Las Vegas definitely isn’t one of the cheaper holidays but it’s one of those that has to go on your bucket list. With its long list of attractions during the day and night, you have to tick it off at some point.
We went at the end of July and spent five nights at the MGM Grand hotel. We got there at around 1pm but were so jet-lagged after the ten-hour flight that we pretty much had dinner and went to bed. We were extremely lucky because our rooms got upgraded for free to a room with a better view because there were none of the rooms we’d booked available. But it was SUPER hot (upwards of 40 degrees) so walking around outside was a chore at times.
Day 1: The Strip
The Strip is a beautiful place, even by day. There are so many different hotels with different visuals. You’ve got all the themed hotels such as New York New York, Paris Paris, Ceasar’s Palace etc, and you’ve now got more standard hotels such as The Cosmopolitan and the Wynn and the Encore which are still impressive in their own right.
Fun fact: Steve Wynn designed a few of the hotels along the strip, but most of the hotels have now been sold to MGM group. But the Wynn, and it’s mirror building the Encore, which were built within the last 15 years, and are still owned by his company Wynn Resorts.
Each hotel has its own quirky activity for you to do, so if you want to do those make sure you budget for them. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do any of those but we would have chosen the gondolas in the Venetian. The ones outside were only $15 per person, but it was way too hot. The ones indoors, as they are more popular are at a higher price, and the queue was long. There are also things such as the rollercoaster at New York, New York and a medieval tournament dinner experience at Excalibur, and the theme park within Circus Circus.
All the hotels have shopping areas, and most of the hotels also have theatres or arenas for shows. So if you want to go and see anything then check out what’s on before you go. As I was with my Mum who said ‘you can see a show anywhere’ I couldn’t go to any of the shows BUT if I could I would have gone to one or more of the Cirque Du Soleil shows. There were quite a few, and they always look amazing. The pool party at Wet Republic in our hotel looked cool as well – Tiesto was DJing! How awesome! And even just walking down the street can be a party because they have speakers playing music everywhere, so I just danced everywhere instead of walking everywhere.
Bonus: On this day, I left my family to grab a bus to near Downtown. I wouldn’t really recommend walking around unknown streets in Downtown Vegas on your own but there was a special place I wanted to go to. Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum. If you do not know who Zak Bagan’s is, he presents a TV Show called Ghost Adventures. He bought an old mansion in Vegas and turned it into a museum full of haunted artefacts, generally creepy things and weird stuff like Charles Manson’s teeth. It’s a guided tour that takes about an hour and if you’re into spooky things, I’d highly recommend it.
In the evening we went to see the fountains at The Bellagio! A must see. It’s something that everyone thinks of when they think of Las Vegas. The show is on every fifteen minutes and each show is completely different from the last.
On day 2, to be honest, we just lounged by the pool. In the hot weather, it was so much preferable to be indoors with the air conditioning or in the water. Even the hot tub was preferable to just sunbathing.
I also did The CSI Experience which is in MGM Grand. You take on the role of a CSI and solve one, two or three crimes based on the clues in the different areas of the activity. It’s a fun little activity. I am a huge fan of the show so I enjoyed it. There is also a studio opposite this attraction where you can preview TV shows and then they ask you your opinions on them. We didn’t get a chance to do it, but that seems like a fun thing to do.
Day 3: The Grand Canyon
My mum had booked us an all-day coach trip that took us from Las Vegas, to the Hoover Dam, and a couple of places on Route 66 (Seligman and Kingman), and finally the south rim of The Grand Canyon. There was an audio guide played on the coach and I found it really interesting to find out more about the history of Las Vegas and the places around us as we travelled on the coach.
It was amazing to see so many historic things in one day. And when you walk through the path and the canyon just opens up beyond you, it’s a sight to behold! I’m telling you, I nearly cried, it was beautiful.
There isn’t really much you can say about it, you’ve seen the pictures, the videos, but being there is something else. It’s just something I’d recommend to everyone. But do be careful because a lot of the edges are not blocked off by fences, so you just have to be sensible about how close to the edge you stand. (Another bucket list item ticked off though!)
Day 4: Fremont Street
In the evening of the fourth day we had a posh coach that took us to see the Las Vegas sign, stopped to see the Vulcano show outside The Mirage (which was amazing but also there was so much fire in already 45 degree heat that I felt like I was in an oven), and to have a walk around Fremont Street. The tour guide was amazing, she told us all about the strip, and the different spots and different hotels that we passed. And we all got free champagne.
Fremont Street is where all the old casinos are, it’s where Las Vegas very first started. All the casinos looked like the arcades you get in typical English seaside towns but instead full of gambling and alcohol. There was a stage with live music, which was so much fun just standing in the crowd dancing. And then on the hour every hour they have a light show on the ceiling of the canopy.
It was great to see the party side of Las Vegas.
Food and drink
It can be expensive to eat in America, but if you go to the right places, you’ll be fine. We didn’t have a lot of money so we only went to a few places – mostly Denny’s. We also went to Wendy’s a couple of times.
But there are so many places to eat, every hotel has multiple restaurants or diners, so it depends on your budget. MGM Grand had a make your own pizza place. As I’ve mentioned before Excalibur has a tournament dinner experience. Excalibur also has ‘Dick’s’ a restaurant where all the waiters are horrible to you on purpose. I regret not going there.
The Taco Bell near Planet Hollywood has a wedding chapel in it so if you want to get married and get a Taco at the same time, that works I suppose.
BUT my favourite place that we went to eat was….
THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY
So you’ve probably heard of it if you’ve seen The Big Bang Theory. In Las Vegas, it’s tucked away right at the back of the shopping area of Ceasar’s Palace. They have SO MANY different types of cheesecake. The slices are so big (american style) so I could only try one type and a bite of my brother’s Belgian chocolate which was amazing. I had the lemon meringue cheesecake, and oh my god, no word of a lie, it is the best thing I have ever tasted in my life. My family were laughing so hard at my face when I took my first bite, I was in food heaven. So please, if you are in Las Vegas, go to The Cheesecake Factory.
That’s all for this week’s Travel Tuesday. We hope this has inspired you to jet off the LV, and check in with Nerve soon for a brand new destination!