By Jacqui Gray
Remember: What happens in Vegas stays on Facebook!
I have ticked off most of the mainstream bucket list items (except getting married by Elvis), so why do I keep going back? Not only does one of my besties live there, but also Vegas is always evolving. Every time I go to Vegas I find some new adventure. Step off the strip, and you will be surprised what else there is to see and do. Warning: I am not a gambler… it bores me – so nothing I do revolves around gambling. Even in Vegas!
If you have read any of my earlier blogs, you will be familiar with the theme of moving away for the major tourist attractions of any destination. It’s not that I don’t do them, it is more that they will have already been covered (ad nauseam, I might add!) by many writers who do it better than I can. So what little delights do I have in store for you today that you don’t find on every Vegas write up?
One of my true loves in Vegas is Frankie’s Tiki Room – there is no glitz or glam to be found here. Off the Strip, open 24 hours; cocktails are potent, prepared with little fanfare and served in custom tiki mugs. I am the proud owner of a few of them! The only food I have eaten at Frankie’s has arrived on the side of my cocktail in the form of a garnish. The venue itself is a cross between a dive bar and old school, tacky Vegas. I just want to back up to an earlier point I made; the drinks are potent – take heed my friends, or you will pay dearly the next day. Note the number of skulls on the drinks menu as this is your indication of how much booze goes into your chosen concoction.
Want to see the pretty lights? There are plenty of places to choose from. I head to the south end of the Strip, add sixty-three stories and enjoy a cocktail on the deck of The Foundation Room. Spectacular views, upscale venue with food and cocktails to match!
I always wander down to the Bellagio for a look at the wonderland that was created in the Conservatory and Gardens. It is changed every season, is free and always spectacular. This seasons creation: Majestic Holliday Magic.
Summer in Vegas means Pool Party! Like any other club, they come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Each year new ones spring up, others are revamped, while some are rebranded. At The Flamingo the Go Pool Club is open every day and host one of my favorites; Throwback Thursdays. Rehab is the original day club and for that reason alone deserves a visit. You absolutely MUST check out one of the legendary pool parties during the warmer months.
Vegas brings in plenty of major events, and one of my favorites is the USA Rugby 7’s. I dragged friends along who knew Zero about Rugby and still loved it. It’s a dress-up party, with a heap of new friends from around the world, enjoying a few beers, while some people run around on a field.
Usually, I find myself in Vegas for a couple of weeks at a time. So, there comes a point where I need a break from The Strip. A real treat is to take an easy day trip into the surrounding desert and get up close and personal with some of the dramatic landscapes. You can hire a car and do your own thing, or join one of the various types of organized tours to each of these areas:
Not my thing, but travel buddies have raved about:
The recent LV Great Santa Run – everyone dresses up as Santa and runs around the streets of Vegas raising funds for charity. I am 100% onboard…except for the running part.
Driving super fast, luxury cars around a track. I sat and watched, so definitely not my thing.
Akhob is one for the arty folks. Its part of the Louis Vuitton store and it’s free, but you do need to make reservations a long way in advance. Essentially it is a light show that creates optical illusions and offers a positively Zen-like, meditative sanctuary on the Strip. It may not be a ‘mind-blowing’ experience, but it’s still pretty cool, even though I felt a little awkward throughout.
What am I looking forward to doing on my next trip to Vegas:
Apocalypse Vegas – former Special Forces guys, train you to strategically maneuver through a displaced town that has been overtaken by flesh-hungry, diseased zombies… sure thing, sign me up!
Insanity the Ride at the Stratosphere
Whenever I go to Vegas, I know it will be fun and will toss me a few surprises. What are some of the crazy, cool and unusual things you have done on Vegas trips?