True Life: I’m a Nevada Addict
You guys remember the True Life series, right? Making up new episode titles to mock certain aspects of our lives has been a long running joke among my group of friends (True Life: I was an Art School Cheerleader, True Life: My Best Friend is a Cocker Spaniel, True Life: I was Craigslist Scammed By a Senior Citizen, etc.) And now I have a new episode ready for production approval — True Life: I’m a Nevada Addict.
Since 2010, I’ve been to Nevada five times. That’s more trips than I’ve made to any other state other than the one I was born in. What can I say? Between Burning Man and the Las Vegas Strip, the Silver State just gets me. So when Travel Nevada invited me to come see another side of their fine frontier, I simply couldn’t say no.
Exactly one month after my girl’s weekend in Las Vegas, I was back again. This time, the itinerary was all about adventures off the Strip, which you’ll be reading about coming up this week. But the neon lights of Las Vegas are pretty unavoidable, and I was pumped to realize we’d be based on Las Vegas Boulevard.
I love checking out various Vegas hotels, and for this round I was tickled to be staying at Planet Hollywood, host of Britney Spears’ new two year residency (though honestly, Brit and I are kind of on rough terms right now considering this was the second time I scheduled a trip and then she decided not to schedule a show for the entire duration of my stay, which is kind of rude since seeing her perform live has a prime spot on my bucket list — but don’t worry Brit, I cleaned out your giftshop regardless).
I’ve made a habit of staying in the finest hotels along The Strip — The Cosmopolitan, The Aria, and Vdara — and the rooms at Planet Hollywood are indeed a bit older and smaller and the Casino a bit smokier than at those I’ve stayed in in the past. But it’s also vastly more affordable and has a killer location, good casual dining options, and a nice spa. And I mean seriously — THEY HAVE BRITNEY.
In reality though, we were so busy experiencing everything the area has to offer that we were rarely within the walls of the hotel. During the day we were out doing some serious comfort-zone pushing — stay tuned! And at night, after returning from the day’s action packed itinerary, we’d turn right around to explore the Strip.
Having recently caught my first Cirque show, Zarkana, I was excited to keep the ball rolling and catch a performance of KÀ. They were very interesting to compare and contrast, and I loved seeing how each theater was custom-built to reflect the performance. While Zarkana is light-hearted and circus inspired, KÀ is intense and has a strong martial arts influence. Of course, they have quite a bit in common as well — awe-inspiring acrobatics, fabulous theatrics, and intricate costumes and sets.
On another night, we caught a completely different kind of show, Véronic Voices. This felt more like a classic Vegas revue than anything I’ve seen before, and I loved the enthusiasm from the audience as Canadian-born Véronic performed as songs by artists as diverse as Adele and Mick Jagger. The tagline of the show is One Singer… Fifty Voices and I can’t count how many times I turned to the person next to me with my jaw gaping open — girlfriend is a talented impersonator and puts on a lively show. That said, I enjoyed the show much more when she was singing than when she was talking.
You can’t enjoy a good show on an empty stomach though, am I right? I had the chance to try an entirely new array of restaurants on this trip, but the standout for me was undoubtedly Chayo Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar. I’m a huge fan of down and dirty Mexican food and complicated fancy cocktails, and this place did both to perfection. But what I loved even more was the atmosphere, which hit the perfect balance between feeling like a special night out and not being stuffy in the least.
Also? Outdoor seating! Chayo lives in The Linq, which is basically my favorite thing to ever happen to Vegas — a brand new shopping, dining, and entertainment district that is based around an outdoor promenade instead of a smokey casino. I guarantee a stroll through The Linq is going to be a part of every one of my Vegas trips from now on.
The Linq’s star attraction is the brand new High Roller, the world’s largest observation wheel. Drool-worthy views of the Strip in all its neon glory? I was all over it.
The funny thing is that you really have to hustle to get into the pods on time, since they only slow down to pick up passengers and never fully stop. I was all loaded up with Sprinkles cupcakes (yup, they live in The Linq too, basically heaven) and almost lost a precious red velvet in the process.
But soon we were soaring — the thirty minute rotation flew by as we crawled higher and higher to a peak of 550 feet.
The views were almost comparable to the helicopter ride I took over the Strip last year. It was a really unique experience and I might just take a whirl during the day next time I’m in town.
Bonus! Getting to see my Vegas-based bestie Liz again.
This trip reminded me that there is nothing wrong with returning to a beloved destination over and over again, as long as you make an effort to mix it up a little. At least that’s what I said in my True Life audition tape.
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Many thanks to Travel Nevada for hosting me, and showing me a new side of Nevada! As always, you receive my honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill.
alex, if you knew how much i disliked vegas, you’d take this as a huge compliment:
you make it look bearable.
i turn down invitations to sin city an avg of twice a month. in fact, my husband is there right now & begging me to come stay with him (free of charge! at the wynn!). dare i say, thanks to you, i am considering it…?
