I have a love/hate relationship with Las Vegas. I hate the roving bands of douchebags, the smell of stale cigarette smoke, the rampant objectification of women, and the baffling popularity of Ed Hardy trucker hats. I love the sequined dresses, the free drinks, the “Star Wars”-themed slot machines, and the awesome concerts. After spending another weekend in Las Vegas recently, I thought it was time to compile a list of some of my favorite things to do in Sin City. Read on for my Las Vegas lowdown, and as always, please feel free to share other ideas and suggestions in the comments!
1. See a Celine Dion concert. Yes, as a Celine superfan who’s seen her Vegas show nine times, I’m a bit biased, but here’s the deal: if you’re in Las Vegas when Celine is playing a show and you choose to not go you are making a HUGE MISTAKE. I have gone to Celine shows with friends who felt lukewarm about Celine and friends who straight-up hated Celine, and all of them have staggered out of the Colosseum (her theater in Caesar’s Palace) with tear-stained cheeks whispering, “That. Was. Amazing.” You can get mezzanine tickets for like 50 bucks, which is a pretty good deal for a life-changing experience. Oh! And sequined dresses are strongly encouraged.
2. Wear sequins. Speaking of sequins, why anyone would go to Las Vegas and not take advantage of the 24/7 sequin dress code is beyond me. You can wear your jeans and little black dresses in every other city in the world. Vegas is for sequins on sequins on sequins. Don’t have any sequined clothing? No worries, you can buy some when you get there! One of the funniest things about Vegas is that every store–even, like, Brooks Brothers–has a massive sequin section. Treat yourself to a sparkly party dress, heels, bracelet, headband (or all of the above), and then go out dancing to show off your disco ball-inspired ensemble.
3. Have brunch in the (fake) Eiffel Tower. Go to the Paris hotel. Take the elevator to the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. Order the french toast with vanilla cream, caramelized bananas, and toasted pecans. Watch the Bellagio fountain shows from above while you eat. Be totally bloated for the rest of the day but realize it’s so worth it.
4. Make friends with a cocktail waitress. After chatting with the waitresses at almost every casino on the strip, I’ve come to realize that no one becomes a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas without an amazing (sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, always interesting) story to tell. Don’t be a creeper, but do plop yourself down at a penny slot machine, order a free pina colada when the waitress comes around, give her a generous tip, and ask her how her night’s going. Then maybe ask her if she’s ever worked at a different casino, or how she deals with rude customers, or if she’s met any celebrities. If you’re lucky, you’ll be regaled with an awesome new story every time she brings you a drink. One time, my friend Katelyn and I got so friendly with a cocktail waitress at the Excalibur casino that she had us wait for her to get off work so she could sit with us, tell us about her ex-husbands, and give us relationship advice, specifically: “Men are like buses. If you miss one, there’s always another one coming along in 15 minutes.”
5. Hit the pool. If you’re in Vegas during the sweltering summer months, eventually your ambitious itinerary will dissolve into something more along the lines of, “Pool. Now.” All major hotels on the strip have their own pools, all with very different vibes (I hear the Bellagio’s gorgeous pools are pretty chill; Treasure Island’s pool, with its Sean Paul-obsessed DJ and hordes of Corona-swilling frat boys, was very similar to what I imagine hell to be like). If you’re after a bonafide pool party, you can always pay to get into a pool club like Tao Beach or Moorea Beach Club. And don’t forget your sunscreen: contrary to popular belief, skin cancer that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.
6. Gorge yourself at a buffet. Eating your weight at an extravagant buffet is as much a Vegas tradition as marrying a stranger in a drive-through chapel at 3 A.M. I don’t know the going rate for divorce lawyers these days, but I’m pretty sure it costs more than 40 bucks, and annulments rarely come with a side of prime rib, so I say ditch the plastic wedding ring and head to the Bacchanal Buffet instead. It’s got over 500(!) different types of foods to enjoy in a 25,000(!!) square-foot dining room. Already eaten everything there? Check out The Buffet at The Wynn, a beautifully decorated feast for all your senses.
7. Shop ’til you drop. The shopping in Las Vegas is Out. Of. Control. There are multiple malls positioned along the strip, so you can spend hours ogling designer goods at Prada, Oscar de la Renta, and Louis Vuitton, and then stroll over to the world’s largest Forever 21 (it’s 126,000 square feet, you guys) and get so hopelessly lost that you are forced to sit down on the floor of the pink accessory room and call your friend to come rescue you (thanks, Molly!).
8. Treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment. My friend Rene once said, and I quote, “There’s nothing to do in Las Vegas besides get drunk and get massages.” At the time it seemed like a shocking oversimplification of all the activities Vegas has to offer, but I’ve come to believe she’s (kinda) right. Vegas is one of the only places on Earth where you can wander into a world-class spa carrying a yard-long cocktail and treat yourself to a few hours of serious pampering. Massages on the strip aren’t cheap–budget at least $150 for an hour–but they are divine. Try the achingly beautiful Roman bath-inspired Qua spa at Caesar’s Palace or the Spa Mirage, which is a bit cheaper, and still heavenly.
9. Get a drink (or three) in a giant chandelier. My favorite bar on the strip is definitely the Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier bar, which is a beautiful lounge built inside of a three-story chandelier. Sipping a martini while enveloped in artfully draped layers of lights is an undeniably magical experience.
10. Go to Fremont Street. Sick of the bright, shiny, relatively clean casinos on Las Vegas Boulevard? Grab a taxi and head over to Fremont Street, AKA “the real Las Vegas” AKA “the old Las Vegas.” Fremont Street is home to a bunch of old school casinos where you can gamble (and drink) for way cheaper than you can on the strip. The tradeoff? Well, the Fremont casinos smell like a poorly ventilated ball park bathroom, all the food is fried, and there’s a good chance you’re going to be hassled for money by an irritable “Elvis impersonator” who is not wearing any semblance of an Elvis costume. But hey, isn’t that all part of the whole Vegas experience? I think it’s worth a cab ride and a couple hours.
Alright, your turn! What are you favorite things to do in Vegas? Rollercoasters? Blackjack? Dancing? Add to my list in the comments!
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