Vegas Vacation!

Sin City is famous for its great gambling, crazy parties and world renowned shows but there is a lot, lot more!

Everything about the Vegas Strip is huge! The buildings, the 14 lane highway, and the billboards. Comfortable shoes are a must!

Starting at the south end of the strip is the famous Las Vegas sign, known all over the world. Many Elvis impersonators hang around here to pose for photos if you wish. It can get very busy here in the middle of the day so if you want to get an idyllic photo with no one in the foreground you have to get up super early (or stay up really late?)

Near the sign is Mandalay Bay, home to the third largest aquarium in North America. Even though there is no theme to this hotel, it definitely should be visited, it’s gorgeous!

Heading up the strip is Luxor, an Egyptian themed hotel in the shape of a pyramid. At night, the world’s brightest laser beam shoots right out of the top of the pyramid and can been seen from anywhere on the strip.

In Luxor is the bodies exhibition. Not one for the squeamish, preserved bodies have been dissected to show the inner workings of the human body. This won’t be for everyone, but I learnt a lot! Certainly not the usual Vegas attraction.

 

Next up is Excalibur. The Tournament of Kings themed hotel. This is where I stayed on my first visit. Great if you are visiting on a budget. It’s a good location, but so is anywhere if you stay on the strip in Vegas. The hotel rooms are basic but nice. The pool area isn’t huge but you always get a sun lounger. Nothing special but the price shows that!

There is a cool little bar/restaurant, called Dick’s Last Resort. Not a place for kids… the waiters are incredibly rude, they shout, they grunt, and they make hats out of paper for unsuspecting guests. Great fun if you don’t take it seriously. There is free monorail running between Excalibur and Mandalay bay, great for sore feet.

Over the road from Excalibur is New York New York. No guesses for the theme of this one.

Home to Coyote Ugly bar where girls that dance on the bar and pour liquor into the mouths of punters, it is a great place to get the night started. There is also Hershey’s Chocolate Bar, every cocktail has chocolate in, and they even have chocolate wine.

Also within New York New York is a pretty mega rollercoaster. When in the gambling hall you will occasionally see the carriage zipping through. This certainly will attract the thrill seekers.

 

Zumanity is the resident show. It is a cirque de soleil show that mixes acrobatics with humour along with a large helping of nudity! Great for a naughty night out.

The rooms here are relatively sized considering the price. One of the perks of staying here is being able to ride the rollercoaster out of usual working hours. The pool area is small. My personal opinion, unless you are mad keen on the theme, there are better places to stay for your money.

 

 

Over the strip is the MGM. Home to Wet Republic, the day club that supplies all the big names in DJ’s. The pool here is incredible! It has a lazy river, water fall and enough lounge chairs for a football crowd! The rooms are also high end but that being said it is one of the more expensive hotels on the strip.

For a good night out, Hakkassan is the nightclub in the MGM. I’d recommend if you are wanting to visit any clubs/ pool parties in Vegas that you contact promoters on social media beforehand to organise discount/free entry. If you aren’t really bothered which clubs you hit, there are promoters out on the street to hook you up with entry into the clubs too.

From the MGM there is a monorail that heads right up the street and finishes up near the stratosphere.

Next to the MGM are a collection of shops. The M&M’s store, where you can make personalised M&M’s with text and photos on of your choice; the Coca Cola store where you can buy everything Coke related and a two story souvenir store where you can buy everything from poker chips to teddy bears.

 

 

The next hotel on the strip is the Monte Carlo. In my opinion this hotel offers good value of money for rooms, plus there is no theme to tire of. Only being home to the blue man group show and minus 5 bar, as great as these are, this hotel is quite a bit quieter than others on the strip.

So, next up is the city centre complex. This is a shoppers dream. Home to Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Tiffany, you may have needed to be lucky on the tables to be able to afford any of the items here, but you can always window shop right?!

Connected to the city centre is the cosmopolitan. Located right in the centre of the hotel is the chandelier bar. Hard to miss as it is surrounded within the chandelier. It’s a great cocktail bar but the thing makes it stand out more than all other cocktail bars is the off the menu cocktail. It’s called the buzz flower cocktail. The drink itself looks plain, served in a tumbler and made of clear liquid, it won’t be winner any awards for presentation but the taste….. served with the cocktail is a small bud from the centre of a flower (the bartender did tell me the name of this flower but after drinking a couple of these I now can’t remember what the hell it was called ) but the bar guy will tell you how to consume this drink. Firstly you chew the flower and then slowly sip the drink, but they’ll remind you of that whilst you are doing it! But trust me, do it! And the rest of the bar will probably order one after you.

Then right across the road is Bellagio. Famous around the world for its fountains. They start at around 3pm and then continue into the night. Every 15 minutes the fountains perform to a different song and a different theme. During the day it is quite easy to get front row to view these but come night time you may be waiting a couple of shows before you can get front row, it gets very busy. But I know why you are all thinking, it’s a bit of water, it can’t be that impressive… trust me it can. So much so that on the last night I was there, time to say goodbye came on and a tear came to my eye.

