Weekend Things: Viva Las Vegas

I think I stand in opposition to almost everything Vegas stands for — gambling, drinking, staying out late — but I’m always up for sight-seeing, show watching and going out to eat!  We took a little weekend trip and even though our flight home was delayed, delayed again then majorly delayed, I think we all still had a great time.  I got to see P!nk fly through the air, a robot mix a margarita and the last ever season premier of Game of Thrones on an iPad at 1 AM, so I feel pretty happy about it.

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We stayed at The LINQ and it had a lovely little promenade area with shops and you know, In-N-Out, but lots of other restaurants too!  Next door at The Flamingo, I got to see some of those pink birds hanging out in the sun.  Sounds like a great life, to be honest!  We go every time we’re in Vegas, but Gordon Ramsay Burger is just really good and they know how to cook a burger right.  We walked over to T-Mobile Arena afterward and WHOA, I was just blown away by how incredible P!nk was.  Not only was she dancing and soaring all over but she sounded FLAWLESS.  HOW??  That’s a concert I’ll never forget.

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The next morning, Joey, Lori and I hit up PublicUs for breakfast, then walked over to the Downtown Container Park — we tried to go last time we were in Vegas but the area was closed off because of some sort of festival — and were delighted to discover it was very nice and most importantly, uncrowded!  A jazz band was just about to perform so we grabbed a seat and watched for a while.  Then we walked down Fremont Street, got drinks made by a robot, watched the fountain show at the Bellagio, walked through The Forum Shops and made our way back to The LINQ to get cleaned up for dinner.

We ate at Roma and I had an amazing plate of eggplant parm with a side of what was just a simple penne in tomato sauce but somehow tasted better than any other penne with tomato sauce I’ve ever had?  Then, the real reason for our trip to Las Vegas: Donny and Marie!  In all honestly, I barely know who the Osmonds are, but when your mother-in-law is a major fan and it’s their last year in Vegas, you go!  Guys, it was so fun to watch them interact with the audience!  Women losing their minds over Donny Osmond is highly highly entertaining and look, I’ll be happy if I’m ever as good in high heels as Marie Osmond is!

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Our last full day started with a hike in Red Rock Canyon!  I guess I only ever hike on vacation now, but maybe that’s for the best because all of those hikes have been great.  The weather was perfect, the scenery was unbelievable and the company was the best.  We did what felt like rock climbing to me and Lori is a trooper for scaling rocks like the best of em!  There’s something like 26 different trails but we chose Calico Tanks and it had such a cool view of the city at the top.  Also, we saw a chuckwalla!

Post-hike, Joey ate In-N-Out and the rest of us did not because we were having dinner soon!  But then we got cleaned up and went to THE DORSEY!!!!  Aka a cocktail bar inside the Venetian that I had imagined to be on the top floor with big windows facing the outside but was actually a dark ground floor room with a view of… the casino.  But there was a library and that seemed very Dorsey-esque.  After, we had dinner at Mesa Grill which, honestly, I thought was going to be a lot better.  I wasn’t blown away and, with the amount of money we spent (especially since we ordered a total of two drinks!), I should have been blown away.  But the highlight of the night was “O” by Cirque du Soleil.  I am too old for a 9:30 PM show and maybe felt dozy a few times but WOW, it was the BEST Cirque show I’ve ever seen!

Mostly though, I feel real lucky that my family in-law is such a pleasure to vacation with ♥

Weekend Vacation: Las Vegas

“Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire.”

It is my honest opinion that whatever you’re into, you can find it in Vegas.  So while gambling, drinking, sunbathing and staying up all night might be the most obvious forms of entertainment, if  you’re into cute coffee shops, history tours, evening shows, breweries and going to bed at a normal hour (ME!) then Vegas is for you too.

It’s also a place where mostly everyone is on vacation and ain’t nobody there to take themselves seriously or to say “no” to temptation.  Hey, I can get behind that.  Viva Las Vegas, right?

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Flew in on what was the most turbulent flight of my life, checked in to our hotel, grabbed a late lunch then headed to Fremont.  All those lights! ♥

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Breakfast at the hippest coffee shop before winning SIXTEEN WHOLE DOLLARS.  Really living it up!

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Kind of LOVED the Neon Museum Tour!

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When you’re a psycho and run on vacation but we got to see the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and then rewarded ourselves with bottomless brunch and the prettiest mimosas, that almost made me forget I don’t even like mimosas.  

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I was definitely the youngest person at the John Fogerty concert but I actually knew more songs than I thought I was going to.  “Proud Mary” forever!  Ate a 10:30 steak dinner afterwards and I’ve never felt so fancy.

