Not sure if Vegas is for you? Here’s our honest account and highlights as Vegas Virgins (p.s. you should definitely go…)
As first-time visitors to Las Vegas, neither of us had high expectations. We love a cocktail and a party, but beyond a hangover… what really happens when a couple holidays in Vegas?
Despite our love for Orlando (which couldn’t be more touristy), we normally enjoy soaking up the culture on our trips, so… what would Vegas have to offer?
To get the most from our 3 days, I spent too many hours of my life Googling where to go and what to do (standard!)… but it paid off! We literally had the best couple of days, and already are talking about going back in the summer (we went in January) to experience a pool party or two!
So, if you’re toying with the idea of going to Vegas as a couple or are just generally looking to pop your Vegas cherry, here’s our ‘not-to-be-missed’ experiences…
SIGHTS: EXPLORING THE STRIP
Exploring the sights of Vegas by day is way more interesting than I ever imagined!
It really is one giant adult’s playground.
Every single hotel is themed to perfection, with the stand outs for architecture being the New York New York, Caesar’s, the Venetian and the Luxor. The decor was just amazing – in Caesars you walk past a coliseum, in the Venetian you stroll along shop-lined canals, the Luxor takes you inside an Egyptian pyramid and New York is lined with NY street and a rollercoaster on the inside (only in Vegas!)
Mandalay Bay was also beautiful with a tropical garden inside, but avoid Paris unless you want a face full of smoke at midday! (One downside of Vegas is smoking is allowed inside every Casino! :()
Top tip: I’d completely underestimated the size and scale of the strip (typical Brit), but breaking it down into 3 sizeable chunks meant we explored a third of the strip each day. We used the Monorail ($25 dollar pp for 72 hour pass) to travel the length of the strip from our hotel at the Sahara (one end) to the Mandalay Bay at the opposite end. Still, be prepared to walk miles using the monorail and Uber it in the evening when you’re all dressed up!
FOOD: CULINARY DELIGHTS THAT WON’T BREAK THE BANK…
As with everything in Vegas you’re paying a premium to well, just be in Vegas.
They’re definitely catering for the aspiring ‘high-rollers’… but there are deals to be had!
Vegas hotels have 24 hour buffets a plenty, but ever a fan of a bottomless brunch, I didn’t want any old buffet food.
So, after more research (you guessed it), a highly recommended buffet was Wicked Spoon.
We were not disappointed. Wicked Spoon in the Cosmopolitan hotel was THE best all you can eat buffet I’ve ever been too. Queues can get long, so we opted for an early dinner. The selection was mind-blowing – everything from fresh sushi, to bone marrow, to an amazing salad bar, freshly carved meats of all varieties and a dessert bar to die for. It was like being in a real-life Willy Wonka factory with bitesize treats of all flavours, including lollipop brownie sticks and popping candy icecream.
For a more ‘fine-dining’ experience (we can be posh when we want) the next day we opted for Hakkasan. Steak restaurants and high-end grills are really popular in Vegas, but we figured Gordon Ramsay could wait until we were back on home soil.
Hakkasan can be pricey if you go a-la-carte, but we opted for a set menu (weeknights 6-8pm), which included 1 cocktail, 3 courses for $59 (cheap by Vegas standards!) The service, flavours and decor were exceptional – it was a night to remember and not to be missed if you love Chinese food.
Top tip: Most restaurants, even the high-end ‘posh’ ones will have some sort of happy hour or set menu (especially on weeknights). So, you can still sample the amazing food, for literally half the price! Check out their websites for details and be prepared to ask the server as they won’t widely advertise the deal even if you pre-book…
DRINKS: CRUISE FOR BOOZE
There is something for everyone in Vegas when it comes to the drinking scene. If you’re up for gambling you get free drinks at tables and machines in most casinos (although you might have to wait a while & tip the server so they come back ;))
If you’re looking for ‘better’ value, casual, but a fun night out, head to the Old Las Vegas strip in Downtown. With older smokey casinos and much smaller minimum bets, it’s a reasonable scene with regular evening entertainment on huge outdoor stages.
