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!

10 Things to Do Before Taking a Vegas Vacation

1. Your laundry.

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Whether because you didn’t get around to it this weekend, you need fresh underwear or because your mom can’t help herself and bought you (instead of herself!) a bunch of new clothes.

2. Treat yourself to a manicure/pedicure.

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I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but when I get a bajillion pedicures in a row, this thing where my toenails turn kind of white and brittle-looking (TMI, right?) happens. Basically, the nail polish dries your nails out. I’ve been going polish-less for a few months to give my nails a break and was more than ready for a fresh coat of paint.

3. Eat a lot of salad.

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Because Lord knows I won’t be eating any when I get to Sin City.

4. Get your sunglasses a tune up.

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It’s going to be in the upper 90’s while we’re in Vegas and I imagine we will be out walking the strip in the sun a lot, so I made sure to get the screws on my sunglasses tightened this past weekend. For some reason (that may or may not have something to do with me not having a case and just letting my sunglasses float around in my messy purse…), my sunglass screws always loosen up. When we were in Jamaica, they were so bad that they wouldn’t even stay on my face. Not ideal when you’re on a sunny vacation.

5. Buy some fun new shoes.

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Okay, I thought I hated Toms, but I bought some of these crotched ones for both my sister and Hannah for each of their birthdays and somehow, I started to like them. I just picked up a pair for myself, so now we can all wear them and be disgustingly cute and matchy.

6. Sleep as little as possible to prepare your body for late nights.

Which turns out, is really easy if your significant other likes to make noises like he believes his throat is suddenly closing up every time he tries to go to sleep. I’m allowed to put a pillow over his face, right?

7. Listen to the Beatles radio station non-stop to get yourself in the mood for Beatles Cirque du Soleil.

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SO.INCREDIBLY.EXCITED.!

8. Go on a long run and tell yourself it negates all the calories in alcohol you will consume in 4 days.

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9. Be adamant that you are NOT getting married while you’re there.

BOTH of my parents have been married in Vegas (and I don’t mean to each other), but despite what my co-workers think, Joey and I will not be doing the same. I can’t vouch for anyone else though!

10. Relax!

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I like to get all stressed with things I “have” to do before vacation, i.e. laundry, packing, cleaning up my apartment so I don’t come home to a dump, but starting vacation early by relaxing and having fun the night before is where it’s at.

Viva Las Vegas!