It’s safe to say that Vegas is a lot of fun no matter how old you are, but the experiences are very different depending on your age. Some of you expect the crème de la crème and others think it’s perfectly acceptable to eat the smashed candy bar you found under your car seat. Whatever your expectations, we aim to impress. This is what it’s like to vacation in Sin City in your 20s, 30s and 40s.
In your 20s: To have as much fun as possible – for as cheaply as possible. You’ve assembled the most ridiculous group of friends you have, to ensure maximum rowdiness for memories you’ll be reliving the rest of your lives. You plan on having as much fun as legally possible, and if you do happen to see the inside of the Clark County Detention Center, it’ll only make the story better later. You’ll never be old and wise if you aren’t young and crazy, right? We heard that somewhere too. Ding ding – game on.
In your 30s: To let loose and have a good time. You may not be walking Las Vegas Boulevard at dawn, then again you might. Your 30s are about discovering better uses for your time and money, and you’ve realized spending your hard-earned wages on experiences may be a little more important than copping the newest Jordans. But please believe, you can still play a mean game of beer pong.
In your 40s: To treat yourself and create great memories. Vegas has world-class dining and entertainment and you plan on experiencing the best of it. You’ve worked hard to get where you are and you’re overdue for some indulgence and rejuvenation. Work hard, play hard, right? You deserve it.
Where to Sleep
In your 20s: Wherever you can find a free surface. Let’s get real, that garden tub is downright cozy if you wad your jacket into a ball under your head. Most of the rooms on the Strip are affordable if you split it between enough people. But who cares about the room if you’re not going to be in it longer than a couple hours anyway? You’ll find great and affordable options at The LINQ Hotel and Casino, Planet Hollywood or the New York-New York.
In your 30s: Forget sharing a bathroom with 12 of your closest friends. Been there, done that and thank goodness your parents weren’t on Facebook then to see those train wreck pictures. Comfort, cleanliness and a little bit of swag is important, but it would be great if you could get that at a decent price. Try the Cromwell, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas or the Delano at Mandalay Bay.
In your 40s: You’ve never had a problem going the extra mile, so why wouldn’t you spend a little more to get something nice? You’re on vacation to have a good time; the last thing you want to worry about is a 22 year old setting off the fire alarm because he hung his department store blazer on a sprinkler system. The only puppy piles you can identify with now are in your newsfeed. Book at the Bellagio, Encore or the Palazzo.
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Where to Eat
In your 20s: Dammit, why didn’t you shove those granola bars in your luggage? You’d probably eat a phone book if it was covered in hot sauce or cheese. You eat to stay alive, but if you hold off a little longer, you won’t kill your buzz. Your best bet is to eat in your hotel’s food court. And if things get really gnarly, there’s always the free sample aisle at Costco.
In your 30s: You know there’s probably some beautiful story behind fresh ingredients, you’re just not positive you have that much of an interest in it. Chances are, you’re willing to splurge on a couple of “nice meals” while you’re in town, but you’re still cool with Chipotle. You’ll appreciate the vibrancy of the patio at Mon Ami Gabi and the incredible views and cuisine at Lago.
In your 40s: You’re way past the days of using that dorm room hot plate; it’s about quality – not sustenance. Food and spirits have become an experience, a journey of temperatures, flavors and textures – and presentation is important. You won’t go wrong with the level of elegance and sophistication from restaurants like Carbone and Bardot. And you’ll be blown away by the service.
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What to Do
In your 20s: First things first, you need a drink. Sit down at a penny slot the second you see a cocktail waitress and play one credit at a time until she takes your order. Then, head out to the pool club. Find a couple of sexy co-eds to get hot and sticky with and take all the selfies your phone will hold to prove you actually did run into Kylie Jenner. Check out our list of pool clubs that’ll have your heart and libido racing.
In your 30s: Pool club? Not unless you’re springing for a cabana, which could be a lot of fun. Then again, it could be really hot and crowded. There’s more to Vegas than getting completely annihilated on a daily basis, but it’s a lot of fun to walk around with an ice-cold beer in your hand. There are so many opportunities to shop and see attractions, you don’t want to be too wasted to appreciate it all. Oh, and don’t forget your show tickets. You’ll really enjoy Absinthe, Le Rêve and Zumanity.
In your 40s: You’ve got a job that pays you real money, and you’re not afraid to spend it on things you like, especially when you’re vacationing in the Entertainment Capital of the World. The Grand Canyon isn’t far away and you’ve always wanted to see it. Might as well treat yourself to that helicopter ride you’ve always wanted to take. While we’re at it, you should probably slide behind the wheel of that Ferrari 458 Italia you’ve been drooling over since you were in high school. Who knows, maybe you’ll teach the dealers a lesson at the tables or see a Cirque du Soleil show. The world is your oyster.
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Where to Party
In your 20s: Let’s get faded! Pick one of the hottest clubs in the country with a highly scientific method called eenie-meenie-miney-moe. Appearance is everything, so you’re going to need big names like Omnia, Hakkasan or Marquee to be Snapchat –worthy (you’ll pre-party like a boss so you only need to buy one or two crazy expensive drinks). Standing in line is part of the adventure, especially when you’ve got to figure out a totally inconspicuous way to detach the flask stashed on your inner thigh.
In your 30s: You’ve already done the whole mega-club thing so you know better than to stand in that super long line outside, only to stand shoulder-to-shoulder inside. With age comes wisdom, and that means going to a hip bar is way better than a club. The music will still be good and you can go between great conversations to singing at the top of your lungs as often as you like. You’ll love the authentic vibe of bars like Park on Fremont, Beauty Bar or Commonwealth at the Fremont East bar district in downtown Las Vegas.
In your 40s: You refuse to scream over the music to have a conversation. If that loud banging can even be considered music — it just sounds like noise. Real music hasn’t been made for two decades. Forget dancing all night in the clubs. You want a swanky lounge. Delicious drinks and a posh place to relax and talk with your friends or significant other is what you’re really after. You’ll love the Chandelier Bar, the Mandarin Bar and the Skyfall Lounge. Go ahead and giggle at all the hobbling 22 year olds in sky-high stilettos when you see them. Amateurs.
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Where to Recover
In your 20s: Keep that fifth of Jack on the nightstand and take it to the head the minute your crusty eyes open. The best way to cure a hangover is to stay drunk. You can always stumble to CVS for a giant bottle of headache medicine and Pedialyte if you have to. Head out to the hotel pool and throw a towel over your head until your sea legs go away.
In your 30s: Bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys at brunch? Yes please. You know you’re in your 30s when you’re in bed before midnight on a Saturday night and drunk at Sunday brunch. Hangovers hurt so much less when you’ve got time to sober up before you go to sleep. Check out our favorite bottomless brunches.
In your 40s: Recover from what? You’re headed out to play 18 holes and then you’ve got a very pressing spa appointment. There’s a tea sommelier at Qua Baths & Spa waiting to create a custom beverage for you that will complement your spa services. After your acupuncture and hot-stone massage, you’ll cool down in Sin city’s only Arctic Ice room, where real snow drifts down from the domed ceiling and you can exfoliate with ice chips.