Friday, March 20, 2015

What to See and Where to Eat in Las Vegas

When Gary and I were looking at places to go to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, our priorities were; 3 nights, affordable, warm, good food, and fun.  For our 5 year anniversary we did a relaxing getaway so this time we were ready for something different. Gary had never been to Las Vegas and I had only gone once 10 years ago. I'm sharing this as a review in case any of you decide to go to Vegas. I think I've realized that food is very important to us!

We stayed at the Monte Carlo, a 4 star hotel on the strip, and were really happy with it in regards to location, cleanliness, hospitality and smell (so much smoking in Vegas casinos!!).

Monte Carlo in Las Vegas

We planned all of the restaurants that we wanted to eat at beforehand by asking for recommendations and checking out reviews.  Then, we could decide where we would eat each day due to their locations.  This might sound a bit extreme but that freed up so much time to just enjoy our time there. We also booked our shows ahead of time.  You can get two for ones once you arrive but I had no problem getting them online.

Day 1:
We arrived at about 6 pm and got settled in our room.  We went to 800 Degrees Pizza which was on the outside of our hotel.  Great food, fast, affordable.

800 Degrees pizza in Las Vegas

Then, we walked all the way to Treasure Island (about 3 km's away) to go to our first show; Mystere.  We enjoyed the Bellagio fountains on the way there.

Mystere (Cirque Du Soleil) was beautiful and the high trapeze act had me sweating!   I had worn my nice dress and heels but packed a pair of sandals to walk back in.  I wish I could have taken pictures of the shows but believe me when I say that it was magical.

Day 2:
We went to Mon Ami Gabi for breakfast and were able to sit on the patio.  The ambiance, service and food were all great.  Definitely sit on the patio if you eat there, it's so fun to people watch.

{You can see the view in Gary's glasses}

We spent some time in the Lazy River at the hotel as well as the hot tub.  The weather was perfect in the upper 20's.  We each gambled $1.00.

Then we went to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Caesar's Palace for lunch.  I had a chicken skewer dish and Gary had Chili Relleno.  The atmosphere was really nice, my meal was good, but I think it was a tad overpriced.  Gary really loved his Chili Relleno. What I did love was the bread basket that they brought, it was a variation of cornbread, jalepeno bread and raisin bread.  Maybe it's because we haven't had white bread in months, but wow, yum.

We walked around and visited the M&M store (Gary has always collected dispensers) and walked through several of the hotels.

We just went to the Shake Shack for dinner as it was super close and affordable.  The burgers and shakes were really good!

We had tickets to go see  V The Ultimate Variety Show at Planet Hollywood which I had gotten through a Groupon.  It was entertaining and such a great variety of everything from extreme juggling to magic to rollerskating performers.  The only one I couldn't watch was Turf the contortionist, it is just too much for me.   For the price, I thought it was good.  After the show, we took the Deuce (double decker bus which costs $8 for 24 hours) to Fremont Street.

It took almost an hour to get there with all of the stops and it was so busy.  Fremont Street is a 5 block covered area of pure party.  We were there St. Patrick's Day and took a quick walk through but it was a little beyond my comfort level in regards to the, uh, outfits (or lack thereof).  Taking the zipline overhead there would've been cool.

{This is my `I'm really tired  and want to go back to the hotel' face}

We stayed for maybe 30 minutes and went home.  That day, we had walked 20 km.

Day 3:
We got up early and got our rental car from the hotel at 7:30 am.  I had booked it ahead of time to save money.  We used this day to eat at restaurants outside of walking distance and went to EAT near Fremont.  It was super friendly and huge portions.

Then we drove 30 minutes to Red Rock Canyon.  It costs $7 to get into the park for the day and it was so worth it.  We picked up a map at the Visitor Center and a friend had advised us on what hikes to try out.

The park is a loop that takes about 30 minutes to drive through. It is just one way traffic and you can stop at parking lots along the way to hike.  We did the Calico Tanks Trail which was rated as moderate and 1.5-3 hours.

 I highly recommend this beautiful hike. Perfect distance, difficulty and view.

 I wish that we had brought our wide angle lens but we just did carry on baggage to save time and money so we were a little tight on room.  Next time, we'd ditch a pair of shoes and take the wide angle lens :)

Red Rock Canyon hiking

If you need something easier, just stay in the Calico Trails.  This was such a highlight for me, I loved it!  It was a breath of fresh air in more ways than one.

Red Rock Canyon hiking

 If you want a more difficult hike, Turtlehead Peak would also be beautiful.

Red Rock Canyon hiking

 We then drove the rest of the loop and did a small walk (Willow Springs Loop-not very pretty) and then drove back into town.

