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What Should I Do in Las Vegas?

by on August 8, 2011 · 105 comments

in Trip Reports

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I’m currently on a Delta flight in first class (thanks to my Diamond Medallion upgrade clearing 6 days in advance) and will be landing in Vegas in about an hour. And not surprisingly, I haven’t done much planning on what to do. I haven’t been to Vegas since a quick mileage run last December, when Expedia.ca was giving away trips for free! Too bad my blog had a fraction of the readership then, because I imagine many of you would have gotten in on that amazing deal.

Anyway, for my trip I’m meeting up with my friends who live in Spain and several are going to Vegas for the first time, so I want to go to a couple good meals and show them a good time.

I’m staying at the Palazzo, because it’s a new member of Intercontinental Hotels and I’m very curious to see how I’m treated as a Royal Ambassador. I’ve heard through the grapevine that the free mini-bar includes bottles of Moet and Grey Goose. As much as I want to try some of the newer Vegas hotels like the Mandarin Oriental and Cosmopolitan, the Palazzo had me at a possible upgrade, lounge access and free top-shelf booze.

I fully understand it’s going to be unbearably hot and I’ve had a good amount of pool time this summer, so I’m open for ideas of things to do during the day as well. You all know I like good food too, so pile on the recommendations!

I also enjoy playing Texas Hold ‘Em- what’s the best hotel for that?

Sorry for being such a procrastinator, but life’s been busy! What are the best places/restaurants/clubs/random things to do in Vegas on a Monday evening/Tuesday/Wednesday in August?

Expect a full report when I’m done (though follow me on Twitter for live updates), though some things may have to stay in Vegas.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan Pinette August 9, 2011 at 12:35 am

You must take the short walk over The Venetian and eat at Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante. Unbelievably decadent.

Medspirit August 9, 2011 at 12:37 am

Definitely see a Cirque du Soleil show. Preferably the water themed ones. Ô is showing at the Bellagio, not sure La Rêve is still showing at the Wynn resort.

nata August 9, 2011 at 12:37 am

That sounds incredible, but I’m about to take Delta flight to Vegas in an hour (though mine is from the West Coast). That’s not my first time there and I’ll be living in Imperial Palace, but I’m also bringing a friend from Europe and have exactly the same question as yours :) I’ll read all the comments upon my landing and will be thankful for any recommendation.

Cory August 9, 2011 at 12:38 am

I did the expedia.ca mileage run to Vegas last year. It was fabulous, though sadly I had a very, very tight schedule so my trip wasn’t free or in the $10 range that several people got. Still, $120 for R/T flight and hotel was pretty damn good all the same.

You’re about a month too early for what I prefer to do in Vegas. I’m not a club guy and don’t even drink, but I love sitting in the sports book watching and betting football games. I suppose baseball would work for my purposes, but you have to be a fan for that. I also like going toward Fremont Street to get a totally different Vegas experience from what the more upscale strip can provide.

Mrcandoit August 9, 2011 at 12:47 am

If you really have a couple of shekels to spend, dinner at Joel Robuchon in MGM is a life altering experience…. It may cheesy but I loved the Penn and Teller show at the Rio (Lots of half price tickets out there)… and lord knows it is not cheap but you could do a lot worse than to eat at Rao’s in Caesars since you probably will never get to the one in Harlem. For what it is worth, I think the best buffet (oxymoron?) is at the Mirage. Not cheap but uniformly excellent (Lunch there is best). Have fun!!!!!

Josephmay August 9, 2011 at 12:47 am

Im out in vegas 4x a year for the past 30 years so here goes:
Poker: Venetian Poker Room is pretty good for the casual play.(very comfortable seats). Wynn is also good. Bellagio and Aria are the new professional Hangouts g there if you want to see some big name pros.. Mgm Grand game is usually pretty soft.
Dining – Bouchon (a thomas keller restaurant) in the Venezia tower of the adjoining Venitian has a great breakfast and good for all other meals. (ask for Lomberto as your waiter if he is working.)
Favorite Restaurants: Okada in the Wynn (unbelievable Japanese)
Michael Mina in the Bellagio has a pretheratre prix fix that is unbelievable.
also in the Bellagio is yellow tail (japanese-), Jasmine Chinese but unlike any chinese you have in NYC
and very expensive but great is Sensei. Also petrossian in the bellagio is good for a cocktail and caviar (say hi to Amy – The best server in Vegas)
Shows: must sees: love (Mirage) jersey Boys (Palazzo -same show as in NYC )
very good any of the cirque de soliels except for viva elvis and zumanity
also worth seeing: Carrot top in the luxor (don’t laugh at the tip he is hysterical)
odd but cool things to do: Neon Museum a bone yard and recycling center for all of vegas historical neon.
Pinball hall of fame; grab ssome quarters and play vintage pinball machines from the 30s -70s
all parking is free in vegas so if you want rent a car

infamousdx August 9, 2011 at 12:49 am

Lavo, conveniently located inside Palazzo, is pretty good for some good people watching and a few [overpriced] drinks.

