Every trip to Las Vegas comes with one question – Where do you stay?
We know the quandary of finding suitable accommodations for your Vegas vacation and would like to simplify it. There are two primary areas in Vegas that offer similar (but not identical) experiences: The Strip and Downtown.
You can stay Downtown, where Old Vegas lives and breathes, or stick to the Strip, a mini-metropolis of glitz and glam.
While there’s really no right or wrong answer, and you could easily enjoy yourself regardless of which part of town you stay in, there are pros and cons to each.
Keep reading as we compare The Strip vs. Downtown
The Strip – Is it better to stay here?
Pros of Staying on The Strip
Staying on The Strip puts you central to the bulk of the action, but there are other reasons you’ll want to choose a hotel along the five-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard.
No Shortage of Fine Dining
When you stay on The Strip, you get a real taste of opulence.
Each resort hotel has a decent selection of high-end eateries, whether it’s a celebrity chef’s flagship location or an exotic take on a common cuisine.
Best of all, you’re not stuck with the choices at your selected hotel, should you not like the options. Staying at the MGM but want to taste the Italian delights of the Venetian? It’s just a quick cab or rideshare ride away.
Restaurants in the resorts rotate pretty frequently, so be sure to check yours to see what’s available during your stay.
A Better Selection of Live Entertainment
From Cirque de Soleil productions to a pop culture icon’s residency, The Strip far surpasses Downtown’s selection of live entertainment and concerts. It helps that the resorts on The Strip are large enough for sizable theaters and arenas, such as The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, which showcased Celine Dion’s unforgettable eight-year residency.
The Strip also offers some of the best magic shows and comedy headliners!
Like restaurants, shows rotate often, so check your resort’s event calendar for upcoming performances.
More Luxurious Accommodations
It’s tough to deny the unbeatable comfort of some of The Strip’s best hotels.
The Wynn and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas are just two of the city’s most extravagant establishments, offering up rooms full of comfortable furnishings, plush linens, smart home integration, and spacious layouts.
The extravagance of The Strip translates to a more comfortable stay.
The Views are To Die For
What if you could wake up, roll out of bed, and find yourself staring out at the Eiffel Tower set in front of the dancing waters of the Fountains of Bellagio?
Whether your room is facing The Strip or the red-rocked valley beyond, the views in a hotel along Las Vegas Boulevard are unmatched.
Cons of Staying on The Strip
As lavished as a Strip vacation can be, there are a few pitfalls you need to be mindful of as they can really impact the quality of your stay.
Casual Dining is Harder to Find
There is a very clear focus on fine dining along The Strip, so much so that the concept of casual dining is really reserved for food courts.
Either expect to have a very high dining budget, even if you’re just grabbing burgers and fries, or reserve yourself to fast food and chain restaurants for more affordable dining.
Everything Tends to Be More Expensive
From parking to libations, The Strip knows how to mark up pricing.
Even table game minimums are on the higher side at a Strip resort. The one thing mitigating this is you can stay in the extravagance of the Strip and spend more time Downtown to save money throughout the day, but that is a hassle.
More Difficult to Walk in the Summer Months
Dry heat or not, 100 degrees is difficult to walk in.
The Strip has more stretches of open concrete than Downtown, making it more uncomfortable to walk during the summer (or during any of the rare inclement weather events). Downtown is also more condensed, so traversing by foot is much quicker.
It’s Surprisingly Child Friendly
The moniker “Sin City” is just a formality at this point.
With attractions like Marvel’s AVENGERS STATION and a planned Disney immersive experience in the works, The Strip has become more welcoming to children.
Strollers aren’t a rarity anymore along Las Vegas Boulevard, which can quickly crowd up the walkways.
