Sure I could’ve gambled all day in Vegas, but it was my first time on the west coast and I wanted to experience more than just casinos. I was able to enjoy outdoor life, visit some great tourist traps, and even find some hidden gems along the way. Here’s a look at the first half of that trip
Flight details and receipts are at the end of this post so you can see how it was made possible
Even though I took a red eye flight that landed at 12 AM, the time zone change worked in my favor because I was up by 6 AM and fully rested. (sleeping the entire flight really did the trick but I’ll praise the time zone). My first stop was Bellagio’s famous brunch buffet! I made sure I went with an huge appetite, but when I got there I found out the brunch buffet was only open on Saturdays. I should’ve done my research but I ended up here on a recommendation and was assured I could go any day. Lesson learned.
Bellagio’s Holiday Exhbit
I was at least able to experience the holiday exhibit, so not all was lost! Their exhibition is absolutely beautiful. It changes depending on the time of the year, but I’ve seen nothing but great reviews for their displays. I’d recommend going during the early hours before it gets too crowded so you’re still able to get nice pictures.
After the exhibition, I grabbed breakfast at Cracked Egg based on the “it’s the best breakfast place in Vegas” recommendation. This place has THE best skillets! If you go here you have to try one. I stuffed my face then headed out to Valley of Fire. It costs $10 to get in and has some of the most epic landscapes I’ve ever seen. This park has a lot of history and is very tranquil. I spent at least an hour and a half here just taking in the views.
Valley of Fire
The original plan was to head back downtown to explore the strip but I was in such a great mood I decide to drive over to the Hoover Dam. I took route 167 to get there because I saw this route went through a forested area, so I expected more nice scenic views.
This drive down was one of those experiences you have with nature, where your heart is racing, you’re smiling uncontrollably and for a moment you understand what true happiness feels like. Everything about it was perfect.
The Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam was extremely packed when I got here, so I was unable to do a tour due to my time constraints, but if you want to do tour get here VERY early. Pro tip: don’t pay for parking. Drive to the top of the hill and park there. The views are nice from up there and and the walk down is only 3–5 minutes if you take the stairs down.
My sight seeing pretty much ended here but I’ll add the rest of my day for the odd chance that you’re Muay Thai fans.
After the Hoover Dam I went back to the hotel, napped and then trained at Nak Muay Thai Lao. I told them I’ve been training for a few months in Jersey so I wanted to continue training while I was on vacation and they took me in as their own.
If I wasn’t so tired the plan was to go a see a show in Vegas because I’ve been told, it’s an absolute must, but I stuffed my face some more, had a few drinks then called it a night.
I searched for the best places to eat in downtown Vegas and stumbled upon “Eat”. I decided on “Eat” for a few reasons:
- It was the way to Red Rock
- I wanted to know what cinnamon biscuits were
- They recommended this place for hiker’s
I later found out that “Eat” is own by Natalie Young, a professional chef for over 20 years who’s worked alongside top chef’s through her career , and it shows!
After I “Eat-ing” I drove over to the Red Rock Canyon to take in some more views and do a bit of hiking.
Red Rock and Valley of Fire are often compared but I wanted to see the real difference between the two. In my opinion, Valley of Fire is the better park because it has better views, lower entry fee, varied scenery, and you get to see Lake Mead in all of its glory, but I’ll still describe my Red Rock experience below because it’s a good alternative if you’re short on time.
The entry fee is $15 per car but the scenic drive is free. Since the general admissions gate wasn’t open by the time I got there, I opted for the scenic loop. This was a very nice drive and you’re able to start on hiking trails at each stop.
After Red Rock I looped around and drove up to Calico’s basin out of sheer curiosity. If you hike a short distance you can see more views and take some great shots. I spent a few minutes here and then headed to strip .
I was instructed by a local that I have to visit the strip, but I was hesitant until she mentioned pink flamingos in a hotel. This would be WAY more interesting than lights and slot machines.
I checked out the Flamingo’s and then went back for a nap BUT if I was aware of the other exhibitions I would’ve hotel hopped via the monorail.
I went back and did some research and found these hotels hidden gems inside of them:
Small exhibit of pink flamingos — FREE
Treasure Island Hotel
A hand-carved wooly mammoth tusk — FREE
Lion’s exhibit — $20
Shark Reef Aquarium — $25
Swim inches from sharks and other marine animals — $25/$35 (non guest) — FREE (guests)
Silverton Casino’s Saltwater Aquarium
117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium — FREE
After I napped, I ended my last night in Vegas with another visit to Nak Muay Thai Lao for some training, grabbed dinner at the hotel and then called it a night.
Not bad Vegas! The weather was in the mid-60’s making the outdoor ventures bearable. It can get well into the 100’s there making these outdoor trips near impossible. Next time I’m in Vegas I’ll go back to experience more of the strip, shows, and night life.
If you want tips on any additional things to do while in Vegas or want your own itinerary created based on your interest, send me a message!
Flight (EWR->LAS): $176.20
Flight (LAS -> LAX): $42.20
Rental Car w/ Gas: $106.92 + $30
Reimbursement: $200 — I ended up getting paid $200 to take this trip so this offset the cost.
Total Spent: $518.94
TRUE TOTAL : $318.94