Las Vegas is a place that I try to visit at least twice a year, so when I found a RT flight for less than $100, I was super excited to enjoy a weekend of fun with my girls. And then, like 99% of Americans the winter of 2017-2018, I caught the flu, and since my flight and hotel were non-refundable, I packed a bag and my meds and still flew to Vegas.
Usually, I’m a party all night and wake up in the afternoon to do it all again the next day Vegas visitor, but being that I was technically on the sick and shut-in list, I had to get creative to still enjoy my trip. I recommend purchasing a Explorer Pass for discounts and/or entry to some of the most popular attractions. Below is my Vegas guide for those that won’t be spending their weekend in the club:
Visit the Bellagio.
The Bellagio fountains are one of the most popular tourist attractions on the strip, and as many times as I’ve watched the different shows, this is still one of my highlights each and every time that I am in Vegas. The fountains come to life every 30 minutes, Monday through Saturday, from 3pm to 8pm, and every 15 minutes from 8pm to midnight. On Sundays, the show starts at 11am and plays every 30 minutes until 7pm, and every 15 minutes from 7pm until midnight. You can view the schedule by clicking here.
Another one of my favorite attractions at the Bellagio is their conservatory and botanical garden. Seasonally, the atrium in the Bellagio is transformed into a 14,000 square foot floral playground fit for one of the scenes in your favorite fairy tale.
Eat, Eat, Eat.
In my opinion, Vegas is one of the foodie capitals of the world, especially if you know where to look. One of my favorite hidden gems is Secret Pizza on the third floor of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Don’t look for any signs to lead you to your destination, just ride the escalator up and look for the long line that appears out of a seemingly inconspicuous hallway. And according to one of my Vegas Uber drivers, the founding chef, Chris Vaughn, has been repeatedly ranked one of the top pizza chefs in the world.
Whether it’s pizza at Secret Pizza or black rice and oxtail risotto and fried chicken skins from Carson Kitchen, there are plenty of top notch restaurants located all over Las Vegas.
See a show.
On my very first trip to Las Vegas, which seems like decades ago, my friends and I bought tickets to see Peepshow, starring Playboy’s own Holly Madison. According to Wikipedia, the contract for this burlesque show expired in 2009, so you don’t have to do much math to figure out that was quite a while back. However, since then I have seen everything from comedy shows to concerts, and I have yet to be disappointed. Don’t judge me, but I still plan to spend the gazillion dollars to see Celine Dion perform at Caesar’s before her contract expires.
Take a Uber to Fremont St.
If your only Vegas experiences have taken place on the main strip, you have been depriving yourself and your wallet of the hidden gems of Fremont St. Before the strip came into existence, Fremont St was the face of Las Vegas and home to the city’s first casinos. And if gambling is your thing, trust me when I say that you have a much better chance of winning on Fremont St versus one of the fancy hotels on the main drag. And thanks to the Fremont Experience, the already numerous bars and restaurants have been increased, you can zip line down the street, and did I mention that’s where you can find a light show on the world’s largest screen.
You can find all types of entertainment on Fremont St, from live music, to vendors selling custom goods, to …..
Stay in a 5-Star Hotel.
One of my guilty pleasures is my love for posh hotels with luxe amenities. The best part about Las Vegas is that you can usually get great rates on 5-star hotels, since they know that they will just pick up your extra cash in the club, at the bar, or at one of the many slot machines or tables you have to walk by to enter and exit every hotel on the strip.
This still remains on my bucket list, but one day I will take the plunge, literally and figuratively, over the Grand Canyon on one of my Vegas stays. Click here for more information.
Go see the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon.
Like a watercolor painting brought to life, the magnificent cliffs of the Grand Canyon loom, bold, brilliant, and beautiful. For a split second, I forget about my fear of heights, until I take a peek over the edge of the nearest cliff, longing to see the plains below, or at least the muddy waters of the Colorado River. Dizziness, nausea, and the fear of plunging over the edge, quickly send an alarming reminder. As I let my camera be my eyes to capture the depths, I take in all the beauty. If I ever questioned whether there was a God, the Grand Canyon sends a swift, yet powerful, reminder of the perfection of HIS creations.
Approximately three hours from the bustling Las Vegas strip stands this magnificent creation, formed by time and evolution. Named one of the seven wonders of the natural world, visitors have the opportunity to view the various gorges from land, air, or water. With a sanctity and tranquility guarded ferociously by the Hualapai Indians, the only way to tour this mammoth site, is through the purchase of a tour either on location or from an outside vendor.
You can either book a tour to the West Rim or take the longer, more scenic view of the South Rim. For those that choose the West Rim, which is best for those with minimal time in their schedule, and the route that I chose, there’s even a brief stop at the Hoover Dam and optional paid access to the Skywalk. And for my adventure enthusiast, you can enhance your experience and view the Grand Canyon by helicopter and boat by clicking here.
It doesn’t matter if your taste and wallets are on a Forever 21 budget or a Chanel budget, there is plenty of shopping up and down the Vegas strip and an outlet not far away where you can shop until your credit cards stop swiping.
Ride a roller coaster.
Since I’m not a roller coaster enthusiast, but am more of a wait at the exit kind of gal, the only thing I can tell you about this horrifying experience is that it is located on top of the New York, New York hotel. And for those of you that suffer from weak knees and self-diagnosed heart problems when it comes to mechanically engineered machines designed with drops and loops, there’s a cute little arcade where you can wait for your friends to finish defying death. Issa “no” for me.
Visit Paris, Italy, and New York.
Just in case your budget hasn’t extended past domestic travel, don’t worry, many of the hotels on the Vegas strip are fashioned after some of the world’s most beautiful cities. You can visit Rome via Caesar’s Palace, Venice at the Venetian and the Palazzo, and Paris and New York at the hotels bearing their namesakes. You can even take a gondola ride through the Venetian and Palazzo to really maximize your Italian experience.
Pose with your favorite celebrities at Madame Tussaud’s.
Did I ever tell y’all about that time I took a pic in the oval office while interning for President Obama?