Anonymous August 9, 2011 at 12:49 am

I LOVE the tacos at Tacos and Tequila inside the Luxor. Get the alambre tacos. The red salsa is probably by far the best I’ve tasted (and living in Southern California, that’s saying a lot).

Also, check out the Shark Reef aquarium in Mandalay Bay, unless you’re completely not the type to go to aquariums. But it is the largest predator-based aquarium in North America.

Seinfeld may be headlining at Cesars, though that may be this weekend. I can’t recall.

A tip from a friend of mine is to eat at Max Brenner’s, in Cesars.

Also, if you’re in the mood for BBQ, head to Ellis Island which is off the strip near the Westin. I’ve never eaten it, but there is always a long wait so it must be good!

Patti August 9, 2011 at 12:59 am

I can share a full round-up from one of our Tango Diva writers Janice who went in the heat of last summer
http://tinyurl.com/Lux-VegasSizzles-Part-1 Hard Rock
http://tinyurl.com/Lux-VegasSizzles-Part-2 Dining and Strip House
http://tinyurl.com/Lux-VegasSizzles-Part-3 Indoor sky-diving and Flirting

Patti August 9, 2011 at 12:59 am

I can share a full round-up from one of our Tango Diva writers Janice who went in the heat of last summer
http://tinyurl.com/Lux-VegasSizzles-Part-1 Hard Rock
http://tinyurl.com/Lux-VegasSizzles-Part-2 Dining and Strip House
http://tinyurl.com/Lux-VegasSizzles-Part-3 Indoor sky-diving and Flirting

Emmylou Trombley August 9, 2011 at 1:00 am

Go and see the show Absinthe at Caesars Palace. A great carnival-like atmosphere with some incredible stunts and a little burlesque mixed in. Much more intimate that the Cirque shows. Make sure to get there early so you can score one of the ‘suicide’ seats. There is an act performed on roller skates that is incredible.

Emmylou Trombley August 9, 2011 at 1:00 am

Go and see the show Absinthe at Caesars Palace. A great carnival-like atmosphere with some incredible stunts and a little burlesque mixed in. Much more intimate that the Cirque shows. Make sure to get there early so you can score one of the ‘suicide’ seats. There is an act performed on roller skates that is incredible.

jason August 9, 2011 at 1:00 am

It’s probably not classic Vegas but riding the NY/NY roller coaster at night was really awesome. You essentially ride down part of the strip at high speed. With all of the lights etc, it was a highlight of my recent trip. Again with the tips that not everyone else is going to give you, we loved Recycled Percussion but it might be dark right now. Inexpensive, intimate and very entertaining.

jason August 9, 2011 at 1:00 am

It’s probably not classic Vegas but riding the NY/NY roller coaster at night was really awesome. You essentially ride down part of the strip at high speed. With all of the lights etc, it was a highlight of my recent trip. Again with the tips that not everyone else is going to give you, we loved Recycled Percussion but it might be dark right now. Inexpensive, intimate and very entertaining.

Nick E August 9, 2011 at 1:00 am

Used to live in Vegas, so here are my favorite haunts:

-Burger Bar in the shops at Mandalay Bay: incredible beer selection plus burgers any way you can imagine…what more can a person ask for?
-Mon Ami Gabi is my absolute favorite restaurant in the city. It’s right on the strip (in the Paris) and has the vibe of a Parisian bistro but is stunningly inexpensive. Be sure to try the baked cheese and tomato appetizer and one of the steaks with frites for dinner. I loved the Eiffel Tower restaurant as well, but it is VERY expensive.
-Even though you aren’t staying there, go to the Cosmopolitan. The crystal bar in the center is great, and the Buffett is hands-down the best in Vegas (though the champagne brunch at the Bellagio is a close second).

I’ll probably think of more, but those are MUSTS whenever I get back to visit.

Have a blast!!!
-

Nick E August 9, 2011 at 1:00 am

Used to live in Vegas, so here are my favorite haunts:

-Burger Bar in the shops at Mandalay Bay: incredible beer selection plus burgers any way you can imagine…what more can a person ask for?
-Mon Ami Gabi is my absolute favorite restaurant in the city. It’s right on the strip (in the Paris) and has the vibe of a Parisian bistro but is stunningly inexpensive. Be sure to try the baked cheese and tomato appetizer and one of the steaks with frites for dinner. I loved the Eiffel Tower restaurant as well, but it is VERY expensive.
-Even though you aren’t staying there, go to the Cosmopolitan. The crystal bar in the center is great, and the Buffett is hands-down the best in Vegas (though the champagne brunch at the Bellagio is a close second).

