Las Vegas is so insane… I lost count with how many times I said that during our time there. If you have never been to Vegas, nothing can prepare you for this extreme, bright, busy city in the middle of the Mojave Desert.
No cost is spared; everything is big, bright, and over the top. I thought I would compile my week in Vegas to this blog post and share all the cool things we did that I would recommend.
We arrived at Los Angeles Airport and thought it would be a good idea to catch a Greyhound bus from LA to Vegas. It’s about 4.5 hours on the bus, and because we don’t really have deserts in New Zealand, we wanted to see a real desert. Well, the desert arrived… and then there was about 3.5 hours of it and I got real bored, real quick. Next time, I would definitely prefer to fly from LA to Vegas.
Once we arrived in Vegas on the bus, we grabbed a Uber up to the Excalibur Hotel which was our first accommodation before Viva started. We’ve stayed in 3 hotels since being here and I personally wouldn’t stay there again. It was nothing special, and the smell of 50-year-old cigarette smoke and cheap perfume to mask it was pretty strong. It was nice being up that end of the Las Vegas Strip purely because we had the New York New York hotel roller coaster right outside our window and a really cool view down the Strip
We enjoyed wandering through the surrounding hotels and made sure we grabbed a huge case of bottled water to keep in our room because it’s a desert after all and it gets hot, hot HOT!
The next morning we headed to an IHOP for breakfast and to meet up with other kiwi friends. It was amazing, I got the four stack of chocolate chip pancakes and they were so delicious. We then wandered down the road to the Charleston Antique Mall and I was in vintage heaven. There were so many Lucite bags, jewellery, hats and other collectibles to choose from. I managed to pick up my first Lucite bag, as well as a few pairs of vintage earrings. Highly recommend a trip out there.
We spent a couple of nights at the Excalibur before we checked out and went to The Orléans to begin the four days of Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Festival! I will be going into Viva details in a separate post otherwise this would be way too long. We definitely want to come back next year though. I really enjoyed staying at the same place that the festival was held in, it made things like water top ups, outfit changes and a quiet space to get away from the noise and heat really helpful. I only had a couple of critiques and that was the food choices. I just feel like the food at the Orléans wasn’t ideal. I did fall in love with the vegetarian pizza at Sbarro in the food court though. Fudruckers was next door and also had nice breakfasts and burgers.
During Viva we went offsite to the Golden Tiki for a party and I’m so glad that we did. It was a cheap Uber ride to the coolest Tiki bar I will probably ever be in. We had a Singapore Sling and a Blue Lagoon, it seemed fitting to have some tropical cocktails while there.
Once Viva was over, we checked in to the Flamingo Hotel and Casino back on the strip for our last two days in Vegas. While the room was the smallest we had stayed in so far, we liked where the hotel was situated right in the middle of the strip. We were so tired, so the idea of walking long distances was not ideal.
We loved the Habitat area outside at the Flamingo; it was one of my favourite places in Vegas. It was a garden oasis which came complete with ducks, pelicans, turtles, koi and of course flamingos! We wandered around this area a few times because it’s so nice and relaxing. There are lots of cute photo opportunities, fragrant flowers, and water features. You almost forget you’re in the middle of a desert.
There is a really nice shopping lane running alongside the hotel called The LINQ which has plenty of food options. We loved In and’ Out burger and Sprinkles Cupcakes. Definitely try the 24 hour cupcake ATM; it was so much fun and delicious. Another tasty option for lunch or dinner is the pepperoni pizza at Flour and Barley, I’m just obsessed with pizza!
We met up with friends and caught a Uber down to Old Vegas (Fremont Street) which is a must while in Vegas. On the way, we stopped at World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, which of course is from TV’s Pawn Stars. It was a lot smaller inside than I had imagined, but I’m glad we looked at the art, jewellery and other bits and pieces they sell.
We then walked about 10 minutes down the street to Fremont Street. Now, I would recommend heading to Fremont in the late afternoon, because then you can see it in the daylight – but also catch the neon lights as they turn on for the evening. Fremont Street is the second most famous street in Las Vegas, after the Las Vegas Strip and it dates back to 1905 when Vegas started. It was the first paved street in Las Vegas, and had the first traffic light.
Nacho Daddy was an amazing little Mexican joint just off Fremont. We went along for dinner and I had the most delicious chicken burrito and a bottomless ice-cold coca cola. Service was amazing and the food was even better.
The LED light canopy that hangs over the top of Fremont Street was amazing to watch once it turned on in the evening.
Highly recommend visiting the historical Fremont Street, tons of things to see, photo opportunities and yummy food.
Unfortunately we weren’t as organised as I would have liked and missed out on going to the Neon Sign Graveyard. By the time we wanted to go, it was fully booked up and we were leaving the next day. It’s supposed to be amazing so it’s definitely on our list for next time. Instead, we wandered through the Venetian and Caesars Palace which was incredible!
My Las Vegas tips:
- Uber everywhere… it’s SO cheap and everyone we rode with was so friendly
- Make it a habit to keep a bottle of water on you
- Go for walks and wander into casinos, there is plenty to see and do that doesn’t cost money
- Seven days is definitely enough time to spend in Vegas.
So while I didn’t wake up with someone’s baby, or a Mike Tyson tattoo across my face, I did have an incredible time visiting Las Vegas.
Stay tuned for the next blog post of my holiday in the United States