Stag or bachelor parties used to be held the night before the wedding at the local pub. The groom ran the risk of being left abandoned, possibly naked, and certainly humiliated by his friends the night before the biggest day of his life. Generally, things have moved on over the years.
A quiet pre-wedding meal has become the new norm. The actual stag party, however, has moved to a major event several weeks, or even months, before the big day. Las Vegas has become a major destination for bachelor parties.
So, how exactly do you “do” a Las Vegas stag do? Our guide will take you through what you need to know. But, remember what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Well, at least until you plaster the photos all over your social media, and brag about it as soon as you get home.
How to get to Las Vegas
From the UK British Airways and Virgin fly several times a day, as well as FinnAir, Iberia and American Airlines. We flew with BA from Heathrow. If you fly direct, it’s a 10 hour 45-minute flight from the UK, but only 9 hours 50mins on the return. Whilst we are sure you’ll be itching to get checked into your hotel and out on the town, US immigration can take up to 2 hours at busy times, so factor that into your timings. Fortunately, McCarran airport is only a short cab/Uber from the Vegas strip, so you’ll be in the bar in no time.
Where to Stay in Vegas
Las Vegas is famed for its choice of hotels. Expedia will give you the full range and best price. We stayed at Park MGM, the newly renovated Monte Carlo. In 2016 MGM announced that the property was receiving a complete rebrand, aimed at the younger, millennial visitor to Las Vegas and therefore a great choice for a hen or stag do. A major part of this rebrand was the Park MGM ball room, which books some of the biggest acts around, with residencies including Lady Gaga and Cher. Park MGM is relatively small by Vegas standards, with less than 3,000 rooms, with room options including some suites. Our King Room was nicely furnished, with a great view of the T-Mobile Arena.
ParkMGM has a variety of eating options, including Primrose which serves French-style food, where we ate the first morning. Also worth investigating is Best Friend a Korean BBQ restaurant from chef Roy Choi. One of the resorts stand out features is Eataly, an Italian marketplace that was very busy whenever we passed by.
For an even more upscale Las Vegas stag do, NoMad is a different hotel on the top 4 floors of Park MGM with a separate entrance. Priced accordingly, NoMad has some fine dining options that are sure to make a good impression.
What To Do in the Evening
ParkMGM is positioned centre strip, next door to the T-Mobile Arena, so we were ideally placed to watch the Las Vegas Golden Knights NHL team play ice hockey.
The atmosphere of an ice hockey game makes it a great marquee event for your stag or bachelor party. There’s a lively pre-game tailgate party outside the T-Mobile Arena, and inside the stadium as face-off approached, the atmosphere rivalled a Premier League football match.
Las Vegas has an incredible array of nightlife. Clubbers should head to Tao at the Venetian which hosts a huge line up of world famous DJs. You’ll need to dress to impress to get into any club in Las Vegas, but particularly if your stag party group is large. Expect a mix of celebs and party people, amazing sound and light shows, and the opportunity to max out your credit cards with champagne parades.
The Linq Las Vegas targets a younger crowd so is a great choice for any stag do, and is definitely a good option for groups of all sizes. Located centre strip on the site of the old Imperial Palace hotel, it’s always buzzing and has some great food and drink options. For the adventurous, the Fly Linq zip line got our adrenaline pumping. We followed this up with the High Roller, Las Vegas’s version of the London Eye, with incredible views of the strip. For groups, the open bar version is a great upgrade for the 30-minute ride.
Earlier in the day, we had booked Maverick Helicopters for a night time flight down the strip. To help make sure the helicopter is loaded correctly you’ll need to give Maverick your weight. In hindsight, we should have added an extra stone on due to all the Vegas-style eating and drinking we’d done. The incredible views of the strip and downtown on this 45-minute excursion was one of the highlights of our trip. Maverick will also take you to the Grand Canyon – it’s certainly the quickest way to get there.