Ha! Okay girl, you need to get your butt to The Wynn RIGHT MEOW. Do it for me! That is the one hotel left on the Strip that I am absolutely dying to go to. Take one for the team! 🙂
I had a blast just touring around Vegas when I was there. I never made it to the “old part” of the strip and want to do that next time. Hope you and Brit reconcile. Awesome view from your room too!
I know, right? I’m actually considering heading over there for a conference in November and I checked the dates and she is not performing AGAIN! It’s kind of offensive at this point. And I actually haven’t been to downtown Vegas yet either! Another reason to go back!
Awesome views from the observation wheel!
And Thank God you didn’t lose that red velvet cupcake!(I’m not being sarcastic- I am a fellow cupcake aficionado)
Have you tried the Sprinkles Red Velvet? Oh my god. I just can’t. It’s. too. good.
Amazing photo coverage, Alex!
I am not addicted to Vegas… but I love the Las Vegas fun. It’s one of not many US cities where I feel on vacation 24/7 🙂
Thanks! A lot of those (from the High Roller, for example) are from my little point and shoot — not bad! And I agree, I love that everyone is having free-wheeling fun in Las Vegas.
You do have a way of making Vegas seem so much more glamorous and alluring than I found it when I went back in like, 2008? Anyway, it makes me want to give it another shot for sure. Love the photos as usual m’dear!
Sounds like it is time for a return trip 🙂 I have found that Vegas often seems much more glamorous and alluring to those one the East coast. I think those in the West take it for granted!
Again, this looks so fun! I can’t believe I’ve never been! I need to save my nickels, take a few long naps in preparation, and get myself to Vegas.
It’s time! I do always leave Vegas exhausted, but I remind myself that no one ever remembers the nights they stayed in and got a logged a decent sleep 🙂
Great views – I would also love to see your pics from it during the day (next time!). I’d love to go back to Vegas – my other half has never been. There’s also a ton to do in the semi-close surrounding area. I’ve always wanted to go rafting in the Grand Canyon!
My mom has a dream of rafting the Grand Canyon, and I think I’m going to join her someday! Posts are coming up today and next week with all daytime photos/activities 🙂
I’ve never been to Vegas. It’s not high on my bucket list as I’m not generally a fan of casinos or neon lights. I’ve always figured I’d swing by when I finally visit the Grand Canyon someday. Your blog posts, however, have me thinking I should devote more time to the city when I finally do go. In any case, I totally agree that there’s nothing wrong with returning to a beloved destination over and over again. When you’ve found a second home, go with it!
I would classify Vegas less “home away from home” and more “beloved guilty pleasure.” 🙂 But I’m glad to hear you are planning to give it a good explore!
I haven’t been to Vegas since I was a poor uni student, but I can’t wait to get back and enjoy all it has to offer! Just curious, of all the places you’ve stayed, which was your favourite??
The Cosmopolitan, for sure! It’s basically me in hotel form 🙂 I can’t wait to go back someday!
I would like to go back to Vegas again at some point, especially as I didn’t get to see the old part of the Strip or a Cirque du Soleil show. It wasn’t a destination that I thought I would like but the energy is insane and I actually really enjoyed myself.
I still haven’t been to Downtown Las Vegas either, believe it or not! My friend Liz who lives there raves about it, so it’s a must on my next trip.
Beautiful photos, I’ve never been to Vegas I’d love to go.
Time for a trip, Zoe! Vegas is waiting 🙂
I haven’t been and kind of want to just so I can wear all my club dresses that don’t fly here in India.
I have a section of my closet that I would describe as only for Vegas, Miami, or perhaps Micheal Jackson tribute concerts. It gets a surprising amount of use!
It appears that Britney is avoiding you…sad 🙁 But seriously the High Roller looks like so much fun! Why wasn’t it there when I was in Vegas?!
Brand new! I spotted it when I was there with my girlfriends in April but we never made it — despite the fact that it was basically across the street, ha. There is simply too much to do in Vegas!
Man, I wanna go to the adult Disneyland … luxury + food + beautiful people + gambling = hell yes!
Ha, that’s a great description! Adult Disneyland… love it 🙂
I would like to know what you bought at the Britney store! So glad you liked Linq as much as I did – and now I know I must eat at Chayo!!
My fave purchase was a mug that said “WORK BITCH” in glittery letters, perfect gift for my teacher sister 🙂 And yes, Chayo is a must x
You have the most phenomenal Vegas tales! I hope to be doing it up like you there soon – the good thing is, it’s like impossible to NOT have fun there. I don’t see why people don’t.
Eh, I think some people just have a negative attitude about it. That’s their prerogative, but I think it’s way more fun to embrace the madness 🙂
Awesome post – I really love Vegas but can genuinely only handle about three days at a time… Any more and I feel myself going a little crazy! But this post has given me some sweet ideas of how to mix it up! Cheeeers! xx
Check out my posts this week about adventures off the Strip… I think Vegas could totally be a week long vacation if you mixed it up with some day trips around the region!