From the bright lights of the Strip, to some of the best casinos and entertainment shows in the world, Las Vegas was everything that I imagined it to be.
It is a gamblers paradise. And for someone who likes to have a bet, I definitely enjoyed my time here. However, there is a lot to do in Las Vegas other than the likelihood of throwing away your hard-earned cash.
We spent four nights in ‘Sin City’ and I felt like I had the full Vegas experience.
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” right? But, I’ll let you into a few of our secrets…
Where to stay?
We stayed at The Signature at MGM Grand – a 4* hotel further down from the centre. This is the third largest hotel resort in the world with 6852 rooms. To put this into context, it took 17 minutes/or 0.7 miles to walk from the Main Lobby to our room.
If you’re wanting to do Vegas on more of a shoestring budget then there are cheaper options when it comes to accommodation, but just be prepared to stay off the Strip.
Day One – Martin Garrix @ OMNIA Nightclub & Caesars Palace Casino
We flew into Las Vegas from San Diego in style with JSX Airlines. Their USP is flying to Vegas from several different U.S.A. destinations in a small jet with a Business Class feel.
Other advantages include being able to check in 30 minutes before the flight, skip airport security on departure and arrival, as well as enjoying free alcohol onboard. The best part about this was it only costs £82 p/p!
When we touched down, we made a beeline to our hotel, as we were going to OMNIA Nightclub in Caesars Palace this evening to watch international DJ, Martin Garrix. The first thing we realised when we landed in Las Vegas was that it’s bloody hot!
The second thing we soon learnt was that Vegas really isn’t cheap! To be honest, I didn’t expect anything less as we were warned about the inflated prices beforehand. Inside the club single vodka mixers were $25 a pop. Thankfully, Em and I are lightweights, so it didn’t cost too much to get us drunk!
It’s fair to say OMNIA is one of the best nightclubs I’ve ever been to. Hardly surprising given it’s ranked 21ˢᵗ in the Top 100 Nightclubs in the world. We had a blast, got right to the front and ended up in Caesars Palace Casino afterwards at 4:00am in the morning.
In my drunken mind, I thought it would be a good idea to have my first bet in Vegas and to play Blackjack at a live table.
I made the rookie mistake of sitting at the first blackjack table I saw, which ended up being a $50 minimum bet table. Naively, I thought that I could put $50 down and then gamble as little or as much of that money as I liked, but that wasn’t the case.
I had to stake $50 in one full sweep, it was all or nothing. If I remember rightly, I was dealt a 5 and then a 9. Even worse, the dealer had a Queen. I simply had to hit and hope I could get as close to 21 as possible but I got a King, meaning I’d bust and lost my money within the space of about 15 seconds!
Sensibly, but also rather embarrassingly, I left the table – not trying to chase my losses. Eventually, we staggered back to our hotel room at gone 5:00am in the morning.
Day Two – The Strip & Casinos
The next day was a bit of a washout. We tried our best to sleep off the absolutely awful hangover that we were nursing by having a lie-in until midday.
In the afternoon, we walked the Strip in blistering 43’C heat and checked out some of the most popular Casinos including the Bellagio, Planet Hollywood and my favourite, The Venetian and Palazzo.
Later in the evening, (now feeling much fresher) we watched The Fountains of Bellagio to the sound of Céline Dion – My Heart Will Go On from outside the Bellagio Hotel, and then eat at Giordano’s, where we shared a deep dish pizza.
Emily desperately wanted to come back here after we enjoyed the meal we had earlier in Chicago.
We then headed over to The Mirage Hotel for 21:30, as we had booked to see The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil. This had come highly recommended by our travel agent and several of our friends. We paid £96 each and it was worth every penny – the show was amazing!
Afterwards, we walked over to The Venetian and had a punt on some slot machines. Luckily, we ended up turning $20 into a tidy $80 profit.
I then tried my luck at blackjack again, this time finding a $15 minimum table. Luck must have been on my side tonight, as I quickly turned $60 into $215. We were up in Vegas!
Day Three – Las Vegas sign, more Casinos, Zip lining, Burlesque show & High Roller Wheel
Because I spent most of the day before hungover, this was an extremely busy day.
First of all, we got a taxi to the Las Vegas sign, which isn’t far from the airport. We had to queue for around 30 minutes in sweltering and uncomfortable humid heat in order to get our pictures in front of the sign, but I think the pics were worth it.
We then sauntered our way back down towards the Strip, stopping off in the Luxor and New York-New York Hotel and Casinos along the way where we won more money on a Monopoly Cheaters Edition slot machine and I won a bit more on a live Roulette table.
