My buddy Shawn spent hours upon hours putting together a scavenger hunt of things to do while in Vegas which involved a stop at every major casino on the Vegas strip. It was centered around the fact that it was Frankie & Alicia's first time in Vegas so we did a lot of the touristy Vegas things. (It's Alicia on the card as it was her birthday that week.)
Running down that list, I'll rank them 1 - 10 (with 10 being a must visit)...
SILVERTON: Mermaids (10)
Free! It's way up the strip but absolutely worth the visit. We were all stressed out from a rough day of running around when we got here, but the mermaid managed to put us all back into a happy mood. How can you not smile and feel good when a mermaid blows kisses at you!
It's a nice aquarium. Kinda small, but has a walkthrough tunnel you can see the sharks from, a giant jellyfish tank, and (my favorite part) a pool where you can pet stingrays. A little pricey at $20 but if you like aquariums, it's worth a stop.
LUXOR: Inclining elevators (3)
Free! Pyramid elevators can't go straight up & down of course. These are on an angle (you can tell by the observation windows in the background - although the elevators themselves do not have windows). The "A" elevators (I think) are the best ones to take as they're the only ones that go up to the 27th floor where you can look down at the casino floor from almost the highest point. When going in the elevator, walk to the left side and lean against that wall as it moves. You'll absolutely get that weird sidewise movement feel there.
Free (but pay per game obviously). It's an arcade with skeeball & video games. We played the 4-person Pac-Man Battle along with a couple others. Was a fun time.
Free! Exactly as it sounds.
Free! If you've ever wanted to have a say in what a major TV network airs, here's your chance. They put you in a room with a bunch of computers and have you watch an episode of a brand new TV show. It's usually one that hasn't aired yet (but in our case we saw the pilot of episode of Superior Donuts which had already aired a few weeks before - it's still too early for next season's TV pilots). As the show airs, you turn a control to say whether you like or dislike what you're seeing. After it airs, you fill out a survey on the computer giving more opinions on the show, characters, etc.
Wait to eat until after as they'll most likely give you coupons for the food court and discount coupons for the CBS store as well. Plan on an hour for this.
$19 and up and includes a parka and gloves to wear. It's a bar where everything is ice (including the glasses you drink out of). We did a Groupon that got us a free drink inside too.
Free to see, $20 for the champagne. Exactly as it sounds. I'm not a big fan of champagne, so not really my thing.
COSMOPOLITAN: Hidden pizza place (Secret Pizza) (9)
Free (pizza reasonably priced). It's not on any map, so have fun finding it! It's worth the hunt as the pizza was excellent (I got cheese & sausage).
Free! No major theatrics here - just thunder, lightning & rain while in a mall. Don't worry, you won't get wet.
$20 (check for deals). An observation deck. We did this after Stratosphere (which was amazing), so this wasn't too impressive. The highlight was the guide at the top who knew every little weird fact about every casino on the strip. He made this visit 100% worth it. I so wish I could remember his name.
Free! It's located near the Cheesecake Factory in the Caesar's Palace Forum Shops. Such an outdated looking show but worth a watch.
Free! There's actual flamingos at The Flamingo lol.
It's a long block off the strip, but I HIGHLY recommend this stop. We had the best time here, but sadly didn't have much time as we had a plane to catch. I could have stayed here all night. A Wynonna Judd lookalike was our blackjack dealer and she was awesome! I ended up winning about $50 but even if I didn't win, would have still loved every second. A Mariah Carey lookalike was also there when we went but we didn't have a chance to play at her table. You can also bet on upcoming sports games here (Shawn bet on the Bills, I placed a bet for the Cubs).
$22 and up. As of this writing, it's the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world. I recommend the non-bar cars as they're far less crowded so you have tons of space to move around. A great view of Vegas from this.
MIRAGE: Volcano (8)
Free! My memories of the volcano eruption were nowhere near as impressive as what we saw. This was so cool and absolutely worth a stop.
Free to see (unless you order a drink). It's impressive to see the acrobatics of the flipping / flinging of the cups as they make the drink. Unless you have our guy who dropped things a lot lol.
TREASURE ISLAND: Pirate Show (1)
Free! You can only see the pirate ships now, the show has been discontinued.
$29 & up. The guy who serenaded our ride was excellent, but the ride was extremely short.
WYNN: Lake Of Dreams (10)
Free! This was one weird show on a small pond. We found the greatest place to watch it from a little casino bar on the 2nd floor towards the right side of the pond.
Free! I can't believe I'm rating this high, but it was really cool. We see Ladderman and it was non-stop impressive. Also at Circus Circus (way behind the casino) is Adventuredome, where they have one of the last operating Chance Chaos rides in North America. You might remember it from Martin's Fantasy Island (not the exact ride that was there, but a clone) - it's one of my favorite spin rides ever.
Free! We had to do a substitution here as the sex shop is now out of business - which is shocking in Vegas of all places! The bar features pictures of monkeys everywhere lol. I probably would have rated higher if we had a chance to hang out longer here, but the Stratosphere was waiting.
This is the #1 view of Vegas! And once at the top, don't just look out the windows - go outside and see an unobstructed view of the strip. And then do the Insanity ride that's pictured hanging over the edge (or one of the other rides up there - Big Shot is good too). Insanity was so awesome, I rode it 3 times. And got Shawn on it too - he loved it.