You can also find my article here on bayarea.com:
Travelling to Vegas with Kids? No problem! Find my kid-friendly Vegas article previously posted here:
Some people hate Vegas. I happen to love it. Sure, it can have some negative connotations associated with it, but if you come here to enjoy all the amenities they offer, you may come to love it too. Simply put, if you love Vegas, it will love you back — just don’t get too attached to the girl or guy you met dancing in the club who’s from out-of-town. But hey, you never know; it is Vegas after all…
Sin City is the perfect destination to get away from the Bay Area because it’s a quick one-and-a-half hour flight. So, if you’ve got fun on your mind and 48 hours to spare, come to this little big town for a weekend getaway and accomplish more than you bargained for.
7:00 p.m. – Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!
Touchdown in Las Vegas after a long work week and get ready: you’re in for a whirlwind of a trip.
There’s so much to do, but where do you start? First, catch a cab or Uber and, if it’s your first trip to Vegas, ask your driver to take a quick pit stop to the famous welcome sign that reads “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas.” If you don’t have time for first-time shenanigans, go directly to check into your hotel.
There are so many hotels to choose from, but I recommend picking one on the strip for the most convenience and a true Vegas experience. If you can, opt for ultra swanky hotels like the The Cosmopolitan, The Cromwell or the The Linq hotel, which are three of the newer or newly renovated hotels.
8:30 p.m. – Bonjour from Las Vegas
Put your bags down, change your clothes and hit the town to get something to eat for a late dinner! One of the best things about Vegas is that some of the best chefs from around the world open up restaurants on the Strip. You can literally eat some of the best food in the world in a span of a few miles.
With that said, head to the Paris Hotel to Mon Ami Gabi and let your mind drift away to the streets of Paris. Mon Ami Gabi is reminiscent of any bistro in Paris, but you don’t just get an amazing evening view of the faux-Eiffel Tower, but also of the entire Strip — including the famous Bellagio fountains, which displays its water show every ten minutes. You can watch all the street performers nearby too. Be sure to try their Frisee, Kale, and Warm Bacon Salad with Poached Egg to start, and don’t forget to order their weekly dessert option too!
(Interested in other French cuisine options? Sure! Try famous Bay Area chef Thomas Keller’s French Bistro restaurant called Bouchon Bistro in the Venetian, where he uses ingredients from boutique purveyors, or Michael Mina’s newest restaurant called Bardot Brasserie, which has more French comfort food in the Aria)
10:00 p.m. – Enjoy the View(s)
Vegas at night is definitely a sight to see with its neon lights, stars twinkling above, and billboards or marquees telling you that their spot is the place to be. So, tonight, I’ll let you decide where to enjoy the view of the entire City. Check out any of the following places for a breathtaking view of this town that never sleeps — with a drink in hand, of course.
Drai’s — Head to this nightclub, which also has a dayclub too, for all you party-animals. Set on top of the 11-stories of the Cromwell hotel, Drai’s has reinvented itself and has done a damn good job. The palm trees and lit up pool can be distracting, but the night sky and music make for an evening you won’t forget.
Commonwealth — Set in Vegas’ downtown area, Commonwealth is designed like a speakeasy — and they also have a secret club inside, but you have to know the secret password to get in. Shhhh. Otherwise stay outdoors and enjoy views of downtown and dance the night away.
The High Roller — For a completely different experience, head to this giant ferris wheel, complete with a bar and bartender in each “pod.” Located behind the Linq hotel, The High Roller is an experience you won’t forget.
1:00 a.m. – Post-Party Snack
By now, you’ve had way too much to drink and need something to sober you up. Nothing, I mean nothing, can soak up alcohol better than delicious greasy food, and Egg Slut, my friends, is your place.
Located in the Cosmopolitan, Egg Slut, which originated in Los Angeles, serves a variety of egg dishes. Try the basic egg, bacon and cheese sandwich or their famed “slut,” which is a coddled egg over potato puree in a mason jar served with pieces of sliced baguettes. YESSS!
Now it’s time to hit the hay!
8:00 a.m. – Enjoy the Red Rocks…
Okay, so it’s a little early, but there’s a good reason why you’re awake. Red Rock Canyon is only about a 20-minute drive from the strip and easily one of the most beautiful places you’ll come across on this trip. It features over 19 different marked trails and hikes ranging from 0.75 to 6-miles. Get in touch with nature and feel the crisp, cool air against your face — and yes, you’ll get over that hangover quickly.
11:00 a.m. – Lunch in “Central Park”
After a refreshing hike, head back to the Strip to the “Big Apple” — I mean the New York, New York Hotel — and lo-and-behold, Shake Shack will be waiting for you with open arms. A New York staple and a delicious one at that, Shake Shack has some of the best burgers and crinkle-cut fries (with cheese please!) around. A perfect lunch combination will leave you full and if not, save room for the frozen custard made in delicious combinations of chocolate and vanilla or their seasonal flavors. (There is also a second location in Summerlin, which is only a six-minute drive from Red Rock Canyon.)
