Unlike many parts of the world, turning 21 is a huge rite of passage in the United States. Whether you’re a true partier or just looking for an iconic way to celebrate, there is a plethora of fabulous things to do on your 21st birthday in Vegas.
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Picture this. It’s 11:59 p.m. the night before your 21st birthday. You’re sitting at the casino bar in Caesars Palace, waiting for the clock to strike midnight so you can order your first legal drink. Soon after, you strut outside in your glittery outfit to watch the Bellagio water show and dance under the twinkling Eiffel Tower.
Every bartender and casino employee you pass asks to see your ID, and you proudly whip it out every time. They each bashfully wish you a happy birthday, and you can’t help but smile because you know this is a birthday you’ll never forget.
Convinced? Here’s what to know about celebrating your 21st birthday in Vegas.
Is Las Vegas Good For A 21st Birthday?
Las Vegas is a perfect destination for a 21st birthday celebration. Between the iconic casinos and legendary bars, celebrating your 21st birthday in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a true American rite of passage.
And, don’t worry. There are plenty of memorable things to do on your 21st birthday in Vegas — regardless of whether partying is you’re scene.
Things To Do On Your 21st Birthday In Vegas
1. Buy Your First Legal Drink At Midnight
Obviously, if you go to Vegas for your 21st birthday, you’ll definitely want to buy your first legal drink. Bonus points if you head to the bar around 11:50 p.m. the night before and order at midnight!
The majority of hotels and resorts in the Vegas area will have their own casinos and, therefore, bars. So, you shouldn’t even have to leave your resort to order at midnight.
I stayed at the Vegas Hard Rock Hotel And Casino and was able to buy my first legal drink right in the casino of the hotel lobby.
2. Play Your First Slot Machine (With A Budget In Mind)
You can’t fully experience Vegas on your 21st birthday without playing your first slot machine. Pick a casino and pull a lever or two!
However, I highly recommend you set a casino budget before you start playing. Slot machines are specifically designed to keep you spending.
I recommend only budgeting a small dollar amount, such as $25 or $50 USD, for casino games. You may not spend enough to win big, but you will still have a ton of fun in the casinos. And, you won’t lose all your money.
3. Walk The Vegas Strip
In addition, walking the Vegas strip (AKA the street with the most famous casinos and tourist attractions) is a great way to experience Vegas for free.
Without spending a dime, you can see the Eiffel Tower, the pyramids, the Bellagio water fountains, window shop, walk through the elaborately decorated casinos and so much more.
4. Take 21st Birthday Photos At The Las Vegas Sign
Another iconic and free thing to do in Las Vegas is to take a photo with the legendary Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas Sign.
The Las Vegas sign address is 5200 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89104. The sign stands in the street median and marks the beginning of the Las Vegas Strip.
Note, it is walkable from the Strip. Although, if you go in the blazing hot summer, it may be best to take an Uber. Otherwise, visit first thing in the morning to avoid the heat (and crowds).
5. Visit The Iconic Seven Magic Mountains
Another extremely photogenic area of Las Vegas is the Seven Magic Mountains art installation. If you follow any travelers on Instagram, you’ve more than likely seen photos of this colorful desert oasis.
The Uber ride will only take about 25 minutes from the Strip, but be sure you’ll have enough service in the desert to order another Uber. Or, just ask your first driver to wait for you.
6. Have A 21st Birthday Pool Party
In addition, a perfect way to spend the sunny afternoon of your 21st birthday in Vegas is to have an impromptu pool party at your hotel or resort.
Many Vegas resorts will have adult-only pool areas, fully equipped with bars and a DJ. If you’re lucky, you may even be there for a special event like a bubble or other themed pool party.
7. Luxury Shop At The Bellagio
If you’re in the mood to treat yourself (or window shop), head to The Bellagio for some of the best luxury shopping in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Here, you’ll find luxury retailers like Prada, Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Dior, Gucci, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Valentino, and pretty much every other designer brand you can imagine.
8. Take An Adventure Tour Into The Desert
Or, if you’re more of an adventurer rather than a luxury traveler, you could take a tour from the Vegas Strip out into the desert.
Renown Vegas tour companies, such as Pink Jeep Tours, will pick you up right from the Strip and guide you through nearby outdoor attractions like Red Rock Canyon, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Death Valley and the Valley of Fire. There are also various ATV tour options if you’re keen for true adventure.
9. Take A Gondola Ride At The Venetian
Perhaps, you love the idea of a little adventure but also want to incorporate the luxurious, fantasy side of Las Vegas. If this is you, definitely take a gondola ride at The Venetian.
The Venetian gondola rides are both indoor and outdoor, weather pending. At an extremely reasonable price (between $30-$40 USD per person), you’ll be engulfed in Italian architecture and serenaded by the talented gondolier’s vibrato.
10. Visit The Neon Museum
Furthermore, if you’re intrigued by the rock-and-roll element of Vegas, you won’t want to miss the famous Neon Museum.
