There’s a reason why I call Vegas the Disney World for adults! It’s literally everything you could want as an overstressed individual: extravagant hotels, decadent food, limitless booze, entertainment all around, and the games have the best prizes. I’ve been 3 times during different phases of my life. The first was with my parents as a child. I loved walking up and down the strip visiting the different themed hotels. I had never encountered being exposed to numerous stimuli on one street before. It was at this moment that I fell in love with the Venetian hotel. Like come on, a whole canal with gondolas throughout the property; I was sold! It was also the first time I witnessed the spectacular water fountain show at the Bellagio and took in the pirate show at Treasure Island. My first Eiffel Tower sighting was actually the one in Vegas and the Luxor transported my mind to faraway lands. I appreciate my parents taking me despite everyone asking, “What are you going to do in Sin City?!” I guess this is where I get my “let me find out for myself” attitude lol. Being open minded is learned.
My second visit to Vegas was with my girlfriends a few years ago. Finally, I could take part in the clubbing and day drinking and see how much of a partying city it was. It was also my first time staying on the strip, and I loved how I could simply take the elevator downstairs to get to the action. It was convenient, yet the rooms were so far away and sound proof that I slept peacefully. The highlight of the trip was taking in the city from above with a helicopter ride. We visited Tao at the Venetian for dancing, and I vowed again that I would stay there one day. If you don’t believe in the power of manifestation yet, start looking into it. This past New Year, I was able to not only visit Vegas again with my husband but stay at my dream hotel. This couples trip provided the type of fun and relaxation we craved before jumping into another year. We didn’t plan anything or make reservations, but we still had the time of our lives. For Vegas, I highly recommend having a few ideas and restaurants in mind, but enjoy the spontaneity of making decisions based on how you feel at the moment. With everything being so accesible, its a luxury to take advantage of. This blog post will give you recommendations based on my personal experience, but remember discovering things on your own is often an exciting journey.
Where to Stay
If you are into luxury travel, as I am, and want the convenience of walking to the fun, definitely stay on the strip. You’ll save money on Uber rides and time, especially if you’re visiting for a weekend. My absolute favorite hotel is the Venetian. It is based off of Venice, hence gondola rides, but the decor is bursting with old, Italian flair as ceiling murals welcome you. You can’t help but to feel like royalty staying there. They also have the best mall with a very natural looking installed sky and buildings modeled after Venice architecture. Simply taking a stroll through that mall was romantic enough!
We stayed in a Luxury King Select View Suite, which was $418 per night after taxes and resort fees. Keep in mind this was over New Year’s Eve and Day, so prices were much higher than normal. I loved the suite for the extra room and adored stepping down into the living area, which consisted of a TV, chairs, a sofa, work desk, dining table, and coffee table. The view from here was also spectacular overlooking the strip engulfed by the mountains in the background. Day or night, the view was hypnotizing. In the bedroom was another TV, closet with iron/ironing board and safe, a dresser, and a comfortable bed. My favorite area of the suite was the bathroom. It was old, Italian glamour with a green marble his and her vanity, deep soaking tub, decadent step in shower, separate toilet room, a well lit vanity area, and a small TV.
The room was simply amazing and within a sea of restaurants, shops, and entertainment throughout the hotel. Only cons was the high minimum for gambling and loss of that personal touch in terms of service that smaller hotels have mastered.
Check out my room tour here: Venetian Las Vegas Room Tour
What to Eat/Drink
Our meals in Vegas were spectacular! Literally only had one disappointing meal, which was the Bellagio buffet. Everybody kept raving about how the buffets in Vegas are like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Ya, it’s just a hyped up Golden Corral; I’m sorry! I was gravely disappointed and felt that I wasted a potential good meal held elsewhere, as well as $60 (it was a Holiday price). So here are my picks below. Keep in mind there are a million restaurants in Vegas and impossible to visit them all. I can only recommend where I have been and enjoyed. All of these places offered a superb experience:
Hash House A Goo Goo (LINQ hotel) - I have visited this place twice and have been thrilled with my meal every time. First of all, they have amazing cocktails that are sweet and quite strong. It’s a great way to start your carefree day in Vegas and decide on what you want to do first. They are famous for their huge pancakes (bigger than your hand!) That are as decadent as they are large. Their other famous dish is a chicken and waffles tower with the option to make the chicken Nashville Hot. Not to mention the waffles are infused with bacon. By the time you’re done, you’ll be dreaming about sleep rather than walking the strip.
Chica (The Venetian) - I also ate at Chica twice. The first time was for brunch on New Year’s Day, though brunch is normally only on the weekend. We were drawn in by the unlimited mimosas with the option to flavor with pineapple, apple, or cranberry juice. We visited again for the Dulce De Leche French Toast. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds and made with the fluffiest bread. The restaurant is also very trendy with comfortable seating, and if you decide to stay at the Venetian, all you have to do is walk downstairs. Oh yea, the home made chorizo is bomb too; just get it!
