Las Vegas is always a whirlwind. Fly in Thursday evening and fly out Sunday afternoon – doesn’t leave much down time if you want to have ‘the Vegas experience’. So this is my account on how to do vegas.
We bounced around from one party to the next and didn’t end up paying for much at all – which is certainly a perk of being a young female in sin city. I won’t get into all the details (though don’t let your mind wander too much, we were pretty tame), but I will get into the best of the attractions. Now, these are the best of the attractions from the perspective of three 21-30 year old girls and may differ if you are going as a group with more people and, more importantly, with guys in your group. In my experience, Vegas is not kind to men without money. For example: Club/Pool Party Lineups.
- A group of girls buying bottle service at a table – 0 minutes.
- A group of guys buying bottle service at a table – 0 minutes.
- A group of girls on a guest list – 30 minutes max.
- A group of guys on a guest list – 1 hour minimum.
- A group of girls without a guest list – 30 minutes (as you will be pulled out of line and put in the guest list line anyway).
- A group of guys without a guest list – Well… let’s just say you better bring a snack and a comfortable pair of standing shoes with the understanding that you will only see the wee hours of the night life, or you might as well enjoy your night sans-club. And don’t bother pre-drinking… you will be sober by the time you start rubbing your legs the first on many times.
So with that in mind… Here is our experience.
Dayclubs/pool parties are the best part of Vegas. I’ll admit the clubs are pretty stimulating with so much entertainment (which I will get to later) but there is nothing like awesome music, people dancing, and the sun shining on your scantily clothed body leaving you warm and tanned at the end of the day with a batch of new friends from your spontaneous game of water beach ball volleyball. The best of these are:
- Daylight @ Mandalay Bay (Best on Sundays. Friday was also fun) – Great set up with lots of room to party and breathe and swim.
- Wet Republic @ MGM (Great on Saturdays)
- Marquee (I’ve heard its great but have never been)
Nightclubs seem to be a big hit in Vegas. Now, I will admit that I am less than your average partier. I don’t drink particularly often and I can only stand large groups of loud people for a short amount of time. I also don’t like the dark. However, I am only 25 and understand the value of these venues for those more rambunctious than I. Vegas is the place you want to be if you want to see a club go all out. I heard LA is also pretty crazy but not to the extent of the world renowned ‘Vegas Nightclubs’. These places pull out flying acrobats and people running up walls (Light Nightclub) to sultry dancers atop glamourous tables and an outdoor pool for the warm evenings (XS Nightclub), to the best DJ’s on the planet (All nightclubs) and even money falling from the sky (The Bank – thought it happened at Light while I was there and it may just be people with lots of money ‘balling out of control’ for the crowd). My recommendations (from experience and from what I’ve heard from my professional Vegas friends) are:
- Light – The entertainment here is mind blowing. Huge screens covering the whole wall, colour and strobe lights everywhere, people doing tricks on ropes, and even a giant Hawaiian man in a throne overseeing it all.
- XS – One of the most beautiful clubs with its outdoor bars and pools and over the top decor. This club is slightly less intense than Light but a full experience in one place.
- Hyde, Haze, Marquee, Hakkasan – I’ve never been but they are recommended.
- Special Mention: Gilly’s – Looking for a good western time complete with line dancing, a mechanical bull, and bar stools made of saddles? This is a great place to stop in for at least a few drinks.
As for Food I wish I had more input but something about the heat and constant stimulation allows me to go hours without eating so my meals per day to venture into desirable places is limited (as is the padding in my wallet). But I can tell you this:
- Earl of Sandwiches @ Planet Hollywood is an easy and quick place to get a good snack. They have a variety of hot and cold sandwiches as well as salads and desserts (though id recommend elsewhere for desserts). I personally am in love with the sandwiches (namely the Caprese) not only because the bun is amazing but so is the price.
- Bellagio Buffet has a huge selection of pretty much anything you could dream of. I’d recommend going on a Friday because it is cheaper than weekends ($20 vs. $36) but is worth it none the less.
- Ceasers Buffet I have heard is the best buffet in Vegas but every time I have tried to go the line is hours long. You want to experience amazing food? Skip a club night and get up at 8am.