At the Neon Museum, you’ll get to see all of the retired neon signs that once hung around Las Vegas.
Although the Neon Museum is an iconic hot-spot all day long, consider going a little before dusk. This way, you’ll be able to experience the signs in daylight and lit up at night.
11. Ride The High Roller
Next, if you have time left in your 21st birthday in Vegas itinerary, take a ride over the city on the High Roller.
The Higher Roller is essentially Vegas’s version of the London Eye. The ride takes a worthwhile 30 minutes and can be enjoyed in broad daylight or at night. According to fellow travel blogger Dana Berez, you should ride at night so you can see Las Vegas lit up in all its glory.
Otherwise, if you’d like to see the city aerially in another way, you could also zipline or take a helicopter tour over the Strip.
12. Watch The Bellagio Water Show
You can’t complete a trip to Vegas without watching the Fountains of Bellagio.
As you explore the Strip, you’ll inevitably pass the Bellagio Hotel & Casino and its majestic front-yard water fountains. From Monday through Friday, the fountain show runs every 30 minutes from 3:00-7:00 p.m., as well as every 15 minutes from 7:00 p.m. to midnight. On Saturday and Sunday, the show runs every 30 minutes from noon to 7:00 p.m., as well as every 15 minutes from 7:00 p.m. to midnight.
So, the likelihood of seeing the fountain show multiple times on your trip, both at daytime and nighttime, is high!
13. Dance Under The Eiffel Tower
Finally, what better way to end your 21st birthday in Vegas than to dance the night away under the twinkling Eiffel Tower?
Believe it or not, there actually is a bar and dance club located on the actual Vegas Eiffel Tower. It’s called Chateau Rooftop. You need tickets to be admitted; however, we were able to get free admission with a ticket handed to us by an employee in front of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.
Most of the streetside employees appear scammy, but you may actually want to stop by the Paris employees this time to see about free admission.
Do You Get Free Drinks In Vegas On Your Birthday?
Unless you pick up your free Starbucks rewards birthday drink or have met some generous partiers at a bar, don’t bank on getting free drinks in Vegas on your birthday.
In fact, the prices of drinks in Vegas can add up really quickly. Here are some key tips to surviving your 21st birthday in Vegas, especially if you’re on a budget.
How To Survive Your 21st Birthday In Vegas
1. Stay Hydrated
Do not underestimate the Vegas desert sun. The air in Vegas is super dry and can be extremely hot, so drinking extra water and electrolytes is essential.
Plus, it’s always important to stay hydrated while consuming alcohol.
If you’re looking for a healthier electrolyte alternative (low calorie, no added sugar, natural ingredients), I highly recommend the BODYARMOR lyte sports drinks — particularly the peach mango flavor.
2. Wear Sunscreen
Likewise, don’t underestimate the desert sun’s ability to burn your skin. Wear sunscreen every single day of your trip.
Even if you don’t typically burn, it is vital to wear sunscreen in Las Vegas. The last thing you’ll want to be doing on your 21st birthday is applying aloe vera or getting heat stroke.
When I’m not swimming in the ocean, my go-to sunscreen is the Neutrogena Clear Face oil-free sunscreen with SPF 55. I have extremely sensitive skin, and this sunscreen has never made me break out. (However, it is not reef safe, so I do not recommend wearing it on beach vacations.)
3. Drink Less Than Normal On Your 21st Birthday In Vegas
Alcoholic drinks are stronger in Vegas. No exaggeration.
Just like you won’t want to spend your 21st birthday in Vegas with heat stroke, you also don’t want to spend it completely nauseous and hungover. Be smart, and be extra modest with your alcohol consumption.
And, don’t forget to eat!
4. Set A Drink And Casino Budget Before Your 21st Birthday Trip
Also, as aforementioned, drinks are expensive in Vegas. And, it is really easy to blow hundreds of dollars in the casinos.
If you’re traveling on a budget, set both a drink and casino budget before you even arrive in Las Vegas. Take out the allotted budget in cash before your trip so that you aren’t tempted to take more cash out during your trip. (ATM fees are also astronomical in Vegas — like, $10 per withdrawal — so this tip will also save you a ton of money in ATM fees, too.)
5. Buy 21st Birthday Drinks And Snacks At A Convenience Store
Lastly, another way to save cash in Vegas is to buy drinks (alcoholic as well as water) and snacks at a convenience store like CVS or Walgreens.
Again, the price of alcohol is totally spiked in Vegas (pun intended). Cocktails can cost anywhere between $8-$40 USD each, so it may be in your best interest to purchase the majority of your beverages at a convenience store, and then splurge on maybe one or two fancy Vegas cocktails.
Moreover, your hotel room will be fully stocked with yummy-yet-overpriced midnight snacks and water bottles to quench your post-party cravings. Eliminate the temptation by purchasing your water and snacks beforehand at a nearby convenience store.
Now that you’re fully prepared to celebrate, which of these iconic things to do on your 21st birthday in Vegas are you most excited for? Let me know by leaving a reply below or sending me a DM on Instagram!
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