Back in January we spent a long-weekend in Las Vegas with another married couple. It was a celebratory trip for my guy, who (allow me to brag just a bit!) had just passed the comprehensive exams for his doctoral degree. Big stuff! And definitely worth celebrating with wife (me!) and best friends.
I’d been to Vegas once before, for a business trip. He and our friends had never been before. So we all wanted to get the Vegas Experience – PG-13 version. Fun nights, great vacation, but nothing too crazy!
Luckily, I think we achieved that. It might not be for everyone, but we had a fantastic time over our 3- day trip. Here’s my advice for Vegas when you’re young and married:
– Start your trip with the Bellagio fountain show. For your first night, make a dinner reservation at Todd English’s Olives at the Bellagio. Request ahead of time to be seated outside for a fountain view (even in the winter, there are heaters.)
The Bellagio fountain show can be seen about every 20 minutes from the sidewalk, but its pretty spectacular to see from a comfortable seat with a glass of wine.
Amye’s Advice: In all honesty, none of us were thrilled with our meals here, but we were there for the fountain more than the food. Order something small and fill up elsewhere if you’re on a budget.
Amye’s Advice: Even with a reservation, we had to wait to be seated. Get there earlier than your seating time and be prepared to wait, but I promise it is worth it!
– Walk The Strip. This one is definitely easier said than done. The Strip isn’t exactly a straight, flat road flanked by sidewalks. Rather, with casinos easily the size of city blocks, there are escalators, ramps, zigs and zags, all kinds of crazy paths to take in the sights. But it is definitely worth doing! Get out of the casino’s siren grasp and get some air.
Amye’s Advice: Dedicate more time than you’d think to get anywhere in Vegas. Check at your hotel to see if your destination is within walking distance – and if it is safe to walk. What looks like a short stroll, even according to Google Maps, may take much longer and put you through a bad area. Simply walking The Strip is (relatively) safe, but plan for the better part of a morning or afternoon for this activity.
– See a show. I really believe that, just like you should gamble (even if its just $1 on the penny slots!) while you’re in Vegas, you should also definitely see a show.
We opted for the classic Penn & Teller magic show at the Rio, which has been playing for over 20 years. Let me tell you, this duo is still very entertaining and pretty family-friendly, of all the Vegas options. They also came into the casino for a photo-op afterward, if that’s your thing.
Amye’s Advice: You can order tickets ahead, but there are also discount ticket booths on The Strip if you want to wait and see what’s available on a budget.
– Eat a great meal. Vegas is known as a foodie city, and aside from our just-ok food the first night, everything else was fantastic. Staying at The Cosmopolitan (which I highly recommend) we had a great brunch at The Henry, tried the buffet at The Wicked Spoon, and explored Chinese and Mexican tapas at Jose Andres’ China Poblano. All recommended.
For a big splurge, we dined one night at N9NE Steakhouse at The Palms. It was fun to cab over to a different casino for a change, and N9Ne is regarded as one of the best dining spots in the world. The decor is beyond modern – this is not your traditional steakhouse! – making this a very “see and be seen” place. Maybe that’s why it is also a celebrity favorite. The food and service did not disappoint, and made this a meal to remember.
– Go see Old Vegas. This one requires some effort, but is not to be missed. Hop in a cab (I think the fare was about $20 each way) and take the 15-minute trip to Freemont Street. This is the classic Vegas that was in my head, as if the Rat Pack might be just over at the next table.
I recommend going just after dark so you can really appreciate all the vintage-y lights. Freemont Street itself is a covered pedestrian walkaway filled with street performers.
If you can manage, head into one of the older smoke-saturated casinos. For us, that was too much and we just headed back. But it was definitely worth seeing.