My Tips for ‘doing Las Vegas’
When someone mentions ‘Las Vegas’, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Gambling, right? Showgirls? Well, those were the days past. Today, it’s a booming family friendly oasis in the desert teeming with adventure and inspiration around every corner! Here’s my best tips for heading out into the great Nevada desert town that is Las Vegas.
I love Las Vegas! Over the years I’ve made countless trips to sin city and every adventure I discover something new that both excites and inspires me. This last trip I took mom with me on a girls weekend adventure to celebrate her birthday. As usual, we had a blast! So, I thought I’d share with you my best tips for ‘doing Las Vegas’
Bring Comfortable Shoes
It doesn’t really matter if you want to relive your 20’s and wear a skimpy little number with a feather boa, or cover every inch with cloth, be sure to wear the most comfortable and supportive walking shoes you can.
1) no one is looking at your shoes and 2) your feet, ankles and calves will thank you! Trust me, whether you plan to or not, you will do a LOT of walking.
Look at it this way, one Las Vegas Hotel Resort is the size of one average city square mile. So, just walking from your room to the lobby is equivalent to a half mile up to a full mile jaunt. Never mind all the walking through the Casino, to the restaurants, exhibits, shows… it all adds up.
Water, Water, Water!
When I first moved from Washington State to the desert many many moons ago I wasn’t used to drinking water all day. In fact, I mostly drank soda back then. However, it only took one adventure up to the Sierra Nevada mountains for an all day excursion in the open desert air that I learned my lesson the hard way. I nearly passed out from dehydration. It’s definitely not something I recommend.
When in Las Vegas remember, you’re are in the desert. And, if you don’t already live in a desert, your body will not be used to the amount of water it uses up when out in the dry heat. I like to carry a refillable bottle that fits inside my travel bag. Every time you think about it, take a sip. Every time you stop for a bite to eat, fill it up. I promise, you’ll end up drinking more water than you think.
Ok, this one I can’t stress enough. When you’re in Reno and the northern region, it’s a high desert, which means it’s about 5000 feet up in the Sierra Mountains. It’s extremely bright and that sun can be brutal. As I am Irish and have fair skin, I cover myself first thing in the morning with sunscreen and reapply at least twice throughout the day.
Being in Las Vegas, the sun’s torture is even worse as you are not only walking around in 100+ degree heat some days, but the strip is literally a concrete jungle. And that concrete radiates the heat back to you. So, when the temp reads 102, the concrete can shoot you 110.
Have a Plan
Before you head to airport remind yourself that there’s no way you’ll be able to see everything in Las Vegas, but you’ll see the things you need to see. Even those that live here may never see and experience all that Las Vegas has to offer. So, here’s my tip:
Each hotel resort has a theme. Excalibur is medieval King Arthur times. Treasure Island is pirate themed. The Venetian is little Italy. Caesar’s Palace is Roman themed. And so on. Take a look at Vegas.com and view the different resorts to decide which one’s strike your fancy the most. Then, get a room there. That way you can explore the entire resort without having to leave the property.
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Next, decide which other resorts you want to check out (the Venetian is my favorite!), find where the self-parking garage is located and take an Uber. With the advancements in their systems Uber is safer than ever and you can see the city without the added wear and tear on your feet from walking the strip.
Look Up! Look Down!
One of the best tips I could give any Quilter who ventures their way into and through Las Vegas is this: Look up! Then, look down!
Everywhere you look there are quilt patterns and artistic inspiration. Murals and paintings galore!
Keep an Eye on Your Wallet
Now, if you would like to actually walk the strip, by all means! There’s SO MUCH to see and experience! Just keep in mind the crowds and the constant barrage of people trying to get you to give them money.
Panhandling is illegal in Las Vegas so people will find clever ways to pray on your heart strings. For instance, one day 2 very nice men came up and handed mom and I a couple of CD’s. Does anyone actually use them anymore?
They said the music was theirs and there was no cursing or derogatory language. They claimed to represent a ministry that helps struggling single fathers. Great cause, right? Well, the CD’s were bootlegged and as nice as those gentlemen were, it was a scam. Mom gave them $20 anyway because she feels it’s a small price to pay for polite conversation and they were just trying to make a living. Whether you decide to “donate” to these people or not is up to you. As long as you are aware it’s almost always a scam.
Head to the Strip!
That said, there are some pretty cool things along the strip that you would never see just going from resort to resort. For instance, next to the MGM is the giant 3-story M&M store. Even if you don’t each chocolate (I mean, I guess those people exist. 😉) it’s a super fun store to walk through!
Out front of Treasure Island is the giant pirate ships. The Belagio has the famed water fountains that are best viewed from the strip. Even the Venetian (I mentioned it’s my favorite, yes?) has the piazza out front and Vegas’ Madame Tussaud, only accessible from the strip side.
One of our favorite ‘hidden’ treasures is Bruxie. It’s the BEST chicken and waffles joint you will ever experience and is attached to New York, New York. However, you can only access it by walking along the side of the building on the strip side.
Hop On, Hop Off
Many people come to Vegas and never leave the strip. However, I’m here to tell you there is SO much more to see and do in this 24-hour town. Check out the ‘Hop on, Hop off’ bus. These are double decker busses that drive around the city where you can literally hop off whenever you feel like, then hop back on when you’re ready to head to the next place. It’s a 1-time fee that you can use for 1 day or 3 days. They even have a separate one just for night time for all you late night party animals. 😊
The first time I discovered this great service I was traveling Vegas alone for 2 days. While driving the strip, the bus tour guide was telling us stories about the history of Las Vegas and how things have changed over the years, where the best deals are, etc. She was just full of great information!
The bus went into old downtown and that’s where I decided my adventure would be. First stop was touring the shop from Pawn Stars. Obviously, the store is now a tourist trap and the guys don’t actually work in that building anymore but it’s still fun to take pictures with their life-sized cutouts and see some of the pieces from the show. Believe it or not, it still is a working pawn shop.
Off the Main Strip
Next was the Mob Museum. Now, I am fascinated by the mafia. And, of course, Vegas was founded by the mob. To think, this whole thing started with a vision that Bugsy Siegal had one day driving up to Tahoe.
Ok, the museum. It’s housed in the old courthouse and each floor is covered in interactive exhibits, history and lore. Anything you wanted to learn about the history of the mob is in this building. I’ve been through it 3 times and will probably go another 3 times in the future. It really is a great museum.
Lastly, Fremont street. Have you ever seen those pictures or video of the interactive canopy screen where planes fly through and music plays and it’s a giant artistic video above you? Well, that’s Fremont. It stretches several blocks and has street artists and vendors, shops, restaurants and a zipline. Now, if you are brave enough to attempt the zipline, more power to you. However, I’m happy to just watch people fly through the air from the safety of the ground. Oh, and if you like burgers, do check out the Heart Attack grill. It’s an experience in itself.
No matter your reason to come to Las Vegas, a grand and unique adventure awaits with every trip. From the magical artistry inside the resorts to the new world artistry of Fremont, there’s something to inspire every quilter! Oh, and I did mention those 7 quilt shops, yes?
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