Originally published on 23 January 2016.
They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Well, that just isn’t true if you’re a travel blogger! And even more true if you’re a first-timer.
My husband Steve had a week-long business trip in Denver the week before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so we decided to take advantage of the long weekend and head out to Las Vegas! No, we didn’t hit up the casinos or bars–did you know you can still smoke inside in Vegas? We did, however, have an amazing time! And according to Steve’s new Fit Bit he got for Christmas, we walked close to 35,000 steps the first day!
And this was my first impression of Vegas:
Our hotel was just a couple of blocks off the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard), which was really nice because it was less noisy and not a casino. Kind of like an oasis in a smokey casino desert! We walked down the Strip for a while, then I quickly learned that there are a ton of pedestrian walkways up and over the roads instead of making you have to cross the streets. Probably very handy if you’re a bit tipsy walking around.
Anyway, we went up and over the Strip and directly into the Wynn Hotel. It was like a huge garden inside! There were also a lot of high-end stores inside not just the Wynn, but most of the hotels. Many of which I’d never even heard of! We mostly looked in the windows and passed by.
We made our way from hotel to hotel, gawking at the decor (well, I was gawking; Steve is not a gawker). Many of them were decorated for the upcoming Chinese New Year on February 8, so red and yellow were the color theme! As were monkeys, because this will be the Year of the Monkey!
Before too long, we started to get hungry–all those steps were adding up so quickly. The main thing I hear about Vegas (well, aside from the gambling!) is the amazing food they have. We didn’t have anything that was just out of this world, but there was quite a variety to choose from! Steve got Nashville Hot Chicken and pancakes, and I got a shrimp and veggie rice bowl. Steve’s was impressive!
After a totally filling lunch, we set out again in search of more adventures! We zig-zagged all the way down to Mandalay Bay Hotel at the opposite end of the Strip. All the hotel-casinos have a theme, and Steve knew the ones I’d like–Venice, Paris, Mandalay, etc. From outside, I liked the Paris one the most:
From the inside, probably the Venetian:
I am holding out for a gondola ride in the real Venice, but it sure was fun to watch and hear them singing!
Once we got to Mandalay Bay, we looked for the big aquarium inside. The hotels make navigating them a little confusing if you’re not used to them, and we kept getting a bit turned around in this one, so we never did find it. Next time! So then we weaved around on our way back to our hotel. It was a bit chilly for us, so we mostly tried to be inside the hotels on the way back! Some of the hotel-casinos were really cheesy, like Excalibur, New York, Treasure Island, Flamingo, etc. When I walked into those, I felt like I was walking into a video game! But the classy ones like the Bellagio, Venetian, Paris, Wynn, and Encore were very lovely! Clean floors, high-end stores, and well-kept indoor gardens really do a lot for a place!
We stopped into the New York casino and hotel to find a spot to watch some football playoff games, so that was a nice hour or so off our feet! We regained our energy and hoofed it back to the hotel around 6:00.
Suppertime! We were fairly pooped by the time we got back, but I had brought a dress for a nice dinner out in Vegas, and I wanted to wear it! So Steve humored me. We cleaned up, dressed up, and ate at the hotel restaurant down next to the lobby.
So after supper it was time for bed. Yes, we went to bed at 8:00 in Las Vegas. You only live once, right?
Sunday morning we woke up fairly early. Which was good, since there was a lot to do on our last day! We went to the gym for a while, showered, and called into church on the East Coast at 7:30. We had picked up grape juice and crackers at CVS the day before, and our congregation has a call-in system so you can still participate in the worship service even if you’re traveling! There was also a Catholic church just down the street, so we got to go to mass for Steve, too!
And we’re off! Our goal was to get to Serendipity 3 at Caesar’s Palace for brunch, but there were lots of things to see along the way!
…like the butterflies at the Encore Hotel and Casino!
I really had no expectations of Vegas before I went, since I’d never been, but I have to say walking through the hotels was the part I liked most. The decor and exhibits almost made up for the indoor smoking!
So we continued to mosey down the Strip, ducking into hotels as we liked, and eventually we made it down to Serendipity 3 just before noon. We were very hungry by then, but we were happily willing to wait 30-40 minutes for a table once we read the menu!
We opted for the French Toast Log (with accessories) and a Cookie Sundae! Dessert came first… WOW! It was Steve’s idea to really treat ourselves, and we sure did!
And then French Toast with sweet potato fries!
So after that gustatorial event, we needed to do some walking. Next up, Caesar’s Palace! So, this one was a little bit classy and a little bit cheesy. But it was fun for walking around as if we were in ancient Rome! After exploring the streets and shops, we went on the prowl… and looked for the Siegfried and Roy White Lion and Tiger Exhibit! First up, we stopped to watch the dolphins:
My duck made a friend. Is anyone surprised?
And then it was time or the big cats!
There were babies, too. See the link to the pictures below for more!
Afterward we went to a sports bar to watch the end of the Steelers-Broncos game. We were still so pooped from all the walking the day before, it was nice to sit for a couple of hours! Then it was time to walk back to the hotel and pick up sushi along the way. One of our favorite things to do when we travel is pick up take-out and eat it at the hotel. Like a couple of old folks. 😉
And that was our day. Early to bed, early to rise for us. Our flight out of Vegas left at 5:50am, so we had to wake up at 3:30 so we could leave at 4:00. Our flights were full, but smooth! We only had to be de-iced once!
Thanks for joining us on our weekend in Vegas! What did you get up to last time you were in Vegas?