Vegas Travel Diary
Vegas had never been a city on my list of places I ever wanted to go. I always figured I knew what it was about and I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it. Gambling, clubbing, being in crowds of drunk people just didn’t sound appealing to me. And then we took a trip there for our 1st anniversary and I quickly knew I was wrong. It’s now one of my favorite cities to visit. This recent trip was our 3rd time visiting and I still love it just as much as the first time! We decided to stay a bit longer than we normally do so that we could go to the Hoover Dam and do some “off the strip” type of stuff.
If you ever decide to go to Vegas and visit places off the strip, I would highly recommend renting a car, even if it’s just for a couple of days. We ended up just splitting the cost of the rental car between all of us and it was sooo cheap. It was also nice to be able to drive ourselves to the Hoover Dam rather than taking one of the shuttle buses. It saves so much time to drive yourself and you aren’t on someone else’s time. We were able to drop the car off at a location on The Strip, so it was really convenient.
THINGS WE DID:
Fremont Street – When in Vegas, going to Fremont Street (also known as “Old Vegas”) is a MUST. It’s not on the strip, so you would need to catch an Uber/Lyft to get there, but it’s one of those places that you have to experience. On Fremont you will find ziplining, random shows, bars, restaurants, casinos…you name it, it’s there. And the best part is, the minimums on gambling tables are so low compared to what they are on The Strip. So if you’re into gambling, Fremont is the place to be. During this trip, we went during the day, and the minimums on the Roulette tables were $5! While you’re on Fremont, there are also some really cool museums that are walking distance away, like the Mob Museum and the Neon Museum. It’s a really exciting area to be in, so I would highly recommend setting aside a whole day or night dedicated just to Fremont Street.
Neon Sign Museum – Speaking of the Neon Sign Museum, we were able to make time to go on a tour of the museum, which was really cool. Just think of a boneyard full of old school Vegas casino and hotel signs. The only down side is that it was so freakin’ HOT. So unless you’re going in the Winter, I would highly recommend doing this tour at night. It’s an hour long guided tour, and you learn about the history of all of the old Vegas signs that they have. To be honest, I was too distracted by the signs and taking pictures that I only remember about 5% of what the tour guide said (enter shrugging shoulder emoji here).
See a show! – We didn’t get a chance to see a show this last trip, but the trip before this one, we went to see Mystere by Cirque du Soleil at Treasure Island. It was probably one of the coolest things we’ve ever experienced. It helped that our cousin was able to get us pretty much front row seats! Next year, we will definitely be going to another show.
Hoover Dam <—- This is a pretty good website that gives a lot of detail about the Hoover Dam. We went there on our first full day, when we had the rental car. It only took us about 45 minutes to drive there from The Strip. We weren’t really interested in doing any of the tours. All we really wanted to do was walk along the Dam, which we were able to do for free. It was a really cool experience! Boulder City is a really cute town where the Dam is located, and after you’re done seeing it, there are lots of options for food in the near area. So I would skip eating at the Dam and go somewhere local, because there are some good places around there! That’s another perk to renting a car and driving yourself.
“Welcome to Las Vegas” Sign – When in Vegas, this is another monumental spot that you must see! The sign is located at the far end of The Strip right next to Mandalay Bay. This was another spot that we drove to, since it is pretty far down and would be a longer walk unless you’re staying at Mandalay Bay. There is a small parking lot at the sign, which has around 25 parking spots. We got really lucky and didn’t have an issue finding parking because we went pretty early in the day. Since the recent events that occurred in Vegas, there is currently a memorial around the whole sign, which was honestly very surreal for us to see. I’m not sure how long the memorial will be there, but regardless, it’s definitely an iconic spot that you must visit.
Casino Hopping – If you enjoy gambling like we do, then you have to hit up as many casinos as you can on The Strip. I will say that it’s one of the things I enjoy the most about Vegas. It’s really cool to see all the different themes that each casino has. I think my favorite casino is New York-New York, only because it truly does remind me of NYC, which is my favorite city. The casino that I feel the most comfortable in is by far Treasure Island. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the first hotel we ever stayed at, but I just feel at home there. Some of the other casinos like Aria and The Wynn are a little too fancy for my taste, but are still awesome to walk through just to look at. Even if you aren’t a big gambler, walking through all the hotels is a cool experience. But bring your walking shoes, because things in Vegas are further than they appear.
Other things I really want to do in the future are ride the huge ferris wheel, zipline across Fremont Street, and ride the roller coaster at New York-New York.
PLACES WE ATE:
Southwest Diner (Boulder City) – On our way back from the Hoover Dam, we stopped at the cutest diner in Boulder City. They had everything from enchiladas and taquitos to steaks and burgers. The atmosphere was very quaint and nostalgic, and everyone was so nice. Not to mention the food was great!
Park on Fremont – After we went to the Neon Sign Museum, we stopped at Park on Fremont to eat. This is a great place to go if you’re spending the day/night on Fremont because it’s within walking distance to/from all the excitement. Not only were the food and drinks great, but the atmosphere was really cool and different.
The Wicked Spoon Buffet at The Cosmopolitan – When in Vegas, one thing you must do is go to at least one buffet. From the ones we have tried, The Wicked Spoon is my favorite. Last year we went to the buffet at The Wynn, which is one of the most popular ones, but I liked this one even better. We had our anniversary dinner here and it was so so good. There is a huge mix of all different types of food, no matter your preference. All of the food is high quality and really fresh. I highly recommend this buffet!
Eggslut – If you want a quick, but really good breakfast or brunch, go to Eggslut, also located at The Cosmopolitan. They are known for their yummy breakfast sandwiches. Their menu is pretty small and simple, but the food is delicious.
Gordon Ramsay Burger – I don’t have enough good things to say about this place! The burgers you will get here are so different and so freakin’ delicious. It definitely forces you to go out of your burger comfort zone, and you won’t regret it!
Carmine’s Italian Restaurant – This is probably one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to. We went to Carmine’s for the first time in NYC on Broadway back in 2012, so when we first visited Vegas in 2015 and saw there was a location in Caesar’s Palace, we HAD to go. We weren’t able to make it there during this trip, but we will definitely go back at some point. The portions they serve are VERY large and are meant for sharing amongst at least 4 people, so this is a perfect place to go if you’re in a larger group.
We plan to go to Vegas every year, so if anyone has any other suggestions on places to eat or things to do, I would love to hear them in the comments! Thank you guys for reading! Have a great week.