Aron had a conference in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, and so we were thrilled when his parents offered to watch the kids while I flew out to join him. Despite some family-friendly attractions, Vegas is still really best for adults—perfect for a kidless getaway.
I’m definitely not the one to ask for a true “sin-city” tour: Neither of us are too tempted by gambling (truth be told, we didn’t do any while in town), and hanging out together (and sleeping in!) held more appeal than clubbing, but this is my second visit to Vegas this year and I keep discovering new reasons to return.
We stayed at the Aria again, which was perfect! Aron’s conference was held there, so he was able to come meet me at the room as soon as his meeting ended. Last time I was at the hotel, it was for the Visa Signature Card campaign and we really do check now to see if a hotel we’re staying at is one of the Signature properties: we used the card and had been upgraded to a corner suite. The views were amazing.
Of course, that top view is from even higher…
Aron had done all the planning and surprised me with a helicopter tour! A car picked us up with three other people who would be joining us that evening, but I had no idea where we were headed until we were back at the airport.
The pilot, Michelle, flew us out of the city, over Lake Mead to the Hoover Dam, just in time for sunset.
(Look at all of those swimming pools!)
I would have expected the views of the strip from above to be the highlight, but it was the desert landscape that really took my breath away!
It was such an incredible treat—something I’ll never forget.
When we were done, we had the driver drop us at New York, New York, so we could beeline it to Shake Shack. There are so many amazing (fancy) restaurants in Vegas, but it’s honestly still hard to beat a good burger and fries in my book. Beer and frozen custard for the win.
We spent the rest of the night taking in the scene and marveling how quickly the night passes when you’re surrounded by light.
The intention the next day was to sleep in, order room service, and do very little until dinner. We succeeded on the first two counts, but only spent about an hour at the pool before heading out for lunch and some sightseeing.
I had loved the meal at Bardot so much that I asked if we could go back for brunch. It did not disappoint—and was as rich and decadent as one could wish.
At the last minute, we made reservations for The Mob Museum downtown (in the old Las Vegas Courthouse). You don’t have to make a reservation, but it guarantees you entry and saves you a little money to book online. I first learned of it when I went to tour the Neon Museum earlier this year.
It was an interesting look at organized crime, with some Las Vegas history thrown in. I think a guided tour or audio tour could be nice there—the exhibits are very text-heavy so you otherwise spend a lot of time reading. One other note: I wouldn’t bring young kids here; it was pretty graphic.
Dinner that night was at Michael Mina (in fact the same chef as at the helm of Bardot) at the Bellagio. We both thought it was good, but—ultimately—a bit underwhelming. Generically fancy, perhaps.
Still, those Bellagio fountains! They seem like one of those spectacles one might be tempted to act too cool for (choreographed, dancing water?), but even after all these years they’re still worth stopping to watch. I could feel those canons in my chest.
One of the best parts of the vacation was putting my phone away. Pictures I do have are either taken on Aron’s iPhone or with our camera—which we carried the first night out. I brought physical magazines (Ben or Noel?) and books and left it in the safe almost the whole time.
We had a late checkout on Sunday, so we spent the morning back by the pool before lunch. We debated getting a day-pass to the spa (the one at the Aria has some nice co-ed spaces), but opted for more food instead.
We’d heard good things about the buffet at The Wicked Spoon in The Cosmopolitan, but the crowd was huge. So we opted to sit at the counter at China Poblano (Chinese & Mexican food) and it was probably our favorite meal of the weekend. The ceviche with crispy amaranth and those dumplings with quail eggs were so good. And I prefer this dining combination to most: casual atmosphere with fancy (innovative) food.
Aron was full after but I still had room for dessert so I popped over to Holsteins next door for a boozy bananas foster milkshake.
We apparently narrowly avoided disaster at the airport when we flew out (Southwest’s systems had been down all day and someone even posted online videos of the hours-long waits to get into the Vegas airport—in the heat, without shade): Something like 500 flights were delayed that day across the country. Phew! Because there were two sweet little babes we were excited to see when we got home.
Thank goodness for grandparents!
Have you been to Las Vegas? Your picks for the next time we’re lucky enough to go back?
P.S. Thoughts on a Babymoon.