In the foyer of the Bellagio are the botanical gardens. Redesigned seasonally, they incorporate beautiful flowers in incredible designs that have to be seen to be believed.

 

Also in Bellagio is O, another cirque di soleil show but this time fully clothed and in water. Magical!

There are a few cocktail bars within the Bellagio but from experience you need a small mortgage to be able to afford more than 1! We’re talking $26 each. Very overpriced in my opinion.

Right over the road from Bellagio is Paris. Themed so you feel in the centre of France it is home to my all-time favourite restaurant. Martorano’s. Italian food done to perfection. Service is faultless. The food is flawless and the drinks are spot on. It isn’t cheap but as you can probably see so far, not much is in sin city.

Another great attraction to Paris is going to the top of the Eiffel tower. The view of the strip from here is incredible. You can get a bird’s eye view of the Bellagio fountains from here too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back down and across the strip now is Caesars, a Grecian themed hotel. And no, Caesar don’t actually live here, despite what the Hangover leads you to believe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right at the front of Caesars is a restaurant called Serendipity 3 which serves a simply amazing breakfast.

Inside you will find a huge shopping mall with a collection of shops for a range of budgets.

Omnia is also home here. This multi-level night club offers a main room with a line-up of some of the world’s top DJ’s and an outdoor terrace overlooking the strip with a fantastic view.

Back across the strip is the new Linq complex. Part of this is the world’s largest observation wheel. From which you can enjoy 360 degree view of Vegas.

Up the strip a bit further is the Venetian. Themed around Venice, you can ride a gondola with a singing oarsman or visit the squares with human statues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favourite bars in Vegas is Very Venice. They serve flavoured sorbet with liquor poured over in a martini glass. Lovely way to sit and relax in the city of craziness!

Also in The Venetian is Tao, a lovely Chinese restaurant that serves exquisite dishes and after a meal you can head to the nightclub to party the night away.

 

Opposite The Venetian is the Mirage. There is so much in this hotel. Right out front is a giant volcano that comes alive with fire, light and water at night. Be sure to see this!

 

In the centre of the hotel is a tropical garden with palm trees. And out the back is a dolphin enclosure and a lion and tiger garden.

 

 

 

There is another Cirque show based around the Beatles music called Love and it is incredible.

Rhumbar is a stylish cocktail and cigar bar that has one of the greatest selections of rums I have ever seen.

A bit further up the strip is Senor Frogs, great slushies and a great party to be had at this joint!

The Wynn and Encore are at the top of the strip, home to XS and Encore Beach Club, you can have a great day and night out at these two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the very top of the strip is the Stratosphere. And at the very top of the Stratosphere are 3 white knuckle rides. Even if rides aren’t your thing, the view is unbelievable both day and night.

 

Now the strip is covered, what’s off the strip…

Downtown is an amazing area for a night out. Based on Freemont Street, there are tons of bars and casinos down here. You’ll find the prices downtown a lot cheaper than on the strip for both drinks and minimum bets.

For the thrill seekers, you can zip line down the length of the street under the LED light roof.

Visit the famous Golden Nugget and view he largest natural golden nugget in the world.

Or you can go pose with $1million at Binions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Near downtown is the Neon Graveyard, where the old hotel and casino signs go to spend their twilight years.

On certain evenings it is possible to visit to see the signs all lit up in their former glory. It’s a really interesting visit to see some of Vegas’ history.

 

Not quite as close to the strip, but definitely as awesome, is the Grand Canyon.

There’s multiple ways to see the canyon.

Driving takes the majority of the day for the return journey but you can call off at the Hoover Dam on the way.

Once you arrive at the Grand Canyon you’ll look down on the Colorado River and you can experience the Skywalk, a glass floored walkway that overhangs the West Rim of the Canyon.

Or you could get a helicopter to the Canyon.

It’s possible to return to Vegas in half a day but you will miss out on stopping off at the Skywalk and Hoover Dam. However, there is definitely a certain feel of luxury as you board the helicopter to fly across to the Grand Canyon. You’ll fly over and see an aerial view of the Hoover Dam.

Then you will land on the floor of the Grand Canyon. We did a morning tour so when we arrived there was a lovely breakfast set up for us to tuck until whilst admiring the view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then you will return back to Vegas and fly the length of the strip before landing. I loved both ways to see the Canyon. The helicopter is by far the pricier option but if you are tight for time then it is a great way to fit in a trip to one of the natural wonders of the world!

A bit closer to the strip is the Red Rock Canyon. Another morning we took a horse riding trip here. Based in an old western town, you’ll eat a traditional breakfast before heading out on the horses.

The scenery on this trip has to be some of the best scenery I’ve seen by far. And walking at horse’s pace allows you to appreciate it even more.

Most of the trips will pick you up from the strip so if you do not have a vehicle there is no problem!

Vegas is definitely one of the best places I’ve been to. (I suppose that’s why I keep going back!) There really is something for everyone in this vibrant city. And it’s not all gambling!

 

Vegas Vacation!

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About The Author
- Karen Dawes is 26 years old from Manchester, England. She is an accountant by profession with a passion for travel. She has visited most countries in Europe and is working her way around the rest of the world.