Las Vegas Trip 2022
It's been a while since I've shared a blog post here. I have mentioned to all my Instagram followers this week that our most recent trip was amazingly wonderful but we were gone 8 days and it fell over two weeks. Leading up to it I was so busy getting everyone ready for the trip, then we were gone, and when we came back we were thrown right back into life- and the busy season of the year at that. I feel like I've just gotten my feet back underneath me since being back from our trip. Regardless- I am so excited to be back on the blog and writing posts to share with you all again.
First up I want to share just the first part of our trip with you all- Las Vegas. I found really affordable flights on Spirit Airlines from MKE to LAS. I was honestly nervous to fly Spirit given all the horror stories but at the end of the day we were okay gambling a little knowing that LAS was a Spirit hub and we were hopeful that this would give us a little security. Of course this trip was booked around Google's low fare calendar and this was the lowest prices of the month to fly from MKE to LAS.
Where We Stayed:
Even better, once we settled on flights hotel prices in Vegas were also very affordable for our dates. We ended up staying at Cesar's Palace and it was great! Upon check-in our room wasn't ready so they were able to get us into a room upgrade for free in the Octavius Tower. This tower seemed to be the furthest from the strip but it was okay with us (what's a few extra steps in Vegas- right??) We got into our room and had a view of the strip and we were even able to see the Bellagio Water Show from our bed. The room was huge, very clean, and the bed was comfortable. In true Vegas fashion, there were lots of "extras' snacks and beverages available for you in the room at a very steep price. The bathroom was also very large and had a whirlpool tub. I was hoping to use that but never got around to it.
the view from our room
I thought the rest of the hotel was great. It was always busy everywhere you went. Restaurants had waits and unless you had a reservation were hard to get into. Drinks at the bars inside Cesar's were SO expensive but again, Vegas... The Casino was huge and had several different areas of slots, tables, and the Sports Book. They had what looked like a nice food court inside for reasonable prices but the night we were there most of the restaurants were closed.
One thing I did not like about the hotel was how smokey the Casino floor was. We went to several casinos while we were there and this one was by far the smokiest. I get that this is part of the environment but it was a bit much at times at Cesar's. The other thing was that to me there was a lack of signage. This was our first time in Las Vegas and we were very unfamiliar with things. By the end of our time there it was clear where things were but I was not overly impressed with their signage. Our room also was a bit loved- for example the cabinets in the bathroom were a bit worn. That's not overly important to me but if it is to you its worth noting.
I would rate Cesar's Palace 4/5 stars.
What We Did:
We covered a lot of ground in our time in Vegas! Here were some of the highlights and things that I suggest you see or do if you have not already:
The Linq High Roller- We did this our first night there. We ended up getting lottery discounted tickets through Cesar's and basically got 2 for 1 on the price. It was such a fun vantage point to be that high up above the city.and see all the lights at night. I was a good ease into our trip and gave us a chance to soak in the strip and somewhat get the lay of the land from above. Keith was nervous and honestly I was only nervous getting right up the edge of the pods. They are quite large and spacious and give you plenty of room to move and walk around. The entire ride is 30 minutes and it is the second tallest ferris wheel in the world. They also have a bar right as you enter so you can buy drinks to take with you as you go. Walking to the Linq from Cesar's Palace was fun too because we got to walk the entire Linq Promenade- an entertainment district with restaurants, bars, and shops.
The OYO Hotel- This is not something that was on my radar upon going to Vegas but Keith actually found this spot because he wanted to play blackjack. The OYO has 1 single $1 blackjack table. I had never played prior to being here and Keith likes to play but also doesn't like to risk tons of money. This was fun because it was low risk and the dealers and people on the table were all friendly and there to have fun. Note that if you want to play you may need to wait as there is only 6 seats to play here. We arrived right as the table was opening for the day and easily both got seats. This hotel/Casino is a much different vibe than the other flashy hotels on the strip. It is smaller, more simple, and far less flashy. It's clear is a a bit older and less kept up but I never felt unsafe. Also most casinos will let you "drink for free" if you are on the tables and this was no exception to that! Fun fact this was originally the Hooters Hotel and still retains a large Hooters Restaurant in the OYO today.
Walked the Strip- On our way back from OYO we walked the strip. This was not a crazy long walk but note that nothing on the strip is quick. There are a lot of people and a lot of traffic. The pedestrian walkways have crosswalks over the streets in most places so it can be a lot of up and down depending on where you are going. There is so much to look at and see and its worth stopping in places along the way. Each hotel/casino/building has something different and unique to offer and they all have different feels. We ended up grabbing lunch at a quick stop on the Strip and also stopped in Walgreen's to grab cheap drinks to have while we walked the Strip (yes! it's legal to have open beverages on the streets in Las Vegas). We stopped in many of the casinos and hotels along the way including The Venetian, Planet Hollywood, and The Bellagio. We also watched at day time Bellagio Water Fountain Show.
Container Park- This was recommend to us by one of our Uber Drivers. He was a longtime Vegas resident and said some of the best food was here. This was a very unique and quirky spot. They took shipping containers and made them into a small park/village area- each one being a store or restaurant around the perimeter. It was a couple stories high and in the middle was a fun playground for the kiddos and stage for live music. We had tacos and margs for dinner and they were incredible. There was also a really fun grasshopper music and fire show that we saw there- it was unexpected and quirky but quite fun to watch. This is only a few blocks from the Fremont Street Entertainment District.