I’ll probably think of more, but those are MUSTS whenever I get back to visit.

Have a blast!!!
-

Steven Kekich August 9, 2011 at 1:02 am

I was in Vegas around the 4th of July and had a great time. We saw La Reve at the Wynn and it was a great show with amazing arcobatics and good music. I prefer the music at a Cirque du Soliel show but that is just me. We stayed at the Palazzo as well and while I had to pay for my upgrade it was well worth it (46th floor overlooking the strip and 1,000 sq ft of room) so I am sure you will love it. The Palazzo has a poker room that is pretty solid but I have never played there (I head to the Mirage because that is where I grew up playing). For restaurants you have to check out MIX on the 64th floor of The Hotel. MIX is Michelin rated and our dinner there was amazing. We each had the tasting menu with the wine pairing and while it was quite expensive it was one of the best meals I have ever had. The pool at the Palazzo is pretty solid and if you get bored and want to be surrounded by the pretty people head over to Tao Beach at the Venetian. Enjoy and have fun!!!

Steven Kekich August 9, 2011 at 1:02 am

I was in Vegas around the 4th of July and had a great time. We saw La Reve at the Wynn and it was a great show with amazing arcobatics and good music. I prefer the music at a Cirque du Soliel show but that is just me. We stayed at the Palazzo as well and while I had to pay for my upgrade it was well worth it (46th floor overlooking the strip and 1,000 sq ft of room) so I am sure you will love it. The Palazzo has a poker room that is pretty solid but I have never played there (I head to the Mirage because that is where I grew up playing). For restaurants you have to check out MIX on the 64th floor of The Hotel. MIX is Michelin rated and our dinner there was amazing. We each had the tasting menu with the wine pairing and while it was quite expensive it was one of the best meals I have ever had. The pool at the Palazzo is pretty solid and if you get bored and want to be surrounded by the pretty people head over to Tao Beach at the Venetian. Enjoy and have fun!!!

Hahahahaha August 9, 2011 at 1:03 am

Venetian poker room. Best dealers , cute waitresses and free Fiji water

Hahahahaha August 9, 2011 at 1:03 am

Venetian poker room. Best dealers , cute waitresses and free Fiji water

Steven Kekich August 9, 2011 at 1:03 am

If you go to Lavo late night be sure to get a meatball!

Steven Kekich August 9, 2011 at 1:03 am

If you go to Lavo late night be sure to get a meatball!

Nick E August 9, 2011 at 1:05 am

Agree 100%! The Cirque shows are amazing (but be forewarned that Le Reve is an imitation of O…having seen both, I can confirm that O is much better). However, my favorite is Ka at the MGM. Mystere is probably the easiest to get tickets to and is still awesome. Humanity is the “adult” one and is quite amusing (though you do lose some of the acrobatics that I personally love about Cirque shows).

Nick E August 9, 2011 at 1:10 am

Sorry, forgot to put my recommendations for the day: if you have a car, take the drive out west to Red Rock Canyon or northwest to Mt. Charleston (or do both!). Some beautiful hiking, though at this time of year, it’s probably better enjoyed from an air conditioned car! I was always amazed at how you can find the wilderness so close to the strip.

Rambiboi August 9, 2011 at 1:14 am

Best hotel for poker is the Bellagio! Caesar’s is pretty good too. Let me know if you win!

Carpoints August 9, 2011 at 1:19 am

Grab a 190 octane daiquiri with an extra shot at Fat Tuesday’s and everything else will be even better. Located at each of the following shopping malls. Caesars, MandalayBay, Miracle Mile (PH)

jaba August 9, 2011 at 1:20 am

To add on to the Mon Ami Gabi rec, ask for a table outside (they don’t take reservations for these tables). You’ll have the beautiful Bellagio fountains as your entertainment as you enjoy a great dinner.

Jaclyn Landon August 9, 2011 at 1:22 am

If you don’t mind spending a little $$$, try the chef’s tasting at Rick Moonan’s restaurant, RM Seafood (in Mandalay Bay). One of the best meals of my life!

DMckenzie02 August 9, 2011 at 1:28 am

Enjoy a “Cirque” kind of evening…dinner at Le Cirque in the Bellagio (Food is terrific and service impeccable) and then as others have mentioned, catch a Cirque show if you can…pretty impressive what some of those folks can do.

