Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Honeymoon in my (Old) Hometown: Las Vegas

Mr. O and I both love, love, looooove to travel. Seeing new places is definitely one of our shared passions, and going on trips is the top priority for any spare leisure money we can pull together. We both love nothing more than a good international adventure, but we are not exactly rolling in dough, and flight prices are insaaaane. So what's an itchy-footed, broke couple with limited vacation days to do?


Master the art of the staycation, baby!

Although I haven't cracked open my passport in a few years now (sob), Mr. Octopus and I have taken some pretty fantastic trips within our national borders in the past few years, and I've often thought to myself, "man, this would make a FABULOUS honeymoon." So I figured, hey! I bet I'm not the only one who a.) loves traveling b.) wants to take a smashing honeymoon and c.) can't pay for an international flight.....so why not blog about some awesome within-USA vacays I've taken for everyone else's honeymooning benefit?


I figured I'd start with a really popular honeymoon destination, the place I called home for three years: fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada! Now, full disclosure: the Mr. and I never gambled (really loses its shine when you can do it in the gas station and the grocery store) and had no reason to stay in any hotels, so I'm no help there. But I do have a few areas where I can throw a few recommendations your way....



LOVE (the Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil show) is the best show in Las Vegas. I will hear no arguments on this. Tickets are expensive, but there are no bad seats, and it's seriously just mind-blowingly good. It's the only show I would (and did) pay full price for more than once.


Penn & Teller is another show I really loved. They do magic, but also tell (funny, politically-themed, not cheesy) jokes while they do it. Their thing is that they often show you HOW they do the tricks beforehand, but they're so good at magic that you still can't quite figure it out! (Or at least I couldn't.) Also, once I saw Penn in Whole Foods, and he is gigantic in person.



Hands down, QUA at Caesars Palace. It's huge, with super-beautiful, crazy-luxurious facilities. They have heated lounge chairs in the whirlpool room! I got a hot stone massage when I went, and they put tiny little heated pebbles in between each of your toes. I seriously walked out feeling like I had no bones.

Restaurants (or, Eating Until You Have to be Rolled Out in a Wheelbarrow)

Here's a strategy Mr. O and I figured out when we lived in Sin City: if you can't quite manage the prices of going out to dinner in a fancy restaurant, go to the same restaurant for brunch. You can often order the same entrees at a lower price, or at least get to sample the restaurant's delicious offerings in breakfast form. My favorite, favorite, favorite brunch place?


Thomas Keller's Bouchon, in the Venetian. Here's what I have to tell you: homemade beignets with Nutella and raspberry dipping sauces. You're welcome.


My favorite fancy place for dinner is a little off the beaten path; it's maybe a 10-minute cab ride from the Strip on the west side of town. It's called Rosemary's, and it is So. Good. I promise, you won't regret the trip, even though (like everything in Las Vegas that's not on the Strip) it is located in a crappy-looking strip mall.
Also, you can wave hello to my old chiropractor on your way!


For lower-budget-but-still-nice, I'd go for any of Wolfgang Puck's restaurants. He has approximately a million places (okay, actually, six: Spago, Chinois, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, CUT, Trattoria del Lupo, & Brasserie PUCK) in Vegas, and they're usually pretty manageably priced, while still offering really quality food and an attractive atmosphere.

(Sources: here and here.)

And for the best pizza you will ever eat, go to Settebello. It's off-Strip, in the District at Green Valley Ranch (a fancy shopping center). It is truly Italian-style margherita pizza, with the basil and the blobs of fresh mozzarella and the wood-fired oven, and I'm going to repeat again that it's the best pizza I've ever eaten in my life. I am beginning to lose hope that I will ever find anything that can match it on the East Coast.

Fun, Non-Touristy Bars

I'm not into clubbing at all, so while Vegas features some truly lavish nightclubs, I can't really suggest any. But Mr. O and I do have a few favorite bars that are less crowded, less touristy, and a lot of fun! (Note: they're all slightly off-Strip. If you don't have a car, you'd have to cab, but not far!)


My number-one super-favorite bar not just in Las Vegas, but basically anywhere: The Peppermill. The Peppermill experience includes the following things: mirrored walls, fake ivy hanging here and there, fire pits, fluorescent pink and purple lights along the ceiling, TVs stationed around playing crazy-random music videos, crushed velvet couches, giant serving-bowl sized mixed drinks with a bunch of straws so you can share, and waitresses in floor-length black halter gowns with elbow-length gloves. A. Mazing.


Firefly, just east of the Strip, near the Hard Rock Hotel. It's really chill and lounge-y with delicious sangria and a REALLY delicious, inexpensively priced tapas menu.


And right near Firefly is Hofbrauhaus, a German beer hall that has a live polka (I think?) band all night that encourages you to sing and dance rowdily. Polka dancing + huge pretzels + giant steins of beer = good times.


The Griffin, in downtown, aka "Old Las Vegas." The Griffin looks like the Great Hall of Hogwarts, including the fireplaces. It is AWESOME. And guess what? It's within walking distance of a bunch of OTHER really fun, offbeat bars, including Sidebar, Beauty Bar, and Downtown Cocktail Room. And guess what ELSE? The downtown/"old" Vegas area is my very favorite part of town, because it strikes a perfect balance of campy Rat Pack awesome with sliiiightly (maybe more than slightly) seedy and sketchy. LOVE. IT. You will love it too, swearsies.

So, I think I'll wrap up this novel of a blog post for now. What do you think? I'm totally open to suggestions on this topic. I could write more about Vegas, or I could write about some of our other best staycations! We've been to a bunch of places on the California coast, Arizona, Hawaii, a bunch of national parks, and the greatest vacation of my life: ALASKA! What would you like to hear about? Or if everybody else is headed to a glorious tropical international locale, I can wrap up the staycation posts with just this one!

Does anyone else have Las Vegas recommendations to offer?

1 comment:

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