If you are planning to visit Las Vegas, the chances are good that you looking for an opportunity to blow off some steam, party, drink, and gamble — the whole shebang. If you don’t want to go down the debauchery road, however, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to extravaganza shows to catch.
Whether you are into rib-cracking comedy, jaw-dropping acrobatics, music concerts, cabarets, resident acts, or incredible magic tricks, Vegas is home to hands down the best shows in the world.
Heading to Sin City soon? Here’s a rundown of the 13 best shows in Vegas that you must experience at least once in your lifetime. If you also need a place to stay at, here’s a handy guide to the best hotels in Vegas.
#1. Penn & Teller, Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino
Vegas and magic are a match made in heaven and no other group can deliver the same level of entertainment and awe as the magician duo of Penn & Teller. As far as charm and charisma go, the odd pair is simply unmatched, plus their acts will knock your boots off.
Short and rather awkward, Teller does most of the magic tricks, all without uttering a word, whilst his partner Penn provides a running commentary with a comedic twist. Despite being one of the oldest magic shows in Vegas (it’s been around since the 1970s), Penn & Teller remains fresh, evergreen and as lustrous as ever.
The dynamic couple likes to start the show by explaining the trick to the audience, which is something unheard of in the magic showbiz. It’s certainly the highlight of the magic act itself because the show will ultimately leave you wondering “what just happened?”
Like most magic acts, Penn & Teller is highly interactive, with some of the people being called from the audience to be part of the action. Overall, this show is worthy of a bucket list if you are a fan of magic or thrilling acts.
#2. Absinthe, Caesars Palace
Absinthe is a raucous circus show that is held every night in the striped tent just outside of the world’s renowned Caesars Palace. This is a variety show that brings new acts, performers, and talents nightly.
The producers of Absinthe go above and beyond to find the best circus groups from around the globe to deliver an extravaganza like no other. In short, don’t expect to see the same performance twice, which means you can watch the show every night without getting bored.
Whether it’s sibling duo of stunt acts, twin tap dancers, comical acrobatic skits, bawdy cabarets, or surreal singers, Absinthe has some of the most exhilarating, the oddest, and yet the best shows in Vegas.
It’s worth noting that most of the acts are explicit, vulgar and provocative with lots of mature material, so folks under 18 years of age will understandably not be let into the Spiegelworld tent. Also, if you are faint-hearted or easily offended, you might want to ditch this show for something less provocative. Be that as it may, Absinthe stands out as one of the most versatile and entertaining shows in the Strip.
#3. Le Rêve the Dream, Wynn Las Vegas
If you are visiting as a couple, this is one of the best shows in Vegas that you don’t want to miss. Since its debut back in 2005, Le Rêve, which is set at the Wynn, has continued to wow visitors with its colorful dancing, synchronized swimming, and never-seen-before aerial acrobatics.
When you step into the in-the-round theater, you will soon realize that you part of a surreal world of Le Rêve, an underwater wonderland of mystic and beautiful creatures. The brainchild of Franco Dragone, this fairytale love story has just the right amount of everything you can expect from an aquatic show.
It’s nothing like you’ve seen before, though. Le Rêve involves synchronized swimmers, aerialists, gymnasts, scuba-certified divers, and other performers who emerge and disappear from all angles. Some will descend from the ceiling, others will ascend from the aqua world, while fast-paced dancers join them on the floor.
Although it might not seem so to the audience, the stage is actually a platform that can be lowered or raised from a large, deep pool right at the center of the theater. Segments of the Le Rêve story are accentuated using a 47-ft rain curtain, 172 powerful fountains, lots of video projections, and sixteen fire-emitting devices.
#4. O by Cirque du Soleil, Bellagio Hotel & Casino
Cirque du Soleil offers a buffet of show-stoppers in Vegas, and O is undoubtedly the showgoers’ favorite. In fact, when most people say they want to see Cirque du Soleil in Sin City, the odds are that they are referring to O, if not Mystére or Michael Jackson ONE.
Cirque’s O is one giant act that integrates jaw-dropping acrobatics, death-tricking moves, and unbelievable maneuvers. What’s interesting is that nearly all aspects of the show involve a splash of water. Given that O is a phonetic twist on Eau, which translates to ‘water’ in French, this comes as no big surprise.
With an agile global cast of gymnasts, divers, dancers, swimmers, and whatnot, the show takes us through a theatrical story of the time. It’s an outstanding work of ingenuity, spectacular engineering, and unmistaken creativity. No wonder some critics say it is a fancier, more imaginative and overall better version of Le Rêve. Don’t expect the ticket to come cheap, either.
Right from the start, expect to see lots of gymnastics, clowns, fire stunts, aerial hoop, trapeze stunts, contortionists, and a 60-ft dive, all of which are performed above, on or in water. Don’t forget to bring your favorite water bottle to keep yourself hydrated.
