Nighttime is the time when a lot of solo travelers start feeling a bit lonely. They see couples and groups of friends headed out on the town and feel self-conscious about being alone. Some may even just sequester themselves in their hotel room ordering room service and pay-per-view movies. Don’t be one of them!
Nighttime is when Las Vegas really comes to life and glitters. The neon lights, the music, the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Strip, the wall-to-wall people on Fremont Street, the entertainment, the people-watching. . . .If you missed out on Vegas’s nightlife, you’d be missing the essence that is Las Vegas. So what if you’re alone? You can have a great time at night in Vegas even if you don’t have a posse with you.
Let’s start with dinner. Most Vegas visitors generally don’t even think about having dinner until 8pm, since nighttime lasts until the wee hours here. It is not unusual to see restaurants packed at 11pm. This can work to your advantage if you’re an early diner–you won’t have trouble getting a table, even without a reservation. But if you’re hoping to make some new friends by dining at the bar, you’ll want to hold off until 8pm or later. Dinner can be a real show in Las Vegas. There are so many excellent fine dining restaurants, no matter your budget, you’ll want to splurge on something fancy at least once, just for the experience. You can read more about the solo dining experience in Vegas here.
Other than eating, what can you do at night? More than you can in some cities. You can gamble, of course. Table games not only provide better odds than slot machines, but also the opportunity to socialize with others. Many attractions remain open until 9 or 10 at night, so if you were too busy gambling or lazing around the pool to get around to them, it’s not too late. Or you could, of course, see one of the many famous Las Vegas shows (and I highly recommend that you do try to see at least one show during your trip). You should spend at least one evening walking up and down the Strip at night, taking in the lights and sights. It is a spectacle. Maybe stop at the movie theater in the Showcase Mall near MGM Grand to catch the latest movie release.
I also enjoy relaxing over a drink or two while listening to live music. For the price of your drink(s), you get to hear what is oftentimes really good music. Here are a few places where you can listen to live music in Las Vegas:
Margaritaville at the Flamingo
House of Blues at Mandalay Bay
Zebra Lounge at the Palazzo
Indigo Lounge at Ballys
Petrossian Lounge at Bellagio (piano)
Gilley’s Saloon at Treasure Island
The Lounge at Excalibur
Tropicana Lounge at the Tropicana
Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill
Brendan’s Irish Pub at The Orleans (off-Strip)
As a solo traveler, I love going to a good dueling piano show. It’s a great way to feel part of a group and to spend a fun night without spending a fortune (except on drinks and song requests–which is still usually cheaper than seeing a show). Among the best dueling piano shows in town are the ones at Harrahs and New York New York.
Then there’s the nightclub scene. Las Vegas has more nightclubs than the average woman has pairs of shoes, so you have plenty to choose from. I can’t tell you much about them, since I’ve never gone clubbing in Vegas. (My days of staying up until 4am are long past.) All I know is that it sounds expensive, crowded, and pretentious, with too much standing in line for my liking. If you really feel you must check out the scene, Vegas.com’s nightclubs page should provide you with the information you’re looking for. However, I caution anyone visiting a nightclub alone that it’s not terribly safe. There have been a number of articles written over the past two years about how women–and men–have been drugged, robbed, and assaulted during visits to nightclubs in Vegas. (Google it.)
Finally, there are the Las Vegas Strip Clubs. I have no personal experience with strip clubs in Las Vegas, though there are a few I hear about quite a lot, such as the Spearmint Rhino, Cheetahs, and Treasures. One thing to be careful about is letting a cab driver steer you toward a particular club. Some cab drivers get kickbacks for bringing customers into a particular club, so they don’t necessarily have your best interests in mind. Do your own research ahead of time about which club or clubs you want to visit and be firm. For a listing of strip clubs and reviews of each, I recommend you go to Vegas.com. Also be sure to read their information on strip club etiquette so you don’t embarrass yourself.
How should you dress in Vegas at night? It depends on what you plan to do. Some people dress up for shows, some don’t. If all you plan to do is gamble, go to a movie, or walk up and down the Strip sightseeing, you don’t have to dress up. (And you’d want to wear comfortable shoes for all that walking.) Ditto for taking in the light show on Fremont Street. But if you plan to have dinner at a nice restaurant, go clubbing, or go to a show, you might want to dress up a bit. At the very least, I’d suggest business casual at night. But trust me, you’ll see people dressed in a wide range of clothing.
Don’t forget, if you’re going out solo at night, to follow some safety precautions.