Las Vegas with Kids ~ Where to stay and things to do in Las Vegas

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We spent two days in Las Vegas with kids. Learn where we stayed and why it was perfect. There are so many things to do with kids in Las Vegas.

It’s a great destination for a quick getaway whether you take a road trip or fly.

The McCarran International Airport is located very close to the Las Vegas Strip. Most of the hotels offer free shuttle service. If you wanted to explore areas off the Strip, it’s easy to take an Uber or a Lyft.

The Strip is busy, and we highly recommend not driving there unless your hotel is there. But it’s fun to take a drive on it if you want to see the attractions and crowds. The Strip is a little over four miles long.

We took a roadtrip to Las Vegas so we had our car. If we flew in, we definitely would not have rented a car.

Hershey's Chocolate World
Hershey’s Chocolate World

We went during our kids’ fall break in October. That wasn’t a busy season in Las Vegas; however, there were certainly people everywhere. I can’t imagine how much more crowded it gets.

Things to do in Las Vegas with kids

Our children heard of Las Vegas but didn’t know anything about it. So while they were excited to be going on vacation, they didn’t know what to expect.

Coincidently, on the drive home after our trip, the book my son was reading referenced the Luxor Hotel! It was very cool we had just been there.

Luxor Hotel Las Vegas
Luxor Hotel Las Vegas

Where to stay in Las Vegas with kids

Our first decision was where to stay in Las Vegas when traveling with children.

My husband and I had been to Vegas twice before. We stayed on the Strip both times. But that was pre-kids, over 10 years earlier. I remembered smoke and crowds.

Do you stay on the Strip with kids?

For our family, we made the right decision to stay off the Strip.

Las Vegas Nevada kid friendly hotels

We first thought about renting an AirBNB or VBRO so we could cook meals and have healthier snacks. (We deal with food allergies and also want to eat healthier overall.)

Then we decided because we were going to be there for such a short time, we weren’t going to be at the rental enough to make it worth it.

Our goal was to find a safe, clean and kid-friendly hotel near the Strip.

Hampton Inn – Tropicana

We were very pleased we stayed at the Hampton Inn – Tropicana. It’s very close to the Las Vegas Strip. At the time there was free parking — though that was changing. (Hampton Inn did not compensate us in any way for this review.)

We love Hampton Inn because of the cleaniness and the free breakfast. It’s located just west of Interstate 15, at Dean Martin Dr. and Tropicana Ave. It’s across from In -N-Out Burger.

Free shuttle to the Strip from Hampton Inn

If you fly into Vegas, the Hampton Inn Tropicana has a free shuttle which can pick you up from/take you back to the McCarren Airport.

The Hampton Inn Tropicana shuttle leaves from the hotel on the hour and goes to the Tropicana Casino Hotel, across from MGM. From there, it goes to the airport. (This is a great drop off location to begin.)

When we were there, the Hampton Inn shuttle departed the Strip at 5:30pm and 10:30pm. We stayed on the Strip until about 4:30pm and took an inexpensive Lyft back to the Hampton Inn. It was less than $10.

This hotel is very close and walkable to the Strip — but there is a very busy intersection to get there. Plus, we were already far down the Strip and would have had to backtrack. We were tired and hungry.

Because we took a road trip to Las Vegas, we packed fruit, granola bars, and pretzels, etc. as snacks until our late lunch/early dinner. So we had the free breakfast, went to the Strip all day, then came back to the hotel.

Las Vegas hotels for kids

A lot of the fun of being in Las Vegas with kids is they will delight in seeing the hotels. We all really enjoyed walking in and out, seeing the themes with the larger-than-life decor. That was a big part of our entertainment.

Many of the hotels have fun things for families to see and do. Walking through them, however, also confirmed our decision to stay off the Strip.

In most of the hotels, the casinos are right there — out in the open. They allow smoking. It’d been so long since we were inside somewhere that allowed smoking that we forgot that it used to be allowed everywhere.

The hotels do a good job of keeping it ventilated; however, we definitely smelled it.

In addition, there were So Many People coming in and out of these hotel “lobbies.” It didn’t have the same feel as staying at a hotel off the Strip.

While it seemed safe — it was definitely filled with the public.

We just didn’t like the feel of one of these hotels being our home base, however convenient it would have been to be already on the Strip.

So for us, we made the right choice.

What to do with kids in Las Vegas

After we figured out where we were staying, we looked up some places online to get an idea of what kinds of things our kids would enjoy doing. We didn’t want to miss anything.