By now, I was $315 dollars up and rather pleased with myself.
In my opinion, this wasn’t worth the money. Although, it probably doesn’t help that we zip-lined across a mountain in Canada, so our standards were already set rather high!
Earlier in the day, I had persuaded Emily to go a Burlesque show tonight, as I thought this would give us even more of the unique Vegas experience.
We paid £46 p/p to go to the X Burlesque show at Bugsy’s Cabaret in the Flamingo Hotel, which is sold as Las Vegas’ ‘hottest topless revue for more than a decade‘. It was an experience I’ll never forget…I’m just thankful I wasn’t dragged up onto the stage!
Cramming even more into our second full day, afterwards we went on the High Roller – costing £31.67 p/p.
This is the second largest Ferris Wheel in the world at 550 ft. In my opinion, this was more worth the money. The views from the top were amazing.
Day Four – Fremont Street Experience, Gondola Ride and MORE gambling!
By now, we’d done most of what there was to see and do on Las Vegas’ Strip. We decided to visit Fremont Street, which is the city’s actual birthplace. It’s famous for the iconic neon signs as well as adorning some of the first casinos in Las Vegas, such as the Golden Nugget.
It’s also home to the SlotZilla Zip Line and infamous Heart Attack Grill, which has received many criticised reviews. If you weigh over 350 lbs, you eat free. There is even weighing scales outside the front entrance.
Staff working at the restaurant dress in nurse and doctor uniforms, while customers wear a hospital gown. We didn’t eat there, but it looked like a unique experience!
For the rest of the afternoon, we topped up our tans by the pool and then headed to The Venetian once more at night, where we ate at Black Tap, which do craft burgers and beer.
A taxi driver warned us that the gondola wasn’t worth the money, and he was right. We paid a staggering £52 each for an outdoor ride, which lasted no longer than 15 minutes.
We were serenaded with famous Italian love songs such as ‘Just one Cornett’, ‘Nessun Dorma‘ and ‘That’s Amore‘, throughout the journey before we were returned to the starting point where we were expected to tip. Avoid this at all costs!
After, we went back to Caesars Palace and I lost $100 nearly as fast as I did on the first night and then admittedly, lost even more at the MGM Grand when we got back to our hotel.
In the end, I ended up leaving Vegas $60 down, but more importantly, I’d had an absolutely cracking time!
Other things to do in Vegas
If you’re not interested in the casinos and entertainment in Vegas, there are still plenty of other things to do. You could visit:
- The Mob Museum – Explains about the importance of the public’s understanding of organised crime’s history and impact on American society.
- The National Atomic Testing Museum – Documents the history of nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site in the desert north of Las Vegas.
- Take a day trip to the Hoover Dam – a 37 mile journey from Las Vegas. See the concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the Nevada and Arizona.
- Take a day trip to The Valley of Fire – a 43 mile journey from Las Vegas. It has 2000 year old petroglyphs carved into massive red sandstone formations in the Mohave Desert. *NOTE* – Remember the -1 hour time difference.
- Take a day trip to the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area – a 125 mile journey from Las Vegas. Marks the zone where three ecosystems merge: the Mojave Desert, Great Basin, and Colorado Plateau. *NOTE* – Remember the -1 hour time difference.
- Take a day trip to the Grand Canyon – a 184 mile journey from Las Vegas. Marvel at one of the oldest national parks in the United States. *NOTE* – Remember the -1 hour time difference.
- Go digging at ‘Dig This‘ – where adult thrill seekers can drive bulldozers and excavators for fun.
- Area 15 – An immersive entertainment venue spanning over 200,000 square foot. With a variety of experiences and food and drink outlets there is something for everyone.
- Or check out the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum.
Where to eat?
Em and I are not massive foodies, but if you are, then Vegas is the place to be. Be sure to check out:
- Ferraro’s Restaurant
- Fresco Italiano
- Gordon Ramsey Hell’s Kitchen
- Primal Steakhouse
- Weera Thai Restaurant
Next up, is the second leg of our American Road Trip as we travel from Las Vegas to Death Valley, Valley of the Fire, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and finally The Grand Canyon.
To to read my previous blog post about our time in Los Angeles, click here.
If you’d like to keep up-to-date with our travels, then you can enter your email to receive notifications of blog updates at the bottom of this article; follow my blog by clicking the link, or drop me a follow on Twitter at @AlecW95 or on Instagram at @alatw95.
Alternatively, you can follow Emily on her travelling TikTok account at @emstraveladventure.
Thanks for stopping by, until the next time…