We just returned from our 4th vacation to Las Vegas, and we still haven't run out of new things to see and do. This trip included being serenaded by Lady Gaga, exploring mountains & canyons, and enjoying a few naps! This trip was just the hubby & me, and we made it a point to make NO plans ahead (aside from Lady Gaga). We SO needed that leisurely time, but we still filled it with so much goodness. Read on to hear all about our most recent Vegas vacation.
After checking in at New York New York (the 4th Hotel we’ve called home in Vegas), our trip started out with an unforgettable performance from Lady Gaga at her Jazz & Piano Show at the Park Theatre. This was a combined anniversary and birthday gift for me, and I could not have loved it better. She has an amazing voice, and puts on an incredible show!
The rest of our days were spent making plans on a whim, taking in the sights, and enjoying each others company. Since this wasn't our first visit to Vegas, we did know that we wanted to check out some new places. We didn't make set plans, but everything worked out so well. Our first big outting was to Seven Magic Mountains and The Lion Habitat, and nother day took us to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Mount Charleston Lodge, all places that have been on our Vegas To Do List for awhile.
We also enjoyed visits to a couple of our favorites, the Bellagio Conservatory & Fountains and Yong Kang Street in Paris Las Vegas. We also splurged on a great meal at PRIME at the Bellagio overlooking the fountains. The crab cake and salmon were divine! For once, it was great to enjoy such a leisurely trip, something we both needed so much.
I won't leave you hanging at just that. Keep reading for more deets on these places!
Big Hits This Trip:
Bellagio Conservatory | My favorite spot in Vegas, and number one spot I always tell clients to hit up! The Bellagio transforms their conservatory every season with a new look. The unbelievable displays are created from fresh florals, lentils, branches, and more to create incredible scenes brought to life! It is always a treat to visit to see the latest exhibit. Not to mention, we love to catch the fountain show and Chihuly glass in the lobby while we are there!
Seven Magic Mountains + Joshua Trees | This unique art installation has been on my list for awhile, and when my husband mentioned it, I jumped at the chance to check it out. I recommend going early to avoid mass crowds to check out these exhuberantly colored, massive stacked rocks. Seven stacks in all stand out in the desert overlooking a salt lake as if to have popped up right out of the ground by magic. An even bigger highlight for me was seeing Joshua Trees upclose and personal—FINALLY!
Mount Charleston | We've had several folks tell us about Mount Charleston and a great lodge up there. We took the hour drive out of town, and felt like we were completely transported into an alternate universe than we'd left behind on The Strip. We were blown away by the Fall foliage, log cabins, and potential for snow skiing in the winter!
Red Rock Canyon | This National Conservation Area has been on our list for quite sometime, so we were happy to finally make it here. About 40 minutes outside of town is the beautiful Red Rock Canyon. With a 13 mile one way driving loop, stops along the way for hiking, and the opportunity to see wildlife like tortoises, wild horses, tarantulas (YES! I saw a tarantula!), Big Horn Sheep, and more, it is a great addition to a Las Vegas itinerary to get a good dose of nature & adventure! Next time, I'd love to come prepared for hiking.
The Lion Habitat | Once upon a time, lions called the MGM Grand Hotel home. These days, these beauties spend their days basking in the sun, or in the air conditioning during ultra hot seasons, just off The Strip at The Lion Habitat. With lineage connecting back to the original MGM lion, the one at the beginning of MGM movies, these magestic creatures have their place in history. Well, now, after meeting them, they have their place in my heart! You can get super upclose to these beauties here, even hand feed them!
As you can see, this visit was jam packed with great adventure--Vegas wins again!
We are already planning our return, and hoping to catch another Lady Gaga show!
I'm so excited to share this last post about our most recent trip to Las Vegas. This was one of my favorite adventures we've ever done while visiting Vegas. We hit the road early one morning, and trekked out to Arizona to visit Horseshoe Bend.
The adventure took us from Vegas to Arizona, then Utah, back to Arizona, back to Utah, and back to Arizona again. It was quite wild! We drove through several Indian reservations & Virgin Gorge Canyon, saw the outskirts of Zion National Park, saw Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, drove through Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, passed around Lake Powell, hiked almost a mile, then finally made it to our destination, Horseshoe Bend at Glen Canyon. It was worth it! The scenery on the drive was been beautiful! But the true treat was the final destination.
Horseshoe Bend is just as breathtaking as you can imagine. God's handiwork is just incredible! The photos just can't capture its grandeur, the varying colors, and the full scope of the area.
It is located not too far from the Grand Canyon, so it is often confused with being apart of it. However, this iconic spot is located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the Colorado River just a few miles outside of Page, Arizona. The drive was about 4 and a half hours from The Strip, not including a couple of stops along the way. It didn't seem that long being that we saw such beautiful landscapes.
