Secrets of Sin City
Editor’s Note: Think you know all there is to know about Las Vegas? Read our Vegas series this week as we celebrate a city that continues to reinvent itself year after year.
Last month, I made my very first trip to Las Vegas. I was there for work, so it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be since I spent all day, every day in a conference room. I had imagined, instead, spending my days poolside, working on my tan and sipping a cocktail. Doesn’t that sound lovely?
Anyway, I have to say that despite all the time spent in meetings, I loved Las Vegas. Loved. And to be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t think I would. You see, I can be a tad snobby about traveling and seeing that Las Vegas is, year after year, the number-one domestic travel destination, I certainly didn’t think it would have much to offer to someone like me. Also, I’m from New York City, and people from New York City tend to look down on other U.S. cities in general. Sorry, but it’s true.
But I digress! Back to my newfound Las Vegas love. I’m already planning another trip. This time, I plan to spend far more time out and about and far less time in a conference room. What am I talking about? No time whatsoever in a conference room. Since I’ve barely scratched the surface of Sin City, I decided to reach out to the Twitterverse and ask for tips on how best to squeeze the most out of a trip. Here’s what my tweeps had to say:
“If you’re low on cash or just trying to save, you can still sample some of the best Vegas restaurants by making a lunch reservation. The lunch menu is usually cheaper but has the same elements as the dinner menu, and as a bonus it’s usually quieter at the restaurant and you have more time to go out that night
“When going to Vegas with a group…splurge for the cabana. Last summer we were there for a wedding. We stayed and Mandalay Bay and got one of their private lagoon cabanas. It was amazing. Came to a little over $200 per couple, and it included the hefty bar tab. There was plenty of space, personalized attention, quick service, cold drinks and a pool all to ourselves.”
“The bartenders may order theirs with a fried egg and cheese, but I find the free-range Montana beef in the Cadillac burger at P.J. Clarke’s decadent enough to stand on its own. If it’s not the best burger in town, I’d book a flight today to try the best burger in town.”
“Be sure to venture downtown to the Fremont Street Experience and surrounding properties! THAT’S where the Vegas Strip really started, and it’s an entirely different kind of cool and vibrant Vegas! Plus, rumor has it the slots pay better downtown.”
“We are not big clubbing people, but we do love a good cocktail and a good time. Some of the best places for both are (no surprise) located in Las Vegas. Here are some places we love: Mix at the top of The Hotel at Mandalay Bay (tip: Go in the late afternoon/early evening for a less-crowded experience; becomes clubby later in the evening; you have to check out the restrooms with, yes, toilets facing floor-to-ceiling windows); the bar at Guy Savoy at Caesar’s Palace for an amazing by-the-glass champagne list (great nibbles, too); Rhum Bar at the Mirage (nice outdoor seating, chill vibe), the Bar at Times Square at New York, New York for dueling pianos and just plain fun; B Bar at the Wynn for great cocktails (they have a great selection of fresh fruit juices as mixers; this is actually a video poker bar but many people who drink there do not play; also be warned if you are a video poker player: Wynn and Encore don’t offer free cocktails at the bars); the bar off the lobby at the Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter — incredible views and a great, interesting cocktail menu.”
Don’t be afraid to go off the strip– the Hofbrauhaus is my favorite restaurant & the Hard Rock is my favorite place to drink!”
“KJ Kitchen has the best Cantonese lobster. It’s off-Strip, in Chinatown. The price fluctuates – between $8 – $20 per pound – so call ahead and ask before you go. Also try the macadamia nut shrimp.”
“My experience is probably unlike others’ since I am under 21. My dad and I stayed at the Suncoast Casino (off the Strip). The hotel was nice, had comfortable rooms, and great views of the surrounding desert (ours was high enough in the building). The pool area was nice and relaxed, though a bit small for my liking. The best dining in the hotel was the SC Prime steakhouse, and the filet mignon that I ordered was cooked properly for medium-rare.
We climbed in Red Rocks National Park for half the week, but the hiking/walking on their trails is a lot of fun and definitely a unique experience for people that have not seen deserts before. The best golf course that we played at was Badlands Golf Club, which is “target golf” style, with well watered greens and fairways, and the holes were both a mental challenge as well as physical challenge.”
Follow me on Twitter @GSBrown.
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My name: Genevieve Shaw Brown. I also answer to Genny and Gen.
How I earn my keep: I work at Travelocity.
Greatest travel lesson learned: I travel for my job, but I've learned work is work, vacation is vacation, and it's best not to try and do both on one trip.
Fondest travel memory: There are so many... but a recent experience was being totally jet-lagged and waking up pre-dawn in Koh Samui, Thailand, and watching the sun rise with my husband on the beach. We talked about what all our friends and family were doing at that very same moment as the sun set back home in New York.
First thing I do in a new place: Peruse the local restaurants and map out my dining strategy for the duration of my trip. Dining strategy = eating at as many restaurants as humanly possible.
First thing I do when I get home: Put a push pin on the destination I just returned from on the map of the world that hangs on the wall above my couch.
Travel ambition: To cover that map completely in push pins.
My most beloved place in the whole world: Cockle Cove Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts.