food.
If you go to China Town, there are a few options for private karaoke rooms, my favorite being Karaoke Q. This place is packed on the weekends, so make sure you make a reservation in advance.
Have a Pina Colada by the Pool
The Las Vegas Strip hotels are competitive AF with their pools! I swear they are constantly trying to one-up each other, it’s hard to keep up with which one is my favorite. They all have a unique theme, fun day clubs, and plenty of fruity cocktails to keep you busy.
Since it’s your 21st birthday, you kinda have to drink 24/7 during your celebratory weekend?! But sometimes heavy drinking at the day and night clubs can be very wearing.. so spend your day relaxing at one of the hotel pools with your favorite fruity cocktail in-hand!
Las Vegas is known for its epic party scene, but also the fact that you can gamble anytime, anywhere. Not kidding.. the second you land from the plane you will be greeted with flashy slot machines blasting old 80’s music!
What’s fun about gambling in Las Vegas, is you get FREE drinks the entire time you are gambling! At most hotels, as long as you are actively playing, a cocktail server will walk around asking you if you would like a drink. Talk about a good pre-game before heading into the nightclubs!
Go to a Day Club
In my humble opinion, I think day clubs are 10x better than nightclubs. I always prefer day drinking over night drinking, so I may be a bit biased, but there’s just something great about getting to party just as hard AND getting a full night sleep!
The day clubs are seasonal and only open late spring – early fall. If you are traveling in the winter (which, just don’t), then you will miss out on one of the best things in Las Vegas!
Day clubs fun very similarly to night clubs. The tables with bottle service are located in the cabanas along the pool and GA (general admission), you will be standing in the heat, in the pool or around the bar. My favorite day clubs are Wet Republic, Encore Beach Club, Drais, and KAOS.
See a Show
Seeing a show in Las Vegas is a serious bucket list moment! The abundance of astounding shows covers everything from comedy to magic and everything in between. My favorite shows (which I have seen many) are any of the Cirque du Soleil shows. These will seriously make your draw job hundreds of time during the performance!
If it”s not a busy weekend, you can sometimes get tickets the day of, but most weekend nights you will need to reserve in advance. You can browse show options and ticket prices here.
Take a Helicopter ride over the Las Vegas Strip
There is something so special about seeing the Las Vegas strip from a bird’s eye view! There are many helicopter companies that offer many different tour packages, so it depends on what you are looking for. A popular package takes you around Las Vegas and to the popular Grand Canyon! If you’ve never seen the Grand Canyon before, this should definitely be on your list of things to do.
If you don’t want to see the Grand Canyon / have already seen it, I would recommend doing the helicopter flight over the Las Vegas strip at night. The bright and colorful strip is seriously jaw-dropping!
Rent a Limo and Cruise Down Las Vegas Blvd
I think this is a great option for any party size! If you have a bunch of friends, you can rent a limo or a party bus to take you around the Las Vegas strip! What better way to see all the famous sites than drinking champagne, in air conditioning, while dancing with all your best friends?
Even if you are just spending your 21st Birthday with a girlfriend/boyfriend, this is still such a luxurious and romantic way to see Las Vegas. I have not personally used Earth Limos, but I have heard good things about friends and family who have! You can look at their packages here!
Spend the day at the Spa
What better way to treat yourself on your 21st Birthday than a day at one of Las Vegas’s word renowned spas? Not only does Las Vegas have extravagant spas, but what truly makes them unique is the amount of amenities they offer. For example, at Caesars Spa they have a sauna, steam room, private spa pool and hot tub, snow room (yes, you read that right), and MORE! Can you believe you get access to all that with a spa treatment?
Drink at the Top of the World at The Stratosphere
I am sure you are feeling on top of the world on your 21st birthday, so why not match that feeling with the real deal?! Have a craft cocktail at the top of the world restaurant and bar located at the Stratosphere hotel. This revolving restaurant will make you feel like you are WAY more drunk than you are, but gives you beautiful views of the entire Las Vegas skyline.
Recommended Read: FREE Things to do in Las Vegas (actually worth doing)!
Do I need a rental car in Las Vegas?
Unless you plan to do day trips to the grand canyon or hiking, I really don’t think a rental car is necessary. Driving on the Las Vegas Strip is NOT fun and could easily be avoided by taking the tram or walking. Grabbing a taxi, Uber, or Lyft is unbelievably easy in the city because there is such a large abundance of them.
Plus, you should never be driving if you are drinking, and if it’s your 21st birthday…. you better be drinking! 🙂
Psssst… if you plan to do day trips, don’t forget to check out my guide on Best Days Trips from Las Vegas!
Do I need a big group to make my Las Vegas Birthday fun?
NO! People are in such a social and party mindset when they come to Las Vegas, it is so easy to mix and mingle. Plus, there are a lot of group party options that you could literally have fun coming by yourself, ha!
The only reason a big group might make Las Vegas a little more fun is you can bring your costs down a lot. For example, if you wanted to get bottle service at the night clubs it is very expensive for only 2-3 people, but if you have 15-20 then its a lot more reasonable.
How much time do I need in Las Vegas?
If you are traveling to Las Vegas for your 21st Birthday, I don’t think you will need more than a 3 day weekend. You will be participating in A LOT of heavy drinking, and a human body can only handle so much before needing a serious juice cleanse.
If you are traveling from far away, you may want more time considering you would be spending a lot of time traveling. If this is the case, I think a week is still plenty.
What do I wear in Las Vegas?
Las Vegas is mostly casual except for the day and night clubs. For those, you will want to wear dress/heals for ladies and dress shirts and either black jeans or slacks for men. Most bars and clubs won’t allow men to wear tank tops or flip flops, unless you are the pool bar.
For the day clubs, ladies can wear a bathing suit with a cute cover-up and wedges while men can wear a tank top with swim trunks.
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