After a week in the wilds of Wyoming we were psyched to get back to civilisation – and what better place to do that than Las Vegas! It was a total sensory overload with signs, lights, cars, people, street performers, everywhere.
Our fave stretch of The Strip is the middle section, between the junction of MGM/New York New York, up to the junction of Ceasars/Flamingo. So we focussed on that, and didn’t even attempt to go up to Circus Circus or down to Luxor etc. This was not our first time in Las Vegas (previous trips here and here). So we were determined to chill out and relax and not fall into the trap of rushing round trying to see everything.
The highlight of Vegas for me this time was Big Elvis. His voice was truly beautiful and he sounded just like Elvis. He sits on a throne at the front of the bar, with the audience at tables around him. Everyone was grooving along during “Viva Las Vegas” and he moved me to tears with “American Trilogy”. It was a lovely experience, made all the richer for his two elderly super fans- a man and a lady. The man wore a T-shirt saying “Big Elvis – VIP Fan”, and took it upon himself to go round the bar clapping enthusiastically, as if to check that we were all enjoying it an appropriate amount 🙂 He made me smile – we need more characters like him in the world! But Big Elvis was the real star! He was so sweet and seemed happy to stay behind after the concert to have photos with fans. I really can’t speak highly enough of him 🙂
The Bellagio hotel puts on a seasonal display in its Conservatory, and we saw the men setting up the next display, with forklift trucks and trees being brought in, along with about 1000 potted flowers! Luckily this was finished on the last day of our stay, so we got to see the finished product. It smelt amazing – all fresh flowers and woodland scenes.
We went to the Sirens of Treasure Island show, which we have enjoyed on previous trips. We checked the showtime in the free booklets they hand out on the street, and we went along at the specified time. Nothing happened. We asked a security guard and he said they stopped doing that show about 2 years ago! We were gutted as it was probably the best free show in Vegas (until we found out about Big Elvis!).
We walked around many of the big casinos and saw the Bellagio Fountains, the Flamingos at the, um, Flamingo. I was impressed by these before, but this time they just looked a bit sad to me. We also visited Paris, the Venetian, Aria, Miracle Mile, Planet Hollywood, Monte Carlo, New York New York, MGM etc. The trend seems to be towards posh, sleek, glass hotels – eg Aria, Crystals shopping mall, Cosmopolitan. There were elements of these that I liked – such as the fascinating whirlpools in Crystals (glass tubes with water swirling inside them). But overall this is the opposite of what I want in Vegas. I love the tacky, flamboyant, big lights side of Vegas. Otherwise it is just a collection of posh hotels, with no character.
- Get one of the free booklets they hand out on the street. These are really useful as they show you what is on where, in terms of restaurants, shows, etc. However, I would recommend double checking any events you intend to go to – as we found out (above) they don’t do much fact-checking!
- Take the free Monorail between Bellagio, Aria/Crystals, and Monte Carlo. It takes a while to walk back through the Bellagio to get to it, but it does save you a walk up The Strip – the distances are huge so you can tire easily, especially in 40 degree heat!
- To get from Airport to The Strip, you can get the public bus. This is a sore point for us as we have tried this twice before and failed miserably. It traditionally takes us about 2 hours to get out of Las Vegas McCarran airport as we spend so much time fannying around looking for buses. Well I can confirm that there is a public bus – go to floor 0 under Arrivals in Terminal 1, and take the bus called “WAX” (don’t ask me what it stands for!), but remember to get off by MGM Grand. After the MGM, the bus will whizz up the Freeway to Downtown and you will get carried away with it, so you must get off there! It was only $ 2 each. In comparison, the taxi from Strip to Airport was $ 20.
- Big Elvis plays in Hurrahs in the Piano Bar (as you enter Hurrahs from the entrance next to Linq) but you’ll have to look up the showtimes. And it’s free – with a 2 drink minimum at the bar. Highly recommended!
Overall, we had a fantastic, relaxing and fun time in Vegas! We absolutely loved it!
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