When I Go to Vegas, What Happens There Totally Doesn't Stay There
Last week I wrote all about how to have the most-ever fun in Vegas during the day without exhausting yourself so that you can still enjoy what Vegas is all about: the night life.
It was a tough battle, but my best friend Portia and I somehow managed to enjoy a few drinks, work on our tans, get pampered, and make it out every night all without taking a single nap.
We should get an award, I know.
Oh wait. We did: The Best Time Ever.
But it didn’t come without a little effort. As I mentioned before, we had very specific rules about how to behave during the day so that we would survive the night. We also, of course, had rules about how to behave during the night so that we survive the day. See how that works?
Our three rules were:
1. Don’t drink too much.
Fine, this was also a rule for the day, but at night we had some leeway. After all: we were in Vegas. In this case, we just did one glass of water for every adult beverage. Or at least that’s what we told ourselves we would do.
2. Eat a good dinner.
Every night of partying needs a solid foundation.
3. Have the most fun ever.
Since all we “had” to do Thursday night was go to dinner, we obviously started drinking the second we hit the airport. Portia’s plan an hour earlier was to stick with wine and beer for the duration of the trip so as never to be too drunk. She ordered a Grey Goose and soda. Off to an amazing start.
When we arrived at ARIA, we headed straight to our room to do a quick wardrobe change and also to hit the mini bar. Fine: we were failing at our rules, but the room just screamed “indulgence,” it only felt right.
Pro Tip: The big bottle of vodka is a better value than the little bottles.
We wanted to keep Thursday night low key, but we also wanted a delicious dinner.
Enter: Sage at ARIA Resort & Casino
Dinner at Sage was a highlight of the trip. Simple, clean flavors. Farm-to-table produce, artisanal meats, and sustainable seafood. Exactly the kind of food this San Francisco girl loves.
I like to ask the server what he recommends and whatever hand crafted cocktail he brought me (oopsie! I forgot to write it down) was perfect. They have absinthe there as well, which I will definitely try on my next visit.
Pro Tip: If you enjoy foie gras, then you must get the Foie Gras Custard Brûlée as an appetizer. It comes with a salted brioche and was so indulgent and perfect. The Wagyu Beef Tartare was also amazing.
Friday we had a casual dinner at Chayo Mexican and Tequila Bar at The LINQ. The LINQ is home to the 550-foot-tall High Roller, the world’s largest observation wheel, but we were happy to just sit outside and drink at margaritas and watch it light up and spin.
Pro Tip: They have a 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. happy hour AND a late night happy hour from 10 p.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday.
After dinner, we walked over to Caesars Palace for what was one of the highlight’s of the trip: Absinthe.
I guess if I to describe Absinthe, I’d say it was like Cirque du Soleil only a million times funnier. The jokes were so scandalous that I can't even repeat them here. When telling our driver later how much I enjoyed it, he said, “I’ve heard it’s for a person with a certain sense of humor” to which I responded, “Well, I’m totally depraved, so that makes sense.”
But it’s not just outlandishly hilarious, the acrobatics are beyond impressive. Words can’t do it justice. You just have to go see it.
Pro Tip: Bring a drink in with you. And seriously, if you only see one show in Vegas, this has to be the show you see.
After Absinthe, we kept the variety show theme going and went to Beacher’s Madhouse at MGM Grand. Like Absinthe, it’s kind of hard to describe Beacher’s other than to say that every fifteen minutes or so, the curtains go up and little people dressed like everyone from Miley to Kanye put on a performance. Also there were lots of furries.
Pro Tip: Head’s up (or, ahem: down). Watch for the little people flying through the club on zip lines. Unless you want to leave the club being like, “Wow, I just got kicked in the head by a little person. I literally never though I would say that ever.” Like I did.
The last night in Vegas is always the toughest. You’re starting to get tired, but THIS IS IT. Go big or go home, or, go big and then go home, as it were.
Dinner: CRUSH at MGM Grand
I’m not going to lie. When our driver (from the night before) pulled up to MGM, I was like, “Oh! I’m so excited to be here. I’ve never been here before.”
He was quiet for a moment and then said, “Well… I did drop you off here last night.”
We figured since it was our last night, it was our duty to indulge in a delicious dinner. CRUSH (Eat, Drink, Love) totally delivered.
Portia and I sat in the dining room (The Bodega), but there’s also an atrium with a more loungey vibe. We started with the Punch, Drunk, Love (mint-infused Hendricks gin, Lillet Rose, fresh watermelon juice and fresh lime juice) on our server’s recommendation and we let the chef (Billy DeMarco) decide what we should eat (fancy fancy!). He did not disappoint.
You’ll definitely want to make a reservation for CRUSH as it won’t likely be possible to just walk in.
Pro Tip: I am still dreaming of the Ricotta Gnocchi with braised short-rib and pea puree and I think I will be for many months, if not years, to come. Also, we swore we were stuffed to the brim until the Nutella Ice Cream Sandwich came out. Turns out: we had just a little more room.
Last Stop: Nite Tours
I couldn’t decide if I thought doing a party bus / club crawl would be amazing or totally cheesy. Turns out: it was a bit of both. It was everything you’re thinking it was: a limo bus with champagne and a stripper pole, a totally bizarre mix of people, and no lines or covers to get into any of the clubs. This is one you have to go into with the right attitude. Definitely not anyone who thinks she’s “too cool.” But awesome for the “I want to have fun and I hate waiting in line” kinda girl.
The last club of the night -- and the one I’d recommend most -- was LIGHT at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Light is what happens when a nightclub meets Cirque do Soleil (they REALLY like things in the air in Vegas). This place is perfect for someone with a short attention span because every twenty minutes or so, there is some sort of performance that involves aerialists and dancers.
Finally: Home sweet home.
Someone told us while we were there that one of the the things they say about Vegas is "However long you stay, it’s always one day too long." I get where he was coming from, but I have to say, I’d disagree. I think we stayed just long enough. Were we exhausted on the plane ride home? Oh yeah. And was I happy to see Monkey and crawl into my own bed that night? Of course. But was it one of the best weekend trips of my life? Hell yeah.
In the weeks leading up to the trip, Vegas was all Portia and I talked about. We planned our outfits, bought new shoes (heels are a must there), analyzed our itenerery. We talked about it so much, that on the way there, I asked her, “What do you think we’ll talk about after Vegas?”
She looked at me like I was an idiot.
She was right. And I suspect we will be for a long time to come.