July 28, 2014

las vegas

My view of Las Vegas from the airplane right before landing.

I just returned from a trip to Las Vegas. Most people wouldn't think I would really belong because I don't really gamble and I don't drink, but Las Vegas isn't just about the crazy night life we all hear and think about.

There is something that everyone can do; young or old and everyone else between. We love finding new restaurants, seeing shows, walking, lots of heat and sun, going to exhibits and in Vegas you can do that with just a quick walk down the strip. It can be overwhelming at first for someone who never has been before. Everything is larger than life and to some it can be too much. When I first went to Vegas a few years ago I felt overwhelmed with the all the lights, people, and choices, but where can you go to experience all of that at the tips of your fingers all day and all night?

I come from the suburbs and all the shops close at 7 PM, if I am lucky I can find a place opened till 10 PM. A lot of  businesses nearby home close on Sundays and Mondays. However, in Vegas if I want to take a walk at 10:30 PM and find a place to eat at midnight I can do that. 

I want to share with you some of the places I went and some places I recommend when visiting Las Vegas.

View from Mirage hotel room.

Where To Stay 

For half my trip I stayed at the Venetian and then I crossed the street and stayed over at the Mirage. I have also stayed at the Bellagio in the past. Two of my favorite hotels to stay at on the strip are the Venetian and the Bellagio. The prices can be a little high depending on the season, but I always feel very happy and relaxed when I stay at both hotels. Both have great restaurants, theaters, and many things to do in their hotel and casinos.

I also stayed at the Mirage. Quite a few people I know had great things to say about the Mirage, so I stayed there a few days.  I have to say that I really enjoyed my stay there. The first time I walked into my room it smelled of cleaning products, but I just propped the window open and turned the air on. I was jsut happy to know that my room was clean.

It's a smaller hotel compared to the other two, but I like that. You easily become familiar with it, restaurants and the theaters are easy to find and it has one of the best pools on the strip I have been to, and has one of the best burgers joints I have been too. More about that later.

 
Absinthe in Caesars Palace

Shows

One of my favorite things to do while in Vegas is catching shows. The three big shows I went to are: Panda at the Venetian, Absinthe at Caesars Palace, and Beatles Love at the Mirage.

At home I might catch one or two shows a year, but in Vegas you can catch a show every night.

Panda is based on a Chinese folklore of a Panada and a princess who fall in love, but a vulture takes the princess away from Panada and he goes on an adventure to find her. During his adventure he meets monkeys, sea creatures, and shaolin monks who teach him how to fight. I was so happy and honored to watch the real shaolin monks perform. Also, I was pretty smitten with a panda that chose me to come up and dance with him.

The other show I loved was Absinthe, which was an amazing show. It was funny, raunchy, and filled of talented performers. I don't want to give too much away incase you plan on watching it. The humor can be a little risque for some, but I really enjoyed it.


One of my favorite things to do in Vegas is just walk up and down the strip. Every hotel you go to there is something to do. During the day the strip is pretty empty compared to once the sun goes down. Around the evening it's hard to walk up the strip because of the sheer amount of people gathering to watch little shows on the streets or just walking.

Jeff Koons Popeye sculpture at the Wynn.
Gardens inside the Bellagio.
Butterflies hanging infront of the front desk lobby at the Aria hotel.

We also went to watch a few NBA Summer League games,  an awesome car showroom at the Quad, we visited Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden at the Mirage and saw some of the new white tiger pups, Bellagio's Botanical and Conservatory, Liberace's Museum, and Carlo's Bakery to name just a few.

One thing I recommend doing is stopping by as many hotels on the strip as you can, each one is unique. Bellagio is known for it's Botanical and Conservatory Gardens, Caesars Palace has so many stores and I heard has a great buffet, but the line was over 2 hours long when I went, so I never had a chance to try it. But I did have a brunch buffet at the Wynn and loved it.

Liberace's rhinestone encrusted suits, piano, shoes, and car were at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.


Largest Car Showroom at the Quad 
Caesars Palace is one of the largest hotels on the strip. Has beautiful fountains and so many s
At the Mirage Dophin Habitat



Restaurants  

There are hundreds of restaurants on the strip.

For a great steak dinner I recommend Gallaghers Steakhouse inside the New York New York.

For a great burger, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's B&B Burger & Beer in the Venetian is delicious. Their burgers are huge and very juicy. Please try their nutella milkshake. You won't regret it.

And if you are looking for other burger places on the strip - I also recommend BLT Burger at the Mirage. I got a delicious chocolate milkshake there and huge burgers there.


If you are looking for Mexican on the strip, look no further, the best Mexican restaurant is by far Canonita at the Venetian. The wait staff is super friendly, there portions are huge, their fresh guacamole is delicious, and I can on and on.



If you are looking for pizza, one of the best pizza places is definitely Grimaldi's Pizza. They are also located in New York. I went twice during my stay in Vegas. The staff was very attentive and kind, and the pizza was delicious.



There are so many options for a sweet treat. My favorite thing to get in the morning is a chocolate croissant from Bouchon Bakery in the Venetian. When I heard that Carlos' Bakery opened in the Venetian in April I had to go and finally taste his pastries and I was not disappointed. The pastries are larger than life, so sweet and creamy. I just drool thinking about it. The Venetian is one of my very favorite hotels to stay, eat and hang out in on the strip.

Carlos Bakery opened in April 2014 in the Venetian.

Tips

One of the last recommendation is to make sure you bring plenty of water with you. Water can be expensive at the hotels, so I just go to the Walgreen on the strip and buy a gallon of water. Trust me you will get thirsty. There are also men and women on the street corners selling water. They can't technically charge you, but they do ask for a donation of a dollar.

Also many hotels will have concierge like tables with people targeting couples and they will give you free tickets to shows if you spend the day at a time share event. I have tried a few things to get away - you can tell them you already did it, it's your last day, or you can just plainly ignore them. They can be very persistent. One guy jumped right in front of us while walking down the street and said he was a chef at a restaurant and wants us to come to his place for a free meal and asked where we were from. As soon as we told him (big mistake) he had another guy come and try to sell us why we should go to the time share. It's hard to ignore them and you don't want to be rude, but trust me it will save you lots of time if you just keep walking.



We had such a great time. I hope to go back soon. Have you been to Las Vegas? What's your favorite thing about it?



2 comments :

Angela said...

Vegas looks like its a lot of fun. And looks like you did lots. I never been before. Like you I don't really gamble or drink so I never thought I would be compatible with it. But looks like there is a lot more to do than just spend the day gambling.

Kim said...

HI Angela! Thanks so much for stopping by. We had so much fun. I see a lot of families, mother-daughters, couples, girlfriends; there is something for everyone. I miss it. If you do go, let me know, I will be happy to recommend some places ;)