Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!

I spent last weekend at (and am still recovering from) a bachelorette party for my friend, Claire, in Las Vegas.  After all the travel and weddings we have been lucky enough to be a part of this summer, I'll admit that I debated whether I had a wild Vegas weekend in me (and, trust me, with Claire involved it was bound to be wild). However, this may take some of you by surprise given what a mild, domestic, soul I am, but I can't say no to Vegas. I just love the place. After many wonderful weekends there (including my own bachelorette weekend), I consider myself a bit of an expert on Sin City (especially for such a square). Here are some of my tips for a successful, rowdy, wild, fun time. But, without getting into any, you know, trouble.

Bring Your Wallet: First things first, don't try to go to Las Vegas on a really tight budget (maybe go camping or something, instead). Things in Las Vegas are pretty expensive, and anything that's cheap is cheap either because it's depressingly terrible, there's a catch, or both. And this is coming from a girl who once spent a summer writing a budget travel guide to Las Vegas. Trust me, if Dante had ever visited the Las Vegas Youth Hostel, there would have been a far more terrifying level of Hell in The Inferno.

Do Your Homework: There are plenty of nice rooms in Strip hotels for cheap (have you seen the size of some of those hotels? They are rarely sold out).  The very newest hotels aren't likely to have deals, especially on peak weekends, but if you look you can always find a deal at one of the slightly-older-but-still-great hotels, like the Bellagio, Venetian, or Mandalay Bay. Check for deals on the hotels' sites, on, and on

BYO: No, I'm not suggesting you tote around a flask, but stock up on a few beverages and snacks at a drugstore, and avoid the mini-bar mark-up. Trust me, that $10 bottle of water and $15 tube of Pringles will look mighty tempting after a night out dancing.

Use the Concierge: All of the big Vegas hotels have professionals whose job it is to make your stay more fun. So feel free to call them for dinner reservations, show tickets, or any questions you might have. As a bonus, they can usually get you free or reduced admission to nightclubs.

Cabana Style: It may seem unnecessarily opulent, but if you are in Vegas with a group of people over a weekend, it can make sense to book a cabana by the pool. It can be hard to find groups of empty chairs together by the pool, and the cabanas are private, fun, give you lots of space for lounging and hanging out, and come with free snacks, and mist-ers that keep you cool in the desert heat. (Cabanas typically run from $300-400 for the day). So worth it.

Don't Forget to Eat: All of the very best chefs in the world have restaurants in Las Vegas. So, while you could get all-you-can-eat mac & cheese at the buffet, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to at least one great meal while you're there. I recommend Aureole, Sushi Roku, or Craftsteak.

Attention, Shoppers: Similarly, every great designer fashion label has at least one store in Vegas. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket and want better odds of leaving with winnings, avoid the tables and go straight to the shops. You won't find great sales here, but even those on a shopping budget can appreciate the spectacle of what passes for a "mall" in Vegas (think replicas of the Venetian Canals and the Coliseum).

Let the Sparkles Fly:  Where else but Vegas are you ever going to have the chance to wear sequins, sparkles, crystals and feathers, and have it be appropriate? Before you make your trip, make a stop at Express, H&M or and pick up something a little sassier, shorter and showgirlier than you normally wear out.

Fancy Footwork: Give some serious thought to your footwear. While it can be tempting to wear the highest stilettos you can find, getting around Vegas is all about walking.  Even if you take a cab from hotel to hotel, you can still walk blocks inside the hotel, just getting from your room to the lobby. I suggest you wear a comfy, but still sexy, pair of platforms. And pack a few band-aids, just in case.

Now, I've just got to rest up for Claire's wedding...


Mia @ City Girl to Country Girl said...

I love this post. Heck, I love anything having to do with Las Vegas! =)

I've been reading (and lurking) on your blog for a really long time and I just wanted to say that you are an amazing writer and so very interesting and entertaining.

I'm also quite a disaster when it comes to anything domestic and you are quite an inspiration.

Thanks for blogging and not "letting it go" like some other blogs that I used to lurk at (lurk in? lurk around?) that have now tragically disappeared.

Hope to lurk around here for many more years to come. ;)


tetmarie said...

Great tip about the footwear! It's definitely a vacation ruiner if you are so uncomfortable getting from one place to another! When we were in Ocean Park Hong Kong, it was mind-boggling seeing so many moms pushing strollers in high heels... I guess they didn't mind having lots of blisters!