Whether you want to do Las Vegas inexpensively or are able to splurge to pay for shows and the thrilling rides, there really is something for all families.

It’s important to plan a Las Vegas itinerary with kids so you don’t waste time backtracking. See below for more tips.

Walking the Strip

The Las Vegas Strip is over four miles long. Even if we decided to walk the entire Strip, we wouldn’t have wanted to walk all the way back. Instead, we concentrated on just one area.

The shuttle dropped us at the Tropicana Hotel which was perfect. From there we had our list of places to see. We made our way over the bridge, taking some great pictures and admiring the structures.

You never know what you will see on the Strip. Throughout the day, we saw showgirls.

As we were walking to M&M World inside the Showcase Mall, we saw a group of Avengers characters. For $10, we were able to get a picture of our kids with them, which was great.

Hershey’s Chocolate World in New York – New York Hotel

Our first stop was to the New York – New York Hotel. We spent time in the Hershey’s shop, exploring all things Hershey. They have all the candies there along with merchandise including shirts, pillows, keychains and more.

Be sure to see the Statue of Liberty which is made with almost 800 pounds of chocolate.

Hershey World is two stories and 13,000 square feet. There’s a Jolly Rancher flavor wall. There’s an entire room with only Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups’ products. They even have a Hershey’s Bake Shoppe.

You can buy any of their candies in all sizes. The options for candies on the wall are cool because you can mix them up. Hershey’s sells them by the pound. There is also a flat penny machine here, which makes for a great souvenir. They are located throughout Las Vegas.

We stayed at Hershey World for about 25 minutes. From there, we walked through the New York – New York Hotel and made our way to a shop called Stupidiotic.

Stupidiotic

This store was small and cute with some interesting items. This is a good store to take kids to if they want to buy something on their trip.

We had fun looking at the merchandise but were only there about 10 minutes — which I guess is a good thing. Still, it’s fun to stop in. You can look on their website in advance to get an idea of the products they sell.

Outside this shop is a good place to take pictures of Hershey’s Chocolate World. Because we entered Hershey’s from a different entrance and not street-level, we were glad we saw it afterwards. This is a cute photo opp with a Hershey’s Bar and one of the Kisses. It’s also amazing to see the way-larger-than-life-sized Hershey’s products on the building.

From there we made our way to the M&M World.

M&M World in Showcase Mall

Visiting M&M World was one of the highlights of our trip. You will definitely want to get pictures outside; there are massive M&M’s characters and candy on the building.

M&M World is located in the Showcase Mall, next to MGM Hotel & Casino.

The M&M World store is four stories. It’s 28,000 square feet. It was really brightly-lit and they had fun displays of M&M’s and their characters. We stayed here about an hour.

Like all of these attractions, there is merchandise. There’s everything from keychains and shirts to personalized M&M’s that you create.

The wall of M&M’s is really fun. It’s on the second floor. You can choose every flavor and color they have. They weigh how many you have so you can go along the wall and choose however many of whichever ones you want. It’s a great way to sample all of their flavors.

Make sure you make your way to all four floors. On the third floor, there is a short (about 10 minutes) 3D movie. Kids will enjoy wearing the 3D glasses while the adults will enjoy the opportunity to sit down in the small theater.

On the third floor there is also the infamous Welcome to Las Vegas sign done with — of course — M&M’s characters. It makes for a fun photo opp. So too does the M&M’s race car which is on the fourth floor. It’s a replica of Kyle Busch’s 18 M&M’s sponsored NASCAR

There are escalators and an elevator to make going up and down easy.

Coca-Cola Store

Right next door to M&M World is the Coca-Cola Store. This is another massive store within the Showcase Mall. Right outside you will see a gigantic Coke bottle.

The Coca-Cola Store is two stories. There is an escalator and an elevator.

On the first floor the Coca-Cola Polar Bear was out. You are allowed to pose and take pictures with your device for free which is pretty incredible. They also had a professional photographer who took a few quick shots. Then they handed us a card with a code for us to see the pictures for purchase.

There is so much interesting merchandise throughout the store but we really enjoyed browsing on the first floor. My kids chose keychains and some other things (on the way out).

Coca-Cola Beverage Bar - Taste of the World tray
Coca-Cola Beverage Bar – Taste of the World tray

On the second floor there is the Cola cafeteria along with more Coca-Cola merchandise. Here is the best part because you can order from the Coca-Cola beverage bar.

