With drive-thru chapels and 24-hour wedding venues, Las Vegas and love go hand in hand. However, not everyone is ready for marriage. You’ll want to spend some time with your crush first, and the city has plenty of first-date inspiration that won’t break the bank, including hiking at Red Rock Canyon. Here’s our pick of the best free or inexpensive date ideas to try in Sin City.
When it comes to making the right first impression, you can’t go wrong with dinner and a movie – particularly if you combine the two. Eclipse Theaters in DTLV takes the cinematic experience to a whole new level. While watching the film, you’ll get to enjoy a romantic dinner, wine and cocktails. You can also relax in the lounge before or after the screening. It hosts different events throughout the month, including comedy shows and indie-film debuts.
Relationships can be a real rollercoaster ride, so why not buckle up and try out the real thing in Vegas? With a pulse-quickening 203ft (62m) drop, the Big Apple Coaster is unequivocally the main attraction at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino; it’s part of the hotel’s arcade. It’ll give you every reason to hold hands tightly, and if you survive this together, the rest of the arcade will be a picnic, where you can challenge each other to Dance Dance Revolution or air hockey.
At VR Adventures, the saying “the couple that plays together, stays together” is put to the test. This virtual-reality experience at the Linq Promenade is within walking distance of the High Roller. With five simulations to choose from, you and your special someone can achieve almost anything. How about whitewater rafting in a jungle or battling creatures inside a haunted elevator? When you’re done, wander down to the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop for a sweet temptation to take you further into the night.
Every winter, high above the glitzy lights of the Strip, the enormous rooftop Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is transformed into a winter wonderland, with open fires for making s’mores, warming cocktails and a huge ice rink strung with festoon lights. While it’s one of the more wallet-friendly places to take a date in Vegas, it doesn’t lack drama and romance.
So, it’s not quite Venice, but then again, if you’re based in the States, it’s considerably cheaper than flying to Italy. If you focus on the gondola boats themselves, which are all made in Venice, you could believe you were gliding past the Palazzo Ducale. You and your date can drift along the network of canals – there are inside and outside rides – past reconstructions of Venetian landmarks, such as the arcades of Piazza San Marco, and under low-arching bridges. It’ll earn you real credit in the romance stakes until you can experience the real thing.
Soaring 1,149ft (350m) into the blue Las Vegas sky, the Strat is one of the city’s standout architectural landmarks. Indeed, it’s the tallest freestanding observation tower in the country, with dizzying views over the city, the desert and mountains beyond – among the best panoramas west of the Mississippi. Make an evening of it by picking up some food and wine from 108 Eats and 108 Drinks, respectively.
Alex Allen contributed additional reporting to this article.