W hen you're in a normal city, let's call it Austin or San Diego or Des Moines or what-have-you, you can just book a hotel in an area that, by all appearances on Google Maps, seems to be "downtown"-adjacent and be relatively assured that there will be things to do in that area. Things one can walk to from said hotel, and plenty of them, in such a way that one can feel one has explored said city to his or her satisfaction in the amount of time he or she stayed there. In fact, this is such a generally assumed travel reality that it is more or less an expectation.
But Vegas is not a normal city, and you are not going to be able to explore this neon-soaked altar to capitalism's id on foot (unless, of course, you never leave your own resort).
The resorts here are all the size of city blocks. To walk from your hotel room deep within the bowels of ONE of the 600-room towers of your home for the weekend to the craps tables at the casino next door might take half an hour.
Palms Casino Resort | The Palms

Artisan Hotel Boutique

Off the Strip

A non-gaming boutique hotel known for its after-hours debauched and "European" pool (that's code for "topless"), the Artisan is relatively cheap and conveniently located to some of the best, er, "talent" in Las Vegas -- just a few minutes' drive to Sapphire and the Spearmint Rhino.

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino

The Strip

Staying at Mandalay you get the whole Strip experience, with the added value of close proximity to top adult entertainment at Crazy Horse III and the Hustler Club. If you need a break from racking up $40 ATM fees every day, you can ogle your fill of free boobs at DAYLIGHT Beach Club, Mandalay's party pool, or at the more secluded "toptional" Moorea Beach Club.

Palms Casino Resort

Off the Strip

The Palms is just off the Strip, making it a hell of a lot easier to get in and out of (also it has free parking, which is quickly becoming a unicorn in Vegas). Plenty of strip joints sit within a 15-minute driving radius, and even when you're on the property there's still lots of silly-ass debauchery to be had inside the Ghost Bar (especially when it's GBDC season). And since this is a bros weekend, you can also splurge on practical lodging like the Hardwood Suite, which comes with its own indoor basketball court and professional locker room -- perfect for a bachelor blowout, so long as it doesn't go the way of Very Bad Things.

wynn | Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn

The Strip

Wynn and Encore are home to the best clubs in Vegas -- XS, Surrender, Intrigue, and Encore Beach Club -- so if you stay here, you can go utterly bonkers without ever leaving the property.

The Cromwell

The Strip

This super-sexy hotel is home to both Drai's BeachClub & Nightclub -- a rooftop open-air day and nightclub with incredible views directly overlooking the Strip -- and Drai's After Hours, a pro-level joint for Vegas partiers. Once again, if you stay here you really never have to leave the property, and you can also do the full 24-hour club circuit... but only if you're ready.

Bally's Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

The Strip

Basically you stay here because it's close to the Cromwell (and therefore Drai's), but way, WAY cheaper. It also puts you close to Caesars (for OMNIA), Bellagio (for Hyde), and the Cosmopolitan (for Marquee).

Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino | Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino

MGM Grand

The Strip

At the MGM Grand you have the only Cirque show with a loose plot, Ka; all of the concerts at the MGM Grand Garden Arena; proximity to all of the concerts across-the-street-ish at the new T-Mobile Arena and Park Theater; proximity to some of the more ridiculous big-name Strip shows like Blue Man Group at the Luxor and Thunder From Down Under at the Excalibur; plus you can always "Cirque and chill" with the sexy-time Zumanity at New York New York.

Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino

The Strip

On property at PH is Zombie Burlesque and Britney Spears' Piece of Me, one of the most successful Vegas residencies of all time, BUT see it while you can, because it ends December 31! Bye-bye, Brit Brit. *tears* Her show's home, The AXIS at Planet Hollywood, is also a stopping point for big-name touring acts. PH also puts you close to Celine at Caesars, O at the Bellagio, and concerts at The Cosmopolitan's Boulevard Pool and The Chelsea.