Coca-Cola Beverage Bar – Taste of the World tray

The highlight is to order a flight of Cola products from around the world. It includes 16 cups of drinks from different countries. There is a wonderful area with lots of tables and chairs so you can enjoy your drinks.

I must add the workers were amazing. One of my children has reactions to a lot of additives in processed foods and drinks. I called in advance to ask for an ingredients list. An employee texted it to me. It looked like out of the 16 drinks there would be several he could enjoy.

When I ordered the Taste of the World tray, I also asked to see the ingredients list so I could match each drink with each list of ingredients. The employee let me take the laminated copy to our table. This was incredibly reassuring. My child was able to have 7 – 8 them.

In addition to buying the tasting flight, we also bought him a Mexican Coke. He thought that was really great because it came in a large glass bottle. They also sell Coke floats.

Right when we sat down, a Coca-Cola photographer came over to take six photos.

She handed us a card with a code, and said the pictures were complimentary because we bought the Taste of the World tray. These were easy to access which I did when we got home. They were great pictures. (I even used one as part of our holiday card.)

These free pictures are a great perk of purchasing the Coke flight from around the world. (With the Mexican Coke — which I think it was $3 — we paid a little over $18 for everything.)

Looking around, it seemed most people were purchasing the tasting flight.

Enjoying these sodas and laughing about which ones we liked and didn’t like, really made this activity a hit. We were at the Coca-Cola store for over an hour.

It was also fun to walk around and see the vintage Coke merchandise and advertising.

Las Vegas kids activities

Hershey’s, M&M’s, and Coca-Cola…these are the stores we visited which were all extremely fun and kid-friendly. Think about it: Two candy emporiums and a soda store! How’s that for a child’s dream vacation?

Much of our entertainment came from walking in and out of these stores. What’s great is they are free to enter and enjoy so you can choose to spend what you want.

Also wonderful is these three attractions are all very close to one another.

Las Vegas Strip map

It’s so important to remember how long the Strip is. Whatever you do, get an idea of what you want to do each day you are there. Any hotel you stay at in Vegas should be able to give you a map of the Strip.

Plan to visit that area of the Strip only once so you don’t waste time and energy backtracking.

Showcase Mall

After spending time in Coca-Cola, we walked around the Showcase Mall for a bit.

Where to eat with kids in Las Vegas

There are kid-friendly restaurants all along the Strip.

However, if you are near the Showcase Mall, you may find this to be a good place to eat with kids in Las Vegas.

They have a 3-story Hard Rock Cafe. In addition, there are food-court type restaurants such as Del Taco, Sbarro, and Popeyes. There is also a Denny’s and an Outback Steakhouse.

As in this area, across from the Showcase Mall is Bruxie Fried Chicken & Waffle Restaurants where you can enjoy a waffle sandwich.

Where to eat with kids on the Strip Las Vegas

There are so many kid-friendly restaurants on the Strip in Las Vegas. Just think about the attractions you want to see and if you will be there around a mealtime. From there, consider what your family eats. Look around that area to find the restaurants. Really, they are plentiful.

Most of the hotels will have more than one kid-friendly restaurant. Also too, they have buffets which means even the pickiest eater can find something. We also like the buffets because of the fresh fruits and vegetables.

In addition to the hotel buffets and many independent restaurants and food stands, Las Vegas boasts family chain restaurants. There’s everything from The Cheesecake Factory, TGI Fridays, and Buca di Beppo, to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, etc.

Whether you are on the south end, middle or north on the Strip, there will be plenty of restaurants for kids.

Bellagio Hotel

After wandering around Showcase Mall, we continued down the Strip to see the Belliago fountains.

Along the way, you will enjoy seeing the hotel structures such as the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and its Eiffel Tower. There is fabulous people-watching wherever you are as well.

The Bellagio Hotel is a Las Vegas luxury resort. We couldn’t afford to stay here but we were able to experience many wonders of it. Be sure to make a stop here to see the incredible features.

Bellagio fountain show

Adults and kids will think these fountains are amazing. If you will only be near the Bellagio during a certain period, check online to be sure you go when you can enjoy the fountain show.

On weekdays, the shows don’t start until 3pm.

We arrived for a spot along the railing around 2:45pm which worked out perfectly. While we were waiting, we ate some snacks.

During the daytime, the shows run every 30 minutes. After 8pm, the shows are every 15 minutes.

