May 14, 2015

My Vegas Review!

Let me start out by saying that Vegas was quite the experience, and well worth it! First off, they aren't kidding when they say it is the city that never sleeps. I don't think there was a night that I crawled (and I mean crawled) into bed before 3am. During the day the streets are pretty open, but as soon as night rolls around everyone is out to have a good time. Also, gambling is seriously the main focus of everything and anything there. There's even slot machines in the airport when you first arrive. Another surprise to me coming from a state where it's banned in public places, was that smoking is allowed anywhere, and nearly everyone smokes. Drinks are offered to anyone, and they are very accommodating with non-alcoholic versions to those of us who don't drink. The streets of the new strip are lined with clubs, casinos, hotels, and upscale retailers like Versage, Tiffany & Co, and Armani. The streets of the old strip are filled with performers, cheap gift shops, and even more casinos. Don't be shocked if someone approaches you to give money to their cause or charity, they aren't afraid to guilt you into donating money. Make sure you visit Container Park on the old strip. In all the hustle and bustle, it's a calm oasis. Made of recycled materials, the park includes local artisans, a play place for kids, and little cafes with healthy food options. When it comes to the weather, it isn't as nice as you would think it to be in the desert. Standing in the sun is overwhelmingly hot, and touching any shade is instantly cool. The heat doesn't spread out as much, so be prepared to have a light jacket handy at all times. It also doesn't help that each building you enter has the air conditioning blasting no matter what the weather is like outside. If you are looking for a pool party, most hotels offer pool entrance to non-hotel guests for free on a week day or for a fee between $10 and $50 on weekends. We spent a day at the Hard Rock Hotel's pool for free, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The pool area includes a sandy "beach", cabanas, lounge chairs and beds, palm trees and vegetation, a bar with food and drink, spa and massage options available, and a fantastic live DJ. I was told that you might be offered a free invite by local sponsors to immense pool parties, but never received any to our disappointment. In downtown Vegas on the LINQ is the world's largest "observation wheel", which is really just an oversized ferris wheel called the High Roller that reaches a height of 550 feet. It cost a bit to ride, but is well worth it when you reach the maximum height and enjoy a full view of Vegas. Also located on the LINQ, is a cupcake, ice cream, and cookie parlor called Sprinkles, which is home to the cupcake ATM. We also attended Frank Marino's DIVA'S drag show, and had a great time watching the celebrity impersonations and stand-up comedy. If you're looking for a concert, this year was the first year that the Rock In Rio music festival was held in Vegas. If the crowds were any indication of it's success, I'm sure it will be back again next May! There were two seperate weekends: one for rock and one for pop. We chose the rock weekend and had the chance to see over 30 bands in the span of 2 days, including some big names like Foster the People, No Doubt, Metallica, Rise Against and Lincoln Park. The venue includes 5 stages, food vendors for any type of food you could imagine, street performers, pop-up shops, a ferris wheel, and a zip line that goes directly over the crowd in front of the main stage. I was hesitant in spending $300 on a ticket, but it ended up being one of greatest times! Don't forget to take your picture in front of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada sign, but be prepared to encounter a creepy guy who thinks he's Elvis and will offer to take your pictures for tips. Take him up on the offer though, because he actually knows what he's doing! Well, there you have it. My review of all the good, the bad, the pretty, and the ugly of Las Vegas, Nevada! Tomorrow I leave for my second trip to Maryland, so stay tuned on my experiences there!


   The Rock In Rio rock music festival! 


The village of pop-up shops and food vendors in Rock in Rio.


 One of the 5 stages: The EDM music stage.

 Just before we zip lined over a crowd of people.


   The main stage at Rock in Rio.


 The Mercedes Benz stage with Foster the People.

 The old strip of Vegas.

  A view over Container Park.


   Sprinkles cupcakes, ice cream, and cookies shop with the famous Cupcake ATM.

  My choice at Sprinkles!

Riding the High Roller on the LINQ.


A view of 550 feet over Vegas.


Photo op in front of the Vegas sign! 


The Hard Rock Hotel pool, appropriately called Rehab.
Enjoying the sun on our last full day.

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