A Las Vegas Getaway
There are times when you just need to get away. Living in Los Angeles, I have the benefit of being driving distance from some great escapes, from San Diego to Santa Barbara, which offer easy routes to a bit of rest and relaxation. But there’s one place that offers a little more when it comes to a road-trip vacation, a place filled with exciting activities for day and night, great food and drinks, and all kinds of entertainment. That place, of course, is Las Vegas.
My fiancé and I took advantage of a recent three-day weekend to have a mini Vegas vacation. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, dropped our bags off in our spacious Trump Hotel Las Vegas guest room, and set out to begin our adventure.
One of the things I love most about Las Vegas is there are so many different ways to make the city your own. Shop till you drop at malls designed to fit any style or budget; fill your nights with Cirque du Soleil, comedy, and musical performance shows; dine on fine foods from top chefs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—whatever type of vacation you’re looking for, you’ll find it here.
For my guy and I, the perfect Vegas trip includes trying a new restaurant or two, grabbing drinks at our favorite bar, and doing a bit of gambling (sportsbooks for him, roulette for me). On our nights out, we’re not looking for anything fancy (although for that I recommend checking out the luminous, multi-story Chandelier inside the Cosmopolitan), but instead we head to a bar called Nine Fine Irishmen in the New York New York Hotel.
If your idea of a night out leans closer to dive bars than clubs, then I suggest you give Nine Fine Irishmen a try. There’s no line and no cover, and drinks (English and Irish beers, Irish whiskeys, Celtic cocktails) are reasonably priced. The best part: A live band plays traditional Irish music nightly, accompanied by a championship Irish dancer. It’s a friendly, fun environment that’s way less intimidating than the crowded, bouncer-guarded clubs and way more our speed.
After a night filled with live music and a few good drinks, the next day’s first order of business was to recharge with some delicious food. We found the perfect match in Todd English PUB at the Shops at Crystals. The gastropub serves comfort food with a twist and features a raw bar with oysters, chilled shrimp, and Alaskan king crab, as well as salads, burgers, rotisserie-cooked meats, and pretty much anything else you might be in the mood for. Brunch—think English bagel tacos, lobster eggs Benedict, and chilaquiles—is available weekends from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., as are the “Deconstructed Bloody Mary’s,” made to order with a variety of fixings.
That afternoon was spent relaxing poolside (one of my favorite activities no matter where I am) back at the Trump Hotel. It was a gorgeous, not-too-hot day, and we thoroughly enjoyed the pool deck’s comfortable lounge chairs and refreshment service as the sounds of chart-topping hits filled the air.
Feeling rested and rejuvenated, we decided to venture off the Strip and check out Downtown Las Vegas and the Fremont Street Experience. Freemont Street was the city’s first paved street (in 1925) and is home to the Golden Nugget, which is not only one of the oldest casinos in the city but was also the first to be designed as a casino from the ground up. There are now 10 legendary casinos that line the Fremont Street Experience, an LED light extravaganza where visitors can also find more than 60 restaurants and thousands of loose slots.
While I enjoyed the look back in time at vintage Vegas, I was drawn away from the bright lights, street performers, and crowds and toward Downtown3rd, which sits on North 3rd Street perpendicular to Freemont Street. This is definitely more of an up-and-coming area, with a brand-new hotel and casino (Downtown Grand Las Vegas) and some enticing-looking restaurants and bars (Pizza Rock, Art Bar). The street is capped off on one end by the Mob Museum, which is located in the former Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse.
It was a jam-packed Vegas visit with a mix of a little bit of old and a little bit of new. But, of course, there’s always more to be seen and more to be done. We missed an opportunity to check out recently opened shopping center The LINQ and were a few weeks too early to ride its brand-new High Roller, the world’s largest observation wheel. It’s a good thing the city is never more than a road trip away!