What happens in Vegas … ends up on The Neon Leopard.
Well, what happens to me in Vegas anyway.
I love to travel, and TNL Travels posts are some of my favourites to write because it allows me to revisit really incredible memories and pictures as I compile them to share.
One of my favourite places in the world (that I’ve seen so far) is Las Vegas. How fitting that one of my favourite people in the world happens to live there too! I have been to Vegas a number of times and have some absolute must-dos every time I go. I hope you enjoy reading about these and find them useful for your next visit to Sin City.
I mentioned that one of my very favourite people lives in Vegas. My best friend, Diana moved to Vegas a few years ago. So, without a doubt, the best part of visiting this amazing city is getting to see my BFF. We laugh SO much when we are together and I miss her like crazy!
I stayed with Diana for a few days, but we thought it would be nice to get a hotel on the strip for part of the time.
People are always asking me where I recommend staying in Las Vegas. I have stayed at Circus Circus, Mirage, Treasure Island, New York New York and now Excalibur. What I have learned is that the key to choosing a hotel in Vegas is location. As long as it is located pretty centrally on the strip, it’s good to go. Yes, some hotels are way cooler and have more to do than others, but you can take advantage of all that without staying there. The actual rooms are all pretty much the same. So unless you are planning to get some crazy baller super suite, save your moola, stay somewhere moderately priced on the strip, and enjoy exploring all of the hotels ( whether you are staying there , or not).
The Las Vegas Strip is actually quite long, about 4.5 miles from end to end. The hotels on either end of the strip are doable if you are prepared to do a lot of walking, but I would still advise going for something central. The hotels in Vegas are incredible and really worth exploring. Many of them are themed like my favourite New York, New York. This hotel looks like an actual NYC block, complete with a replica Statue of Liberty. Inside, there is an area that resembles a New York street complete with some popular NYC restos and a roller coaster!
On this trip, we stayed at the Excalibur. It is the medieval themed hotel on the strip and it looks like a giant castle.
Excaliber is a bit more family oriented than some of the other hotels, which we enjoyed as it wasn’t as chaotic at night. That being said, Excalibur is also the home of the Thunder from Down Under show.
No, we didn’t go. 😛
Our stay at Excalibur was stellar. The room was very clean spacious. The washroom was also large, with lots of counter and mirror space and a stand up shower. We definitely preferred this to having a tub. The beds were incredibly comfortable and we pretty much wanted to take them home with us. Unfortunately, the logistics of dragging two queen beds down the Las Vegas strip were too complex.
We got a steal on our room using cheaptickets.com at only $48 a night! This is unreal and was likely a fluke due to it being low season and mid-week.
If you are planning a trip to Vegas, aim for middle of the week to get the best hotel rates. Don’t worry about missing the action. Las Vegas truly is the city that never sleeps, you won’t be missing out on anything.
Stuff to Do
The beauty of Vegas is that there is never, ever a shortage of things to do. You could literally spend your whole visit exploring the hotels on the strip. My strip time (that sounds funny) usually consists primarily of shopping and eating.
I’m pretty sure that Las Vegas has the best people watching on the face of the Earth. You never know who you will run in to.
Watch out for people dressed as comic book characters and superheroes as they will expect some moola if you take their picture. There everywhere, and highly amusing. We saw Michal Jackson, Doctor Evil, Zach Galifianakis’ hangover character, Mickey Mouse, Transformers, Willy Willy Wonka and many, many minions. Oh , and also…Kotton Kandy.
Shopping on the strip is fantastic. There is literally everything that you could want from high end shops like Gucci and Hermes, to all your favourite chains at the Fashion Show Mall. My recent visit happened to coincide with the Sephora Friends and Family sale so we did a bit of damage at the amazing Sephora on the strip.
The Forum Shops at the Caesar’s Palace hotel is a must see shopping haven. It is breathtakingly beautiful with a realistic looking cloudy bright sky alongside talking statues and an exotic fish aquarium. They also have a MAC Pro store for all the makeup lovers.
