When my husband grows up, he wants to be a professional poker player. Personally, I think he’s the best player I know (yes, I’m biased), and back in the days of US online poker, he did pretty well for himself.
Since he’s a gaming enthusiast, we find ourselves in Vegas quite a bit. I do not share his taste for gambling–even losing $10 in a slot rages me out, but I do love Las Vegas and all that it offers.
We’ve been there enough to where I feel comfortable offering my unsolicited (yet sage) advice to anyone who is heading to Sin City now or at a later date (please take me with you).
Three Places to Stay:
>The Mirage: My husband and I had an awesome time here. Not only is it convenient to see my favorite Vegas show, but it draws a younger crowd at night which makes for a raucous/fun evening at the tables.
>The Cosmopolitan: This is a newer hotel (circa 2010), so the rooms aren’t that special kind of Vegas outdated yet. It’s modern, hip, and centrally located on the strip. The Chandelier Bar is my favorite place to have a batshit drink (try the Fire Breathing Dragon…smoke will actually come out of your mouth), and with restaurants like Holsteins and Scarpetta, you’re not going to go hungry.
>Paris: This is a lovely little place, also located centrally on the strip (see a pattern here?). I like the casino, the ambiance, and Mon Ami Gabi has one of the best brunches in town. Go early to snag a table on the patio, have a mimosa, and thank me later. If you want something a bit more casual, head inside to La Creperie.
>I’m cheating, but an honorable mention is the Bellagio: I know, it’s old and caters to a particular crowd, but when I first came to Vegas, I couldn’t wait to have my Ocean’s Eleven moment. I’m still obsessed with the fountain show. Tip: Go to Hyde before 10 pm for free admission, and enjoy the fountains over a cocktail.
Three Places to Eat:
>Burger Bar: Gah. I am enamored of this place. Custom burger restaurants are a dime a dozen, but BB never fails to disappoint. They do not take reservations, so we’ve always had to wait 30 minutes and up. WORTH IT for the amazing burgers and boozy milkshakes. Put your name in and wander around the shops to kill time.
>The Wynn Buffet: I know, a buffet? Listen, you’re in Vegas and have to do it at least once. The hotels have been upping their game (honorable mentions include Wicked Spoon at Cosmo and the Bacchanal at Caesar’s Palace), so you tend to get quality food. The Wynn plies diners with endless crab legs, sushi, and amazing desserts, so it’s a win in my book.
>Hash House A Go Go: This is a 24/7 breakfast spot located in the Quad. Yet another place with a ridiculous wait, but I would do it again for the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had, fresh juices, and Snickers pancakes the size of a hubcap. The chicken and waffles also look amazing. I say look because I had serious food envy with every item that waltzed by our table. You really can’t go wrong here.
Three Things to Do:
>LOVE: This is my absolute favorite show in Vegas. Beatles music + Cirque du Soleil? It’s a perfect marriage. The theatre is intimate enough to where every seat in the house is a good one. I’ve sat in the back of the balcony, and I’ve been front and center. Both experiences were different and exhilarating.
>People watch: The strip has some of the best people watching I’ve ever experienced. You have all walks of life, revelers, plus talented buskers in one place. Grab a drink, take a stroll, and soak it all in.
>Gamble: Though I’m not a big gambler, even I feel the need to try and beat the house every now and again. You can pretty much gamble on anything, so pick your poison. Once, we were here during the Kentucky Derby, and placed our bets on some horses (we lost). And I always have my eye on CASINO WAR (yes, like the card game) though I’ve never actually sat down. Tip: If you’re not big on gambling, try it during the day when the tables are cheaper.
Three Things to Skip:
>Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat: Call me a hippie, but I do not approve of dolphin encounters. I don’t consider it conservation. This is a cruel practice for profit. As this entry is meant to be lighthearted, instead of me ranting, please visit the WSPA website for additional information.
>Eiffel Tower Experience: The observation deck is cramped, creepy, and while the views of the strip are lovely, you should instead take your admission fee and have a cocktail at the Mandarin Oriental bar which features an elevated view.
>The Stratosphere Observation Deck: Again, maybe I just hate heights or something, but I wasn’t impressed. On the flip side, there are a lot of thrill rides here, so maybe spend your dollars on those instead.
Whether you take any of my suggestions or not, Vegas is a great time for everyone. The weather is grand, it can be as fancy or low key as you want, and there is honestly no place quite like it.