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Hung with the boys at Beerhaus on Sunday because I guess football doesn’t stop for vacation.  Pool (aka nap) time before seeing Lionel Richie and I went to two concerts that started with “Hello” this year.  Bellagio fountains never disappoint.

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Spent our last day eating (always!), gambling (never!) and eating again.  Got to see Aria for the first and last time and it was straight pumpkin season in there!

Where We Stayed: New York, New York // It’s a lot nicer than I remembered it being when I was 10 and location-wise it seemed to really work out for us.  

Where We Ate/Drank:

Tom’s Urban // We have a Tom’s in Denver and I was pretty excited to learn that the Vegas one happened to be located IN our hotel.  Just like the Denver location, this wasn’t the BEST but being conveniently located scores major points.

Banger Brewing // I didn’t LOVE their beers, but the bartenders were friendly as hell and the Jalapeño Hefe was crazy interesting.

Therapy // Leave it to me to find the most hipster spots, even in downtown Vegas.  But all trendiness aside, the food at this place was so so good.  I thought I’d seen it all when it came to “Devils on Horseback” but WHOA these were incredible.  P.S. When they call to confirm your reservation, they say “This is Sarah, from Therapy.”

PublicUs // My love for Bon Appetit went up 10 points after visiting this coffee shop that also pumps out incredible food.  When’s the last time you had the opportunity to order steak and eggs at a coffee shop?  And if their actual menu isn’t enough, their glass case is filled with the most beautiful foods.  I saw that toast and was a goner.  

Chicago Brewing // Not only was our bartender a Rockies fan but the IPA I had was majorly good.  Less pleasant is that this place is located inside a cigar bar…

Roma Deli 1 & Restaurant // Guys, Adam and his friend Denny have been talking this place up for YEARS so we HAD to go.  I feel bad/weird/embarrassed that I have nothing to compare it to (unless the Olive Garden counts?) but I have it on good authority that it’s as authentic as can be.  I just know the pasta sauce was the freshest and my spaghetti came with a giant meatball that was unbelievably tender.  HOW DO THEY DO IT?

Border Grill // Joey and I are all in on bottomless brunch.  Our waitress wasn’t the friendliest but whatever because they had a hot pink mimosa and the dishes are served tapas size, one for each person.  Is it wrong if the pigs in a blanket were my favorite thing?

Buddy V’s // As in The Cake Boss.  We just shared a meat and cheese plate + a bottle of wine here so I can’t vouch for much more than that, but it served its purpose for us.

Carnevino // Another Adam & Denny recommendation and it was quite the experience!  They cut your steak tableside, plate the bone and encourage you to gnaw off of it.  Not sure I’d do it again based on the price alone but I’m 100% glad we went.  Man, do I love a good steak. 

Il Fornaio // I got granola and I’m pretty sure ordering granola in a restaurant is NEVER something you write home about.  The service did seem pretty top quality however!

Beerhaus // I thought this place was pretty cool.  I also don’t care about football so I was less annoyed that “there weren’t enough TVs.”  I’d definitely go back and try the food next time.

BurGR // Joey and I kind of love this place!  And judging by the constant line outside, I’d say a lot of other people do too!  It’s just a really really good burger, a decent beer selection and four different french fry options.  What more can you ask for?

Five50 Pizza Bar // I really wanted to love this place but the service was so slow and my clam pizza was not this clam pizza so that was a bummer, but Joey’s pepperoni/sausage/salami pie was YUM.  

What We Did:

Fremont Street Experience // I love Fremont less for the cheap gambling and more for all the old school neon lights and the overall feeling that you’ve been transported back in time.  They do a light show on the overhead screen every hour on the hour and it’s my favorite.

The Neon Museum // You can do day or night tours and while I’m sure seeing the signs lit up is awesome, we only had time to go during the day, plus it makes it a lot easier to take pictures.  I loved the tour!  It was a lot more historical than I had imagined, which turned out to be a major bonus.

Cirque du Soleil: Michael Jackson ONE // Look, all Cirque shows are incredible but this one probably wasn’t my favorite.  Between ONE and LOVE I’m ready to see something really acrobatic next time.  Still, ain’t nobody who could move or sing like MJ, so it was fun to see (and hear!) a tribute to him.

Fountains of Bellagio // All hail free entertainment!  I was delighted by this water performance after Lionel Richie and what do you know, they were playing Elvis’s “Viva Las Vegas.”

Till next time, Vegas!

P.S. I’ve been straight living it up this week for Great American Beer Fest, but tonight is the main event and I feel like a kid on Christmas, for real!  TGIGABF!