Oasis at Gold Spike

Downtown

The only true "boutique hotel" Downtown, the Oasis at Gold Spike -- a hipster entertainment complex -- is a stylish place to stay that puts you in a central location of Downtown Vegas so you can check out punk-rock shows, burlesque shows, fringe theater, and touring Broadway shows at places like the Las Vegas Little Theatre, Bunkhouse Saloon, Beauty Bar, and the Smith Center. If you're here for a long weekend extending into Tuesday, don't miss Mondays Dark at The Space LV.

Encore | Barbara Kraft

Encore

The Strip

Encore Beach Club is pretty much the best of the beach clubs, and one of the least shitshowy -- which isn't to say things (THINGS) don't go down, it's just not quite as, um, "When was my last tetanus shot?" as some of the others. It's a beautiful beach club with top-tier DJs that also has "night swim" parties -- known as "NightSwim," go figure, on Friday and Saturday nights; NightSwim at XS Nightclub goes off Sunday nights.

The Venetian

The Strip

If the party pool isn't really your thing, book a stay at The Venetian, where the massive pool deck also connects with The Palazzo's for your choice of pool experience, be that huge and crowded or secluded and toptional. The Aquatic Club in the Palazzo pool deck offers a throwback pool-party experience ideal for those accustomed to partying at private boat clubs, while TAO Beach offers the full Vegas party-pool experience (though it is a bit light on the "pool").

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

The Strip

Hard Rock is the reigning king of gong-show pool parties with Rehab, Vegas' OG dayclub. If you're aiming for more of the "rock" in Hard Rock, Friday Night Live hosts a variety of live music in the pool area. And if you're looking for lower-key, the Breathe Pool Ultra Lounge rooftop pool is the best pool club no one knows about (open Friday and Saturday nights).

M Resort | M Resort Spa Casino

South Point

South Strip

South Point offers a complete cowboy-vibe getaway with a movie theater, a 64-lane bowling alley, a top-tier equestrian center, a variety of concerts and comedy shows -- it's a bit of a hotspot for touring stand-up -- and solid dining options. Pro tip: Bloody Marys and mimosas are $1 and Irish car bombs are $2 DAILY from 6am to noon at all casino bars and the Coronado Cafe.

Green Valley Ranch

Green Valley

Located in Green Valley, another somewhat-fancy suburb 20 minutes from the Strip in the other direction than Summerlin, Green Valley Ranch and the surrounding retail and restaurant district offer a welcome respite with excellent dining and a fine spa and pool. It smacks of suburbia but in a really pleasant way.

M Resort

South Strip

About 10 miles south of Mandalay Bay (where the Strip starts) on Las Vegas Blvd, the M is a true locals casino, and a favorite one at that. It has all of the amenities of a Strip resort -- very stylish with great dining, gaming, pampering, and pool life -- with none of the hassle. It's sort of like The Cosmopolitan's stylish-but-low-maintenance Midwestern cousin.

Gold Coast Hotel & Casino

The LINQ Hotel & Casino

The Strip

The LINQ gives you O'Sheas, where you can bet on beer pong (and other things, but c'mon, BEER PONG), as well as close proximity to the dumpy little Casino Royale hidden in plain sight on the Strip, which gives you 20x odds on craps.

Gold Coast Hotel & Casino

Off the Strip

A local favorite for pai gow poker, a preferred game for poker players who just wanna have fun, the Gold Coast always has lots of action and low minimum bets. Plus it's a cheap stay.

El Cortez Hotel & Casino

Downtown

The El Cortez is classic Vegas, Downtown's first "major" resort. It does what it does well: keeps rooms, dining, and gaming cheap to attract a loyal clientele, which more and more has included that coveted millennial demographic (perhaps you, dear reader). Recently slashed table minimums and boosted drink specials further make it a draw. You're also right downtown, so you can easily get into shenanigans on Fremont.

The Golden Nugget | Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino

The Palazzo

The Strip

Lagasse's Stadium, a favorite among sports fans, is equal parts incredible sports book and incredible tailgate party, with food from good-time celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.

The Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino

Westgate

The Westgate is home to the world's largest race and sports SUPERBOOK, which is all the reason you need. Also, the Westgate is WAY cheaper than staying on the Strip. Parlay those savings into more ill-advised parlays!