Our family loved watching the water dance to the music and lights. You should be able to get a wonderful view as it’s over 1,000 feet long. Water shoots as high as 460 feet in the air.

When we were there, we were lucky to hear the Star Spangled Banner as well as one more song for a total of about 8 – 9 minutes.

Afterwards, we went inside to see the gardens.

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

https://bellagio.mgmresorts.com/en/entertainment/conservatory-botanical-garden.html Whether you have kids traveling with you in Las Vegas or not, it’s worth it also to see the Bellagio gardens. These wonders are all inside and will likely be decorated for the season. It was autumn when we were there. It was incredible with many larger-than-life displays.

We wandered around the gardens and the rest of the first floor in the Bellagio, then headed off to see another hotel.

Las Vegas hotels to see with kids

After seeing the Bellagio, we walked to Caesar’s Palace. We wanted to be sure to go to the hotels with themes our kids studied in school. For sure we wanted to see: Caesar’s Palace, Excalibur, and the Luxor.

As you will have seen from driving in the vicinity of the Strip, all of these hotels are showcases. Each is pleasantly outlandish in its own way. Their architectural details are truly something to appreciate.

Caesar’s Palace

We spent some time wandering around Caesar’s Palace enjoying the statues outside.

Atlantis Aquarium

Be sure to see the free-to-see Atlantis Aquarium which is inside The Forum Shops. They have scheduled feeding times which you can see if you plan ahead. (When we were there it was at 1:15pm and 5:15pm so we missed it.) They also offer free, behind-the-scenes guided tours.

After we saw Caesar’s Palace, we were going to cross the street to the Flamingo to see the free Flamingo Wildlife Habitat. However, by this time, we were all quite tired.

We also realized the Excalibur and the Luxor were near where the shuttle dropped us off that morning, toward the south end of the Strip.

We decided to go back to our hotel and come back the next day to do more in Las Vegas. We saw those hotels the next morning when the Hampton Inn shuttle dropped us off at the Tropicana again. It was easy to walk to Luxor and Excalibur. They were both fairly empty as well which made it even more pleasant.

We walked over five miles that first day.

Las Vegas shows for kids

Adults and kids would enjoy these shows:

  • Cirque du Soleil
  • David Copperfield
  • Le Reve
  • Blue Man Group
  • Potted Potter

There are so many incredible shows in Vegas. I thought it would be fun to see Potted Potter. Our kids love the Harry Potter books, and we were almost through with watching all the movies.

However, when we were there, the tickets were for the afternoon or the evening. We didn’t want to be on a tight schedule during the day, which left seeing the show at 8pm. Our concern was that by that time, we would be tired and would have been just as happy relaxing in our hotel room And considering the price for tickets, we were glad we didn’t do it. For us, we made the right choice.

The next time we go, I will definitely book it during the day.

Las Vegas with kids – Monorail

Also know, there is a Monorail system which makes traveling the Strip easy, affordable, and fun for kids.

Free things to do with kids in Las Vegas

Like all vacations, things can be expensive. There are some fun, free things to do in Las Vegas with kids as well.

  • Walking in and out of the hotels
  • Going into Hershey’s World, M&M World, Coco-Cola Store
  • Bellagio Hotel: Fountain show; Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens; see the Chihuly ceiling (glass sculptures)
  • Caesars Palace Hotel: Atlantis aquarium; Fall of Atlantis free show featuring the Story of Atlantis
  • Flamingo Wildlife Habitat: See real flamingos
  • Mirage Hotel: Volcano show at night; the 20,000 gallon, salt water aquarium behind the front desk
  • Circus Circus: Circus acts starting at 11am on the center stage of Carnival Midway
  • Take picture by Welcome to Las Vegas sign. There is free parking but be prepared to wait in line unless you go in the morning.

Las Vegas coupons and discounts

Be sure to ask at the hotel desk for a map of the Strip. Even if you have one already, you will want to look through it for coupons.

We used a 15% coupon at the Coca-Cola Store. There is $25 off $50 in food at Senor Frog’s. Some of the Las Vegas shows have buy one, get one free or discount codes. There was a free cheese bread at Giordano’s. If you are going to these places anyways, you might get more for your money.

So definitely look through these coupon books.

Amusement park rides in Vegas

If you are a thrill seeker, you will have found your destination. Here you can enjoy so many amusement rides. Adults will find them thrilling too.

Rides at STRAT Hotel

Located at the north end of the Strip, the SkyPod (what most people still refer to as the Stratosphere) is located outside the Stratosphere Hotel. (This hotel is now called the STRAT.)