The side roads are also lined with casual bars where you can get unpretentious beers and local DJs keep you entertained. We headed there one night and had a great night dancing outside to live bands singing American Pie…
If you want to stay on the new strip and drink in the day, there’s plenty of casual pub type bars from Planet Hollywood, to Coyote Ugly in New York New York.
If you’re looking for more ‘fancy’ drinks and an espresso martini is your bag, then head to the Chandelier Bar in the Cosmo. The inviting 3 floor sparkling chandelier was enough to entice the Essex girl in me, and although it was already busy at 3pm in the afternoon, the service and drinks were amazing. It’s also an experience I will never forget, having tried the ‘Secret’ house drink – a verbena cocktail. Not to the ruin the secret, but you chew a special verbena flower and then drink a special cocktail… the reaction of the flower and drink combined will blow your mind!
Top tip: if you’re planning to hit a few bars before a club night, plan your route carefully, it’s not easy walking from one bar to another at night, so best to enjoy a drink or two in your hotel room before heading straight to a club or casino for drinks.
There are so many shows to choose from in Vegas, from Michael Jackson tributes to Cirque du Soleil and Cher.
One we’d been told was not to be missed by friends was Absinthe, hosted in a big circus tent outside of Caesar’s. A crazy journey of circus acts from dancers to burlesque dancers and strong men, the evening is made unforgettable by a wildly inappropriate circus ring master and his assistant. If you’re a prude, this one is not for you! But as 2 people with un-PC humour and amazed by the circus acts, we had an amazing night – 10/10!
Top tip: Pre-book your tickets only using a website like https://www.tix4tonight.com… you can save money and there are often discount vouchers available.
SOUNDS: PARTY TIMES WITH TIESTO
Now, we figured we wouldn’t really have had the ‘true’ Vegas experience, until we’d hit up one of their world-famous Nightclubs. So after a fair amount of debate between Omnia or Hakkasan, we settled on a night with Tiesto at Omnia.
Now, if you haven’t been to Vegas before, expect to pay through the nose for a night out. Forget about having a seat unless you can fork out $10-20k for a booth (comfy wedges or heels recommended!)
For most nightclubs, unless it’s Ladies night, you’ll both have to pay a cover charge of around $20-25. As we knew this, we paid ahead for a VIP Entry which meant no queue (which was snaking around the block) and a VIP Bar Card of $100 each. It basically meant the cover charge was free and we didn’t have to queue, win-win… they can be bought directly from Omnia’s site here.
Both Tiesto and Omnia were insane! I’ve been to Creamfields and EDC festival multiple times and as a dance music lover I was not disappointed! Tiesto delivered a set to remember, playing his old classics and new songs not yet released – he was on for over 2 hours, so expect to get great value for money if you’re there for the music!
But, the highlight was Omnia’s incredible chandelier. It suspends above the ceiling and moves in every possible direction, with lights, smoke and pyrotechnics that move along to the beat of the music. It really was mesmerising. There’s some awesome videos of the chandelier on Youtube which you can watch…
Despite having an amazing night, Omnia’s bar setup was questionable and the drinks were extortionate $25 for a double vodka OJ. So, I’d recommend only going if you really love the music and atmosphere, rather than for a boozy night.
3 DAYS IN VEGAS
Is 3 days enough time to soak in everything Vegas has to offer? No! But, did we have an amazing time? Yes!
We’ll be back, but in the meantime if you’re looking to explore Vegas and all it has to offer, check out Go Las Vegas… it might not be worth investing in the card unless you plan on cramming loads of activities in, but it’ll give you a great idea of everything you can do and see!
Hope you enjoyed this blog and use some tips on your next adventure If you know anyone that’s going please like, share and pass this on using the sharing buttons below 🙂
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