Now Taking Suggestions for Vegas

To celebrate our 1-year wedding anniversary, Ryan and I are planning a trip to Las Vegas. We will arrive on Thursday, October 30 and return home on Monday night, November 3. We'd love to stay an extra night, but we need to get home to vote in the presidential election!

We are staying at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, which comes highly recommended both for its elegance and for the fact that there is no casino labyrinth to walk through (and get smoke-soaked in) on your way in and out of the hotel.

We'd love to hear about your favorite places to go and things to do in Las Vegas. Please use the Comments feature to leave suggestions for us on shows, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping - both the places to go and the places to avoid.


Anonymous said...

Check out the fountains at the Bellagio!

Jean said...

I've never been to Vegas, so I am no help. But I love the democratization of your vacation! Yay!

Anonymous said...

We recently stayed at the Resort and Casino at Mandalay Bay - and did not have to walk through the casino either. It was by far my most favorite hotel in Vegas (and we've stayed at several) The rooms are on the larger side. Upscale. Subtle yet elegant. Contemporary. Clean.

The wave pool was super fun! It's nice to lounge and order pina coladas and read and then go swimming when you get hot. They have a lazy river which we didn't try. Their shark aquarium is neat.

The womens spa is wonderful. If you book any service there you can basically go and hang out all day (they are open til 8 pm) in the various hot, warm, and cool immersion pools, saunas and showers and take naps on the padded lounge chairs by the side of the pools. They also have a room with complimentary fruit, nuts, water, teas, etc. so you never have to leave.....

For dinner we went to Aureole (also in the hotel). Extensive computerized wine list (scary) and 3 story glass storage unit with a black-clad cat-woman-like rapeller retreiving your selection...

If you're not into wine you might try the Mix, at the top of the hotel famous for its Mixologist and mid-century modern-inspired decor. (We missed our reservation there due to hurricane residue), but it looked fun.

Didn't go to any shows this time around, but in the past have seen and can recommend Mamma Mia and O. (Sigfried & Roy were awesome but are no longer an option...) Wanted to try David Copperfield, but timing prevented.

Whereever you go, make time at night to check out the dancing waters outside the Bellagio and the Chilluhy (sp?) glass lobby ceiling inside.

You will have a blast!

Anonymous said...

Neon Museum: http://www.neonmuseum.org

Las Vegas Gun Range:

The Peppermill:
"Benign neglect has preserved this shagadelic lounge, one of the town's truly essential nightspots. Near the old Stardust Hotel, this evergreen ironic-romantic getaway serves food, but what you're really here for is the must-see-to-believe firepit, the crazy waitress outfits, and the lethally alcoholic Scorpion cocktail. The Pep showed up in the Martin Scorsese film 'Casino'": http://www.peppermilllasvegas.com


Anonymous said...

I've only been to Vegas once, earlier this year for a conference. We didn't get too much of a chance to wander about during the conference, so K. and I pretty much stuck to the Strip the extra day or so we spent there. Didn't get a chance to check out some of the kitsch I would have wanted to, like the Liberace, Elvis and neon museums.

But the Strip is trippy enough in its excessive way. I thought the Paris casino complex was fun in a twisted pseudo theme park kind of way. At the Venetian (hotel for our conference), they had this indoor faux piazza (sorry for the language mix there) that got the lighting and ceiling painting so close so that it did make you think you were outside during the day. Seriously disorienting at 9pm at night.

I have to say though, one of the highlights was just people watching in the Venetian casino bar on a Friday night. "Life's rich pageant", indeed.

I would say avoid Circus Circus like the plague. While it is somewhat interesting to see trapeze acts inside a hotel at 10am or so, the place is seedy and not necessarily in a fun way....

I do have a college friend (recently reconnected via Facebook!) who does some Vegas-related freelance writing work. I could ping him if you like - what in particular are you interested in? He'd definitely be a good source for hip and/or kitsch things to do.

And I've got a Lonely Planet guide book that I can loan you too - let me know.


Anonymous said...

If you love comedy, you HAVE to see Rita Rudner. I believe she is at Harrah's. I laughed so hard that I was crying :)


Anonymous said...

Vegas is a lot of fun - J. and I have had some fun trips there.

We always try to stay in a specific area. Cesar's Palace and Paris are both very nice but tend to be expensive. Bally's (which is attached to Paris) is also in that area but it's older. You can sometimes get a great deal at Ballys but some people are disappointed because it's not as flashy. However, you don't spend a lot of time in the hotel room typically. If you can get a deal at Paris, take it - it's the best of the three.

If you've got the money, consider staying at the Wynn which is one of the newest and fanciest hotels. There may be deals given this economy.

You're going to do a TON of walking. Just getting out of the hotels takes time and then you're going to be amazed at the scale of the place.

There are buses called The Deuce that run up and down the strip. You can get a day pass that allows you unlimited rides. The problem with the bus is that if it is busy, you don't make much headway because it stops every fifteen feet. You can actually walk to your destination faster - but on the other hand, the bus is air conditioned and you can sit down.

There is a steak restaurant called FIX at Bellagio (?) that is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Expensive (like everything in Vegas) but amazing food. J. and I still drool over the dinner we had there before we saw "O" - the Cirque du Soleil show which is also recommended if you want to see an amazing show.

A little north of Cesar's Palace (i.e. a couple of miles, walkable) is a giant mall called Fashion Mall that has a discounted day-of-show ticket booth. We didn't find out about it until our most recent trip and it was after we had already purchased tickets. We would have saved a bunch if we had gotten tickets there instead of through our hotel.

We've seen Blue Man Group (but not since it has moved to the Venetian), O, Wayne Brady and Mystere. All were great - you should try to take in at least one show when you're there and the discount ticket place will get you the best deal.

When we go, we don't really have a schedule or plan. We typically just set out to explore the hotels because, while they're all very similar offering casinos, restaurants and shopping, each has its own theme, attractions and amazing architecture.

Bring your swim suits. Most hotels have fantastic pools and it's a great way to beat the heat to spend the afternoon at the pool. Have lunch by the pool - bring a book and sunscreen. :)

All of the dance clubs open after dark. We've been to a couple and there are typically long lines unless you get their early. Dress nice because they'll keep you waiting in line if you're not one of the "hip crowd" they want to have in their clubs.


Anonymous said...

Check this out: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, located just outside Las Vegas, is a 1,200 acre complex of multiple tracks for auto racing.

"The Strip" is open every other Friday night for locals to drag race in what is called the Midnight Mayhem program.

(The track is also used by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as their driver training facility).

Get your wheels from Budget Rent-a-Car, check the no deductible option on the insurance form and give it a try.