16 Things I Learned in Las Vegas

16 Things I Learned in VEGAS

A Room With A View: This was the view from my room at Bally’s. Not too shabby!

When I travel, I love to investigate a place for myself. Sure, I read up before I go, and I pay attention to the things I read. I talk to folks I know who have traveled there, and I listen to their advice. But I try to wait to form an opinion till after I’ve experienced a place for myself.  

Before I arrived in Las Vegas, I had heard conflicting reports. One acquaintance of mine really did NOT like it. She cited numerous criticisms, that, in hindsight, probably were more related to her disdain for the reason she was there. I have other friends who vacation there regularly, and they love it. So, I showed up with an open mind. I like to let a new place woo me on its own… to let it speak for itself. I knew I’d see things that were outside of *my* norm, but I’m always interested in new cultures, no matter where they are – be they in or outside the US.

In the interest of full disclosure, lest I paint myself as being TOO enlightened, or TOO open minded, my first reaction, upon seeing the Strip,  was:

“Vegas is a lot like Gatlinburg got drunk.
And then made a lot of poor choices.”

(Possibly an inside joke to anyone who has ever visited Gatlinburg, TN, or Niagara Falls or Ocean City, MD, for that matter.)

But ever one to swim against the tide of such commonly held wisdom as, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas”, I’m about to share with you my own personal takeaways from my trip there. What Happened in Vegas, in my case,  Is about to Go Forth Over the Internet, and become the

Sixteen Things I Learned in Las Vegas

1. Spring is a lovely time of year to visit Las Vegas. Awesome weather! Comfortable days, and cool evenings. I was there in April to attend the NMX/NAB Show, with 98,000 other people. No kidding. That many.

Bally's, the Paris Hotel, as seen from "Lake Como"

You can see the exterior of the hotel where I stayed, Bally’s, on the left in this shot, taken from across the street at the Bellagio.

 

 

2. Bally’s is a nice place to stay, even if the event you’ll be attending is relatively far away, in the Convention Center.

3. Once you’re all checked in to your hotel, the place where you might decide to go grab a bite to eat is likely to be soooo much farther away than you could conceive, even if you can see its big sign right from where you’re looking out your window. “Oh, it’s just down the street” is actually, almost literally, a mirage. So don’t start walking there in your cute little heeled sandals. You don’t want to start out your entire trip, which will be filled with much walking, with blisters on the balls of your feet.

4. Take and wear good walking shoes. (See #3)

5. CVS sells really good bandaids, just for blisters. (Again, see #3.)

6. Drink water. Drink lots and lots of water. Continue drinking water. 15% humidity will suck you dry before you can say, “May I have a glass of water, please?”

7. If you have frizzy hair, prepare to have some really, really good hair days.

8. Taxis Rule the Transportation World of Las Vegas, so learn how to locate the taxi queue, prepare yourself to stand in line, and then get ready to lighten your wallet’s load, or to add to your credit card bill.

9. Buying a 3 day pass to the Monorail is a Good Idea, especially if you’re attending a convention. (See last point). 

 

The famous Wall of Flame, on the exterior wall of Gordon Ramsay's BurGR.

The famous Wall of Flame, on the exterior wall of Gordon Ramsay’s BurGR.

  • The Gordon Burger. Gordon Ramsay, two words: Thank. You.

    The Gordon Burger. Gordon Ramsay, two words: Thank. You.

     

Best chicken wings I've ever had, courtesy of Gordon Ramsay BurGR. The "GR" stands for ...guess...

Best chicken wings I’ve ever had, courtesy of Gordon Ramsay BurGR. The “GR” stands for …guess…

10. There are some fantastic restaurants to enjoy in Las Vegas. I HIGHLY recommend Gordon Ramsay BurGR for a delicious burger and the best chicken wings I’ve ever had. It’s located at the Planet Hollywood Casino and Resort. I also loved Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Hotel. The food was exquisite, and the sidewalk café view of the fountains at the Bellagio across the street was delightful. My most magical dining moment came at chef Todd English’s Olives, which is at the Bellagio, where we were offered a front row seat on the terrace to view the Bellagio’s absolutely enchanting fountain. (You’ll need a reservation to get that view, but you’ll thank me for recommending it to you. )

Fountains at the Bellagio

My front row seat to the musical dancing waters of the fountain at the Bellagio.

@notasupermom outside the show, "Ka"

This is my friend @Notasupermom outside the Cirque du Soleil show, “Ka”.

 

11. Go see the Cirque du Soleil show, “KA”. It was breathtakingly, heart-poundingly thrilling! Our seats were dead-center, about the 4th row. I was fearful at times that some of the actors would fall from the top of the stage – the back of which had raised up into a 90º angle from the floor – into the orchestra pit, which, they did…but that was part of the show.