One of my favourite stores to visit when I am on the West coast is Ross. People who have a Ross near them may be rolling their eyes, but for this visiting Canadian, Ross is a treat! Think Winners/ TJ Max, but better prices. Ross is an overwhelming shopping experience, and you really have to dig through some junk to find the good stuff. But, it’s there! Isn’t shopping more rewarding that way anyway?!
I also really enjoy making a stop at one of the ABC store on the strip. This is apparently a popular convenience type store in Hawaii and it has some cool products from the island. My fave – Maui Blanc pineapple wine.
Depending on what you’re in to, other notable stop offs when exploring the Las Vegas strip include the Kardashian Khaos store at the Mirage, Sugar Factory at Paris , Buddy V’s ( Cake Boss) at the Venetian and the Britney boutique at Planet Hollywood.
Ha! Seriously though, I’m not big on gambling aside from the free drinks you get when you’re on the slot machines.
Where to Eat!
Let me preface this my saying that one could very happily eat their way through Vegas. There are restaurants and treats of all kinds to suit every taste bud.
There are buffets for days in Vegas. Every hotel has (at least) one and they are actually very reasonably priced for what you get. Many have impressive meat and seafood selections. You can even purchases wristbands at some hotels that allow you to eat all day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets) in and out for one low price. I would very highly recommend the Wicked Spoon buffet at the Cosmopolitan hotel. It is one of the best buffets I have ever been to.
In N’ Out Burger is always a pit stop when visiting the West Coast. I don’t even care for fast food burgers (I have never had a McDonalds burger in my life) and I love In N’Out. In N’ Out uses ingredients that are never frozen, prepackaged, or processed. Their menu simple and delicious. It’s a local favourite and the location off the strip often has lineups to the door. Soooo worth it.
A super random fave that my bestie and I have come to love is the Harley Davidson Cafe. We were walking past once and saw people eating breakfast on the patio, and it just looked so yummy. Since then we have made it our breakfast spot on the strip. We have absolutely no interest in motorcycles, we just like eggs. The cafe features a retail shop, memorabilia showcase and even a “chopper chapel” for weddings- none of which we have ever seen…we just want eggs! This visit, I decided to have a super American breakfast of steak and eggs for the first time.
The Sugar Factory is another one of my very favourite stops on the Las Vegas strip. Located in the Paris hotel, there is both a retail store and resto full of sweet and savory treats. The retail store is famous for their ridiculously overpriced couture lollipops and violent lips lip tattoos.
We picked up a pack of Jelly Belly Beanboozled beans. SO GROSS.
The Sugar Factory restaurant is amazing.
EVERYTHING IS DELICIOUS. We actually went there for salads two days in a row, it’s that good.
They also have the most incredible martini menu. Check these out: Reese’s Martini (with a peanut butter rim) and Strawberry Blonde martini (rimmed with strawberry Pop Rocks, of course).
I mentioned that the New York, New York hotel is the home of a number of popular New York restos. One of these is Chin Chin. Chin Chin is a Chinese restaurant and sushi bar. Last year, I had a really delish dish here and we wanted to try it again. Unfortunately, I goofed and ordered Orange Chicken instead of the Clementine Beef that I wanted. Luckily, the orange chicken was delicious too! I have a feeling you can’t make a bad choice here.
We also had shrimp with Snow Peas and Garlic Eggplant.
So, you know how I like to save the best for last? I would like to tell you about what I like to call my happy place. In the Miracle Mile shops at the Planet Hollywood, there is a TAKEOUT RESTAURANT WITH AN ALL-LOBSTER MENU!
Yup, Lobster Me may as well be called Ashley’s Fave since every single item on the menu features my very favourite food in the universe. We’re talking Lobster Rolls, Lobster Grilled Cheese, Lobster Bisque, Lobster Shooters, Lobster and Eggs, Lobster and Waffles and more! Here I am with a Cajun Lobster Roll and a Lobstercicle (lobster tail on a stick).
See that look on my face? Yeah, that’s just sheer joy.
This is just a teeny tiny fraction of all there is to see and do in Vegas. I didn’t even touch nightlife, shows and daytrips like the Grand Canyon. It’s really a magical place and I hope you enjoyed a peek into my most recent quick visit! If you have been to Las Vegas, I would love to hear about your favourite things to see and do below!