Hell’s Kitchen (Caesar’s Palace) - This restaurant is owned by celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, and modeled after the show, Hell’s Kitchen. When I first walked in, I was charmed by the fun, yet still elegant decor. There were pitchforks descending from the ceiling, videos of fire burning, and even a small pitchfork as my drink topper. However, the ambiance still screamed 5 star establishment. They were able to make fancy fun instead of stuffy, and I was here for it. So we were blown away by the food, the next thing we noticed was that the service was outstanding. Our waiter explained everything, was friendly, and cheerful. She even suggested our drink called “Meet Your Maker,” which was divine and packed a punch. We decided to do the 3 course menu. For the first course, I had literally the best Caesar salad I ever consumed with the fanciest cheese. The second course was a beef dish that was perfectly cooked medium rare (I mean perfect) and placed inside the softest, flakiest bread. I loved how creative the dish was, and I especially appreciated how the flavors complimented each other. The meat was paired with delicious whipped potatoes and well seasoned vegetables. Our third course was something we still dream about to this day: toffee pudding topped with vanilla ice cream. I would go back to Vegas just to experience this meal again, and it truly was an experience.
Buddy V’s Ristorante (the Venetian) - If you are into fresh Italian food, then this is a great lunch option. I visited here during my Vegas trip with my girlfriends, and it was a nice break from walking the strip while we consumed pasta, salads, and pizza. We were also seated by a large window where we would observe the action on the strip while taking in some quiet time. The prices are also very fair.
Carmine’s (Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace) - If you want a more fancy Italian vibe, definitely check out Carmine’s. This is a family style restaurant with white tablecloths, an extensive wine menu, and huge portions. Definitely big enough to share. The food was delicious and we were perfectly seated to people watch those strolling by.
What to do for Entertainment
There is so much to do in Vegas and definitely something for everyone! It really just boils down to what you enjoy doing, but I love the fact that there are so many options. Here are some of the activities I recommend:
Take In a Show
There are so many shows in Vegas, and you can even purchase last minute tickets right on the strip. However, if you really want to see something, I advise booking in advance. If you haven’t seen a Cirque du Soleil show yet, Vegas is a great place to make that dream a reality. I saw Zumanity, which is more of a risqué type show, but the rest of them are definitely child friendly. The show focuses on amazing acrobatics, and you have the opportunity to see the impossible happen right before your eyes. I am always amazed whenever I see a Cirque du Soleil show, and I recommend seeing one if ever given the chance.
Another interesting show that I saw in Vegas was David Copperfield. Now, I must admit I didn’t know who he was before seeing his show. He’s a very famous magician who now has his own show at MGM Grand. I still can’t wrap my head around some of his acts and am unsure how they were done. I mean he made people and even himself disappear! It was so fun to do something different as I had never seen a magic show before.
My girlfriends and I did a sunset helicopter tour over the strip, and it was mind blowing! I mean, this was my first helicopter tour, so I’m sure they are amazing in general. However, it was fun doing it over the strip and being able to point out different hotels based on landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower for Paris and ferris wheel for the LINQ. We found the tour on groupon and saved quite a bit on what is an expensive excursion. Only thing to keep in mind is that the tour will start and end away from the strip for obvious safety reasons. Taxis will charge a ridiculous amount, and it can take awhile to get an Uber back to the strip.
Visit Old Vegas
I’ve always been sleep on Old Vegas, but let me tell you, it is lit! This used to be the strip before the new strip was built and it’s filled with interesting characters, street performances, and an overall vibe of a good time. Its definitely more laid back than the new strip and if you are looking to dabble in a bit of gambling, do it here. Now, I am not a gambler and I hate losing money. I honestly just don’t see the fun in it. However, it’s nice to sit at a table with a low minimum and grab a free drink or two while you play. While the minimum for tables on the new strip ranged from $15-20, we were able to play at a table in Old Vegas for $5! This makes things a lot more fun because if you lose, its not a lot at one time. Also, I feel that the tables at the nice hotels on the new strip were rigged. But hey, maybe I just got lucky in Old Vegas, but I’m personally never gambling again on the new strip. I also loved how the old strip had zip lining and videos playing in the sky. It was one of our most fun nights and you would really be missing out if you skipped visiting.
I think at this point, I’m past my partying days. However, Vegas is definitely a city for those who love to turn up. There’s a party every night, and in the warmer months, there are pool parties. I suggest walking down the strip and waiting for promoters to approach you with free entry/drink vouchers. There is honestly no reason to plan ahead unless it’s a holiday or you’re going for a specific event.
I have to admit its pretty cheesy, but hey if you’re staying at the Venetian anyways, go ahead and take a gondola ride. It was romantic for our couple’s trip as our guide serenaded our journey down the canal. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to Venice yet, so this is the closet I’ve come to the real thing. It’s also a nice way to give your feet a break from the walking. The ride can be done inside the mall or outside. We ended up doing it inside, but honestly, I think outside would have been more beautiful.
Walk the Strip
If all else fails, walk the strip and you’re sure to find something to get into. It’s pure fun walking into each hotel because they have different themes and some even offer free shows. Make sure you catch the fountain show at the Bellagio. There’s no better way to end a night than watching the water dance in perfect coordination with music.
I personally feel that it is difficult to be bored in Vegas. I’ve been 3 times and each time has been exciting and memorable. If you have more time, definitely check out tours to the Grand Canyon as well, which is a popular excursion. Now what are you waiting for? Book the trip!
xoxo, Global Midwife