Top Attractions on The Strip
Staying on The Strip? You’ll want to make time for these attractions:
- Fountains of Bellagio
- High Roller Observation Wheel
- Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck
- Gondola rides at Venetian
- The Big Apple Coaster rollercoaster
- Shark Reef Aquarium
- FlyLINQ Zipline
- Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
Top Hotels on The Strip
There are many resorts to choose from on The Strip, but for the best experience, consider:
- Wynn Las Vegas
- The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
- Paris Las Vegas
- The Venetian Resort
- ARIA Resort & Casino
- Caesars Palace
If you are having trouble deciding, check out some of our hotel comparisons:
Downtown Las Vegas – Is it better to stay here?
Pros of Staying Downtown
Downtown Las Vegas may appear very separate from the action and entertainment of the city, but that division between The Strip and Fremont Street comes with a few merits that may warrant a Downtown vacation.
Your Dollar Goes Further
Lower table minutes, more casual dining, cheaper drinks—it all adds up to you keeping more money in your wallet during your Downtown stay.
You can find more costly options Downtown if you want that opulence, but it’s not the standard.
It’s Much More Walkable
The casinos Downtown are much closer together than on The Strip, making it more walkable should you need to dip into air conditioning.
There’s also the cover of the overhead screen that serves as the focus of the Fremont Street Experience. Even beyond Fremont, the streets of Downtown are lined with shops, eateries, and casinos to duck into.
Hole-in-the-Wall Dining is Unbeatable
The search for casual dining in Downtown Las Vegas is far less labor-intensive than on The Strip. The hotels along Fremont typically offer one or two simple eateries to grab a quick bite.
One favorite along Fremont is American Coney Island, which serves up a classic menu of hot dogs and hamburgers.
The History is Better Preserved
The Strip is an ever-changing landscape, with new hotels being erected where the classics of old Sin City once stood.
Walk through Downtown Las Vegas, and you can see that much of the city’s history is still intact, including many of the original hotels. Some may have undergone renovations, of course, but their exteriors are as classic Vegas as it gets.
Cons of Staying Downtown
Anything carrying the “Downtown” label is typically regarded as seedy or undesirable. While general Downtown Vegas is anything but seedy, there are still a few cons you need to be mindful of when considering a stay.
Some of the Hotels Are Run Down
While it’s true that the charm of classic Vegas is alive and well Downtown, that also means some of the hotels haven’t been updated in quite a while. This can always change as time passes, but places like Binions show their age.
Bringing Kids is a Gamble
Unlike The Strip, Downtown Las Vegas has remained very child unfriendly. You may get the occasional Mickey Mouse on The Strip.
Related: Attractions for kids in Las Vegas
On Fremont, you can expect more risque characters and a generally more adult vibe. There is also nothing specifically catered to children, though more adventure-seeking kids may love the Slotzilla zipline.
Can Feel Less Safe Than The Strip
While Fremont Street is littered with people and the signature glitz and glam of Old Vegas, the outskirts of Downtown Vegas may feel less safe.
It’s important to remember that it’s still a city, and you’re sure to find rundown motels and dark alleyways. However, there’s little reason to go beyond Fremont and the nearby Arts District, where the bulk of the action is.
Top Attractions in Downtown Las Vegas
If you’re staying Downtown, be sure to make time for these attractions:
- Viva Vision Light Shows
- SlotZilla Zip Line
- The Mob Museum
- Neon Museum
- Container Park
- Shark Tank at Golden Nugget
Top Hotels in Downtown Las Vegas
Hotels in Downtown Las Vegas vary in quality quite a bit, but if you stick to these options, you’ll be sure to enjoy your stay:
- Circa Resort & Casino
- Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
- The D Casino & Hotel
Verdict – Downtown vs. The Strip
So which should you pick, Downtown Las Vegas or The Strip?
For a first-time visitor, the Strip is the better option, which more things to do and see, relatively close together.
For a more luxurious trip, the Strip is preferred as well.
If you are on a budget or don’t plan on visiting the strip often, you may prefer Downtown.
Downtown also offers cheap gambling if that is your main activity in Vegas.
Either location is great and it is just a short ride between each.