To be honest, before going to Vegas, I didn’t understand the fixation. I hate gambling (yes, HATE), and have never been a big fan of fancy night clubs, especially ones where smoking is allowed. But, ever since going with Kyle three years ago, I’ve been hooked and we make a point of going at least once a year. I’m not a Vegas-expert, but have learned a few tips and discovered some amazing food throughout these trips. So, here are some suggestions if you go (and you should):
This is our number one priority when we go to Vegas. Usually the list of restaurants we want to try exceeds our length of stay. Some of our favorites range from cheap fast food to a fancy steak house. Try some of these:
- Cabo Wabo Mexican – Located in the Miracle Mile Shop Mall (Planet Hollywood), you can sit on the patio looking over the strip and enjoy huge portions of good Mexican food. Their salsa and guac is terrific.
- Sugar Factory – We haven’t eaten a meal there, but always have an ice cream sandwich. You get to pick your cookie and ice cream flavor. This time I had a white chocolate cookie, a sugar cookie, and PB & J ice cream. Amazing.
- Gordon Ramsey BURGR – The burgers are great, but what we keep going back for are the sweet potato fries! They’re salted AND sprinkled with powdered sugar, then served with an amazing honey style dipping sauce. It’s unlike anything I’ve had before.
- 800 Degrees Pizza – This restaurant is fairly new, located out front of Monte Carlo. It’s a wood-burning pizza place where you can design your own pizza, or pick from a list of “specialty” pizzas.
- Gallagher’s Steakhouse – Located inside New York New York, this restaurant served the BEST steak I’ve ever had. Their cheesecake is pretty stellar, too. It’s more on the fine-dining end, with terrific service – it made a great date night.
- Cheesecake Factory – Again, I haven’t eaten a meal here, but obviously the cheesecake is unreal. The downfall is that you have to pick from so many amazing options.
We didn’t do any trips or anything this time, but we did a bus tour to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Damn last year. I had found a Groupon for it, which was a bonus as we saved about half the cost. It was basically a full day, but we had breakfast and lunch included. I recommend seeing these sights at least once. Check the weather before booking (if possible), the day we went was about 140 degrees – and there’s obviously zero shade out there. Take water.
Obviously when we go on vacation, we look up the best gyms in the area. City Athletic Club did not disappoint! They were host to tons of photo shoots for the Olympia competitors over the weekend. They have all the needed equipment, and the atmosphere is unlike any gym we’ve been in – it’s dark with really dramatic lighting from chandeliers, giving it a very club-like feel. Add in the projection screen with music videos playing and it’s a fun place to train.
You can’t go wrong seeing a show in Vegas. Everything is high-end, perfect, and over the top. Hit up a Cirque show (Zumanity was good for an adults-only experience), a burlesque show for a fun night out, and a comedian to round it all out.
- Check out the monorail systems and make use of them! Vegas is huge and you will walk a lot, so use the free / cheap transport when possible.
- Browse Groupon before going to find deals on trips, shows, and food.
- Pick a resort that’s fairly central on the strip as it will cut down on how far you have to walk for stuff. We stayed at Paris this time, and it was a perfect location.
- Take good running shoes and plan on wearing them each day, your feet with thank you.
- Look for buffet passes. Hotels are grouped in chains, and they offer 24-hour buffet passes which are valid at all their sister resorts. This is generally a cost-saving way to eat for a day, and allows you to try numerous buffets – be warned, you’ll over eat this day!
- Use all the pharmacies and ABC stores to buy basic items and save money. Drinks (alcoholic and otherwise) are available at all these stores, and you can stock up on some snacks for your room to avoid needing restaurants all day long. They’re smart and also sell lots of flip flops and purse-sized flats for girls who can’t tolerate their high heels at the end of the night!
- At least once, get up early and walk along the strip when the sun is rising. You’ll be among great company – half fitness people out for a run, half club people who haven’t made it home yet… it’s an entertaining sight.
Sorry, I have no gambling / casino tips, or many clubbing tips. However, I’ve been to a few clubs – the one at Cosmopolitan was beautiful, and I had a great time at the club in Aria (but that was because DJ Pauly D was playing that night). Ladies can take advantage of the club promoters on the strip to get free / VIP access, but it’ll be pricey entry for guys. And, dress to impress – it is Vegas after all.
Vegas is a place you have to see firsthand to understand. It’s massive, bright, fun, trashy and classy rolled into one, and totally unique. It truly does have something for everyone, no matter what you want to get out of your trip. Go with an open mind, a fair amount of money, and enjoy!!!