As soon as we knew we’d be moving to the West Coast, my best friend and I started planning a Vegas trip. It’s one of her favorite places to visit, and I’d never been before, so it seemed like the perfect destination for a girls’ weekend.
We went during Presidents’ Day weekend, from Thursday until Monday, which was (in my opinion) the perfect length of time. Just enough to really get to experience a taste of Vegas, but not so much that you end up overwhelmed. There is so much to do in Vegas that even trying to plan this trip had me a little stressed, but the great thing about Vegas is that all the stress disappears once you arrive.
I landed in Las Vegas first, after a short and gorgeous hour-ish flight from San Jose. I could look at snow capped mountains all day…
Once I landed, I Uber’ed over to Excalibur, where we were staying for the weekend. Shout out to the Excalibur staff for letting me check in early! Pro tip: when you’re making a hotel reservation, make sure the reservation matches the name on your ID – I apparently reserved the room under “Dani” and my legal first name is “Danielle” so I had to produce a copy of my reservation confirmation email to prove it was me. Oops! Lesson learned.
I got up to the room, changed, spent some time charging my phone, and then headed out in search of lunch and a beer. I ended up at Beerhaus at the Park, not knowing it’s the Vegas Golden Knights tailgate bar so that was a fun surprise. I had a couple delicious beers from local Vegas breweries, which I unfortunately can’t remember the name of, and a chili dog which was delicious despite the surprise mustard. Beerhaus had a pretty cool vibe, very chill since it was early afternoon but I can see it turning into a party spot very easily. In fact, later that afternoon when we passed by, it was very much the place to be.
Once my best friend arrived and freshened up from the flight (seriously, a good change of clothes after a cross country flight is severely underrated), we went over to Nine Fine Irishmen at New York, New York for some drinks and dinner. Unfortunately, the food was subpar – though I am a bit of an Irish pub snob, if such a thing can exist – but the atmosphere was great. We got to see the VGK pre-game concert and parade, which was a lot of fun even if the band was pretty terrible, and had some prime people watching.
One of the big attractions we kind of planned the weekend around was going to a Vegas Golden Knights game. As you may know from previous posts, I’m a huge hockey fan and specifically a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan. I became a Penguins fan largely due to Marc-Andre Fleury, so since he went to Vegas in the expansion draft I have quite the soft spot for the Golden Knights now too. We got to see them play the Edmonton Oilers, which was pretty cool to see Connor McDavid play also. Man, T-Mobile Arena has a great atmosphere. Their on-ice pregame show was great, and they do an amazing job of getting the fans excited about hockey – not to mention that their team is doing incredibly well this year. I got to see my boo Fleury, the Knights won, and we had a great time. I highly, highly recommend going to a VGK game if you are in Vegas, even if you aren’t a hockey fan. Plus the whole area around the arena has some great bars, great drinks, and some hilarious photo ops as seen in my Crazy Eyes goalie cutout photo here…
On Friday morning, we headed to Tom’s Urban in New York, New York for breakfast. Connecticut friends – this restaurant is also in Mohegan Sun! Anywhere with bottomless brunch drinks is the perfect place for me tbh. The breakfasts were delicious – I could not conquer the chicken and waffles despite how hard I tried – and everything is better with a mimosa. And, since Vegas doesn’t have any open container laws, once you’re ready to go you can just take your mimosa with you. Perfect.
Friday afternoon found us downtown on Fremont Street. I had the SlotZilla zipline on my list before we even really started planning this trip, so that was a major necessity. So cool. We did the lower level zipline, where you’re sitting down, which was absolutely awesome. I wish it was a little bit longer, since it was over so quickly, but it was still great. From there, we went to Axehole to do some axe throwing. My tiny hands are not made for axe throwing, but we had a blast anyways. I learned that I am much better at ninja stars, and we spent probably close to two hours throwing sharp objects at the wall. Very therapeutic. 10/10 would recommend and do again. Also, yes, hey we are gigantic dorks. 🙂
We walked around Fremont Street for a bit, stopping in at Banger Brewing for a beer – I had a jalapeno hefeweizen which was GREAT – and going through Golden Nugget and The D among other casinos. I stopped at one of the bars at The D because the Buffalo Bulls basketball game was on, so I watched some basketball while she headed off to play some slots. We got some delicious frozen drinks and continued wandering, checking out the sights and the people watching. Once we got back to the hotel, we went to Buca di Beppo for dinner where I ate my body weight in carbs and cheese.
