I know they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but I’m about to bring it all back and share my first time in Sin City with you! To be completely honest, Vegas was never near the top of my bucket list. I really didn’t know there was much else to do there besides casinos, and while I do enjoy taking a spin on the high stakes penny slots, I never felt a need to get there. Now, I am looking for any chance I can to get back! This trip was a much needed girls’ weekend away. We found a great deal on Travel Pirates that included hotel, flights, and…wait for it…BACKSTREET BOYS TICKETS! Growing up a 90’s kid, this boy band was everything to me. I can’t help but think I made 8 year old Amanda so proud by my impulse decision to travel to Nevada on a random February weekend to go see my first loves (don’t worry, N*Sync came next! I love them all).
Three of my friends and I left on a Friday morning bright and early. We wanted to make sure we landed and could have time to enjoy the day. As soon as we got to the terminal, everybody’s excitement was contagious. Even at 7:30 am, this anti-morning girl was ready to seize the day ahead. And with some Chick-Fil-A breakfast in hand, we boarded the plane, got a mimosa to start the trip, and off to Vegas we went!
We arrived in Las Vegas at about 10:00 am,walked down to the baggage claim, and began to look for Ubers on the app. Trust me, there is no shortage. Uber or Lyft is the best mode of transportation, but be careful on the Uber app. I’m not sure how it is other places, but in Houston, “Uber Pool” is not an option; however, in Vegas, it is the first and automatic selection unless another is chosen. This means that you and some other (random) people could be sharing an Uber. If you want to save a whole $2, this is a great option, but being females alone in a new city, we made sure to not have this option selected.
We stayed at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, and I would definitely recommend this hotel! First of all, check in is not until 3:00 pm. I called about a week before our trip and put in a request for early check in. Keep in mind, this is only a request so it is not guaranteed, but when we arrived, they had our room ready to go. This was an extra $20, but it was worth it. If this isn’t an option, all of the resorts have bag storage where you can drop your bags off and you can pick them back up when you return. Once we got to the room, everything was so clean, and the bathroom was gorgeous with a beautiful tub and walk in shower, and a mirror with the most perfect lighting that I aspire to have in my retirement home one day. Because this hotel is in the middle of the strip, it was so easy to walk places, or it was a short Uber or Lyft to anywhere for very cheap. So, we cleaned up and off to brunch we went!
Our first meal adventure was at Tom’s Urban located at the NYNY Casino. They have brunch daily along with 2 hour bottomless mimosas, which were wonderful. We did find out that they stop serving the bottomless mimosas at 2:00 pm, so to avoid trying to get 2 hours worth of mimosas into 1 hour (oops), I suggest arriving before noon. I made a reservation on Open Table a few weeks before and it was so easy. We got right in and got to sit on the big patio, which was perfect for the amazing February weather we had. Their homemade pop tarts deserve the hype, and we also shared a big hummus plate that was to die for. Shout out to Nate for being a great waiter and the man behind the mimosas—you’re the best, Nate!
Once brunch was over, we went over to an ABC store across the street. We loaded up on water, snacks for the room, and some small bottles of alcohol. I also got a t-shirt, so it’s safe to say this place sells it all. It was nice having snacks and food in the room while getting ready and also saved a little money! After brunching and wandering around a little bit, we headed back to the hotel with our goodies in hand. We were a little sleepy, so we did take a quick nap (a theme you should get used to seeing from me in my posts. Always plan for naps)! Once we got up, we ordered pizza and began getting ready for the night.
Being a girls’ weekend, we wanted to make the most of it all. So we went through Vegas Girl’s Night Out to treat ourselves to a limo ride up and down the strip with champagne included. Here we got to see all of the casinos lit up and all the lights of Vegas. Honestly, it was so worth the price split between us for a little something we rarely do to make it a memorable night. The driver stops at the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign where there are professional photographers. We made the rookie mistake of forgetting cash. These photographers work off tips: $20 is standard, but since we didn’t have cash we got a few failed selfies and called it a night. I would highly recommend this limo excursion to anybody before a show, a nice dinner, or just for fun!
The next day was actually quite relaxing. After wandering around the hotel, shops, and casino for a bit, we went back to our room to get ready for the main event: the Backstreet Boys! They were performing at the Planet Hollywood, which is why we decided to stay there. It was so easy to get ready, eat dinner close by, and be ready for the show. I had been trying to figure out where to eat up until the day of before the show. I stumbled upon a place by the name of Lombardi’s located right outside of Planet Hollywood. They took reservations on Open Table, which made it super convenient. We walked up and got seated right away. We sat on the “patio,” which is inside technically, but has a really great view of the fountain in the middle of the mall. To start, they give you wonderful homemade bread with olive oil. The two meals I would recommend out of what we all ordered was the Chicken Parmesan (my go to), which was wonderful! Second, I suggest what they call the “Italian mac and cheese.” My friend added chicken, and it was outstanding! I had a Berry Moscow Mule to drink, which was also excellent. We didn’t get any dessert, but their cheesecake and crème brulee looked divine. Because it was so close, we just walked around the corner to the venue and made our way inside to await the show. Y’all, let me just say, if you have any interest or ties at all to the Backstreet Boys, go see their show! They extended their residency through the summer, so it’s not too late to plan a trip, and it was well worth it! To find performance dates visit Ticketmaster or any other ticketing site. JLo is also performing at the same venue…just saying!
