Oh Las Vegas, you really have stolen my heart. Having visited Sin City many a time whilst with work, I took the plunge to head over on my own whilst on annual leave. Daunting to be in a place 5000 miles away from home, I did have my reservations but ultimately, it has given me the confidence to visit destinations as a solo traveller. With so much to see and do, I’ve tried to pack as much as I can into this post to give you some ideas as to what you can get up to without spending all your money on the roulette tables and in the clubs. Although enjoyable, there’s more to Las Vegas than you think.
Using my work perks and going on standby was slightly stressful but sorting out my hotel was extremely easy by using Hotels Combined, a website that compares all of the top travel sites to bring the best deals available. I stayed at the Mardi Gras Inn, on Paradise which was just off the strip but has access to the monorail that runs through Las Vegas. The hotel, although it doesn’t look much was actually perfect for what I needed. The rooms were clean and provided two Queen sized beds, a fridge, large wardrobes and a clean bathroom and vanity area. The rooms were secure and I didn’t have any worries with leaving out my belongings whilst I left the room to be cleaned. The staff were more than friendly and there was a free shuttle that picked me up from the airport and dropped me off on my return. I’d definitely stay there again, for the ease as well as a 24 hour bar and restaurant with great food, plus an option to order takeaways to your room.
The monorail at the Las Vegas Convention Centre was the closest stop to my hotel, and heading Southbound took me to the monorail stop at Harrahs and The Linq which I find to be the most convenient stop for access to the strip, where you can head down to the Fashion Show Mall or over to Caesars Palace. For shopping, the Fashion Show Mall is home to restaurants and food outlets as well as favourite shops such as Macy’s and Neiman Marcus. Caesars Palace is home to Sephora and Bath and Body Works as well as The Cheesecake Factory for a post shopping treat. Surprisingly, I hardly spent any money on makeup and just picked up two Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipsticks in Crush and Catnip. Whilst at The Linq, take advantage of seeing Vegas from a bird’s eye view on the High Roller, or call in to one of most visited bars, Yardhouse where they serve over 100 different beers and ciders.
Heading to the top of the strip, you’ll find the famous Las Vegas sign, and you can’t visit LV without getting a photo. From Mandalay Bay, it’s a bit of a walk or you could also get a taxi, but I do suggest that you go early as the queues for photographs does get quite long and if it’s high heat, it does get unbearably hot. Whilst you are down at that end of the strip, it’s also not too far from Town Square and the outlet malls where you can get some good bargains. It’s a lot cheaper to shop off the strip as well as being a lot quieter.
At the Luxor, you’ll find the Bodies and Titanic exhibition. I went to the Titanic exhibition several years ago but I hadn’t seen the Bodies The Exhibition. Using Tix4Tonight, I got my ticket at a cheaper price than paying at the box office. Unfortunately, cameras aren’t allowed inside so a huge thank you to the Bodies exhibition who have kindly sent me some press photos to use to show what’s in store. I was expecting to be a bit freaked out by what I was going to see but in actual fact, I was engrossed in everything on show. It’s something that I’ve never seen before in such intricate detail and although biology wasn’t my strongest subject, it’s made me want to learn more about the human body. Definitely a must see, as well as the Titanic exhibit which blew my mind.
Heading right to the bottom of the strip and beyond, you’ll find Downtown Las Vegas and the famous Fremont Street Experience. With all the old casinos that you’re used to seeing in films such as Golden Nugget, Four Queens and Binions, Fremont Street has given the area a real buzz. With a cover ceiling that plays a light show throughout the evening, to the Slotzilla zip wire, which is the best way to see Fremont from the air. I’ve found that Fremont Street is becoming a bit more modern with some trendy bars popping up in the area. New to me this year was Park on Fremont, a bar with an outdoor garden experience where you can sit on wooden tables surrounded by fairy lights and outdoor heaters for when it gets a bit chilly. You would be forgiven for thinking the The Park was in New York City and not Las Vegas with it’s chilled out atmosphere and cocktails served in mason jars.
A absolute must see whilst down at Fremont Street is The Mob Museum, which is set inside the building that held the Kefauver hearings back in 1950. A full interactive experience of American history, the mob culture across America and how it ended up in Las Vegas. I was expecting to have completed the museum tour in around an hour. Three hours later, I was still reading about the St Valentines Day massacre, looking at how Prohibition led to a crack down on Las Vegas saloons and how the mob started the casinos in Las Vegas whilst skimming a ton of money from the takings. I enjoyed the Mob Museum that much that I treated myself to a book on how the mob took Las Vegas which I had read in full before I landed back in Manchester.
Las Vegas has such a reputation for being the party capital in the desert but really when you look a bit deeper into this adults playground, there is so much more to do and see than you realise. Not only that, but getting around Las Vegas is so easy, especially with the monorail as well as Uber. It’s always cheaper to get an Uber than to flag a cab down on the street. For a first time solo travel experience, I think that it’s really helped to build my confidence up in visiting destinations and it’s given me the bug for getting out and exploring the world that little bit more.