The Golden Nugget

Downtown

The Golden Nugget's race and sports book has a screen at every seat, in addition to a giant video wall for more TVs per square inch than any other book in the state. It also claims the state's most extensive wagering menu, which has its own mobile app.

The Jewel Nightclub at Aria Resort and Casino | Aria

ARIA

The Strip

You ever wonder what it might be like to go on a $30,000 shopping spree in one store? Wonder no more at the adjoining Shops at Crystals, where the majority of stores are sitting on inventory worth more than your life.

Caesars

The Strip

The Forum Shops at Caesars is pretty much THE original Las Vegas shopping destination (and made ceilings painted to look like the sky a thing). Stay on property so you can make repeated trips back to your room to deposit all of your bags of stuff, and also swing over to the adjoining Bellagio shops, provided they're not on fire.

Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino

Downtown

While this choice of lodging might be a little too on-the-nose (get it? "Grand"? Like, spending a grand?), staying downtown puts you close to the popular Las Vegas North Premium Outlets as well as the uniquely Vegas vintage shopping on Main St -- we're talking clothes, furniture, chips from demoed casinos -- and the Pawn Stars pawn shop.

Grand Cafe in the Red Rock | Red Rock Casino

The Cosmopolitan

The Strip

Simply put, Vegas' top restaurant collection. David Chang recently opened outposts of Momofuku and Milk Bar, LA's cultishly popular Eggslut now has a spot here, the not-at-all-secret Secret Pizza is a Vegas bucket list item, Wicked Spoon is hands-down the best buffet in a city sadly synonymous with them, STK and D.O.C.G. show that some restaurants are so great they need only letters, and our favorite celeb chef in Vegas has his Jaleo located here. Plus, next door at ARIA there's Sage, one of the best restaurants on the Strip yet woefully underrated.

Red Rock

Summerlin

Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa is pretty much the only gaming game on this side of town, and the property has gone to great lengths to make itself as desirable as its Strip counterparts 20 minutes to the east. Staying here puts you minutes from Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and also in the heart of Vegas' most popular fancy-pants neighborhood, Summerlin. The on-property dining is great, with places like Hearthstone, Libre, Lucille's BBQ, and a Yard House, while nearby Downtown Summerlin (which is not so much a "downtown" as it is a mall) has excellent restaurants like Andiron, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Crave, and the upscale burger and beer joint Public School 702. Elsewhere in Summerlin you'll find Honey Salt -- arguably responsible for making Summerlin an all-comers Vegas dining destination -- and Echo & Rig butcher and steakhouse, known for weekend brunches.

The D Hotel

Downtown

You won't find a better jumping-off point than D Hotel, at the center of the Fremont Street Experience and the excellent dining you can now find there, including *inhales deeply*: Carson Kitchen, The Perch, Park on Fremont, MTO Café, Makers & Finders, Le Pho Vietnamese Kitchen, La Comida, Chow, The Smashed Pig Gastropub, Oscar's Steakhouse, Andiamo Steakhouse at the D Hotel, American Coney Island also at the D Hotel if you're getting sloppy, Pizza Rock, eat., etc.

Four Seasons

Mandarin Oriental

The Strip

Gaming or no (actually perhaps because of the "or no"), the Mandarin is the finest hotel in Las Vegas (and pretty much everywhere Mandarins are found). It is the #hotelgoals of the hospitality industry. The Strip-side Vegas location is no exception, butt-up in front of City Center (because the Mandarin doesn't do anything less than first) and boasting the most phenomenal views of the Las Vegas Strip -- even from the bathrooms. It's a hefty splurge to be sure, but, you only YOLO once, you know? 

Four Seasons or Delano Las Vegas

The Strip

Both the Four Seasons and Delano Las Vegas are basically extensions of Mandalay Bay, so you're still very much action-adjacent, but also shielded from it by these upscale properties that don't suffer the trifling masses.

JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa

Summerlin

Just 20 minutes from the Strip in fancy-pants Summerlin, the JW Marriott is just the kind of civilized experience you need if you're just looking to relax, maybe get a massage, play some golf, you know. The Rampart is a small casino located at the resort, though it does not overtake the entire property and certainly doesn't assault you with the sound of its dinging slots if you don't want it to.

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