*This is a retrospective post about a trip I took in summer 2015 as part of a Trek America tour which you can read about here*
After we’d had two days of sunsets, sunrises, hiking, and thunderstorms it was time to say good bye to the Grand Canyon and hit the road again. This time we were heading for the bright lights of sin city itself, Las Vegas!
On the way we had a little bit of a cultural stop at the Hoover Dam. My A-level history teacher would have been so proud. That stop was for you Leslie! 😉 I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Hoover Dam but it’s bloody windy up on that bridge, isn’t it?!
We arrived at the hotel whilst it was still light but we didn’t get to see any of the city until it was time to explore the nightlife, and, by that time, it was already dark- if you could ever call Vegas dark, that is!
Before hitting the strip we obviously had to line our stomachs so headed to Container park, which is full of great places to eat. If you go just watch out for the huge, fire-breathing praying mantis. Once you’re there you’ll get what I mean! As well as the mantis there’s lots of cute things around Container park such as the padlock love statue, a kids play area, shopping boutiques and free live music.
After we’d eaten we spent a bit of time strolling down Fremont Street back towards our hotel. You can really tell that they’ve put a lot of effort into making it somewhere to rival the strip. We were amazed watching everyone fly down the street above us on zip wires that we almost walked straight past the world famous heart attack grill. We originally thought it must be a joke but after a little bit of investigation (i.e a Google search) we decided that, no it’s not a joke, as, yes, you really could eat free if you were over 350lbs (25 stones)!
Fremont street is as weird and wonderful as the rest of Vegas, if not more so. I think I preferred it to the main strip. There’s street performers, naked street entertainers (at least I think they were street performers), the chippendales photo booth (both nights we were there it became our challenge to get us all past them without being dragged into the booth), casinos, bars, people dancing and generally having a blast. It’s probably not a place for young children but it’s great fun.
We arrived back outside of the hotel just in time to catch a showing of the famous light show which is actually really difficult to explain. If anyone’s seen it help a girl out and explain it for me in the comments please!
Fun Fact: Vegas never turns the lights off on the casinos and what-not, except for right before each show is about to start when all the lights on the surrounding buildings are shut off. The more you know.
Then came the bit we’d all been waiting for. It was time to hit the strip. We’d hired a party bus and stocked up on alcohol to take on board with us. We were in the bus, dancing, drinking and having an awesome time, for two hours whilst it took us round the main attractions.
Our first stop was the little white wedding chapel, where we had lots of lolz pretending to be getting married to each other. Alcohol makes you think everything’s hilarious, doesn’t it? We didn’t go inside- I think it was closed- but there wasn’t really a big crowd which made it an ideal time to go.
Next up was the Las Vegas sign. It was dark and the sign is as bright as the rest of Vegas so it’s difficult to take your own pictures of you in front of it, but there are professional photographers there who will take them for you for around $10. Aside from that, night time is the best time to see it as everything looks better lit up doesn’t it? I have to admit that standing in front of that sign was a little bit of an omg pinch me I can’t believe I’m here moment.
The bus then took us down onto the main strip past all of the main sections. Now, no judging me okay? I don’t actually remember seeing much of the strip from the bus because I was having too much of a good time dancing around. In my defence though, most of us were like that because, looking back at our photos the next day, we all had pictures of the New York section taken from the window of the bus and we couldn’t remember ever seeing it. Oops. Anyway, it was pretty awesome seeing it for the first time. You know that feeling you get when you see somewhere so full of light and wonder and you just feel amazed? That’s how it felt.
Plus we felt a little bit like celebrities being chauffeured around in a blacked out party bus.
Our final stop on the two hour tour was the Bellagio fountain show. I don’t know why but seeing this show had been near the top of my bucket list for so so long and I finally got to see it. I almost cried. If I was reading this now I’d be thinking what loser cries at a fountain show?! So I get it if you are, but there’s just something about it. It’s all illuminated gold, it’s accompanied by music that adds so much to the atmosphere, and it’s backdrop is a golden replica of the Eiffel Tower. I loved it.
It was about midnight at this point and I went home and vommed outside the hotel. Oh the shame. I felt it the next day when I was having to walk around the strip in 45 degree (C) heat as well, let me tell you!
The next day was spent exploring the strip in daylight, which was great and all that but why did no-one tell us how much walking is involved in that?! We went into all the hotels to see what each had to offer. Inside they make it seem like it’s outside (presumably so you lose track of time in the casinos and spend all your money. Sneaky), but spend too long in there and you start to feel a bit disorientated. The hotels are mostly all connected so it’s so easy to spend a long time in them. The Venetian was my favourite; it’s got a lovely courtyard outside completed with mini medieval plays and the Grand Canal which you can ride on a gondola down. It’s like you’ve been transported to Italy.
After we’d seen the hotels and the rest of the strip (no, we didn’t go on the New York rollercoaster) we headed back to cool off in the hotel pool. The pool has waterfalls you can swim under, comfy loungers you can hire in private sections, and a freakin’ shark tank in the middle. The shark tank even has a water slide going through it (but don’t expect to see anything because you go through the tank too quickly). It was great just lazing by that pool though, and it was still hot enough to do it late in the afternoon.
Our second and final night was a bit quieter than the first one, and we started this off with a casino trip which no trip to Vegas would be complete without! I was sad to be leaving this great place so soon, but at the same time I didn’t know if I could cope with more than a couple of days there. I think it can be seen as incredibly tacky in the daytime but it’s such good fun regardless. At night, though, it really comes alive.
One thing’s for sure though, I will definitely be coming back, Vegas, you weird and wonderful place.