A Change of Pace in Vegas
A great way to start a day is with a long brunch washed down with great drinks and cocktails. The boozy brunch at the Aria covered three superb restaurants at Aria (Bardot , Herringbone and Lemongrass) and to say we were full afterwards is an understatement. Donald was a great host, providing not only information on the food, but also a wealth of Las Vegas news and history. The Lip Smacking Foodie Tours company also do evening and lunch tours, perfect for all kinds of groups. See more here
Your Vegas stag wouldn’t be complete without an Instagram snap at the Las Vegas sign. A quick a cab or Uber from the strip, ask them to stay while you take those photos. Beware that the queue isn’t official, just walk to the front and take your own photos (the guys asking to do it for you will be expecting a tip).
A trip to America isn’t complete without shopping, and stag do parties in Las Vegas are well catered for. Take a cab to the Premium Outlet North, which has great prices on Ralph Lauren, Nike, North Face and Adidas amongst others. It’s only a 15-minute ride, but if you prefer to stay on the strip, The Forum Shops at Caesars have Abercrombie and Fitch, Nike, Lacoste and many others in a Roman setting.
A couple of miles out into the desert, Seven Magic Mountains is a thought provoking free art installation by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, offering amazing colours out in the Mojave desert. After a hectic 24 hours by the strip, this was a real change of pace.
While most of your trip is likely to involve partying, a good idea is to balance that out by re-energising your body. We did a class at Soul Cycle at the Wynn, and it was a full on exercise experience. You’ll be able to eat that buffet guilt-free after an hour pounding the spin bike.
If you need something cultural to balance out any excess then the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art offers that respite. We enjoyed a peaceful hour taking in Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, one of the finest art installations in America.
By this stage, we were thinking that we’d eaten enough for the day (week) already, but afternoon tea at the Waldorf Astoria confirmed that we can always find room for cake. Open from 11am to 4:15pm, with incredible views down the strip, the Astoria boasts a full menu of tea options, fantastic cakes and a lovely relaxing atmosphere. In a pure Vegas moment, a couple even got engaged whilst we were enjoying a classic English afternoon tea. We wonder if they’ll be making a return to Vegas for their bachelor and bacherlorette parties?
Restaurants in Vegas
Las Vegas is home to multiple 5 star dining options, and Spago at Bellagio Wolfgang Puck is set right upon the Bellagio Fountains. We enjoyed incredible food, and when the fountains fired, experienced a true Vegas moment.
For a large group like ours, dinner at STK not only provided sensational food, but great music and atmosphere. Another Cosmopolitan eating option is Beauty and Essex. Hidden in the back of a pawn shop, book early to reserve one of the two jewellery box-themed rooms.
On the next evening, we ate at Catch at Aria. Located in a beautiful setting, with a menu of mixed Asian and French cuisine, the service (as with all the restaurants we went to) was exceptional.
Downtown is an area you should visit whether you are Vegas veterans or first-timers. The original hotel area in Vegas, legendary casino’s such as Binions, Four Queens and Downtown Grand are now complemented by updated resorts such as The D. A new hotel is also under construction at Circa. Full of great value eating and drinking , we definitely recommend finding time to head Downtown.
We visited the Speakeasy at the Mob Museum. A real undiscovered treat located just off of Fremont Street. Not only is the museum fascinating, highlighting Vegas’s past, but the Speakeasy itself also started the whole Vegas speakeasy trend. Think Prohibition-era vibe and amazing cocktails.
Last Day in Vegas
After all the excitement, the Spa at Mandalay Bay was our oasis of calm. What better way to finish off a stage than to refresh and revitalise before heading home? We enjoyed a hydrating facial, setting us up for the flight back to London.
No Las Vegas stag would be complete without a visit to a steak house. So as a send-off Delmonico steak house at the Venetian was our last meal. For groups, we recommend the private room overlooking the kitchen, which offers a wonderful tasting menu with accompanying wines. As a bonus, you can wander along the canal in the Venetian on your way back to the hotel.
A four night stay at ParkMGM starts from £400 based on a King room on a bed only basis. Flights can be found for as little as £400 per person return.
Book your Las Vegas trip at Expedia.
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