Fremont Street Entertainment District- SO MUCH FUN. This is technically downtown Las Vegas or what many consider "old Vegas" There is so much to see here from zip lining, to street vendors, to some older (and from what I hear FAR more likely to win at) casinos, breweries, music performers, people, and of course the huge light show. The entire street is covered in a curved video screen that shows exciting and colorful visuals all night long. We first and foremost went to Banger Brewery right at the entrance- its kind of Keith and my thing to visit local breweries on our trips. It was small and not overly busy but the brews were good! We even got one to go and enjoy while walking Fremont Street. This is really just an experience all in itself. We also stumbled across a really fun country cover band and watched them for the bulk of the night! They were great and even covered a few other genres as well throughout the night. We were out far too late this night but enjoyed every second. (One thing to note is that this is not walking distance from the hotels on the strip- definitely need to Uber back and forth from the strip!)
Bellagio Conservatory- Absolutely gorgeous. I knew this was an iconic part of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino and Vegas overall but I didn't really know what to expect. This is is an atrium that gets seasonal displays made up of incredible amounts of flowers, plants, and trees. It was a spring themed garden with hot air balloons, enormous flowers, and details made up of colorful flowers everywhere you looked. What a beautiful sight.
Pool Day at Cesar's Garden of the Gods- When we booked at Cesar's Palace we heard they had some of the best pools in Vegas. While I have nothing to compare it to I was blow away at their pool oasis. They have 7 different pools, each with a different vibe and feel. There are also areas of more quietness which is where the only chairs we could find were open. You can rent cabanas and chairs for a fee. (The pools are free for all hotel guests- you must present proof upon entry and guests can pay to enter) There is even blackjack tables in the pool for those that want to still gamble but also enjoy the water. There's a pool for everyone- kids included. We got drinks at the bar but there were honestly probably the most expensive drinks of our whole trip. There were also a few pools that were closed for the season or renovations but it didn't change anything in my opinion. The grounds were gorgeous and tucked in the middle of all the hotel guest room towers and it truly felt like an oasis . You would never know you were in one of the most lively cities while at these pools.
The Cosmopolitan Casino- I think that this was my favorite casino/hotel environment. There was so much to do and see within. There are several hidden restaurants and bars within too- we explored one and it was one of our highlights from the trip. The Block 16 Food Hall is where we had dinner one night and there were so many fun, quick, and delicious restaurants there. The casino had a really nice feel to it and for a while I was up on the slot machines (of course as gambling goes you keep going and eventually loose it 🤪) We had a lot of fun playing on the roulette machines as well. The ambiance is much different that many of the other casinos too- its modern and feels new and vibrant. In the middle is a 3 story chandelier which in the middle of is a bar. See the next two bullets for more Cosmopolitan Hotel/Casino highlights.
The Cosmopolitan Block 16 Food Hall- This was a unique spot in that many of the hotels have a food hall or court but this one features urban street foods. Tacos, sliders, Mexican food, flatbreads, Hattie B's, etc. These restaurants are all walk up style with some stools outside of each location to sit and eat at. Seating is limited but. There is also a really fun hidden bar/restaurant in the back. If you want to drink tequila or mezcal then this is the spot for you... Ghost Donkey. All the way in the back, once you go through the food hall is a green door with a donkey on it. Here you will find the Ghost Donkey. So unique that its hidden.
The Barbershop- This stop was probably one of our top favorites from the trip. This is another hidden location. A true speakeasy. When you enter the Cosmopolitan off of the strip you will walk past what appears to be just a functioning barber shop. But there is much more than the eye leads on through the janitors closet. A fun prohibition style bar featuring mostly an array of whisky complete with live music is tucked away and ready for a truly unique and exciting experience. The cocktails were delicious too!
Valley of Fire State Park- And on our way out of town we stopped at Valley of Fire State Park. There is a $15 entrance fee but it was stunning. If you are in Vegas and want to get out of the city for a change of pace or are leaving Vegas to head to Utah or Arizona as we did, this is a fun stop on the way. It is only about 45 minutes outside of the city. There are several rock formations, trails, and view that are featured. We stopped and did an easy 1.5 mile roundtrip trail to the Fire Wave Rock and stopped on Mouse Tank road for an iconic photo session but there are so many other fun stops and shorter, trails throughout the park. You could spend a few hours or so like we did or spend an entire day there. It is HOT and the sun is STRONG so make sure you bring lots of water and apply your sunscreen! 😀
Phew! So much packed into 3 days but we had the absolute best time! It was so fun to be a little wild and crazy and let loose a little. I was honestly expecting to be a one and done Vegas goer (Keith too) but we loved it and will definitely be back! There is so much that can be expensive but after going and letting loose once we learned it doesn't have to be crazy expensive. You can eat and drink for decently affordable prices you just have to avoid the tourist traps and know where to look. All in all I rate our trip a 4/5 stars and probably would have been 5 full stars had we not gotten sick along the way and been slowed down and slightly miserable by whatever bummer cold we had during the end of our time there. Vegas, we will definitely be back!
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