The idea of vacationing to Las Vegas with kids in-tow may not be your idea of the ultimate family vacation. When my brother and his fiance made the decision to do a destination wedding in Las Vegas, I initially had reservations of taking our family of five. Vegas is stamped as an adult playground and I worried my boys may be subjected to more than they bargained for, but missing my brothers wedding was not about to happen.
I have been to Vegas enough to know that there is a lot of fun to be had if we planned it right. I booked a 5 day and 4 night vacation for my 3, 6 and 13-year-old along with my husband and I. As much as I love the main strip we decided to venture off to downtown and book our stay at the Grand Hotel. It’s newly renovated, has a small gambling area and doesn’t smell of stale cigarettes.
Freemont Street Experience
If you are thinking about Las Vegas as a family destination, you’ve probably already considered that there is a small chance your child will see something slightly x-rated (that comes with the territory of going to Las Vegas afterall). The nightlife will definitely bring out a slew of questionable people and it will get rowdier as the evening progresses. The Freemont Street Experience is a fun and free five block pedestrian only area in downtown Las Vegas. It is lined on either side with hotels, retail shops, restaurants and street performers. There is an eclectic mix of locals and tourists and semi-kid friendly. The free Viva Vision light show is great for kids. Older children will enjoy the overhead zipline. Zipline riders must weigh between 50-300 lbs. and Zoomline riders must weigh between 80-300 lbs.
Transportation In Las Vegas
We tried public transportation in Las Vegas and were not happy with it at all. Depending on the ages of your children I would weigh your options with Uber or renting a vehicle. A 7 passenger van runs about $400 for a week. Uber is the most cost effective option when compared to taxi service and renting a vehicle. If you’d rather have your own space and want to have your car seats installed a rental might work best for you. If you have kids that can travel without carseats you’d probably be happy with Uber. We used an infant carseat that attaches to a stroller carseat carrier and used uberXL for our family of 6. We easily stored the stroller in their trunk during travel. It took a few extra minutes to get going, but with a tip to our driver we were never rushed and always felt welcome. Get a bumblebum booster car seats for 40 to 100-pound children. It’s a lightweight inflatable seat that is perfect for traveling, when deflated you can roll it up place it in it’s travel bag and it doesn’t take up much space. The Bumblebum meets federal motor vehicle safety and CPSC standards and is compatible with lap and shoulder seat belts.
If you have kids 4 and under take a stroller that reclines. I don’t know why strollers that don’t recline were invented, drives me nuts. Even my six-year-old got a little tired of all the walking every now and then. I know a four-year old in a stroller doesn’t seem ideal and you may even have gotten rid of your stroller by this age. Trust me my three-year old appreciated the stroller as we walked through hotels, crossed streets and when he needed to take a break.
Have a few adults handy
We have always gone to Las Vegas along with grandparents and plan our days so that my husband and I can sneak away to the casino floor while the kids are with them. Plan to have someone take the kids away from the gambling areas as kids won’t be allowed to stand around near the casino games. Even if you are standing near the machines with a stroller you may be asked to move out of the area. While venturing through hotels you will find plenty of food courts, restaurants and arcades that make it easy to keep the kids entertained.
Our Favorite Las Vegas Kid Friendly Spots
Container Park – Tree house, Circus Circus – Midway entertainment, Fremont Street Experience Zip lining, Paris Paris – Eiffel Tower, Venetian – Gondola ride, Bellagio – Water Show, Caesars Palace – Atlantis animatronic show, Planet Hollywood – Mall, Golden Nugget – Shark Tank, Stratosphere – Observation deck and thrill rides, New York, New York – Roller Coaster, The Mirage – Secret Garden, Welcome To Las Vegas – Historic Sign
Try the twenty dollar trick
I had heard about the twenty dollar trick a few times, but had never tried it until the last couple of times we were in Las Vegas. When we book our hotel we always book the least expensive room at the hotel we choose. Nothing fancy, because we know we want to save money and won’t be in the room much anyway. The first bet of our Vegas vacation, may just determine what kind of luck we will have the rest of the trip. When we go to check in we have a folded up twenty dollar bill handy. I basically chat up the receptionist and feel them out. When they are doing their thing, I nicely ask if there are any complimentary upgrades available while I pass them my id and the twenty dollar bill. If you have any hopeful requests ask about them now. Since we had a 3 month old this last time we mentioned it and were given a complimentary suite that made for extra space. With a stroller, carseat and portable crib in tow, we were grateful for the space and it was worth the $20. Be the twenty dollar trick doesn’t always work and you can’t necessarily ask for it back. Consider it a nice tip that either gets you an upgrade or doesn’t.