If it were the summertime, I’d suggest spending the rest of the afternoon at any of the hotel pools or nearby pool parties, but because it’s wintertime, shopping at any of the various malls, centers, or outlets will do for any person who loves to shop.
The are shopping options aplenty for every budget. I recommend heading to the Fashion Show Mall at the tail end of the Strip for big retailers, or head to the outlets (North and South Premium Outlets) for great deals. If you’re into high-end shopping, you can head to just about any of the big hotels like the Venetian, Caesar’s Palace, the Bellagio, and more.
And if shopping isn’t your thing, no worries. Why not walk the Strip and burn some calories in the process while taking photos along the way. Each hotel has lots to offer whether you want to visit animals at the Aquarium in the Mandalay Bay, visit Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in the Mirage Hotel, check out the amazing Chihuly Glass art in the Bellagio or just go gambling — we won’t judge.
Every moment and every hour count here in Vegas. So, come early to eat dinner, and yes, you can literally have it all! Vegas is well-known for being over-the-top, and the buffet situation is just that. Almost every hotel has a buffet with cuisines from around the world, but The Bacchanal in the Caesar’s Palace is an epic feast with over 500 offerings, like the fried chicken and waffles, smoked pork belly or the king crab legs on ice. You’ll be sure to leave with a smile on your face and a happy belly.
7:00 p.m. – it’s Showtime!
Now that you’ve stuffed your face, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a show. Again, there are so many options from the countless Cirque du Soleil shows to magic shows, singing, dancing, and everything in between — there is a show to fit anyone’s interest. I recommend them all especially ones that have a bit of everything like the Michael Jackson’s One presented by Cirque du Soleil.
(Some other shows to check out are the ever-inspiring “O” at the Bellagio (a Cirque du Soleil production), Jreamz at the MGM Grand Hotel (a dance show from the amazing talents of the Jabbawockeez), or Mat Franco’s Magic Reinvented at the Linq.)
10:00 p.m. – Viva Las Vegas!
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to hit the town. Let loose and lose all inhibitions (although we have to tell you to do so responsibly!). Head to the Marquee in the Cosmopolitan or XS in the Wynn if you feel like dancing the night away, or simply lounge around at a place like the Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental for cocktails and a stunning indoor view of the Strip.
(Remember to plan ahead and book tickets for clubs in advance so you’re not playing the waiting game at the front entrance. That’s never fun. And if you’ve got a large group, maybe check out party bus options.)
2:00 a.m. – Secret Pizza…Shhh…
After a long night, the search for yummy food shouldn’t be difficult. So Secret Pizza it is.
Down a long, mysterious hallway in the Cosmopolitan, is a New York thin crust pizza place whipping out the goods to feed the hungry masses who may have looked different in the dark, but hey, one piece of pizza will make it all better. Just don’t tell anyone I told you! Shh….
10:00 a.m. – Living the Vegas Dream
Good Morning! It’s time to try something different and live like a show performer. Head over to Galaxy Pilates in nearby Summerlin to try an AntiGravity Intro to Aerial Yoga class to pretend like you’re a performer practicing for your show. (One can dream!) Taking a class, you’ll grow to appreciate all the strength and effort it takes to be an aerialist seen in many of the Vegas shows.
After your workout, head to Hash-House-a-Go-Go for a traditional, yet new take on American brunch in the Linq Hotel. The sage fried chicken and bacon waffle tower is a popular choice among other things, and don’t forget to order a Bloody Mary or Mimosa. Bottoms up!
3:00 p.m. – Time for some R&R
Who says you can’t rest and relax in Vegas? Some of the best spas in the world are here, and before you take your flight home, check out the Spa at the Encore to feel like true royalty in their highly-rated facility, where you can enjoy amenities like a plunge pool, sauna, or sun-lit atrium. Trust me, you’ll want to spend the entire afternoon here so be sure to book a massage or facial for complete R&R.
Another spa worth mentioning is The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, a more modern take, you’ll enjoy the vitality pool with views of the Strip or lounge about their heated relaxation chairs. Book a treatment here then use their experience showers where you’ll be able to control the kind of water you want, like a cascade or tropical rain. You’ll be sure to leave completely relaxed and rejuvenated before the work week begins.
7:00 p.m. – Bye-bye, Vegas!
Well, it’s time to say goodbye, my friends! You’ll be glad to be going home because being in Vegas, it feels like a world of it’s own — it’s time to get back to reality and refill the wallets (unless you won big!). Enjoy your quick flight home, get plenty of rest, and keep your memories with you because “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”