I have a theory. Okay, it's less of a theory than just a two-sentence opinion. I think you either love Vegas or you hate Vegas. You either can't wait to plan your next trip to the Strip or you would be fine never again seeing that much neon.
Mike and I live firmly in the first camp.
It's not that I don't get why some might hate it. It's A Lot and it's dirty and it can be expensive (meals, more than anything else) and if you don't gamble, you have to walk through miles of casino to get to things you might actually enjoy (like expensive meals!) and, wow, is everything so spread out, your feet will hurt like hell on DAY ONE. No matter what you actually do that day.
Not to mention it's like 113 degrees half the year.
Or all the people in ill-fitting clothes. I swear, 75% of people wearing ill-fitting clothes in this world are wearing them in Vegas.
But, it's just a place we love. We do like to gamble, we love so many of the meals we've had there, we love all the lights and attractions and people watching (best people watching, like ever) and every show we've seen has been incredible and, oh, bottomless mimosa buffets are my jam. We like it! It's our kind of place.
We took my in-laws early last month for a quick, three-night, four-day visit, and I haven't shared anything about that trip here yet.
It was a low-key trip (see: traveling with my in-laws), and there was not a single night we were in bed later than 11pm or a single morning we were up later than 8am (one morning was 6:30am!), but we still had so much fun.
Lame adult fun but fun nonetheless.
We got in at 8:45am on Saturday morning, so we had our rental car (more on that later) and were at our hotel, checking our bags, by 10am. We went straight to The Buffet at Wynn, what we heard was the best buffet in Vegas. It was an hour wait, so I was hoping the buffet would offer back rubs or free drinks or SOMETHING but, no. Still! It was delicious! Better than the Bellagio, where we usually hit up the buffet at least once, but the Bellagio (if memory serves) is a little cheaper.
After that, we walked around a few more hotels before going back to our hotel (the Monte Carlo, which is where we'll stay from here until forever because it's affordable, nice, and centrally located) for naps. You may ask what we had done so far that day to warrant a nap, and I will say NAPS ARE ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA.
After naps, we got fancied up (see: took showers) for Zarkana at Aria.
We've seen three Cirque du Soleil shows (O, Zumanity, and this one), and Zarkana might actually be my favorite. Just incredible.
We had Fat Burger for dinner after the show. Life was good.
The next morning we got up and entered a poker tournament at our hotel (a one-table poker tournament, so basically a home game) and after that we . . . uh . . . I kind of don't remember. It's been over a month! This is why you write blog recaps of your trips immediately upon returning home, kids.
Side note: Probably a good time to talk about why we sometimes rent a car in Vegas. Yes, cabs are a plenty and you can walk, but cabs add up (the Strip traffic is bananas and it can take 15 minutes to go a couple blocks), and we like to go from one end of the Strip to the other and that's something like five entire miles. Doable but in the summer, it's also horrible. And! We like to get off the Strip. We go downtown at least once a trip and, as you'll see, we also get out of town to visit some surrounding sites. Our car was affordable (something like $120 for the four days we were there, and we split that in half with Mike's parents).
That night we splurged on a delicious dinner at Stack (the Country Potato Gratin was a life changer). Our waiter's name was Kyle and, as I often do in this situation, I excitedly announced, "What a great name! That's my son's name." "Huh." The waiter was not my spirit animal, let's just say.
The next day we headed out of town to visit the Valley of Fire. Mike and I went way back in 2004, and we had good memories, so we thought his parents would enjoy it too.
It was still beautiful. But, guys, so hot. Like the surface of the sun. We ended up hiking about a mile and it felt like a marathon.
After that, we drove a couple hours to the Hoover Dam. We were told we might see Big Horn Sheep on the drive, so I basically made everyone do nothing but look for Big Horn Sheep on the drive because that's just not an animal you see every day. We didn't see any but, truth be told, I don't think my road trip companions were as committed as I was. I heard a lot of unnnecessary chatting.
The Hoover Dam was great, incredible of course, but I do have to admit that my favorite part of the visit was making Mike stand in Arizona while I stood in Nevada. (Same novelty I enjoyed at the Four Corners.)
That night Mike played craps while I read in bed. I know, you're totally embarassed by my antics.
We had a lot of our last day to hang out, since our flight wasn't until the evening. We got up insanely early to be one of the first at Mon Ami Gabi, one of my Vegas favorites, and it didn't disappoint. I couldn't bring myself to order a mimosa or Bloody Mary at 7:30am, apparently that's just TOO early for me, but next time! I'm coming for you, breakfast drinks.
We played in another poker tournament that morning, and then I spent two straight hours winning money at nickel poker (and then another 10 minutes losing those winnings; DAMN YOU GAMBLING), before we grabbed a very late lunch and then headed to the airport.