Here is what you need to know if you are thinking about going to Las Vegas

First, you need to lose your In ‘N Out virginity

Going to Las Vegas is an unforgettable experience. Between the desert activities and nighttime entertainment, there is never a slow time in Sin City.

I went to Las Vegas and confirmed that it is, in fact, the the quintessential adult amusement park, especially when I saw this monster sized version of my favorite fair ride as a kid.

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Close up of the High Roller in action

This is Vegas’ High Roller, a massive Ferris wheel that has a view of the entire Strip and surrounding area of Las Vegas. It is hands down one of the coolest things I have ever done. Not only are you riding in a pod up the Ferris wheel 550 feet, you are drinking unlimited drinks a bartender makes for you during the thirty-minute ride. The key here is to drink quickly and use those 30 minutes wisely.

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High Roller Bartender, Mike, making the quickest vodka sodas.

The High Roller was the first thing I did on my night out, and a surreal experience I would suggest for anyone looking to see every famous place on the Vegas Strip.

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Aerial view of downtown Las Vegas from 550 feet up

As you can see in the birds-eye view of Vegas, the hotels in Las Vegas are not your average Holiday Inn. They're what my mom calls, “hotels on steroids,” and I realized for once she was not exaggerating when I saw the hotel Bellagio.

When in Vegas, stopping by the Bellagio hotel and casino to watch the iconic fountain light show is a remarkable experience. It does not matter when you see this, because the hotel makes it almost impossible to miss by having shows every 15 minutes.

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In the middle of the Bellagio hotel's fountain show

Neon lights cover every inch of the strip, making walking around one of the coolest (and most basic) activities to do while you’re there. It’s as if you are walking through a giant kaleidoscope seeing flashes of every color reflecting off you while you absorb the culture in this city of lights.

And just as it's a must to see a Broadway show when in New York City, it is essential to see a live show in Las Vegas. The city is known for its musicals, comedy performers, tribute concerts, and all kinds of live entertainment. I had the opportunity to see the Prince tribute show (with my parents, of course), but there are so many to choose from, like the Blue Man Group and Cirque Du Soleil. Seeing a live show is an incredible experience, and allows you soak up the Vegas vibes. And if you use Groupon, you can get tickets discounted in advance!

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The Purple Reign Prince tribute show

Before I went, a lot of what I heard about Vegas had to do with nightlife, but I found there's a lot more to it than nightclubs and casinos. Las Vegas’ desert outskirts and surrounding mountains are beautiful, and the hikes around them are too. I realized shortly into my hike at Red Rock Canyon that the combination of dry air and high elevation can get to you, so definitely pack a water or two.

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Down in the mountains of Red Rock

And for all you history majors, the Hoover Dam is on the border of Nevada and Arizona and is only 25-30 minutes from downtown Vegas. Take a break from all the booze-fueled adventures and burlesque shows to hike down one of the most impressive man-made structures the United States has to offer.

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A Dam good side shot

After all, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. So if you’ve ever wondered what people mean when they say this, book the ticket, and experience all of it yourself!

And don't forget to keep these things in mind when you do!

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