Mrs. Christensen isn’t the only one who went to Vegas recently. I just returned from a long weekend there with my husband and two of our closest friends. We went for a “babymoon”/30th birthday trip for Michael and it was everything we needed and more. I thought, since you’re not likely to find my reviews on TripAdvisor (yes, I use it for planning and I review things too), I thought I’d share some things I learned on my trip or things I did to ensure we had a great time:
We loved The Bellagio. First time to stay there for us.
1) Plan out each day.
Everyone’s favorite night of our trip was Michael’s birthday night. His best friend and I spent months planning a very full and exciting night for him. Each activity was a surprise. It was so fun. But what we noticed the next night—a night on which we purposely didn’t plan anything so we could just relax and wing it—was that there are so many – maybe too many – options in Vegas. And if you don’t have a pretty firm plan in place, you might find yourself overwhelmed and unsure what to do next. Or, like with us, you might find yourself gambling more than you planned and/or you’ll wander for “miles” trying to decide on the perfect restaurant for lunch. Or you might find yourself at The Bellagio Buffet one night and live to regret it (like we did). It was ew. #LubysLasVegas
2) Stay at a centrally located hotel.
This will cut down on the amount of walking you have to do (saves energy), the amount of taxis you need to take (saves money) and you’ll be right in the heart of the action. We loved The Bellagio for so many reasons. Not only is it nice inside and out, centrally located, beautiful and clean, and classic Vegas, but it’s also one of the nicest, best laid out casinos; it has many of the nicest restaurants in the whole city on site; and it has the most accommodating and friendly staff ever.
3) Try a new restaurant every meal.
Don’t get lazy and just head back to the places you went to last time you were in Vegas. The restaurant lineup is constantly changing and improving, and there are so many new celebrity-chef eateries to try that you could never get to them all, even if you ate five times a day. Our favorites among the many places we tried were:
- PRIME at The Bellagio – I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing and worth it it was to dine here. $200+ for two, but AMAZING (try the peppercorn new york steak with a side of au gratin potatoes and the brocolli w/pistachios).
PRIME on Michael’s 30th birthday.
- BurGR at Planet Hollywood (try the Jalapeno Poppers, the Jalapeno Margarita–it’s really spicy and strong, and any of the burgers. We each got something different and loved them all.).
The flaming sign outside BurGR. This is definitely a casual spot, and it was packed even though we were eating a late, late lunch at 3:30 p.m.
- Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesar’s Palace – The BLT is to die for! Also, the lamb burger is supposed to be amaze, but our boys weren’t impressed. (BTW: We aren’t obsessed with Gordon Ramsay, it just happened that we went to two of his restaurants while we were there.)
The BLT—The bacon was so thick and covered in a yummy glaze!
At Yellowtail with my baby.
- Spago at Caesar’s Palace – I say go for a nicer lunch and people watch since it’s at the Forum Shops, but dinner is popular there too. We shared the most amazing pizza (one of the best we ever ate) and a caesar salad (just average). The pizza we had was their Italian Sausage & Goat Cheese pizza; try it!
This was the first official picture I took on our trip.
4. Don’t bother hiring a VIP nightlife service.
There’s no need. Club promoters are out during the day looking for nicely dressed people and groups with cute girls to give free entry (and often free drinks) to. We got on the list at the Encore Beach Club, The Bank, Hakkasan, etc. just incase we did end up wanting to go. By getting on the list with these promoters two things happen: 1, you don’t have to pay the expensive cover charges and might get a couple free drinks out of it, and 2, you’ll get to walk right in past all the lines. We decided to go clubbing one night and DID use a service – at Tryst at The Wynn for Michael’s bday night – and it was great because we knew we wanted to go to that exact club. If you don’t really care where you end up, don’t bother with a service, cause you’ll get in a bunch of places for free without their help. You might not bump into a promoter for the exact club you’re hoping for though, so being flexible on where to club is key.
Pics from Tryst on Michael’s bday night.
5. Stay three nights MAX.
Michael and I broke this rule because it was our first trip away from Baby Grace and we wanted a couple extra nights of uninterrupted sleep (thank you Lord!), and so that was awesome. But the reality is, two “wild” nights in Vegas is sufficient. That’s enough time to scratch your Vegas itch for the year, as well as gamble just enough not to lose your house. It’s time enough to try a few great restaurants, do plenty of shopping, and even get in some golf or pool time.
A little golf with my honey the first day at TPC Las Vegas!
Mimosas by the Bellagio pool Saturday. One of my favorite parts of the trip.
6. Go with good friends (friends who like the same kinds of things as you).
You don’t want to go to Vegas with certain people (you know who they are). Don’t bring the guy that wants to stay up till dawn every night and club hop if you’re not into that. If you’re a foodie and want to dine at the latest and greatest, be sure you’re with people willing to spend the dough to dine with you. You get the idea. Friend trips are so amazing, especially when you go with friends like ours (heart y’all!), but it can get a little uncomfortable if you or your friends are secretly not interested in the same things or don’t have the same mindset about money (like taking taxis v. walking, seeing a show v. gambling all day …) Vegas brings out all sorts of personalities (for me, I spend money on vacation like I’m rich and get home to remember I’m so not, while others come with a strict budget and need to stay on it. That person and I wouldn’t have as much fun together on vacay, prob. LOL).
Such good friends!
Fortunately, Jen and I both love to shop…her even more than me….
and we both got an early start with Tory Burch shoe purchases (I got these) Friday night!
Ok, so that’s my advice. Take it or leave it.
Now… off to New York I go (trip 2 of 2 commence!).