We went to the Lotus of Siam for lunch directly after the hike (yes, I was a tad sweaty).  When you see the outside of the building, you'll wonder why I recommended it, but once inside, it makes sense.  They have amazing Thai food and have received so many awards.  It was highly recommended to us and we both really enjoyed it.  Gary had a duck curry dish and I had a Bangkok beef noodle one.

We went back to our hotel and got cleaned up and relaxed a bit.  We decided then to book tickets for the Blue Man Group which was playing at our hotel.

{I wore a cute dress to the show but didn't get a picture before or after as it was chaos around there.  This face is my `I really didn't get it' look.}

 We did a quick shopping stop at ROSS across the road, relaxed by the pool, and then went to the show.  You guys, something must be wrong with me.  I did not like the Blue Man Group.  I didn't smile or clap.  I don't like drawn out awkward humour.  If someone can tell a joke in 10 seconds or 10 minutes, I very much prefer 10 seconds. I love visual beauty but the effects seemed 10 years old.  I've seen many of those things before and maybe if I had as many drinks as everyone else I'd like it more?  I didn't even get a picture with them afterwards.  Gary liked it more than I did, but still not as much as the majority of people there.   We did one last walk to the Bellagio fountains and went and sat outside New York New York, at the Shake Shack, sharing a peanut butter milkshake while people watching.

Day 4:
We got up at 7am to head to the Hash House A Go Go as the last time we tried to get in it had an hour wait.  We got there before 8 am and had no line.  The servings are huge and we probably would have shared a dish had we known.

It was packed with so many men waiting for March Madness to start one hour later.  We liked it but I definitely couldn't eat a meal like that more than once in a trip! Then, we walked back, packed, and headed to the airport!

Gary and I had a great time together.  It's funny because we considered just taking it easy one night and Gary said, `We can relax when we get home!'.  Three kids is more relaxing than Vegas.   It took about 12 hours to get our groove of just being together without kids and on holidays.  It was our very first time flying together without kids and I've never been away from Nya for more than one night!   We are so thankful for Gary's parents who watched our kids and ensured that we could have a great time without worrying about them.  I'm glad we went to Vegas.  It was a different sort of vacation than we had done before and we definitely crammed in about 5 years worth of dates into the 4 days :)  We would not do this trip with our kids, although a lot of people did, so it was a good one for us as a couple.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Vegas!  Have you been? Would you?  Now I'm looking forward to our 15th wedding anniversary trip...wherever that may be!


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Heading to Las Vegas? These are some great places to eat, shows to see and hiking to do.


  1. That last photo is really great. So glad you had a good time. The food and hike would be my favourite parts, I think. I have never been to Vegas and have so real desire to go.

  2. P.S. I also like the photo where Gary is kissing you on the cheek!

  3. "no" real desire

  4. Looks like you had a great time. I agree, that kids in Vegas would not be my style either.

    1. Terri, I was shocked how many families there were out at night! Even though it was exhausting, it was rejuvenating for us!

  5. HI looks like a great trip! I thought i read somewhere that you were going to be going on a helicopter ride?

    1. We considered it but would rather really explore it with our kids. I've been twice before but Gary has never gone. It was also close to $800 Anerican which was too much for us.

    2. looks like you had a good time :) Too busy for me, though! Ha! I would have liked a day just to chill...but as you said, you can do that at home. The hike looks amazing.

  6. 1. So jealous that you went to Cirque du Soleil! That’s on my bucketlist for sure
    2. Love your pink nails
    3. I love to people watch
    4. I’m glad you let yourself eat a bit of white bread :)
    5. Beautiful pictures from the hike!!

    1. Love that you noticed the pink nails, Katrina!

  7. Very interesting - it sounds and looks like you guys had a great trip! You're looking great in all your cute outfits - casual and dressy!
    I've never had an interest in going to Vegas...too busy for me. If I'm getting away to vacation, I want to be able to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings but all the masses of people, the busy city and lights/casinos would not be my/our thing. But those hikes look so amazing!

    1. I can totally see that. You definitely have to realize what Vegas is going to be like before going! Our next big trip will probably be a whole lot different.

  8. Thanks Ali! A little different than your Hawaii trip with J but still good! I figure since we only go out to eat once every three months normally, we better make it worthwhile!

  9. Glad you saw Mystere! It is definitely one of their best shows (I think I've been to about 6) and has more of the classic tricks. I love Vegas, mostly because my sister lives there so its a bit of a different experience. We mainly just go outlet shopping and just do quick trips to the strip. There is lots of diversity if you get out of the city like you did. Glad you had a great trip!

  10. Monte Carlo hotel is a great place to stay for a 10 year anniversary. You both look so happy in those photos. I was with my girlfriend there 3 years ago and we had an amazing vacation ourselves. We booked the rooms for this site and we paid a really good price for the hotel. How much did you spend for the whole trip?

    1. The total cost (hotel, flights, three shows, food, parking, taxis, car rental etc) was $2000.00 Canadian.