Rcworl August 9, 2011 at 1:29 am

I second Bouchon in the Venetian!

bluto August 9, 2011 at 1:31 am

I agree. The Venetian/Palazzo’s poker room is the best on the strip. It is one of the largest, not cramped, decent number of fish, free Fiji and it’s in a good spot in the hotel. The scenery isn’t bad either. My second choice would be the Bellagio.

bluto August 9, 2011 at 1:31 am

I agree. The Venetian/Palazzo’s poker room is the best on the strip. It is one of the largest, not cramped, decent number of fish, free Fiji and it’s in a good spot in the hotel. The scenery isn’t bad either. My second choice would be the Bellagio.

James R Yoder August 9, 2011 at 1:31 am

Go see Viva Elvis! I live in Vegas, and I’ve seen it twice.

James R Yoder August 9, 2011 at 1:31 am

Go see Viva Elvis! I live in Vegas, and I’ve seen it twice.

James R Yoder August 9, 2011 at 1:31 am

Go see Viva Elvis! I live in Vegas, and I’ve seen it twice.

bluto August 9, 2011 at 1:31 am

I agree. The Venetian/Palazzo’s poker room is the best on the strip. It is one of the largest, not cramped, decent number of fish, free Fiji and it’s in a good spot in the hotel. The scenery isn’t bad either. My second choice would be the Bellagio.

studio253 August 9, 2011 at 1:32 am

The Royal Ambassador check in is off to the right in a separate room. It’s different from the priority club check in to the left. It’s also treated as the RA club lounge. I was treated very well there a couple weeks ago. Morels French Steakhouse in the lobby has excellent breakfast. The steak and eggs and the crab oscar benedict were out of this world. The coffee is french press.

Rao’s restaurant in Caesars has excellent Italian and mimics the NYC 10 seat location.

studio253 August 9, 2011 at 1:32 am

The Royal Ambassador check in is off to the right in a separate room. It’s different from the priority club check in to the left. It’s also treated as the RA club lounge. I was treated very well there a couple weeks ago. Morels French Steakhouse in the lobby has excellent breakfast. The steak and eggs and the crab oscar benedict were out of this world. The coffee is french press.

Rao’s restaurant in Caesars has excellent Italian and mimics the NYC 10 seat location.

Mike August 9, 2011 at 1:37 am

Go to Lotus of Siam for quite possibly the best Thai food in America — and quite reasonably priced.

Anonymous August 9, 2011 at 1:45 am

Drive to Death Valley – unbelievable and you will know you did at one of the hottest times of the year! I was involved in a race there last July and there were a lot of Asian tourists that were coming through, so apparently it is something that tourists enjoy! Have fun!

JohnT August 9, 2011 at 1:48 am

Definitely must take a walk down the strip at night to get the full “porn slapper” experience! :-)

Crispin Van Buer August 9, 2011 at 1:56 am

Lotus of Siam is indeed incredible – don’t be put off by its odd location in a slightly shady off-strip strip mall.

Scott August 9, 2011 at 2:00 am

When my wife and I stayed at the Palazzo in April 2009 we bought the lowest price tickets available for Jersey Boys and Phantom. When we arrived at both shows we were upgraded to very good orchestra seats for free.

Nik August 9, 2011 at 2:08 am

Raku is at the top of my vegas restaurant list right now — fantastic japanese food, like nothing else I’ve had in the US. Homemade tofu. Good cold sake selection. Don’t be scared by the strip mall it’s in…
And I’ll second the rec for Burger Bar, although partially because I have a soft spot for Hubert Keller from the Fleur de Lys days in San Francisco.
Le Cirque is great, especially with a table by the windows overlooking the Belaggio fountain, but I probably wouldn’t go there if I lived in NY. And the last couple of times I’ve been, the food has been better at Bouchon *bakery* than at the restaurant.
Parasol Down at the Wynn is worth a stop in the evening to watch the light show on the pond, but be wary of ordering anything more complicated than [alcohol of choice] on the rocks.

And ask the staff at the Venetian for the back of the house tour. There’s some fascinating stuff down there in the miles of underground facilities.

Have a great trip!

Jasher August 9, 2011 at 2:09 am

I was just there this weekend. We ate at China Poblano (Chinese and Mexican menu) in the Cosmopolitan. Suggested by Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate.” As far as Cirque, go see “O” or “KA” since they are the most elaborate productions (personal opinion). I wanted to do this http://www.digthis.info/ but didn’t have time.

Josephmay August 9, 2011 at 2:11 am

to add on Mon Ami Gabi is very good. Jaleo in the cosmopolitan for tapa’s, Henry in the cosmopolitan for burgers, Indoor skydiving is a possibility just north of the encore by the convention center. if you go downtown get the $1.99 shrimp at the gold coast casino (las vegas’s oldest) it is really good .
Steak in addition to prime at the bellagio try tom collichio’s craftsteak a the MGM. seafood RM, american fish at the Aria and Michael Mina’s at the bellagio.