We did some research beforehand, and for a number of reasons we ultimately decided against a tour. We did not want to ride on a bus that long, not to mention that it is more difficult to see the surrounding landscapes when sharing a bus or van with others. We also wanted to leisure to stop whenever and wherever we wanted. We made stops for lunch, to see Lake Powell and the dam there, as well as a couple others to stretch. We also wanted to go at our own pace. We did this on a day we'd scheduled a show in Vegas, so we did need to get back. It would've been nice to not be as rushed, BUT we saw everything we wanted to see. So even trying to get back in time wasn't a huge issue. If we had done a tour, I would've been worried about that aspect.
Getting to Horseshoe Bend was a little wonky at the time, but the recreation area has since finished new parking and an entrance to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook. To get to the view below, you'll park in a lot just off the main road, then take about a hike up and down a sandy trail. So do keep that in mind: 1) it is sandy. 2) It is quite a steep grade. You'll see people dressed to the nines to come here for the perfect Instagram shot--heels and all! Yes, I'm talking making the nearly 1 mile steep sandy hike in high heels! Nope, not for me! Anyhow, once you reach the overlook, you'll be greeted with beautifully red & orange colored rock formations, a brand new railing (thank goodness!), and this stunning view!
The view seems to go on til the end of the earth. Very spectacular! It's not a place I'll return over and over, but Horseshoe Bend was a bucket list spot that I'm glad we got to see. Have you seen Horseshoe Bend or any places away from the Strip during a trip to Las Vegas? During our next trip to Vegas, we'll see what other wonders of the world we will encounter!
Our last trip to Las Vegas held many new adventures for us! Though it was our third time there, we had many new experiences. One of the most unique was the Nevada State Railroad Museum and the Nevada Southern Railway.
We made no advanced plans for this trip since we booked so last minute. While waiting for our flight to depart to Vegas, we spent our time buying tickets for a couple of shows, but other than that we had no real plans. It was refreshing for us! But Lovely happened upon this fun attraction while looking into things we might could do, so we decided to check it out as soon as we landed. We weren't disappointed!
The museum is just outside of Las Vegas in Boulder City, which happens to be the home of the Hoover Dam. So this could be a great place to add to your day visiting the iconic dam. When we arrived, we bought our tickets for the railroad ride, then walked around the museum a bit.
The museum is outdoors and offers peeks inside railway cars, looks at train engines, and more. It was really need to see these up close and personal! I truly enjoyed walking inside a first class car. The wood work was incredible!
After strolling around, we watched the train come in. It was fascinating to watch it roll into the station! Once the train was settled and the passengers off, it was our turn to board. We choose an open air car. This was after buying a sweatshirt I must add—this was definitely our coldest visit to Vegas!
The train went just fast enough to soak in the scenery, but not too fast you couldn't enjoy it. The views were stunning along the way, and I couldn't help but think about days gone by. It is amazing to think about traveling cross country by way of train. It is still possible to do these days, but now we have cars & planes. Back then, it was a train or a horse—both of which mesmerize me!
Our train ride lasted about an hour, then dropped us off right back at the station. From there, we decided to head to a nearby gas station to watch the train come back around the mountains. I was so glad we did! The colors of the engine and railcars were beautiful coming around the bend of the rocky red mountains!
The Nevada State Railroad Museum and Nevada Southern Railway is certainly an attraction I would recommend while visiting Vegas! This is another great option for escaping the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip. Check out more of my Las Vegas recommendations on my Las Vegas Travel Guide.
Back in March, Lovely & I took a trip away together to visit Las Vegas. This was our third time there, and, per usual, it did not disappoint! There is so much to do in and around Las Vegas and it is ever changing, so it makes returning a lot of fun! This trip we did a lot of fun new things, including entering and leaving Arizona & Utah 4 or 5 times each to get to Horseshoe Bend!
Read on to find out about our latest Vegas Vacation!
Typically we go to Las Vegas towards the end of April, but we decided at the last minute to take advantage of some time off. We flew out mid-March, and enjoyed seeing snow on our way and atop the mountains on the outskirts of Vegas. We flew Sun Country Airlines for the first time, which was fine for a budget airline. Not my favorite, but definitely worked fine for a cheap Vegas trip.
Per usual, we enjoyed good food! We hopped back over to one of our favorite Las Vegas eats, Yong Kang Street Dumpling & Noodle House in Paris Las Vegas. We love having dim sum there! We also went to Ethel M Chocolatier. Ethel M is M&M Mars' fine chocolate branch, dedicated to Mr. Mars' mother, Ethel. You can take factory tours and taste chocolate samples. They also have a really neat garden to walk through. Of course, I loved their delicious chocolate dipped strawberries!
The day we arrived, we headed out to Boulder City, Nevada, home of the Hoover Dam, and checked out the Nevada State Railroad Museum & took a ride on the Nevada State Railway. It was really a neat place, and we loved the train ride! Definitely a gem for the area and nice change of pace to the glitz and glam of the Las Vegas Strip. I'll be sharing more details on this in the coming days.