We had plans to go explore the nightlife after the show, but at the ripe old age of 24, we went back to change our shoes and fell asleep. Now, I know the night life in Vegas is amazing, and while we didn’t experience any of it this time around, I do have some pointers for anybody looking to go to clubs. Promoters will be your best friends! I know it sounds like a scam, but really there isn’t a catch. There are promoters on every corner, and honestly they are quite helpful if you are unsure where to start. Going through one of them will let you skip lines and have no cover from 10:00 pm-12:00 am. The club scene is not our thing, but we figured if we wanted to check any out we at least wanted to enjoy the music (we’re more of the today’s hits kind of girls and not really the techno type). Liam, our promoter, walked us through what each club was so if we decided to, we could pick one that suited our needs. Each club on the list below had great reviews, especially Haakasan. The clubs that weren’t today’s music were more actual club music, or had a guest DJs like Zedd who was at Omnia one night. This was the list he gave us:
- 1 OAK (Hip hop/ today’s music)
- The Bank (hip hop/ today’s music )
Sunday was the day we left, but our flight wasn’t until 6:00 pm. While we got home late, this was the best plan we could have made since we were trying to eat at as many places in Vegas as we could before we left. We wandered back down into Planet Hollywood to check out a really cool bar called The Tipsy Robot. It was definitely a modern vibe where the whole bar is just robots making your drink that you order from a screen. It’s the first robot bartender in the world. Very cool and amazing drinks. Tara and I are enjoying the futuristic drinks here!
Gordon Ramsay’s Burgers in the Planet Hollywood (which I have heard has the best burgers ever) does not take reservations, but the Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Ceasar’s Palace does, so I also made a reservation on Open Table. It had a really cool London Pub feel! We knew we had a few more places to visit on our list, so we shared some appetizers. We got some sliders and the lobster mac and cheese. If his other burger place is better than what we had, they are 100% the best burgers in the world because these sliders were incredible! But even better than the burgers was the mac and cheese—definitely the best I have ever had. If you like lobster, this dish was a MUST! It is already on my list to go back to when I go back to Vegas. They also have an awesome happy hour during the week. Once we finished, we wandered back into Ceasar’s and took a spin on the penny slots. The casino in Ceasar’s was nice, but I honestly preferred Planet Hollywood. See Tara and I having a great time gambling at Ceasar’s below.
After some time at the casino, we went back across the street to a place called PBR Rockbar & Grill. Honestly, we saw this place on Facebook before we went. They are known for their 100 oz drinks, so naturally we needed to see what these were all about. They are recommended for 2-4 people, but I would say more like 3-6 would be more accurate. We went with the Caribbean Sunset, which was the rum based one. It was really good! If you are wanting something to snack on, their fried pickles and pretzel would be the perfect match.
Some things were on my list that I will now know to do when I’m back. Zip lining is at the top of that list. This is a zip line that goes down the strip so you get a really awesome view of everything. Also, there are the famous fountains at the Bellagio Resort and Casino. These go off every 15 minutes, so make sure to check a schedule to see them!
Some Things to Remember: All resorts have a “resort fee” so make sure to take note of this when looking at hotels and prices because some are more than others. Our resort fee was $28 per day. This included Wi-Fi and the gym. Don’t be surprised when you see this on your bill at check out. Also, there is a metro rail that goes down the strip. If you plan on bouncing around to the different casinos, this might be worth looking into! Groupon can be your best friend! I wish somebody had told us this beforehand, but there are so many things to do that you can get on Groupon for an amazing price! Last, Assuming a show isn’t sold out, you can also get super good deals on the day of shows! We almost did this for a Cirque du Soleil show. If you aren’t set on seeing something specific, this might be a great option to keep in mind.
If you are coming from sea-level and humidity (aka Houston), HYDRATE! This applies to everything. After walking off the plane I felt so dehydrated, and it showed. We got our gallon of water at ABC, and I drank most of it the first day. Also, have a great chapstick on hand (and this one is pretty too!). My lips were so chapped they hurt. Eyedrops were necessary, especially if you wear contacts. Finally, because of the drastic weather difference, my face began to break out the day we got there. I know Kim has mentioned this before, but I will say Glam Glow saved my life. I would also recommend a great moisturizer to use daily. But most importantly, don’t forget some sunscreen or a BB cream with SPF on your face to keep it protected. The Nevada sun is no joke. I like this one because it is more lightweight than traditional BB creams and I forget I even have it on.
I can’t wait to get back to Vegas and enjoy so much more of what it has to offer! This place was truly like no other, and we had such a great weekend. Have you been to Vegas? Give us your tips and tricks for next time!