posted by Maren
Ahhh, Las Vegas. I first visited this city– which I thought I would HATE over a year ago. The searing heat, the focus on gambling, the slew of women way hotter than me. None of it seemed like my bag.
However, I realized that there’s more than skin and slot machines in Sin City and it’s the perfect place to spend a few days with girlfriends, just getting your groove back.
I decided we should shoot a Galavanting.tv episode there to highlight what even the most travel savvy of us may have missed amongst the glitz and glitter. I’ll give you the scoop on some highlights here, but be sure and stay tuned for the episode coming soon to see what we found!
We stayed at the amazing Mirage Hotel, which not only has a fantastic pool area but is home to award winning restaurant Japonais and the Revolution nightclub. Normally, Revolution is simply a fun bar but on the night we came there was a (seemingly) impromptu and very authentic African mating dance. The entire club sat down to watch this impressive display and even sophisticated club-goers seemed struck with fascination and awe when the performance was over. Staying at the Mirage was a great move because the room was large, clean and well-lit and the hotel was in a great central location, so we didn’t spend a lot on cab fare or public transportation.
Galavanting co-host Courtney and I aren’t really big on gambling but it’s good for a girl to know what she’s talking about at the poker tables. That why we asked Erica Shoenberg to meet us at The Hard Rock Poker Lounge, the most unique poker room in the city.
Shoenberg taught us the ins-and-outs of playing with the big boys of poker (she’s won several tournaments and loads of money). We tried not to be jealous as this former MODEL, who loves to snack on cheesburgers, told us how to make our way to a winning hand. And even if we didn’t get to her level, we did learn how to bluff pretty well, which always comes in handy for a Galavanting Gal.
Daytime in Vegas is underrated. Armed with granola bars and water bottles, Courtney and I hit some of the more exciting and (gasp!) historic exhibits along the Strip. First, we stepped out of the blazing sunshine into the icy, realistic Titanic exhibit Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, which showcases authentic artifacts recovered from two and one-half miles below the surface of the North Atlantic. Unique to the exhibition at Luxor Hotel & Casino is the crown jewel of artifacts, a 30-ton section of the Titanic’s starboard hull, appropriately called the ‘Big Piece.’ Courtney and I were each assigned a name of a passenger on the actual ship and at the end, got to see if we survived. We saw the famed staircase, passenger rooms and walked the deck. We even got to hear stories of those who should have been on the ship but weren’t.
After the Titanic, we headed over to Mandalay Bay to “pretend” we were at the beach. Nobody does make believe like Las Vegas and this was no different. First we went through a rain forest, with a real live kimodo dragon, which I pretended to appreciate but was in actuality, completely creeped out by. The Shark Reef Aquarium was not only beautiful and informative (we got stuck behind some school kids so I know more about sharks than ANYONE) but also does its part to help sustain ecosystems in the oceans.
To fill our longing for the ocean, all we had to do was walk out to the “Beach” a sandy paradise where Mandalay Bay frequently has concerts in the middle of the pool. If you’re looking for something a little more private, rent one of the private cabanas. They come well-equipped with a kitchen, a balcony, bathroom and…a stripper pole? Hee, I’m not judging.
Vegas Cuisine is nothing to sneeze at either. While it’s possible to visit the city and spend very little on food (they have Starbucks, McDonald’s and Denny’s) there are some amazing restaurants for both lunch and dinner. We tried to find places without that classic Vegas feel and none is more unique than Nine Fine Irishmen. Before you even taste a morsel of food, you’re transported to a classic Irish pub by the authenticity of the decoration. The entire pub was shipped over from Ireland and put together within New York, New York Hotel and Casino. But the best part of Nine Fine Irishmen is the food. and the Guinness. and the food. It’s kind of a leap to think of a comfort food Mecca in the heart of one of Vegas’ busiest casinos, but that’s exactly what Nine Fine Irishmen is. If you go, try the mac ‘n cheese. Just do it.
Of course, you can’t be in Vegas without trying at least a taste of the high life.
For this, we turned to Del Frisco’s, the highest grossing restaurant in the country. Not only is the service unlike anything we’d ever experienced, the USDA prime grade, wet-aged steaks which were hand-cut at the time of order, made us absolutely swoon. That’s not to say the lobster tail, chopped salad and asparagus were not amazing either. But the highlight of Del Frisco’s was the unbelievably fantastic hostess and general manager Kim Owens, who ensured our stay was not only memorable but even helped to celebrate our camera gal’s 30th birthday with some sage words of wisdom (and cheesecake obviously). I can say with complete authority that Del Frisco’s is absolutely the BEST restaurant I have ever eaten in. If you ever have a chance to visit one of their 8 establishments, try the pineapple infused vodka. It’s amazing.
Las Vegas is known for its nightlife and we wanted to see if the reality lived up the legend. Here’s what we learned:
- If you are in Vegas with more than three women, you will never purchase your own drink. Ever.
- If you are in a dead casino in Vegas, buy two pitchers of beer and start a game of tippy cup. You will be Strip legends by morning.
- If you’re in Coyote Ugly and the emcee (mistress with the mic) asks you to dance on the bar, you DO it.
- Want to start the night with all eyes on you? Head on over to the center bar in the middle of New York, New York Casino. You can see the action from all angles.
- Plan to finish your night off at the nightclub located in your hotel, this makes the “suddenly sleepy” syndrome much easier to bear.
- In Vegas, it’s totally cool to lay outside and count the stars, just check out where you’re planning to lay down first.
Be on the lookout for our Galavanting in Las Vegas episode, coming soon!