Las Vegas, NV

In general, I adhere to the saying “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” so I won’t go too much into the details of my time in Sin City – but I will give you all a general idea of the things we did and saw.  If you do Vegas right, you’ll only really need about three or four days before you get drained out.

Tip if you’re going to Vegas from L.A.: If you can afford to fly, then fly and don’t drive.  Google will tell you the drive takes around 3 hours.  With all the traffic, the drive ended up taking us like 7 hours from L.A.

Truly a city that never sleeps

They don’t call it America’s playground for nothing.  The city is an absolute shitshow, especially on the weekends.  People are spilling in and out of hotels (most with libations in hand), the streets are filled with Transformers, Victoria Secret Angels, Michael Jacksons, you name it, and the Las Vegas “slappers” are out in force trying to get you to take one of the porno pamphlets they slap in your face.

When we finally did get ourselves settled in (it was around 10 PM), the night was just starting.   The hotel we were staying at was Treasure Island.   Located relatively close to the middle of the strip (the prime hotel locations are places like the Bellagio and Cosmopolitan), TI has been completely renovated and the new rooms are surprisingly modern for what looks like an older hotel on the outside.   If you stay there, try and get a room facing the back or side or else the fire and explosions of the nightly “Sirens of TI” show go off right outside your window.  (Note: The show itself is pretty cheesy, so I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it.  But if you happen to be in the area, it’s free so you may as well check it out.)

While the rooms look like they got a little work done to them, the casino itself isn’t really anything to write home about.  The pool area is decent, and the expected club music and drunk flashing occurred, but as far as pool parties go – Treasure Island’s was pretty tame, but fun (tame for Las Vegas you must realize is a crazy, shitshow anywhere else.  The word shitshow is clearly being used a lot in this post).

One thing you should definitely check out is a Cirque du Soleil show at some point and TI has one of the oldest running performances called Mystere.  If you’re unfamiliar with Cirque du Soleil, it’s one of the most impressive acrobatic shows around – you’ll see feats of strength, balance, and agility that you wouldn’t think are humanly possible.  The members of the cast really are some of the best performers and straight up athletes you’ll ever see on stage.  One part of Mystere that blew my mind was the performance of two bodybuidlers who (and I’ll try to explain this as best I can) slowly, lifted each other in crazy positions using only one arm or leg, or hamstring or whatever to form what could best be described as bizarre, homoerotic sculptures.

Aside from Treasure Island here are few other highlights:

STK
We decided to treat ourselves to a really nice dinner on one of the nights, and STK was the choice.  STK is the steak restaurant at the top floor of the atrium in Cosmopolitan.  Take your time walking up there and you can see the amazing chandelier bar that is 4 levels encased in a ginormous chandelier.  You’ll also pass the notoriously swanky club “Marquee” which is literally the hottest place to be in Vegas right now.  You’ll see no shortage of young ladies in dresses that are no bigger than my neck warmer flowing into the club and masses of dudes in their best collared shirts who have no chance of getting in unless they’re ready to drop like $2000 or are arm in arm with a cadre of hotties.

Chandelier bar at Cosmopolitan

Back to the restaurant – we made it to the top finally – and had a reservation for 11:00.  If it’s the weekend don’t plan on sitting at your reservation time.  When all was said and done, we finally got our table at 11:45 – let’s just say it was the nighttime version of brunch.  Although the restaurant is a “steak” restaurant, it didn’t have that quiet, fancy feel.  The music was so loud that even when we were sitting in our booth, our seats were vibrating from the bass.

The prices are expensive, so be ready to pay out a handful.  However, they weren’t any more expensive than a nice steak place in any other city.  Because I was already past my budget for the trip, I went with the 12 oz. skirt steak, which probably is their most affordable, but not as high quality cut choice.  I can only imagine what the $50-$60 steaks must be like because the skirt that I ordered was actually really damn good.  Extremely juicy, and came with its own steak sauce (You don’t need to pay for one of the extra ones on the menu, the standard dipping sauce is quite good) which gave the steak a very robust, meaty flavor.  The mac and cheese side was also well done, served in a tradition iron cast bowl with the perfect proportion of cheesy, creamy, bread crumby goodness.  Grade: B+ only because I don’t like not being able to hear any conversation and when my table is bouncing while I eat.

Dealertainers at Imperial Palace
Who doesn’t want to play blackjack with Michael Jackson, Elvis, or Lady Gaga as your dealer? Don’t get scared off by the construction as they remodel the hotel – the Dealertainers are worth checking out as they perform on stage and stay in character as you try to hit 21.

River through the Venetian
No need to travel thousands of miles to see the rivers through Venice.  Vegas provides their own version of it at the Venetian Hotel.  Like everything else in Vegas, it’s absolutely ridiculous in the best way.   Shops line the indoor river as gondolas flow back and forth through the hotel.

Lion Habitat at MGM
Make sure to walk through the MGM Hotel not only to see the indoor amusement park, but to walk through the Lion Habitat.  If you time it right, you’ll be able to see the lion caretakers in the habitat with the majestic animals and hear their talk.

Just chilling with some napping lions

Fountains at Bellagio
Due in part to the ending of Ocean’s Eleven, the Fountains at the Bellagio have become an icon of Las Vegas.  Chances are you’ll walk by the hotel several times since it’s located at the middle of the strip and if you time it right, you’ll catch one of the fountain shows that run every 15 minutes.

There’s no way to get all the activities that one can do in Las Vegas into one blog post (and I obviously left the naughtier bits out).  When it comes down to it, there’s no shortage of things to see or places to have fun.  It’s like the entire world shrunk into one city – everything is big, bright and in excess.  You just have to experience the sensory overload for yourself.  Go play.

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