Las Vegas is ingrained in the collective consciousness as the go-to getaway for those crazy last nights of “freedom” we call Stag Dos and Bachelor Parties. And with good reason – all the casinos, wild parties, 24-hour bars and diners, fountains, death-defying circus acts, building-mounted roller-coasters… everything here is designed to give paying guests one of the greatest times of their lives. And that’s exactly what most best men want to give to their soon-to-be-hitched best friend.
So let’s imagine you’ve been entrusted with the solemn task of planning the stag do for your very best mate in the whole wide world. Naturally, you and an assortment of his closest chums have conspired to drag him to Las Vegas, you’ve checked your flights and booked the hotel rooms – now what?
Get your bearings:
When you arrive, you’re going to want to familiarise yourself with the surrounding area, Las Vegas is a massive sprawling city with plenty to see and do – so go out and explore the area immediately around where you’re staying. Noting some of the local landmarks now will make sheparding your stag crew home at the end of a boozy night out much easier!
If you’re starting near the Strip you’ll be immersed in a dazzling display of what we can only describe as delightfully chaotic architectural juxtaposition – with towering modern steel and glass structures interspersed with pyramids, castles, Roman amphitheaters, the Eiffel Tower and an entire miniaturized cityscape of New York City. If your stags manage to get scattered to the wind, you can just tell them to meet up by the Bellagio’s Fountains – it should be easy to spot since they spew illuminated columns of water up to 160 metres in the air every 15-30 minutes in the evenings!
Staying Downtown? There’s plenty to see here too thanks to recent redevelopment of the area – check out the 5-block long Fremont Street Experience with its completely light-covered open air mall and three live performance stages. Find your way here by heading for the 12-storey Slotzilla zipline (it looks like a giant slot machine) towering at the south-east end of the mall. Why not strap in the groom-to-be and send him zooming headfirst down the 500m zipline at speeds of up to 40mph? If you are still hesitant on what to do, check out our blog post on 5 places not to miss when visiting Vegas.
Hit the pool:
For a city in the middle of a desert, there sure is a lot of water splashing around in Las Vegas. There are hundreds of amazing pool complexes, and many of them host daytime pool parties that are perfect for a herd of stags looking to ease their way into a long day of frivolity.
All the major hotels have over-21-only pool areas, but the real action is at the custom-built party pools like Day Light next to Mandalay Beach or Wet Republic at the MGM Grand. Or you can opt for something a little racier by visiting a pool-based “gentlemen’s club” at the Sapphire Pool & Dayclub…
And of course it wouldn’t be Vegas without some poolside gambling! Tropicana and Caesar’s Palace both offer swim-up blackjack tables with submerged seating so you’re only half out of the water. Don’t worry about getting your cash wet as the tables even include special banknote-dryers.
Activities and thrill-rides:
Not everyone at a Stag Do will necessarily know all of the groom-to-be’s other friends, but your can help fast-forward the male-bonding process by sharing a few heart-racing experiences – fortunately Vegas is definitely able to deliver on those!
We already mentioned ziplines but what about a theme park at the top of a skyscraper? The upper observation deck of the Stratosphere is home to the Big Shot (a sudden 49-metre drop from the top of the 329-metre high building), X-Scream (extreme see-saw that slides you towards the edge of the building) and Insanity (big spinning arm contraption that dangles riders over the side of the tower). Then you can take the Sky Jump (similar to a bungee jump but decent is controlled and slowed down by counter weights) 261-metres back down to the street!
Want to try something that keeps your feet firmly at ground-level? How about racing dune-buggies or quad-bikes in the desert? There are numerous private companies offering off-road adventures in the desert surrounding Las Vegas. Nearby Lake Mead similarly hosts jet ski and kayak rentals plus white-water rafting experiences on the Colorado river!
And if all of these sound just a little too adventurous for you, then what about golf? There are dozens of public courses around the city, some of which – like the Chimera Golf Club – also include Foot Golf courses. If you’ve not heard of foot golf before, it’s similar to regular golf, but without the clubs. Instead players kick a football (soccer ball) along the course and into football-sized holes. If you’d rather stay closer to town, there’s also Top Golf just off the main strip. Think of Top Golf as a bit like bowling but set on a driving range… You take it in turns – like bowling – to smack a smart-chipped golf ball down the range aiming for giant colour-coded craters that record your score. The highest score after 20 balls wins!
See a show:
Are scantily clad lady-folk (or men folk for that matter) an essential part of a Vegas Stag Do? It’s up to you really, but if, for whatever reason, Sin City’s many gentlemen’s clubs and lap dancing establishments have been moved off of the agenda, then why not go for something a little more highbrow?
Many of Vegas’ most popular shows are highly eroticised (and often comical) acts performed by amazingly talented stage performers. Absinthe at Caesar’s Palace is a risqué Vaudeville-style variety show that’s taken the Strip by storm; Zombie Burlesque, currently showing at Planet Hollywood, welcomes you into “zombies only nightclub” in a parallel universe, atomic-fallout version of Las Vegas in 1958. And then there’s the artistically sexy Cirque du Soleil show, Zumanity at the New York, New York Hotel and Casino. All fabulously raunchy shows perfect for a stag do.
Gamble a little:
If you’re ever going to gamble in a casino, this is the time. Every hotel-casino you pass through on your way to shows, restaurants and roller-coasters will try to tempt you to take a seat, get dealt in or slot in some change…So don’t fight it!
We’re not saying you should go crazy, but you should definitely think about setting aside some playing money in your travel budget. Just remember never to gamble more than you’re willing to lose. It’s also worth remembering that the cocktail waitresses at the larger casinos will take your drinks orders for free while you’re playing, so take advantage – just make sure to tip your waitress at least a dollar per drink if you want them to come back again anytime soon.
You’ve partied by the pool, you’ve bonded as a Stag-pack, you’ve gambled and you’ve ogled – what now for your intrepid Stag Do-goers? Now, it’s time to dance the night away!
This might be the stage where you seek some professional help from a locally-based party planner. Alternatively, you can get in touch with the clubs you want to go to personally, but having someone on hand whose job it is to get you all in and knows how to grease the proverbial wheels of the clipboard holders and doormen can make all the difference between a great night out and simply getting turned away.
One thing to bear in mind in Vegas:, be prepared to stump up if you go to a club. As well as an entry fee you’ll often need to pay an extra “cover charge” and/or pay for a minimum number of drinks in advance. These charges are ostensibly to pay for additional live performers, DJs, bands or entertainers not directly employed by the venue, but in reality have become an acceptable (but pricy) addition to the cost of entry at many Las Vegas clubs and lounges.
That said, even if you’ve paid for some kind of package deal already, don’t expect to get in anywhere if members of your group are having trouble standing, walking or talking. Just like in any other major city really. So maybe take it easy on the groom-to-be – at least until you’ve gotten in! Check out our article on the best places to drink in Vegas!
You’ve already covered orientation earlier in the day, so all your stags should make it back just fine – especially since they’re all best buddies now – so go have some fun Best Man!