On Saturday, we did breakfast at the Excalibur Buffet, which was pretty standard for a buffet. It did include mimosas, which was wonderful. Saturday’s plan included shopping and walking and drinking around the strip. Some highlights included the Chandelier bar at the Cosmopolitan, where we played Sex and the City slots and ordered girly drinks (because obviously); the mojito stand outside Caesar’s Palace; stopping into SJP’s shoe store at the Bellagio; and the Taco Bell Cantina where we ordered friggin’ margaritas at a Taco Bell because Las Vegas is the best thing; the Naked Cowboys we took photographs with at New York New York (one of whom graduated from my alma mater GO BULLS!); and the botanical gardens at the Bellagio. Also, I held a snake and got photobombed by Mickey Mouse, because Vegas.
Saturday night, we made dinner reservations at Aureole at Mandalay Bay, where I had a Chilean Sea Bass and some wine. It was a pretty classy place, but not so fancy that it felt stuffy or like you needed to be very dressed up. I wore jeans and a blazer and was definitely one of the more dressed people there, but your mileage may vary. We managed to score some tickets to the Cirque du Soleil Zumanity show at New York, New York which was awesome. It’s their “naughty” show, as many people we talked to referred to it – a little acrobatics, a little burlesque, a little drag, a whole lot of toplessness and sensuality. There were plenty of bachelorette parties there, and they had some pretty funny themed cocktails – I just got a glass of bubbly since we had been drinking for the better part of the day. The show itself was incredible, and I am always amazed at the things Cirque performers can do with their bodies. If you are with a crowd who will appreciate this type of show, definitely go! We didn’t have the opportunities to see any other shows, but I’ve heard really great things about the Beatles Cirque show as well as Ka, if you’re looking for something a bit more family friendly.
Sunday required a bit of recovery time after our marathon day Saturday. We brunched at the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay, managing to get in with enough time to order bottomless drinks. I love a good challenge, so when we had half an hour to drink 3+ mimosas to make it worth the money, you bet we did it. After breakfast we went to Minus 5 Ice Lounge, also in Mandalay Bay, which was quite the experience. When we were there, they had a whole Game of Thrones themed area, so we sat on the icy Iron Throne and made a whole lot of jokes about how winter was already here. It was a pretty cool experience (pun unintentional, but I’m keeping it), and the drinks were also delicious. I was surprisingly not as cold as I anticipated being, and we got some pretty great hats too. After finishing our drinks there, we headed back out to the strip and ended up getting some snacks and drinks at TAP Sports Bar at MGM Grand, where we spent a lot more time than planned since a Penguins game was on TV. I was pretty impressed with their beer list, and the bartenders were all wonderful. We continued wandering the strip, where I had an incredible Samoa-cookie flavored donut from Pinkberry, and we eventually got up to the Venetian because I wanted to be touristy and see the canals. My best friend took this fantastic photo of the waterfall and this big sculpture at the Venetian, which is gaudy and ostentatious but also beautiful and I love it.
One of the other places I felt the need to stop in and see is the Flamingo Hotel & Casino, since that’s where my parents have stayed many of the times they’ve gone to Vegas and saying “FlaMINgo” in a weird voice is one of the many bizarre things in my family’s lexicon. Plus, my best friend’s mom loves flamingos, so we obviously needed to buy her a souvenir. We continued to wander and do some shopping and drinking en route back to the end of the strip we were staying on, and decided to go to Slice of Vegas in Mandalay Bay for a chill pizza dinner. Pro tip: certain drinks on their menu let you leave with a souvenir glass, which I have gotten a ton of use out of since the Vegas trip.
We both had afternoon flights home on Monday, but managed to squeeze in the Roller Coaster at New York New York before we had to leave. We had tried two or three times earlier in the weekend, but due to high winds the coaster was closed every time we tried. We were finally able to get there Monday morning, before the winds got too strong, and it was wonderful. It’s a pretty easygoing coaster, a standard small steel looper, but the views of Vegas are fantastic. They also offer a military discount on tickets for the coaster, FYI. We got some lunch at Broadway Burger Bar & Grill inside NYNY after we got off the coaster, which was delicious but the portions were huge. I could barely get through half of my burger and fries, and I strongly believe in No Fry Left Behind.
Her flight was a bit earlier than mine, so once we got to McCarran and she boarded, I had a couple glasses of wine at Crafted Bar in the C gates area. The wine was a bit expensive, as to be expected for not only an airport bar but an airport bar in Vegas, but they let you walk around the airport with it which is a perk. I walked past a few other bars and this one was definitely the best selection in the airport – the only issue is that it’s a standing only bar, but in terms of airport bars this is one of the better ones I’ve been to.
So, there you have it – a #slaycation girls weekend in Vegas. I feel like we did so much, and yet barely scratched the surface of everything Las Vegas has to offer. Fortunately, it’s only a short flight away, so I’ll definitely be back sooner rather than later.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Vegas? What’s your favorite girls’ trip destination? I’m thinking maybe Miami for next year… 😉
Until next time – Viva Las Vegas!