- Jean Philippe @Bellagio. 2 words. Chocolate fountains. I mean, you don’t get to eat from them but they sure are cool to watch. This place also, obviously, sells amazing chocolate and has a menu for panini’s and other foods at affordable prices. I have never heard a complaint.
- Pepperoni pizza from the Tropicana pool bar (not sure where it is actually from, but it was delicious and fed 2 of us for a whole day for $18).
- Napoli Pizza Giant Pizza. This pizza does not taste great. It is more like mediocre cheese bread. But the novelty of a pizza so big you can fit in the box (I may or may not have tested this) showing up in your hotel room is pretty neat.
- That about wraps up my affordability spectrum but if you have input on the finer dining please comment!
Hotels come in varying themes and prices, and I imagine they all have their perks but some are certainly better than others:
- Monte Carlo – Is a pretty nice hotel at a decent price and is conveniently in the center of the strip (with an even more convenient tram to Bellagio). I’d consider it #1 on my list for bang for your buck.
- Flamingo – Also nice and has the added feature of being an original. It looks how you would imagine Vegas to look with many flashing lights on it’s exterior and is centrally located. The rooms have also recently been redone and are quite nice.
- Tropicana – Still on the strip but just on the other side of MGM. A bit of a walk but also a little quieter because of it. More of a ‘vacation’ feel and certainly more comfortable for people looking to get away from the noise a little bit more.
- Note: Luxor is not worth it. It may seem cheap when you are on hotels.com but that is for a reason. The shape of the pyramid with the rooms laying along the edges (and open space in the middle) is perfect for all the casino smoke to filter on up and stuff you up all night. And when you finally get out and want to venture away from the hotel you notice just how far it is. Granted it is not as far as Mandalay Bay, but it also doesn’t have anything great going for it to make it worth it (like Mandalay Bay’s pool parties). Highly NOT recommended. (oh. but i think their pyramid shape soaps are pretty darn cool)
- Note: I have only heard horrible things about circus circus. Also… really far away… the other way. And full of kids. And really just not nice at all.
- Those are the only ones I have opinions about. The rest are all up for debate but obviously MGM, Bellagio, Venitian, Ceasers, Palazzo are going to rock your world if you can afford them.
Outdoor pools are nice when you want to be outside but you simply cannot walk the strip one more time without crying and you are not in the mood for club music. These are generally reserved for guests (though we’ve still managed to see a few) and are therefore worth considering when picking a hotel:
- MGM – Huge and adventurous lazy river with tubes. Waterfalls, sprinkers, and a rain shower area make this pool the most enjoyable for a hot day in the sun.
- Monte Carlo – The Wave pool and beach vollyball court alone make this #2. It also has a lazy river that is enjoyable.
- Tropicana and Luxor are both plain jane pools.
- Bellagio is just stunning. So sitting by this pool would be a treat no matter what.
- Again, have not seen the rest. Please comment with input
Shows in Vegas are another highlight of many peoples trips. I wish I could say I’ve had the privilege to see them but, alas, I have only seen one:
- Peepshow – Funny and flirty and the scene with the bums in the pool of milk was pretty entertaining. But nothing compared to the Cirque Du Soleil shows I’ve heard so much about.
- Any cirque show is worth seeing. I have heard that “Absinthe” “O” and “Zumanity” are worth every penny and second.
I hope this post was entertaining and insightful. Again, these are just my experiences from the 4 times I have been there. Going with girls is 1000x less painful than trying to bring your guy friends or boyfriends. Not because they drag you down but because things get a lot more expensive and nothing is free – you can also count on losing hours of your time waiting in lines if clubs and pool parties are your scene. If you are more of a tame traveler and are looking for trips to the grand canyon, helicopter tours, romantic dinners, and some of the amazing shows Vegas has to offer than I wouldn’t hesitate to bring a loved one – they would make the trip 1000x better!
ps: I have one trick to share for walking the strip – Walking on the side of the road that MGM and Planet Hollywood is on is much faster than the side with Monte Carlo and Bellagio. There are less up and down overpasses and it offers some cheats that the other side does not have: If you cross the street on the overpass that brings you to the mall with ‘twin peaks’ it is faster to go through the mall to the next overpass than to go down the escalator and back up the stairs on the next overpass.
Anyone else have tricks up their sleeves?