#5. Carrot Top, Luxor
Carrot Top is an unquestionable champ when it comes to prop comedy in Las Vegas. When the comic steps onto the stage, you can’t imagine what trick he will pull out of his sleeves. Punctuated by his comical and odd personality, his eccentric inventions and jokes will simply tickle your fancy.
Don’t expect his jokes to be cliches. He may rely heavily on his prop comic side, but some of his jokes borrow a big leaf from his stand-up comedy routines, as well as hilarious commentary on just about anything. When he is not making fun of current political wave, Carrot Top picks on celebrities, musicians, sports personalities, and other trending figures.
There’s something of beauty about Carrot Top’s way of delivering humor, and yet some of his jokes come out as absurd and wacky. Take, for example, his former vice president Dick Cheney’s hunting episode dubbed “Operation,” or his pick on former baseball player Mark McGwire’s trouble with performance-enhancing steroids.
Carrot Top even takes a jab at the late Whitney Houston’s groggy singing voice in the later years of her music career. Because of the nature of his humor, you may want to skip this one if you are easily offended.
#6. Michael Jackson ONE, Mandalay Bay
Another massive hit from Cirque du Soleil, Michael Jackson ONE is a theatrical-cum-acrobatic performance based on Michael Jackson’s acts like moonwalking from Billie Jean, and ‘the lean” from Smooth Criminal. The show is also jam-packed with gymnastics, acrobatics, and dancing throughout the platform, all taking on the overtones of Michael Jackson’s hits.
If you are a music lover or an MJ fan, you will absolutely fall in love with the intimate vibe and acts in this show. It is a high-octave and adrenaline-packed performance that is filled with spectacular tricks that center around the king of pop.
This musically reimagined production elicits awe, wonder, and some laughter, all rolled into one entertaining show. After the final bow, you will find yourself feeling as if Michael Jackson just performed.
Performed twice four to six days a week, this awe-inspiring show by Cirque du Soleil is perfected for all audiences. The combination of acrobatic stunts, iconographic visuals, dance, and heart-touching music, it brings to life the creative genius of one of the best icons in the pop music culture. Held in Mandalay Bay, this performance is accessible, affordable, and most importantly one of the best shows in Vegas.
#7. Mat Franco, The LINQ Hotel and Casino
As the first magic act to clinch the winning spot on NBC’s reality show America’s Got Talent, Mat Franco has quickly established his presence in the showbiz scene in Vegas. With his signature tricks, the magician has headlined nightly for 90 minutes at The Linq Hotel & Casino since he won Season 9 of AGT back in 2014.
The 31-year-old, self-educated magician delivers an array of sleight-of-hand tricks that often end up leaving the show-goers wondering what trick will come up next. Franco’s take on magic is lightly refreshing, entertaining, and yet cliche in some way. Perhaps the real magic rests on his cheerful jokes and humorous personality.
The best thing about Franco’s show is that he whips up new, fresh material for each performance. Even still, his jokes and magic tricks remain intriguing and hilarious, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats. It’s no surprising 97 percent of past goers say they’ll recommend this show to their friends and colleagues.
If you are searching for a show that’s appropriate for the entire family, look no further than Mat Franco’s show because his acts may be PG but also light-hearted. Let’s not forget it is one of the most affordable shows set in a central location on the Strip.
#8. Beatles Love, The Mirage.
If you are on a hunt for a typical show by the famous Cirque du Soleil, you have just found it! Like its counterpart Michael Jackson ONE, Love incorporates the biggest hits by the all-boys band Beatles.
Music lovers and fans of the Brit rock band will be wowed by their all-time faves, alongside spectacular stunts, amazing choreography, and Cirque’s signature acrobatics performed all over the stage. You can expect to see professional circus gymnasts perform incredible stunts on skate ramps, trampolines, trapezes, bungees, and so forth.
This smash hit-show by Cirque du Soleil was originally the work of the late George Harrison. It integrates psychedelic elements, aerial maneuvers, and high-energy dances that bring cool vibes to the theater, all poised to appeal to your artistic, musical, and comical sides.
Even if you didn’t grow up in the era when the Fab 4 ruled the airwaves, you will exit the show humming a few lines. It’s a family-friendly show, however, kids under 5 will not be permitted to enter the theater. Bring your favorite camera (or camera phone) to take amazing photos of the rainbow-decorated entrance, and maybe grab a few drinks at the bars on Abbey Road.
#9. Blue Man Group, Luxor Hotel & Casino
A trio of black-clad men with faces covered in blue paint, the Blue Man Group is the ultimate Vegas show for someone searching for a visually stimulating and yet entertaining performance. The show combines cool music and performance art like no one’s business, all generated by drums made from plumbing parts.
The three mute drummers are somewhat oblivious of what’s happening around them. This helps set the stage for slightly obscene humor, plus a few folks on the audiences get an opportunity to be part of the act. Technology, music, and art with a sprinkle of humor comes to life at the Luxor Hotel & Casino, making this easily one of the best shows in Vegas.
