Ah, Vegas! For the past few years Mike has had a yearly conference at the MGM Grand and for the last couple of years I have joined him at the end of the week for quick getaway. Three days is the perfect amount of time in Las Vegas – just enough time for a show, a couple great dinners, a few spins at the roulette table, and a bit of relaxation. This year our trip happened to fall on Halloween so we got an extra special dose of freak as well.
I flew in on Thursday morning and as soon as I met up with Mike our first order of business was a stop at In-N-Out for a Double Double, Animal Style. That night we decided to explore a part of Vegas we had yet to visit – Fremont Street. The Fremont Street Experience was an EXPERIENCE, let me tell ya, so I’m saving all of that awesomeness for a post all to itself. The next morning we headed over to our digs for the next two nights at the Wynn. Last year we checked the Mandarin Oriental off our list, so this year we had to see what all the fuss was about down at at the other end of the Strip.
The Wynn was as gorgeous as expected and we would definitely stay there again. After Mike and I checked out The Buffet I headed down to the pool to squeeze in a few drops of sunshine because I knew it would probably be the last time I’d see a pool and the sun for at least 6 months. It was the perfect day in Vegas – sunny and hot enough where a dip in the pool was refreshing, but not required every five minutes because of the blazing heat. Vegas in October is the way to go.
That night was Halloween and Mike and I wanted to keep it on the low-key side so we decided to skip the clubs and go to a show. We’ve seen several Cirque shows so we decided to switch it up and check out Absinthe at Caesars Palace. This show was FANTASTIC! As long as you can handle inappropriate, crude, racist, sexist, and politically incorrect humor, you HAVE to see this show. It was hilarious and the acts were all incredible. The venue is a tent in front of Caesars so it’s a very small, intimate space that completes the package. We had VIP seats with a small table for the two of us, definitely a plus as we had much more space than everyone else and somewhere to put our splits of champagne that were included in the ticket price. The venue is so small, though, that there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
After the show we stayed out to catch a glimpse of all the Halloween crazies and grabbed a couple seats at a poker table in The Cromwell. The Cromwell is located in the old Wild Bill’s location, which makes me a little salty because I loved Wild Bill’s, but I ended up really liking The Cromwell so I’m willing to forget and forgive. We had prime seats right near the entrance to The Cromwell’s nightclub, Drai’s, so it was Halloween people watching at it’s finest all night long. If you’ve never been to Vegas on Halloween, it’s definitely an experience worth planning for.
A late night out led to a late start the next day. Hangovers needed to be nursed, so we walked over to The Palazzo for pizza at Grimaldi’s followed by a long walk down the Strip. I’m always in awe of the Las Vegas Strip. No matter how many times I visit, the lights, the buildings and the enormity of this desert oasis will always create a jolt of electricity that runs through me. I don’t even like to gamble but I still love it there because just when you think they can’t make it any bigger and better, they do. Case in point – The LINQ.
The LINQ is the new open-air retail, dining, and entertainment district created by Caesars Entertainment. It’s located right across the street from Caesars and at the far end it boasts the World’s Tallest Observation Wheel (aka ferris wheel). But this is no normal ferris wheel. The High Roller is 550 feet tall, each “cabin” holds up to 40 people, and you can rent them out complete with your own personal bartender. Hey, it’s Vegas baby!
We didn’t get a chance to take a spin on the High Roller, but it seems like it would be a pretty cool experience. Instead, we stopped for a mid-afternoon sugar rush at Sprinkles. We have a Sprinkles in Chicago, so I’ve had my fair share of their cupcakes, but what Sprinkles Chicago doesn’t yet offer is ice cream and cookies. I indulged in a Red Velvet waffle cone with Red Velvet ice cream and Mike had an ice cream cookie sandwich made with Snickerdoodle and Chocolate Chip cookies and Vanilla Bean ice cream. Um yea, pretty ridiculous.
We continued with our eating spree into the evening and met up with my friend Laura and her fiancé for dinner at Scarpetta. Scarpetta is an Italian restaurant in the Cosmopolitan and we all absolutely loved it. The modern, sophisticated decor with views overlooking the Bellagio fountains might have been enough to sway us, but the delicious homemade pastas and seasonally-inspired dishes sealed the deal. With all the amazing restaurants in Vegas it can be hard to narrow down your choices, but I can definitely give Scarpetta two thumbs up!
After dinner and several drinks around the Cosmopolitan, Mike and I stopped by the Bellagio fountains and then headed off to catch the Greensky Bluegrass concert at Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley and concert venue in the LINQ district. Cool venue and great band, but we arrived over an hour into the concert and the crowd was, hmmm, how do I say this, very deep into their dance with Mary Jane. We stayed for awhile and then called it a night, a fitting ending for a crazy Vegas Halloween weekend.
We woke up early the next morning for our flight back to Chicago, the Strip in a rare state of Sunday morning peacefulness. I’m already looking forward to next year’s trip and would love to keep the happy Vegas feelings going – what are your favorite Vegas experiences? Let me know in the comments below!