So You Want To Visit…Las Vegas

For me, Vegas is the place to visit when I just want to go all out, be boujie, and live the lux life. It’s the best place to overindulge and immerse myself in the sensory overload that is Las Vegas.

Best Times to Visit:

  1. I’m a sucker for Christmas in Las Vegas. It’s not as crowded as usual, which makes it a lot easier to snag reservations. There also aren’t as many kids around, so that means a more peaceful experience in the lazy river, at the fancy restaurant, in the magic show, etc.
  2. Really any time it’s cold where you are, and you just need a break. I’ve been to Vegas when it’s definitely been on the cold side, but cold in Vegas is still warmer than winter in Ohio, or the mountains of New Mexico, or Upstate New York. Even if it gets down into the 50s at night in Vegas, the days are still usually warm and lovely.

Best Hotels: 

  1. The Venetian. The Venetian is my all-time favorite hotel, because it combines the convenience of being on the strip with the room size and luxury of off-strip hotels. The rooms are stunning, the location is very central, and the hotel itself has a ton of amenities which makes it a little world unto itself. And it doesn’t hurt that all of my favorite restaurants are right in it, or just around the corner. 
  2. The Bellagio. The Bellagio itself has some cool features (like the gardens that they change seasonally and the Chihuly in the lobby) but besides that, I’m not the biggest fan of the hotel itself. The rooms are pretty underwhelming, and I’m not in awe of any of the restaurants. However, what puts this hotel towards the top of my list, is the fountain, and the ease of getting fountain view rooms. Fireworks and water shows are my kryptonite, so being able to watch the Bellagio fountain show from the comfort of my room is aces.
  3. The Delano (attached to Mandalay Bay). While I think I’ll always prefer the convenience of being on the strip, I’ll admit there are some definite perks to being off strip. The first perk is that the rooms are just bigger and better. Our room in the Delano was a suite with two bathrooms, a huge bedroom, and a living room and small dining area with a kitchenette. Plus, the Delano shares amenities with Mandalay Bay, so their pool area (with a wave pool lazy river, and more) are at our disposal, and we get to spend time in the shark reef as well which was pretty magical. So while I prefer being on the strip for shorter trips, I think for longer trips the Delano will be my go to just so I can spend more time in the lazy river and looking at sharks.

Best Restaurants:

  1. Cut by Wolfgang Puck in the Venetian. We go to cut for one reason, and one reason only: the Japanese wagyu. To be clear, not all wagyu is equal. Not all A5 wagyu is equal. There are only a handful of places in the US where you can get the high quality, dreamy, melt-in-your-mouth, beef of legends. And one of those few places is Vegas. And yes, you have to prepare to pay through the nose for it. But remember that it is possible to experience food (and hotels and flights) like this completely free. That’s how we do it, and we are happy to clue you in.
  2. Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill in the Venetian. This is the first restaurant I ever visited in Vegas, so of course it became a staple of all my Vegas trips. Their bacon wrapped date appetizer is heaven on earth, and all of their seafood is just as good. I’ll admit that on my last trip the food wasn’t as good as usual, but I think that had to do with the obnoxious conference group overflowing the restaurant. I’ll happily try again the next time we are out that way, and I’m sure it’ll be as good as it was the first time.
  3. Hell’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay. I absolutely love Chef Ramsay. I watch all his tv shows, read all his books, and watch his tutorials before I cook anything. So of course visiting his “most famous” restaurant is a must in Vegas. The HK Signature Prix Fixe Menu is my go-to classic: pan seared scallops, Beef Wellington, and sticky toffee pudding. It’ll make you feel like you were just served by the evenings winning side of the kitchen.

Best Activities:

  1. Area 15. Area 15 is an immersive entertainment and event space. It’s such a trippy, sensory overload experience. Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart is there, plus the Lost Spirits Distillery. There’s a dual track zip-line, an arcade bar, golf simulators, and AR/VR experiences. It’s a really cool, trippy place, and you can spend all day there and still not experience everything.
  2. The High Roller. This giant Ferris wheel is my preferred way to see the city lights — even more than helicopter tours. Ferris wheels are just so nostalgic and comforting, and The High Roller in particular is just really romantic and fun. I like to go during all different times of the day. When it’s bright out, during sunset, and at night when the city is lit up in neon.
  3. Slotzilla. The zip-lines at the Fremont Street Experience are super touristy and cheesy, but also so much fun! Fremont Street itself is so energetic and lively, and getting to see it from a birds eye view just makes it that much better. It’s not the adrenaline rush people think it will be (or at least it wasn’t for me, but I’m used to higher highs and faster speeds lol) BUT it’s still super fun, and I totally recommend it.

Anything Overrated:

So, most things in Vegas are overrated if you think about it. You pay a lot to get average experiences with a Vegas spin. And that’s kind of the point. So if you love something that’s overrated, lean into it! A lot of the things I love (Slotzilla) are obviously overrated, so there’s no shame in the game.

  1. Any Gordon Ramsay restaurant aside from Hell’s Kitchen. I know this is likely an unpopular opinion, but while Gordon Ramsay is an obviously incredible chef, he is famous for very specific things — and those things are all found at Hell’s Kitchen. He’s not famous for his burgers, or for his fish and chips. He’s famous for his elevated cuisine, not fast food. And while his burgers and fried fish are fine (if you want his fish and chips, get them in London. Just trust me on that.), they aren’t the best food in sin city. And it’s a shame to go to Vegas to order what is essentially generic fast-food.
  2. The Gondola Rides in the Venetian. So I am a big proponent of trying everything at least, and I never regret it, even if something doesn’t live up to the hype. But for what the gondola rides cost, I really don’t think it’s worth it. I guess it’s a cool experience, and quintessentially Vegas, but it’s a pretty short ride, and frankly a bit awkward. Try it, just manage your expectations.
  3. Music shows. This will definitely be an unpopular opinion, but I am not a huge fan of going to concerts in Vegas. At least not the ones you have to pay for. Why spend money and take time out of your day to go see a pop star lip synch and twerk when you could get a way better show for free on Fremont Street? If I go see a show, I prefer comedies and magic shows. Penn and Teller is a really fun one, and for my Harry Potter fans, Potted Potter is a hysterical parody you should definitely check out if it’s in town.

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