Larry August 9, 2011 at 2:12 am

Get the kobe beef appetizer and edamame at Tao

Mommy Points August 9, 2011 at 2:15 am

Oh, I love Vegas! I agree with seeing a Cirque show. Love, Ka, and O would be my choices there. Don’t see Criss Angel even if someone offers to pay you to go. Burger Bar is good for a tasty burger. We love Craftsteak, Seablue, and Sage. The chef’s tasting menu at Sage was actually really reasonably priced and very yummy….especially with the wine or beer pairing. We enjoyed the pool Bare at the Mirage. Playing big hands at craps and slow playing video poker (for the drinks) are also two big favorites at my house. I have not been myself, but the Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay is supposed to have great views and be a pretty chill place to hangout. Now I officially have Vegas-itis. Thanks.

cbkcc1 August 9, 2011 at 2:21 am

g/f recommends mesa grille for dinner and margaritaville for nachos and a unique perspective on the strip (she lived there for 4 years)
i say check out the wine bar at M, if you have a car, to see the strip at night, i grew up with that view living about a mile away from where the M is now. and go to one of the pool parties (rehab at the hard rock if you can get in, lots of dough for a day bed/cabana, long lines otherwise) or encore beach club at the wynn, newly opened.

Federico August 9, 2011 at 2:28 am

1. For $20/50 you may get a “complimentary” upgrade at the Palazzo, just do the sandwich ($ between CC and DL)

2. You must see LE RÊVE at the Wynn or “O”

3. If you have time, rent a car and drive from LAS to Grand Canyon (if you have never been there, you have to go)

4. LAS, lot to do!!!

Dan August 9, 2011 at 2:31 am

Drive to Red Rocks one day and Hoover Dam the next. Both are awesome places.

The Bellagio has one of the nicest lobbies in town.

Like Thai food. Since you’re an airline geek, remember these letter LOS. That’s Lotus of Siam. You’re welcome.

Sit on the right side of the plane when you depart. You’ll get incredible views of the strip, especially at night.

Afkabp August 9, 2011 at 2:36 am

If go downtown head over to Main Street Station and see the slabs of the Berlin Wall in the Men’s Room. They have attached the urinals to them.

The view from Stratosphere at night is amazing.

As for shows I like The Beatles Love and Defending The Caveman.

Danny August 9, 2011 at 2:41 am

Bouchon was fine but I’d recommend (if you’ve never been) that you go to Spago for the smoked salmon pizza – I’d go back just for that.

Davidfleming August 9, 2011 at 2:43 am

joes stone crab for lunch or dinner…(it’s at the forum shops at caesars.) order the stone crab and the hash browns..yes, hash browns are not what you are used to. unreal!

Cindy August 9, 2011 at 2:44 am

Just landed in Vegas a few hours ago, and just had dinner at Border in Mandalay Bay – very good ceviche! The watermelon mojito was… unexpected. Good, but the flavors were not what I was expecting.

Harsh August 9, 2011 at 2:44 am

I think XS night club at Wynn is the best. It started last new year’s eve and is a very happening club in Vegas.

Guest August 9, 2011 at 2:54 am

Eat at Mon Ami Gabi for breakfast everyday. It is better than any buffet.

Brennan August 9, 2011 at 2:58 am

I highly recommend the “Cut of the Week” menu at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel. $48 gets you a three-course prix fixe paired with “bottomless” glasses of wine. Last week’s “Cut of the Week” was filet mignon, which was also the cut when I went there for my bachelor party. It was about a 6 oz. piece of filet, perfectly cooked, and they kept the wine coming the whole time we were there.

Off strip, I’ve been to two other great restaurants that are also affordable: Raku (Japanese charcoal grill) and Lotus of Siam (northern Thai cuisine). Both require a short taxi ride, but both are worth it!

Finally, I’ll agree with the recommendation of the poker room at the Venetian. It is a very nice, large room. If you’re looking for a room with more energy (i.e., lots of loose drunks and a location in the middle of the casino), check out the MGM Grand.

Brennan August 9, 2011 at 2:58 am

I highly recommend the “Cut of the Week” menu at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel. $48 gets you a three-course prix fixe paired with “bottomless” glasses of wine. Last week’s “Cut of the Week” was filet mignon, which was also the cut when I went there for my bachelor party. It was about a 6 oz. piece of filet, perfectly cooked, and they kept the wine coming the whole time we were there.

Off strip, I’ve been to two other great restaurants that are also affordable: Raku (Japanese charcoal grill) and Lotus of Siam (northern Thai cuisine). Both require a short taxi ride, but both are worth it!