SkyPod

Admission to the SkyPod give you access to the inside and outside observation decks for 360 degree views of the city. You can purchase tickets for just this experience.

In addition, if you are more adventurous, you can add on one or more rides at the Stratosphere:

X-Scream

Insanity

Big Shot

SkyJump

If you are even more adventurous, you can jump off the Stratosphere. It’s called the SkyJump.

Adventuredome at Circus Circus

There’s the 5-acre theme located inside Circus Circus. They have live performances as well. In addition, during the holidays, they deck it out accordingly. There is a 4-D movie as well.

You can purchase rides separately but if you plan to spend some time there, it is better to get the wristband. The price is based on if you are over or under 48″.

There is so much to do here.

High Roller at the LINQ

Across from Caesar’s Palace, this is the world’s tallest observation wheel. If possible, they advise you book your tickets in advance.

Imagine a traditional Ferris Wheel but instead of sitting with your group, you will ride with up to 40 people in your cabin.

Fun for kids off the Strip

If you feel like getting away from your hotel pool and all the excitement of the Las Vegas Strip, you and your kids will enjoy the pinball museum.

International Pinball Museum

It was much like we expected it to be: Fun!

This arcade space is so close to the McCarran International Airport and the Las Vegas Strip, that you can easily take a Lyft or Uber. There is also free parking in the front if you have a car.

Most games range from 25 cents to a dollar per play. Most were either 50 cents for three balls or 75 cents for five. Most of the games have a paper with pricing taped to them.

This was a walk down memory lane for the adults. Not only are the pinball games fun, they are all different.

You can have fun playing a Gilligan’s Island pinball machine, on a Q-bert one, Star Wars, and on an Aerosmith one. It was incredibly fun to walk around to relive childhood memories.

Pinball Museum Las Vegas
Pinball Museum Las Vegas

For the kids, they will enjoy walking around playing whichever game they want to.

There are change machines there along with cups to put your quarters in. The machines accept cash or credit cards. 

What’s great about taking your kids here — especially during the day when it’s likely to be a little less crowded — is that it’s much like the M&M World, Hershey World and Coke store. You can give them whatever money for them to enjoy. We spent about $25 for our family and then left.

It was also neat to see the other types of coin-operated games there. The vast majority is the pinball machines but there are a few other retro arcade games and other games as well.

There are employees there but mostly to service the machines.

Pinball machines

There were hundreds of pinball machines.

Arcade games

Some also include legendary arcade games like Centiped, Ms. PacMan, and Donkey Kong.

Retro novelty machines

In addition to pinball and some arcade games, there are also some other types of games and machines. We enjoyed seeing the Mold-a-Rama, the claw machines, and many others.

Note, it’s dimly lit.

Las Vegas family vacation

In addition to swimming in the hotel pools, your kids will have lots to do in Las Vegas. Remember, there are so many free things to do in Las Vegas with kids. In addition, there are restaurants galore.

Las Vegas family itinerary

As you plan your Las Vegas itinerary with kids, take into consideration what they enjoy doing.

For our family, we knew they would love seeing the massive displays at the hotels.

We also knew they would love playing pinball. Add in Hershey’s and M&M’s and Coke — and making them more of an experience rather than just a consumable, it was a great vacation!

To plan your Vegas itinerary, consider first where you will be staying. Then, plan the things to do closest to your hotel.

Depending on if you stay on or off the Strip, be sure to get an idea of what you want to do based on groups: north, south, and in the middle of the Strip. Plan to do those activities then, that day, while you are there in that area.

Remember, the Strip is over four miles long.

Unless you are heading back to your hotel on the Strip, you won’t want to have to waste your time, energy, and possibly money backtracking.

Hoover Dam

As we left Vegas and resumed our road trip back home, we stopped at the Hoover Dam. That itself made for a memorable and educational experience. We took a tour, walked over the bridge, and took lots of photos.

Visiting the Hoover Dam ~ What You Should Know in Advance

Tour Amazon Fulfillment Center ~ Free Warehouse Tour

Las Vegas family vacation

You may not think of Las Vegas as being a great place for a family getaway. However, especially if you avoid going during the winter holidays when it gets really busy, it will be manageable. We are also a family who goes out during the day, and not at night.

If you are familiar with Las Vegas, you may be surprised to know how kid-friendly it is. No matter how much time you have in Las Vegas with your family, there is plenty to do.