This morning, I was reading a blog I love, and Megan posted that she and her husband were planning their first-ever trip to Las Vegas to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. I offered to give her some tips, which she said she’d love, so here I am - finally getting around to it!
Las Vegas is seriously one of my favorite cities on earth. As someone who loves anything in excess, I can’t help but love a place with all the fancy restaurants, gorgeous hotels, and penny slots a girl could ask for! So, here we go - a list of my Vegas Musts!
Where to Stay:
By now, I’ve pretty much stayed in every hotel on the Strip - the good, the bad, and the ugly. My go-to/favorite place to stay is one of the Strip’s newest hotels: the Palazzo. Both the Palazzo and its sister hotel, the Venetian, offer huge, suite-only rooms with flat screen TVs, iPod docks, and big closets. I like a lot of restaurants in the Palazzo as well, and they have the only Barneys New York in Las Vegas, too.
I also like both the Wynn and its sister hotel, Encore, which also offer huge rooms with flat screen TVs and iPod docks. I like staying at the Wynn better than Encore, since it’s closer to the center of the strip and therefore more central to the other hotels, but they are essentially the same as far as amenities and rooms are concerned.
If you’d prefer to stay somewhere a little cheaper, I would recommend Paris over the Mirage or the Flamingo - the rooms inside Paris are decent-sized and the location is also pretty central on the Strip. I’ve never stayed anywhere off the Strip and wouldn’t recommend it - you’ll spend a fortune in cab rides.
Things to Do:
If you’re gonna see a show, you need to go see Beatle’s LOVE. There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said, but put it this way - when I saw it, the moment the lights went on and it started, my mouth dropped open. If that’s not your thing (IT SHOULD BE), see Jersey Boys at the Palazzo (one of my all-time favorite musicals) or Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian.
If you’re a devoted shopper like me, you need to go to Caesar’s Forum Shops, where you can waste hours and hours inside Scoop, Intermix, Marc Jacobs, Pucci, Kate Spade, David Yurman, and Tory Burch, among others. If you like malls, Fashion Show Mall has a Nordstroms, Macy’s, Saks, Neiman Marcus, AND a Bloomingdales Home - AKA, I could live there.
And if you like to lay by the pool (or, if you can handle Vegas’s OPPRESSIVE heat from May to September), my favorite is the pool at Encore. The regular pool is nice, but if you would like to take your bathing suit off, there’s a topless pool on the roof. As my sister would say, “ENJOY YA-SELF” - I’ll be enjoying a free vodka slushie, fully clothed, by the regular pool.
Where to Eat for Lunch:
There are a few places that I always go to for lunch in Vegas. The first, Mon Ami Gabi, is inside Paris -- ask to sit on their patio, where you can watch all the freaks walking by on the Strip, and you’ll have the perfect view of the Bellagio fountain when it goes off! The mussels marinare with french fries is the only thing I ever get, and try to sit at Dan’s table if he’s available :) he’s my favorite waiter. The other place I also never miss is Spago, inside Caesar’s Forum Shops (more towards the entrance of the casino). If you sit on the patio (looks/feels like you’re outside but you’re really indoors), you can order off the Cafe Menu, which is very casual and not terribly pricey. Please do yourself a favor and order the smoked salmon pizza - it is what Spago is famous for. Also, feel free to stuff your face with the bread basket, cuz they looooove to refill it.
Also yummy for lunch:
- Joe’s Stone Crab (Caesar’s Forum Shops, bottom level) - my mom’s favorite. I like their seafood salad.
- Todd English’s Olives (Bellagio) -- you cannot go wrong with any flatbread. Ask to sit on the patio, (again, to watch the fountain go off! WHAT? I am five and like the splashing water.)
- Grand Luxe Cafe -- I’m not a major fan of going here while in Vegas cuz we have one in LA, but it’s a crowd pleaser (something for everyone) and my Dad loves it. There’s one inside the Venetian and another one inside the Palazzo.
Where to Eat for Dinner:
My absolute favorite restaurant in the United States is the Las Vegas Craftsteak, inside the MGM. I try to go every single time I am in Vegas - the restaurant is elegant and quiet, and the food (created by owner, chef Tom Collicio of Top Chef fame) is FABULOUS. If you go, get the hanger steak, the barbecued shrimp, their tomato salad (if its in season), and of course, their famous assorted mushrooms. Seriously, words are not good enough for this place. GO, get a mojito, and make a toast to me :)
Other places I love for a nice dinner in Vegas:
- Nob Hill (MGM) -- one of chef Michael Mina’s restaurants. Don’t miss the lobster pot pie or the veal milanese (only on Sundays).
- Lavo (Palazzo) -- Lavo can get a little noisy, since it’s also a very popular club, but their food is SO good! I love their polenta fries and their spaghetti with seafood.
- Postrio (Venetian) -- I think Wolfgang Puck is a genius and I would follow him to the ends of the earth, so it is not a surprise that I am a fan of nearly all of his restaurants. I can’t put my finger on what makes this one so good, but I’ve never ever had a bad meal here.
- TAO (Venetian) -- I always go to TAO when I’m in Vegas with friends, because the food is not ridiculously expensive and you can get into the club afterwards (see below). I’ve also seen lots of celebs here, if you’re into that. Drinks are very strong and you can’t go wrong with lobster wontons or filet mignon udon noodles. Yum!
Where to Go Out:
Hands down, I recommend going to XS inside Encore. It is one of the most beautiful and unique clubs I’ve ever been to - half the club is actually outside, which is so nice for when you get hot and sweaty from dancing up a storm! If you go - go EARLY. XS is new and very popular, and by 10:30pm there is always a huge line outside.
If you like to dance, TAO inside the Venetian, Pure inside Caesar’s Palace, or Tryst inside the Wynn are all very fun. Because TAO's a restaurant, if you’re in a large group (and especially if your group includes guys) I recommend making a reservation for dinner and getting your hand stamped by your waiter so you can cut the line. I’d also recommend going earlier, as they are all very popular and can get crowded.
A word to the wise: unless you are buying a table, there is rarely a place to sit inside these clubs. Wear comfortable heels! I would say wear flats, but all of these places have a strict dress code. If you’re going with guys, have them call first so they know what they should or shouldn’t wear.
WHEW! That was long, but I hope you’ll find it helpful! If anyone ever needs any additional recommendations or suggestions, I am more than happy to help :) just send me an email or leave me a comment!
VIVA LAS VEGAS YALL!