That's right, I'm bringing what happens in Vegas to YOU! Having taken four leisure trips, I feel I have a good handle on how to have a great experience!
Las Vegas is packed with energy, even during these COVID days - NYC needs to relinquish it's title because the Vegas strip is definitely "the city that never sleeps!" And it's not all casinos and strip clubs...there are concerts, magic shows, ziplining, clubs with A-list performers, big-timer comedy shows, day/pool parties, helicopter tours, AND a roller coaster (hit up the New York New York hotel before Dec 2022 for that one!)
~ Here are some DOs and DON'Ts for a great time! ~
For a meal that might hurt your pockets a bit $$$ but is WORTH it:
DO: Spago at the Bellagio
One of the most memorable meals I've EVER had! I'm not the judge on what's authentic Italian food, but I know what I like. My friend and I were both impressed from start to finish - the wine, entrée, and dessert! It's also a plus if you can sit by the window to see the Bellagio fountain show! Unfortunately, that night, some boxer rented out that area for "a lot of money" according to our waiter. Boooooo....
DON'T: Carbone at Aria
The food was unimpressive, the salad was dreadfully bitter, and the wait staff were uninterested in our experience (dare I say, kind of rude)! Also this Italian restaurant played nothing but hip-hop music for a room full of primarily middle-aged white people. Not saying they can't listen to hip-hop, but it just felt out of place to me.
For a spectacular magic show:
DO: Shin Lim's LIMitless
He's a newcomer to Vegas shows and a two-time winner of America's Got Talent, and it's clear to see why! I didn't even watch AGT, but I felt so proud of him! He exudes talent with humility, his show was interactive looping in the entire audience at one point, and he told his story while keeping me engaged with his card tricks and piano skills. You also get not just one magician, but two, with guest performer, Colin Cloud.
DON'T: Criss Angel: Mindfreak
It pains me to even say, I was very disappointed - I was a HUGE Criss Angel fan from his TV show and was ECSTATIC when he called me on stage with him for one of his acts my very first time in Vegas! And that experience fell flat for me. But half the show was like watching a movie on screen, rather than a live performance. Lots of lights, music, and smoke and mirrors, too.
For the party of your life:
DO: Get on every guest list for the clubs!
Walk the strip, and you'll definitely run into a promoter. It's not a scam. Get added to ALL the guest lists, and then take your pick! Each club has a different vibe - hip hop or electronica - and a guest performer - Migos, Calvin Harris, Ludacris, Tiesto, you name it, they've got it! Guest list gets you free entry and some places offer open bar for the first hour or so!
But don't get too excited - "free" usually comes at a cost, right? - long lines, limited access, and usually the group must have equal or more women to get on the list. For example, Zouk nightclub has an indoor and outdoor section. During my most recent visit, Calvin Harris was DJ-ing inside, but the guest list only got you outdoor access to watch him on a big screen. But that's better than paying $35 for that same access.
Also they urge you to come early (like 10PM), so naturally, we showed up at 11:30PM and JUST made it in by the 1AM cut-off! Still had a BLAST - it was a warm night, my Long Island was STRONG, and even if I was inside, not like I was gonna meet the guy anyway *le sigh*.
DON'T: Try to show up to a brunch spot without a reservation
Lavo is one of the popular brunch/day party spots. During my first trip to Vegas, it was craaaazy - like people dancing on tables and tossing money in the air crazy! I'm not sure if I made a reservation or paid the first time I went, but unfortunately, this time around, we couldn't get in without a reservation (perhaps due to COVID).
And to get the most positive experience:
Check out Fremont Street for the Slotzilla zipline, cheap gambling (table games starting at $5 a bet!), and a more casual atmosphere.
Book a show! I feel Vegas has more entertainment than Broadway! Choose from concerts, stand-up comedy, magic shows, circus performances, dancing, "exotic" dancing; there's something for everyone. And most of them are top-notch! In addition to what I've already mentioned above, I've seen Chris Rock, the Jabbawockeez, and Magic Mike Live and thoroughly enjoyed them all!
Have the verbena at Cosmopolitan's Chandelier Bar. It's a secret menu item. Just ask for "the flower drink," and you will never forget it!
Book a limo ride in advance if you're not planning to go to a strip club. On the strip, you can easily find a promoter offering limo rides to a strip club with entry/drinks for a reasonable price. But if you want to skip that part, Google and book in advance a limo or a party bus/club-hopping tour!
Fill up a large cup, and sip it in the streets! It's legal!
Read the rules of your mini-bar. My hotel room was talking a $150 fee for storing personal items in the mini-fridge! I held my breath at check-out since I didn't see that notice before storing my cheesecake for 2 days. In my defense, the note should be on the fridge, not hidden away only to be seen when you turn on the TV to the "hotel guide" channel! SMH....
Underestimate how long the strip is. I'm pretty sure we could see our hotel from almost the other end of the strip, but it still took almost an hour to walk. Also, at certain times, Uber/Lyft are very hard to get, so if you have a show to get to, give yourself like 30 mins to get there, even if it's 5 mins away.
Stay too far north or south of the strip. Might as well stay off the strip and save some money (which I did twice, and wasn't so bad actually!). I say this because we ended up walking the entire strip and just popping into most of the hotels along the way, and I just didn't like the vibe at the ends - very in need of an update. If on the strip, I'd say the good hotels are from the Fashion Show Mall to the New York New York.
Forget your ID if you want to gamble at the tables or drink (and you look young or like someone who will be profiled). They WILL stop the table game and get security to escort you out....
Expect not to spend $$. No free continental breakfast at these resorts on the strip, coffee is $6, smoothies are $12, Long Islands are $24...get the picture? Being from NYC, I'm used to the coffee and smoothie prices, but $24 for a Long Island?? I guess they expect you to win big, for real!
Anyway, is it crazy that I want to go back a fifth time?? What's your take on Vegas? Drop your best Vegas moment in the comments! And check out my IG story highlights for all the visuals from my most recent trip to Vegas in early November 2021!