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Last-minute Las Vegas activities to book right now

Your friends will think you planned months in advance when you surprise them with these can't-miss shows, tours and excursions. Don't worry, we won't tell you booked everything from your car. | By Suzie Dundas | January 21, 2022

If it's your turn to plan the next getaway, but you've been a little busy. Don't fret—just tell your group they're heading to Las Vegas. Between shows, restaurants, events, tours and adventures, there’s an endless list of things to do in Las Vegas, even if you've waited until the last minute to start making plans.

Make memories and impress your friends with:

  • Same-day tickets: From musical fountains to magicians, entertainment options abound

  • A desert experience: Explore the outdoors in beautiful southern Nevada

  • A table at a hot restaurant: Nab a table at one of nearly 3,000 restaurants

Hit a free show

You don't have to worry about buying tickets in advance for one of Vegas’s many free shows—all you need to impress your pals is a schedule of when to catch the best performances. Top picks include the Fountains of Bellagio, where more than 1,200 fountains shoot water 460-feet-high in an impressive dance of light, water and color. You literally can’t miss it and there's no need to book in advance. The shows happen every 30 minutes starting at 3 p.m. (noon on the weekends) and every 15 minutes between 8 p.m. and midnight.

If your crowd is more into the big top, take them to watch the acrobats and circus performers inside The Midway at Circus Circus Hotel & Casino. The show goes on several times an hour starting at 1:30 p.m. with extended hours on holidays and in the summer.

Snag last-minute passes to a day club

Vegas can get pretty hot during the day, so take your friends to one of downtown's hip day clubs, many of which sell same-day tickets. Book a last-minute private cabana next or opt for a slightly more intimate experience by renting an six-person VIP Deck Couch at the Liquid Pool Lounge.

Resorts World Las Vegas has numerous pools, including the sprawling main pool with daybeds and wet chairs and the Bimini pool with lawn games, a bar and activities. For a truly luxe experience, book a round lily pad bed at the Encore Beach Club — for that one, you'll want to plan at least a few days in advance, as it’s a hot commodity.

Get tickets to a stage show

Sure, Cirque du Soleil shows may sell out in advance, but the city has so many live stage shows that you'll never run out of things to do in Las Vegas. And what better way to surprise your friends than with last-minute tickets to a totally unexpected stage experience?

Here are just a few of your options: daily stand-up and improv at the famous Laugh Factory Comedy Club, magic and mentalist shows, the “V - The Ultimate Variety Show” (with everything from acrobatic skaters to sports feats and magic) and even a pet-friendly theater, in case your group is as tight with your pups as you are with each other.

Tour Vegas' history

Advanced planning? Fuggedaboutit, at least when it comes to the Mob Museum, the popular haunt commemorating all things organized crime. You can usually find tickets available for just a few days in advance. Check the museum's calendar since it hosts events like live music and whiskey tastings.

Not into mobster history? It's also reasonably easy to snag last-minute tickets for attractions on the Strip like the Big Apple Coaster and rides to the Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck.

Dine like kings and queens

Las Vegas may be the only city in the country where you can wait until the last minute to make a reservation and still have a gourmet, multi-course meal. Las Vegas has more than 2,900 restaurants. From raw bars and gourmet burger shops to a mermaid lounge and cocktail ice bar, dining options are nearly endless in Las Vegas.

Bachelor parties may enjoy a night of old-school luxury at Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse, while the Skyfall Lounge is perfect for an elegant start to any evening. And the whimsical, over-the-top Vanderpump Cocktail Garden is a great next stop. It doesn't take reservations, so your friends won't even know you threw the trip together last-minute. There are plenty of farm-to-table and vegetarian restaurants, too.

For the ultimate wine bar experience, take your group to Wally's Wine & Spirits within Resorts World Las Vegas. With more than 8,000 wine labels, beers and spirits to choose from, your group is bound to find something everyone will love. It’s also a great spot for appetizers; order a charcuterie board or indulge and treat yourself to one of five offerings of Calvisius Caviar.

Go outstide the Strip

Travel just outside of town to find plenty of things to do near Las Vegas paired with crowds far smaller than the ones downtown.

Last-minute travelers can book off-road tours through the Vegas desert, take a historical underground tour of a nearby gold mine or even explore the Hoover Dam. Because most people stay in the city, you'll find more availability for last-minute trips if you're down to explore away from the neon lights for a few hours. Don't forget your reusable water bottle; it gets hot here!

Make your Las Vegas memory

When you want to plan a last-minute trip full of live stage shows, caviar tastings or off-roading desert tours, you’ll have no problem doing it in Las Vegas. Create lasting memories with your group – and no one needs to know that you didn’t book anything in advance!

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Suzie Dundas is a Lake Tahoe-based freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. She writes about mountain sports, adventure travel, youth culture and much more.

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