Another day of our trip took us even further away from Las Vegas and all the way to Page, Arizona, about 4 and a half hours from the Strip. Our day road trip landed us at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona. This was a highlight for me! Both the destination and journey were beautiful! We drove through Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, passed lots of natural treasures, and saw lots of snow! I'm looking forward to sharing more in depth about about that later this week.
This trip also took us back to some of our favorite spots. The Hoover Dam is one. I never tire of seeing this modern marvel. This time we also walked our way across the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge to catch epic views of the dam. Naturally, we also walked up and down the Strip, admiring the beautiful resorts and, of course, stopping to catch the Bellagio Fountain Show.
We also did a few new things. We stayed on Fremont Street at the Golden Nugget, which was not something we loved. The Golden Nugget was fine, but we weren't big fans of staying on Fremont aka the "Old Strip." We gravitate towards shows, restaurants, and the sights of the Strip, so we missed being in that area. However, we did try something new, so that was nice.
We also made our way to a couple museums—The Mob Museum and Clark County Museum. Both were interesting, but we loved the Mob Museum. We are always watching TV shows about mob history, I love The Godfather movies, and my favorite TV show, General Hospital, has some mob themes in it. ;) So that was a lot of fun for us!
We also saw some shows we hadn't seen before, Cirque Du Soleil Ka and Raiding the Rock Vault. We weren't huge fans of Ka, a martial arts style show, but that isn't our sort of thing, so that's to be expected. Next time, we'd love to see Cirque Du Soleil O. We did, however, love Raiding the Rock Vault! It was a rockin' (cheesy, I know) concert style Vegas show with band members and singers that had ties to past rock bands. They played rock music through the decades. We loved hearing the old rock ballads!
Something quite different we did while checking out the Bellagio Conservatory, my favorite spot in Vegas which was unfortunately going through changes for the season during our visit, was seeing an art installation in the Bellagio. I'm not super into ultra modern art, so it was a little anti-climactic for me, but it was beautiful nonetheless. The installation was called Infinity Mirrored by Yayoi Kusama.
We topped off our trip with seeing the ever iconic Cher! I saw the Broadway show about her life back in December, and I LOVED IT!! I loved her in Burlesque, and love her voice. Her concert was nothing short of amazing with the costume and hair changes, stage set, and her voice. She was so spot on, I couldn't help but wonder if she was lip sinking. BUT she sang I Got You Babe with a video of Sonny Bono singing his part, and her voice cracked. That right there won me over. It was a great show!
I'm looking forward to other great shows and mini-road trips on our next visit in October!
Las Vegas is another super fun city to explore with girlfriends. Whether its a bachelorette party or just a girls weekend away, Vegas has such more to offer. Here's a quick little guide to planning your girlfriends getaway to Sin City.
What to do.
Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour is a new-to-me experience in Vegas. It is the luxury, if you will, line of Mars Chocolate (M&Ms). You can tour their factory, take a stroll around their garden, and a enjoy fine chocolate & wine tasting. What screams girls getaway better than that?!
There are great little suburbs right outside of Vegas. Explore Boulder City to shop for antiques, enjoy great restaurants, or drive on out to the Hoover Dam.
I can't leave off the most obvious spot to see in Vegas. Hit the Strip for a fun day around the world of Vegas, and head out again for a night on the town. See the Eiffel Tower, Bellagio Fountain Show, and so much more.
What to eat.
Brunch at Hexx Kitchen + Bar is a fab way to start a late morning in Vegas. Their chilaquiles and mimosas are delish!
If you're with a big group, the family style restaurant Buca Cafe Italiano is a great carb overload option. You can't go wrong here with a pizza or pasta dish.
What to see.
A Cirque du Soliel Show is must with in Sin City. Catch a risque number like Zumanity or a more light-hearted productions like The Beatles Love.
The Bellagio Conservatory is hands down one of my favorite spots in Las Vegas. It is strategically decorated differently each season with intricate floral installations, beautiful themes, and incredible colors. Add it to your list of musts for amazing photo ops!
Grab a cupcake from Sprinkles and a cocktail at the bar on your way up to see Vegas from above on the High Roller.
What to buy.
Believe it or not, shopping is a big deal in Vegas. After you hit it big at the casino head over to the Bellagio, Cesars Palace, or the Venetian, and splurge on a luxury brand purse or pair of shoes.
Check out the worlds largest chocolate fountain, and pick up a bakery or chocolate treat at Bellagio Patisserie.
If you're on a budget and looking for a last minute outfit, comb the racks at Ross Dress for Less near the MGM. Purses, shoes, outfits, even luggage can be found here for a steal.
What to wear.
Workout pants and tanks are great for days out exploring the Strip or hiking the nature around the city. Or keep it comfortable and cute with a romper or breezy outfit to keep cool during the day. For hitting the Strip for a night on the town, amp it up with a dress & heels.
No matter what, you're sure to have a great time in Vegas!