Well it happened…and now we’re back. The Vegas trip was a success – everyone had a great time, and everyone made it out alive. It was a quick trip, but we packed plenty of activities (and fun!) into it. That seems to be the way to do Vegas; do a lot while you’re there, and make it a quick trip (otherwise Vegas may end up with all of your money), so that’s what we tried to do…
What we did:
–Walked….a lot. The strip is just over 2 miles long, and even though we stayed at
Excalibur (right in the thick of things), it is still a bit over 1.5 miles to get down to some of the famous casinos (i.e. Caesar’s, and the Bellagio). Make that a round trip and you’re talking a few miles. Add in wandering through other hotels and casinos and bars along the way, and you’re talking a whole lot of walking. But the walking is worth it – there are tons of cool things and people to see along the way. It’s also the perfect time to sip on some beers – which brings me to number two…
–Drank. Yes, while in Vegas we drank (shocking!). While we did drink plenty, I would say that we didn’t drink as much as I thought we might, and we certainly were not very drunk based on Vegas’ standards (after observing other people there – we kept it classy). It was convenient to drink; you are allowed to take drinks out of the bars/casinos and drink as you walk. You can also find drinks really cheap in tons of little kiosks located all up and down the street – you can go in and buy a couple of tall boys and take them to drink or even a six pack (or more) and take that to drink along your walk as well.
–Gambled. This was one of the big reasons I’ve wanted to go to Vegas…to gamble. And we did just that. I found lots of $5 craps tables and played in a couple of small poker tournaments. My two younger sisters and their boyfriends may now need counseling to curb their newfound addictions to blackjack and roulette. My older sister watched. And even Em got into the action by racking up some money on the penny slots. Yes, penny slots. And I played them as well. We both had quite a bit of fun playing them too! For as much as I gambled and drank while gambling, I did pretty darn well…lost a little bit of money, but did not even get close to hitting my gambling budget that I had set aside.
–Dined. Vegas is the land of buffets and other food deals. So we definitely hit up some of the buffets and other places to eat:
- Excalibur buffet: we had lunch here and there were plenty of good options to choose from. I say good because the lunch buffet wasn’t great (at least not worth the $16/person price), but with free meal coupons (which we had) it was definitely a steal.
- Ellis Island Casino and Microbrewery: This is a famous deal in Vegas, and it is a deal. You get a large beer (microbrew), a salad, a steak, potato, and green beans all for $7.95. The steak was really good (though not great), but the beer alone is not a bad deal for a large microbrew. Plus it’s right next to the strip which made getting there easy.
- Krispy Kreme: Alright, this barely counts. We got breakfast here because it came with a free cup of coffee. Moving on…
- Le Creperie: This is a little crepe cafe located in the Paris casino. We had a dessert crepe that was big enough for two and was a great deal (only $9.99). It was absolutely delicious. They also have savory crepes if you’re looking for more of a meal than a dessert.
- Mainstreet Station Buffet: This is dubbed the best buffet in downtown Vegas, so we had to go and try it out. It was a delicious buffet. My only complaint is that we arrived there a bit late, so we only had about 30 minutes to eat. It definitely would have been a place to sit down and spend a long hour or two eating…
–Lounged. We didn’t want to spend all of our time lounging at the pool (too much other stuff to see and do!), but we did manage to squeeze in a couple of hours poolside with some beers and “tropical” drinks.
–Saw a show. We took Cohen’s recommendation and made our way down to Harrah’s to see the Mack King Comedy Show. He was a comedic magician who was a goofy guy, but extremely funny and entertaining. The magic itself will not blow you away, but coupled with the humor, it’s a show worth seeing. Plus, we were able to score free tickets (as long as we bought at least one drink – still a great deal!), so that made it even better. We also saw a couple of street performers on the strip who were definitely good enough to watch and give donations to.
–Limo ride. Another of Cohen’s recommendations that turned out to be a great idea. We rented a limo on Saturday night for an hour and a half to cruise the strip and then take us to downtown Vegas (the night we ate at Mainstreet Station). This was a great time – we hung out in the limo, brought our own drinks to mix, saw the casinos, and were able to catch the light show at the Bellagio. All for an extremely reasonable price.
–Went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. This was something that Em really wanted to do and turned out to be really awesome. The Paris casino/hotel used the actual blueprints from the Eiffel Tower and built it so that it was 50% of the size of the real Eiffel Tower and then built the hotel around it (the legs of the tower come through the casino floor). When we got to the top, we were overlooking the Bellagio and were able to watch the water show from a bird’s eye perspective. It was definitely worth doing.
What we didn’t do:
After getting home, we agreed that there were really only a couple of things that we didn’t get to do that we would have liked to have done (I guess that means we’ll just have to go back…darn):
–Ride the rollercoaster at New York New York. We wanted to do this and had planned to, but time just ran out on us. We decided to do the Eiffel Tower instead, and honestly, I’m glad we went that route.
–Go to a nightclub or swanky lounge. We kind of assumed that we would do one of these two things (or both), but it just never materialized. Between all of our other activities, we never quite made it. We spent lots of time in the casinos and bars, but didn’t ever make it to a true nightclub or lounge. We’ll have to do that on our next trip.
–Hit a jackpot and become rich. We had every intention of doing this, but it just never seemed to work out. The penny slots were good to us, but not that good…
What we learned:
Some of what we learned, we sort of already knew, but it’s still worth stating here:
–Drinking in Vegas can be CHEAP! This is exciting news for those going to Vegas. The beers in kiosks are super cheap and you can take them anywhere with you – including a lot of restaurants. Beer is free while gambling – just tip a dollar to the waitress. The hotel gave us several free drink coupons to use in the casino bars. Just about every restaurant on any given day is giving out buy 1 get 1 free drink tickets. Casino Royale always has $1 beers and $1 margaritas. So even if you’re not gambling, you can still drink for cheap!
–Vegas is a walking trip! Like I said before, we walked. Just going through all of the casinos (which is worth it) requires lots of walking. The good news – there are plenty of worthwhile places to stop and rest and look around along the way.
–Gambling can be reasonable! Just about anytime of day we were able to find cheap ($5) craps, blackjack, and roulette. Awkward hours in Excalibur, or anytime at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall or Casino Royale or downtown Vegas are where/when you can find cheaper games. Also, we weren’t afraid to play the penny slots. Your money lasts longer, and we actually won a pretty big chunk of money from them. So even though I lost a little bit of money, it wasn’t much at all considering the amount I played, the amount I drank while playing, and the amount of fun I had while playing.
–Themed casinos/hotels are worth a walkthrough. Many of the hotels and casinos are worth walking through, though after a while you get the idea that if you’ve seen one casino, you’ve seen them all. That’s what makes the themed places a little more interesting to walk through: Paris, The Venetian, and Caesar’s come to mind.
Enjoy a few more pictures from the trip:
We already can’t wait to go back. Vegas was awesome, and it didn’t even break the bank like I thought it might!