YES. As someone who travels back to the US a lot, I often get asked: anywhere you recommend?
Always Las Vegas.
I’m not even 21 yet, I can’t drink or go to the casinos, yet it is still one of my favourite places. I’ve been three times now and am yet to change my mind. Here’s why:
The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden
I’m pretty sure I would come back to Vegas just for this. Every season they change the theme of the conservatory to represent something beautiful. The first picture of the tree was an autumn-themed room back in 2016. They had scarecrows and carved pumpkins, 12-foot dandelions, horses and carriages amongst masses of pink and yellow flowers, and squirrels and acorns everywhere. It really was a great depiction of the autumn season. The eyes on that tree move by-the-way.
The second picture, of the swan, was during the summer season. I couldn’t tell you what the theme was exactly because the swan was quite distracting – I have a fear of birds, fyi. I’d love to be able to post a picture of the entire room to attempt to show off the magical-ness of it, I just don’t think it would do it justice.
The final thing that makes these botanical gardens so great to explore is that admission is completely free!
You’ve probably seen it in the hangover, you know the one where Alan goes ‘This isn’t the real Caesar’s Palace, is it?’. Well, besides maybe finding your friend on the roof the day after a drunken night out, Caesars Palace has a beautiful shopping mall that makes you feel like you’ve been transported outside into Ancient Greece. The roof of the mall is decorated to look like the evening sky and the floor is designed to look like cobblestone. It does take some people a few minutes to realise they’re actually inside.
At the end of the Forum Shops, you’ll come to the Fall of Atlantis show. I recommend going behind that and you’ll find The Cheesecake Factory (it may be my favourite place of all).
Fountains of Bellagio
I am yet to take a clear picture that captures the magnificent show that is put on by them. The fountains soar water as high as 460 ft in the air as they dance to a set playlist of songs – there is even a set Christmas playlist so I might just return for that! They run every half- or quarter-hour depending what time you visit. Though this doesn’t decrease the number of people that are always there. It’s hard to get a decent view, but if you stick around long enough, you can usually squeeze into a decent space long enough to get a photo.
The Mirage Volcano Show
I was 13 when I saw this, so bear with me while I try to remember the details. I think I saw this from a distance initially, was a little shocked as to why there was a volcanic eruption in the middle of a city, and no one was stressed about it?!? My mum later took me to watch the show – this is also free, you just stand on the sidewalk – and I watched red spurt out of a rock. Not quite the most realistic but definitely enough to make a 13-year-old do a double-take.
Welcome to Las Vegas Sign
This is definitely on my recommend list, you can’t go to Vegas without seeing THE sign. It’s iconic.
There is a but coming though.
The queue to take a formal picture with the sign is ridiculous, especially in the heat. We waited a little before stepping out the queue and taking a photo at a slight side angle. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to time it with no one standing by the sign in between the people changing over for photos. The one above is one I managed to quickly grab… if only I could get a photo with the sign.
Now my mum and I are massive shopaholics. We usually plan our trips to include some decent shopping malls. Even if you’re on a budget, Las Vegas has both a North and South Premium Outlets, or if you’re feeling a little flashy, most the hotels have some great malls. The North Premium Outlets are set in an outside mall so make sure you keep sunscreen handy – I got a bit of heatstroke when I went. The South Premium Outlets are inside though so if you feel like the heat is too much then grab the Deuce Bus or Strip & Downtown Express Bus southbound. I also recommend the Fashion Show Mall.
(The Deuce bus runs 24 hours but only goes as far north as Fremont Street so you can’t get to the North Outlets on it. Both stop at the South Outlets and the Welcome to Las Vegas sign)
Las Vegas is in the middle of a desert. It. Is. Very. Hot. It can reach over 40⁰C (104⁰F). That’s why it makes a great place if you want a day by the pool. As I explain below, the Golden Nugget hotel has a very different pool to most.
Most hotels also have bars by the pool and day beds you can hire out. Or, you can just grab a couple of pool towels and relax on a sun lounger. We stayed at the Treasure Island hotel which has a pool surrounded by palm trees and close access to a Starbucks to grab those iced lattes when you get a little too hot.
Things I’m yet to do…
The Gondola Rides at The Venetian
At $29 per person and travelling on a budget, I just couldn’t quite justify it when we still had so many places left to travel to on our trip. If you’re like me, then check out The Grand Canal Shoppes instead. You can watch the Gondolas float from the waterfront and even grab some ice cream.
Thrill Rides at the Stratosphere Tower
There are three rides at the Stratosphere, and I’m not sure if I’m brave enough for any of them. But one day…
We’ve driven through it, but I am yet to have the full experience. Not only am I going to do the Stratosphere rides one day, but I will also go on the SlotZilla Zip Line.
I also suggest heading that way for the light show and going down the slide at the Golden Nugget hotel that may or may not take you through a shark tank.
The Big Apple Coaster and Arcade
So, I like rides, but I’ve never been to Vegas with someone else who does. This one even comes with the option to add virtual reality so you can travel New York with monsters. Definitely not an experience I’ve had before.
Eiffel Tower Experience
Las Vegas also has brought Paris to the Strip. The Eiffel Tower has an observation deck that gives a great view to the Fountains at Bellagio and the rest of the Strip. There is even a restaurant up there.
The Heart Attack Grill
This food place is great if you’re a burger lover. Unfortunately, I am not. But this is always a place I check out as I ride pass on the bus. They even advertise that if you’re over 350 lbs, you can eat for free. The waitresses are dressed as nurses just to fit in with the name.
They serve an Octuple Bypass Burger which has 8 burger patties, totalling around 20,000 calories! Let me know if you can eat all of one, I’ve heard rumours of a punishment if you can’t.
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