Finally, I’ll agree with the recommendation of the poker room at the Venetian. It is a very nice, large room. If you’re looking for a room with more energy (i.e., lots of loose drunks and a location in the middle of the casino), check out the MGM Grand.

Brennan August 9, 2011 at 3:04 am

Sorry, forgot to mention the White Chocolate & Orange Bread French Toast at Tableau (at the Wynn) for breakfast!

Brennan August 9, 2011 at 3:04 am

Sorry, forgot to mention the White Chocolate & Orange Bread French Toast at Tableau (at the Wynn) for breakfast!

Anonymous August 9, 2011 at 3:21 am

not that you need more advice but:
1) Best Ocean’s Eleven style piano lounge: Petrossian / Bellagio. The Casino Hosts hang out at the bar and you can get great tips from them.
2) Steakhouse Vegas Style: N9NE Steakhouse / Palms – very, very good.
3) Rooftop Bar/old skool tunes: Rio VooDoo Rooftop
4) Best Vegas Impersonator Show: Imperial Palace (I kid you not – it’s old skool big time and lots of fun)
5) Best Asian fare: Jasmine/Bellagio (2nd the person below – it’s like no meal you’ve ever eaten and you can see the fountains!)
6) Best Carpaccio: Olives/Bellagio
7) Best Italian: tie – Rao/Caesar’s and B&B/Venetian
8) Best Show outside NYC: Jersey Boys – hey it’s a fun, fun time you know that!
9) Best Clubbing: Tao/Venetian (great DJ) or The Bank (Bellagio)
10) Best evening out: whatever your friends want to do just do it !

Have fun and report back often!

Lisa A. August 9, 2011 at 3:51 am

Downtown is a whole lot of fun and a whole different world from the Strip. Really fun, old skool, tacky and classic. Take an evening and go down thereThere is also a very cool old-fashioned cocktail lounge scene with a bunch of great bars all within walking distance of each other and Freemont Street. Such as Downtown Cocktail Room, The Griffin, and the Vanguard Lounge.

You also must, must go drink Tiki drinks by the fire pits in the bar at the Peppermill Fireside Lounge: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-peppermill-restaurant-and-fireside-lounge-las-vegas . I’ve not eaten there before, but supposedly the (24 hour) restaurant side is drunken diner food at its best. I’m sure others can comment.

MLB87 August 9, 2011 at 4:14 am

go to bobby flay’s restaurant mesa grill at caesar’s! delish!

Anonymous August 9, 2011 at 4:19 am

Eat: Lotus of Siam, Firefly, Rosemary’s, Hash House A Go Go
View: Mix at Mandalay
Fly: Helicopter to Grand Canyon
Hike: Red Rock Canyon

Anonymous August 9, 2011 at 4:20 am

Absinthe is a must! I can’t wait to see it again.

Doug August 9, 2011 at 4:28 am

You obviously have no shortage of advice, so here is more:

Football season is upon us! Get in some bets now and enjoy later. You can mail in your winning tickets. Even if you aren’t a fan it makes a game much more interesting.

My guess is that regardless of your intercontinental status, you will be treated like a king if you gamble big (especially on slots), and you will be given their usual level of excellent service if you don’t. If you are with people who have never been to vegas before, you won’t have much of a choice but to see the usual sights.

But here are some suggestions anyway from a very seasoned visitor who usually lives pretty low on the hog:

Bellagio Buffet, best deal is lunch

Cosmopolitan is unlike most other casino hotels and the 4th floor is especially interesting

Stay away from the poker rooms at the Wynn, Bellagio, Mirage, Orleans, unless you are very good or don’t mind losing. You will find lighter competition at the other hotels.

There is (or was until recently) a fantastic sign-up deal at the Tropicana slot club. If you spend $100 you get $50 in promo slot play credited back to you the same day, and another $50 on your next visit. Sign up, play video poker for $5/hand, and quit when you hit quads or better. If you don’t, get your $50 and play through conservatively.

Try the dim sum at Chang’s on Decatur Blvd

Spend an evening at the El Cortez for cheap gambling and a rowdy atmosphere. The restaurant there is one of the best deals in town, although not the best food anywhere, but you can get a coupon at restaurant.com.

For other ideas check out http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com, a great resource.

Doug August 9, 2011 at 4:30 am

p.s. if you are all males and a few beautiful women approach you unsolicited and want to hang out , there is a good chance they are professionals.