12. Pack extra underwear. (See #11.)

13. Make friends with people who live in and love the city – they will recommend the coolest restaurants to you, or go with you to those restaurants, or take you inside the Bellagio, where you can stroll through the conservatory and botanical gardens, or where you can walk around the casino for free and enjoy watching the craziness that is life in Las Vegas. So. Much. FUN!!! My friends who live in Las Vegas were what made my trip spectacular. (Hugs and special kisses and thanks to Jeffrey, Lore, and Wendy!)

On the terrace of Todd English's Olives at the Bellagio, with @WendysHat

On the terrace of Todd English’s Olives at the Bellagio, with @WendysHat. Photo credit: @Wendy’sHat.

 

14. If you have a chance to attend the NMX/NAB Show  (New Media Expo/National Association of Broadcasters) in April,  go, and connect with all the savvy content creators who are there. I won a ticket to the conference by attending a Conference Pro Tips Chat on Twitter, hosted by NMX and Kelby Carr of Type-A Parent, which is the main reason I attended, but I would love to go back again! Kelby’s session on Pinterest, and the conversation I had with other content creators who are successfully utilizing Pinterest on their sites was extremely valuable.  

Enjoying the Type-A Table at NMX with @notasupermom. Photo credit: Kelby Carr, @TypeAMom

Enjoying the Type-A Table at NMX with @notasupermom. Photo credit: Kelby Carr, @TypeAParent

15. While you’re at NMX, make arrangements to hook up with your tribe, if you know some other content creators who will be attending.  I’m a member of The Women of Midlife/Midlife Boulevard, which is the most amazingly supportive blogging group I’ve ever been a member of. So much fun meeting up with these folks!

Lunch with Midlife'ers at NMX

I’d tell you that these are the Women of Midlife, but clearly, there is a poser among us! Loved meeting up with my peeps. Photo credit: Melissa Lopez Reyes @MizMeliz

 

16. If you attend NMX/NAB, arrive early for the “More of What You Crave: The World of The Walking Dead” session, in order to hear from the president of AMC, Charlie Collie, the Walking Dead comic book creator, Robert Kirkman, and to get to see “Glenn”/Steven Yuen from the TV show, The Walking Dead. Or else, lurk outside the door where they are no longer letting people in, and look pitiful and desperate, and talk about how much it will mean to your 17 year old daughter, with whom you watch The Walking Dead, if you get to see “Glenn”. 

Steven Yeun/Glenn of The Walking Dead

This is either a picture of the back of a bald guy’s head, or my view of Steven Yeun/Glenn of The Walking Dead

 

So:
 What’s my biggest takeaway lesson?

 As in life, so in Vegas: You find what you’re looking for.

If you want to go and engage in out-of-bounds behavior that you normally wouldn’t, and gamble away all your money, you can find that in Las Vegas. (Of course, most of us can do that already in our own hometowns…but…I’ll just mention that in passing.) If you want to go find the awful and the ugly, so that you can cluck your tongue and shake your head, well, that’s there, too. (Of course…most of us can find that ALSO in our own hometowns…but again…I digress.) 

But Las Vegas, in addition to some of the wild things you may have heard about, also holds great opportunities for professional networking, fine dining, and fabulous entertainment. I’m ready to go back, and take my husband with me! If you’re looking for good things, and good people, you’ll find them there, easily, all around you.

It just depends on what you’re looking for.

So, what do YOU think?
Is that true, do you think, that we find what we’re looking for?
If you’ve been there, tell me about your experience, in Las Vegas.

 

 


Yum
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Comments

  1. Angela Roberts says

    Sounds like a great time. Would love to hear more about those Pinterest tips. ANd, yes, lots and lots of water. My nose tends to bleed in Vegas I get so dry! That burger looks fantastic too!
    My recent post Strawberry Sundae Recipe for a Strawberry Festival Party

  2. Christi P. says

    Wow. You had a fun travel companion and good hair days, too! It sounds like a dream come true!

  3. icescreammama says

    Great list of all things vegas! Haven't been for two decades but all I remember is that I could spend the entire day inside and not know what time it ever was! Ha!

  4. Tee hee hee! Tip #3 tickled me.

  5. Cute post, Susan!
    My recent post Random Thoughts on Autism Awareness Month, 2015

  6. Katie @ Pick Any Two says

    These were fun to read! I've never been to Vegas, but I'll be re-reading this should we plan a trip there.

  7. I wish we'd been able to meet up at NMX! Next time, we should go to Lotus of Siam together. Yummmmmm.

  8. terristeffes says

    Yep, you find in Vegas what you are looking for! My family went on the SAME trip and my daughter remembers the fabulous shopping, I remember the great food, and my husband remembers the gambling!

  9. pagemanuel says

    Thanks for the recommendations, Susan! We always have fun when we visit Vegas, although I must say the 'fun' changes in definition when you're travelling with a child. I've never been to Todd English's resto but that sounds intriguing. Would you mind sharing what the dress code is, in case we go there? We're visiting Vegas again this summer. THANKS so much!

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