The show is largely stimulating but it also infuses fantastic elements that include artificial intelligence, groupthink, brain function, and language loss. In some way, the show gives the audience the push and mental stimulation to be aware of societal incongruencies.
If you are traveling with your family, don’t worry. The Blue Man Group integrates some children-friendly illusions and variety acts that will appeal to your entire family. Ultimately, the special effects and lighting accentuates the odd music and beats despite the fact that the show has no soundtrack.
#10. Terry Fator, The Mirage
Some critics call Terry Fator the greatest prop artist, others say he is the best illusionist of all time. Despite his positive rap as an illusionist, the famous performer doesn’t actually do any magic tricks. Instead, he is a jack of all trades in the entertainment scene.
In 90 scintillating minutes, Terry Fator bedazzles his audience with a satirical comedian, amazing singer, and celebrity impersonator. At the very core, Fator is a marvelous impressionist, which is pretty fascinating given that his lips barely move. The impressionist also breaks into impromptu singing, imitating the voices of well-known musicians such as Ella Fitzerald, Cher, and Elvis Presley, all without tweaking his lips.
Fator is also a fantastic and much-loved puppeteer, constantly using his hands to bring to life his puppet co-stars that are loved by adults and children alike. Each puppet has own music style and personality. Take, for instance, Emma Taylor, a young girl with a heavenly voice, Maynard Thompkins, one of the best impersonators of Elvis, or Scott Walker, a typical nagging neighbor.
The show has the appeal of a stand-up comedy as well as a tantalizing concert. That’s why this show is one of the best family-friendly shows in Vegas. As the puppets get the little ones cracking, Fator’s hilarious jokes will hit the spot the adults in the audience.
#11. Mystère, Treasure Island
Cirque du Soleil is the name of the game in the Las Vegas Strip, and the production company rules Sin City with tributes to icons like Michael Jackson and The Beatles. But Mystère — which is featured at Treasure Island hotel — is Cirque’s most family-friendly, original show of the bunch,
This homely show brings together electrifying acrobatics, high-power athleticism, awe-inspiring visuals, daring balancing acts, and a huge baby that appears to be about to get in trouble. It’s Cirque’s premier show of the season that offers unbelievable feats of balancing acts, strength, carnival vibes, and clowns.
Named by the Las Vegas Review-Journal as the “Best Production Show” for 8 times in a row, Mystère has a global cast of more than 60 performers, including musicians, singers, champion-grade gymnasts, acrobats, and dancers.
Often considered as the flower of the desert, this high-energy show entertains audiences of all kinds with a whimsical mix of imagination, drama, acrobatics, and music, all of which come to life right before your eyes. The narrative in and of itself is quite easy to follow, making Mystère one of the best shows in Vegas.
#12. Australia’s Human Nature, The Venetian
Australia’s Human Nature Sings Motown and More is a must-see show for anyone who has a soft spot for music. The lyrical show features the dynamic quartet of brothers Michael Tierney & Andrew, as well as Phil Burton and Toby Allen. The four harmonies from Down Under perform to the greatest hits of Motown, so come ready to hum your lungs out or perhaps learn a few dance moves.
Established in 1989, the all-boy Australian band had the privilege to go on a tour with singing sensation Celine Dion for two years between 1995 and 1997. Their upbeat performances help create a show full of entertainment and excitement. Expect to hear the four boys belt out Motown’s big hits such as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Runaround Sue,” “Dancing in the Street,” and “Baby I Need Your Loving.”
Australia’s Human Nature is a group that has harmonical and singing talent, so much so that they are released a Motown tribute album called “Reach out.” It was not only successful in Vegas, but it went on to top the charts, and clinched platinum 5 times!
The group’s prowess has attracted the attention of the likes of Smokey Robinson, who produced one of their top-charting singles called “Get Ready.”
#13. Criss Angel Mindfreak Live, Planet Hollywood
Dubbed the greatest magic acts of all time, Criss Angel Mindfreak Live at the newly added Planet Hollywood is a sight to behold. Consider this spectacle a great choice for the entire family with its stunning tricks, impressive special effects, and rib-cracking humor.
As Kobe Brayant is known for basketball, Criss Angel’s name is synonymous with greatness in the world of magic performance. In fact, he’s one of the most watched magicians in recent history. And Mindfreak Live show will remind you exactly why he is the king of magic.
You probably know Criss Angel’s antics from his uber-popular TV show, but in Vegas he takes it to a whole new level. Ever seen anyone walk on water? If he’s not swallowing something, Criss is doing something crazy like hovering inside a light beam on top of a pyramid.
Criss Angel Mindfreak Live brings together 75 of his most legendary acts, state of the art tech, eye-opening illusions, and unheard of tricks. All crammed into a 90-minute mind freaking session!