Doug August 9, 2011 at 4:45 am

also in the unlikely event you have a few hours to yourself, spend the $25 cover charge (maybe waived with your status?) and sit in the spa for a steam or sauna. Even if you don’t get a treatment, it’s an inexpensive and decadent experience that Vegas does better than pretty much anywhere. A few of the men’s spas have TVs (don’t know about the palazzo) so you can bet on a game and then sit in the jacuzzi and watch. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Hector Olguin August 9, 2011 at 5:04 am

For a break from the Vegas norm, check out the Las Vegas LDS Temple. Beautiful and peaceful.
827 Temple View Drive
Las Vegas, Nevada

Doug August 9, 2011 at 5:06 am

Rosemary’s apparently closed its doors a few weeks ago.

Brian(J) August 9, 2011 at 5:25 am

Brian
Having been quite a few times to LV, I now rent a car. It’s quite easy to park at casinos and hotels and it may be a lot less expensive and much more convenient than walking and taxis. Also allows for diving out to Red Rock for a short hike or two which will add a different flavor to your trip.

Anonymous August 9, 2011 at 5:32 am

I love free parking it Vegas it really does make you want to get out and explore and move around.

Flyer August 9, 2011 at 5:42 am

Go see Jubilee at the Bally’s. It features nearly 100 performers. The headdresses and sets are amazing. No show now-a-days is so extravagant. Classic Las Vegas Show Girls in bird plum headdresses. A step back in history. Then take the tour of the back stage the next day for (it was $15 for me a couple of years ago). I love theater. I see many Broadway shows, but this is in a class all by itself. The only thing I can compare it to is Radio City Christmas Spectacular in terms of scale.

Russlorfing August 9, 2011 at 5:43 am

Well, mine makes the third vote for Lotus of Siam. Definitely a nice little spot for incredible Thai.

David W August 9, 2011 at 5:46 am

Things to do
1) Ka at the MGM
2) Sky Jump at the Stratosphere – Seriously some of scariest best fun I’ve ever had (just google the videos). The best part is you actually have to jump, they won’t push you.
3) Sign up for the Venetian Players Club – I don’t gamble that much, but they send me consistently good offers.

Things to eat
4) Walk over to Venetian for Bouchon (actually in the Venezia tower) for breakfast. Bouchon is my go-to place for breakfast, but I don’t recommend the dinner service.
5) Lotus of Siam – the best thai I’ve had in US. I’ve considered going to Vegas just for tom kah kai soup.
6) Rosemary’s – Despite not having the big names found on the strip restraints, it has some of the best high end food in Vegas. It is far from the strip.
7) In-n-Out burger

Victoria Plum August 9, 2011 at 6:28 am

Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris Hotel has a great seasonal menu. Caesars Qua Baths and Spa is the best I’ve been to, anywhere. They have massage specials Mon-Friday, ask for Manuela, she is amazing, and check out their snow room! Plan to spend 3+ hours there, it is heaven.

AAP August 9, 2011 at 6:32 am

Yes, I agree with everyone here that Lotus of Siam is great. Another hidden gem is a tapas restaurant called Firefly on Paradise Road http://www.yelp.com/biz/firefly-las-vegas-3 – their gourmet mac n’ cheese is incredible.

As far as the upscale strip restaurant go, we personally love Bartolotta Ristorante at the Wynn.

Rob Perelman August 9, 2011 at 9:52 am

Rosemary’s has unfortunately shut down. :(

Rob Perelman August 9, 2011 at 9:59 am

Meant to comment sooner but had a crazy travel day.

Agree that Firefly is a great hidden gem, but I feel like a ton of tourists know about that already. Jaleo at Cosmopolitan is good, too, but I think Firefly is better and cheaper.

Rosemary’s was a good suggestion, but they shut down.

I’m surprised only one person recommended Wicked Spoon, the buffet at the Cosmopolitan. It’s amazing. It’s like a 5 star dining experience disguised as a buffet.

I’d also recommend taking a trip to Slidin’ Thru, the 24 hour version of one of the nation’s top food trucks. Or hitting up Fukuburger is acceptable as well.

For sushi, Sushi Samba at Palazzo is amazing, especially when you have their omasake menu. Also, you could take a drive off the strip and go to Sen of Japan or the recently opened Sushi House Goyemon.

Poker-wise, the Epic Poker League main event begins tomorrow at the Palms, which also happens to be my second favorite casino (to Cosmopolitan) as it’s high energy but caters to locals as well. Definitely worth stopping by to see some big poker names. Their poker room isn’t super active, but it could be a good time while Epic is happening.

Outside of that I’m not sure what’s happening in Vegas this week as I’m in and out of town pretty quickly. Enjoy your trip!

Joanna August 9, 2011 at 10:00 am

Splurge and eat at Joel Robuchon. I believe it is a Michelin 3 star and it is amazing!

gregory August 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm

For sushi, hit up the Social House. Since you’re already at the Palazzo, walk over to the Venetian and try the Boudin Blanc or the Steak Frites. Enjoy! I love it out there!

Brian R August 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Completely agree with comments below.

Few other thoughts:
* Don’t miss the view and drinks at the Mandarin bar, particularly at sunset.
* B&B at Palazzo is basically Babbo West, with an outstanding tasting menu.
* A ton of “environmental” art for free walking entertainment — especially Bellagio flower garden, Aria/Crystals/City Center.
* Lakeside show at the Wynn, starts at 7pm and runs (different show) every 30min is an amazing, abstract visual. Great spot for a pre/post-dinner drink.
* Country Club bar at Wynn is an oasis, great for brunch — no slot machine noise, clubby, wood-paneled look-and-feel, good food, friendly bartenders, and a view of the gorgeous 18th green of super-exclusive Wynn golf course.

Enjoy!

JDB August 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Give indoor skydiving a try! All the fun, none of the risk! It’s an awesome time, and given how much you like to be up in the air, this will certainly be a fun experience

http://www.vegasindoorskydiving.com/

ErinPW August 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm

cosign

Anonymous August 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Eat at Picasso at the Bellagio…it overlooks the fountains…PHENOMENAL!

FrugalRon August 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Ellis Island is a good block behind Bally’s and worth the trip/walk if you love Micro-brews. Heard the BBQ and pizzas are the best! Go off strip, meet some locals and enjoy the Brew! I don’t recommend the dining room though.

FrugalRon August 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Hash House A-Go-Go at Imperial Palace – Go for breakfast/brunch and expect a wait. Smoked salmon bene is awesome! Also check in with smartphone (4 Square, FB…) for coupons/discounts.

FrugalRon August 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Burger Bar (Mirage) does have an excellent menu & adult shakes. They also offer good salmon patty or falafel burger for your pescatarian or veggie or friends.

FrugalRon August 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm

My other half swears by the Palazzo spa & pool – best deal for the cost (if you have to pay.)

FrugalRon August 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Restaurant.com has many coupons/discounts for dining in/around Vegas. Last I checked, there were many for Mandalay property restaurants. You can usually get $25 for $2 (w/discount code) and read fine print, for most you’ll have to purchase more than what the coupon is for ($25/$2 may have to spend $50) but still a great deal. Discounts are usually active 24hrs after purchase.

Supon August 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Be sure to visit great spa “QUA” in Ceasars Palace. You will LOVE it!

Jerry R August 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Call ahead to Carnevino (in the Palazzo) and see if you can get a reserva (aged over 120 days) steak. its not cheap but one of the best pieces of meat you’ll ever have. If you don’t think so, let me know and ill pay for it

J. Keith Van Straaten August 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm

The pinball museum is the best cheap thrill in town.

chrislacey August 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I never knew that existed! I’m headed back to LAS for my birthday in October (for 12 hours) and will definitely give that a try!

Athan August 9, 2011 at 8:56 pm

@TPG – shoot me an email with any poker questions – used to play out there full time. i think everyone has the rest covered pretty dang well (including the poker recos).

Michael August 9, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I really recommend Bouchon for lunch

And it is an architectural marvel to go to Hoover Dam and walk over the new suspension bridge. Totally worth it.

guest August 9, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Should have AMEX FHRd it at encore and score upgrade to a $700+/nt suite from a $200 room. Encore beach club is where you want to go.

Jen August 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm

You must get off the strip to enjoy some of Vegas’s best eats. For down home cooking and hospitality go to M&M’s on Charleston St. It’s not fancy but really great “soulfood” that will make you want to eat there for every meal. Go for lunch or dinner when they give free buttery corn cakes that melt in your mouth!

Tai August 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm

For the best of the best you should eat at http://www.hashhouseagogo.com/. There may be a wait (which is always a good sign) but you will not be disappointed with the food. They have received numerous awards and were featured on Diner, Drive-ins and Dives for their large portions and famous sage fried chicken and griddled meatloaf. This place is a foodies delight!

Marc August 9, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Since you live in NYC I’m sure you love a good hot dog and Pinks hot dog’s are the best around http://www.pinkslv.com/. Try one if you are near Planet Hollywood. It won’t beat the original in LA but it’s a great hot dog all around.

thesnoopster2 August 10, 2011 at 1:46 am

Friend of mine said Lotus of Siam was his best Thai experience in his travels so there is another vote. I’m going to Vegas in November myself so I love all this advice as well.

X712xdamx August 10, 2011 at 6:31 am

AGREED on The Venetian Poker room!! Best in Vegas in my opinion.

Andy August 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Can you explain this one? Is it a platinum code thing?

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