Viva Las Vegas

Hello, hello! 
Well I finally got around to going through our photos from our visit to Las Vegas over President’s Day, and I’m excited to share them today. We only went for a long weekend, but we managed to see a lot in a short time and had a lot of fun! 
We drove to Vegas from Tahoe and it took us about seven hours, so really not too bad. And that’s not like sitting in traffic driving, it was basically seven hours of going 80mph through the middle of the desert. If you to be away from people, come to Nevada because there is literally nothing in between Tahoe and Vegas. Like no food, no cell phone service, NOTHING. Just mountains, desert, and random secret government facilities…seriously, the middle of Nevada is where Area 51 and places like that are located because no one lives there. It still weirds me out that we live in Nevada sometimes! 
Anyway, we made it to Vegas late Friday night and driving down the Strip was pretty neat. It’s always weird any time you visit a place that you’ve seen on TV a lot because it always feels a little surreal. We stayed at Mandalay Bay which is at the very south end of the Strip. I thought it was a great place to stay; our room was huge and really nice, there were lots of restaurants and bars inside the hotel, and the rates were fairly reasonable. I’d definitely recommend it!
Saturday morning, we ate a quick breakfast in the hotel then headed out to explore the Strip! The weather was in the high 60’s/low 70’s while we were so it was absolutely perfect for walking around. We basically spent the entire day walking up one side of the Strip, going in all the different casinos/shops, and then came back down the other side. Definitely wear comfortable shoes!

Luxor–This one is Egytian themed and it’s connected to Mandalay Bay
New York, New York Casino was fun–I almost felt like I was in my favorite city!

The fake Brooklyn Bridge
Monte Carlo

Crystals at City Center–just some of the luxury shopping in Vegas!


Something that really took us by surprise was how decked out everything was for Chinese New Year! Apparently Vegas is really big with Asian tourists, so the casinos really go all out to decorate for the it. All the decorations were really elaborate and beautiful, it was cool to see. The lanterns hanging in the Aria give you an idea of what I’m talking about!

Everything is over the top in this town!

Gorgeous hanging crystals inside The Cosmopolitan, so pretty!

View of Paris from the front of the Bellagio

The colorful blown-glass ceiling inside the Bellagio lobby was stunning

The Bellagio had a really elaborate garden set up for the Chinese New Year with all sorts of flowers and traditional decorations

Caesar’s Palace

Both the Bellagio and Caesar’s Palace had tons of shopping!

Las Vegas is all about the celebrity chef restaurants, and being fans of Food Network we wanted to try a few of them out. Saturday, we ate lunch at Mesa in Caesar’s Palace which is one of Bobby Flay’s restaurants. The decor was really colorful and the food was delicious!
The Venetian had a really neat exterior, it felt a little bit like you were in St. Mark’s Square, complete with gondolas and everything! (Nothing beats the real thing though, it made me want to go back to Italy!)

The inside of the Venetian was equally impressive

Walking back up the other Strip…yeah, that’s Vegas for you!

The Paris Casino is definitely a must-see!
It was so nice to be in a place where flowers are in bloom!

Perfect day!

Walking back towards Mandalay Bay…

The Strip at night! So cool to see in person!

Excalibur Casino lit up at night

After walking around all day, we were pretty tired! We headed out for drinks and a late dinner, but opted just to stay inside Mandalay Bay which ended up being really fun!

We got drinks at a neat place called Red Square. This place was totally Soviet themed, and I loved all the Russian details. They had a huge variety of vodkas and even had this vodka freezer you could go in and wear a fur coat and hat!

Cam and I got Moscow Mules (delicious) and it was such a fun atmosphere!
Obviously, I had to get a picture in front of the Lenin statue 🙂 
We ended up eating dinner at one of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, Lupo, and it was excellent. We had a delicious meal and it was nice to just be able to walk right back up to our room! (Also, I am now obsessed with the idea of the name Lupo for a future dog–it means wolf in Italian…and it’s also what Will & Kate’s dog is named! I just think it would be so cute if we got a boy dog, Lola and Lupo, precious right?! I digress…)

Sunday morning, we ventured off the Strip to have breakfast at a place
we read about in Sunset magazine called Eat. It seemed much more like a
place you’d find in Portland and our food was excellent! The owner who
was featured in the Sunset magazine article came over to talk to us
during the meal, and it was fun to try a place that was more “local”.

Cam thinks taking random pictures of me are hilarious…ha ha.
After breakfast we drove out to see the Hoover Dam! If you have a couple of days in Vegas, I’d definitely suggest checking it out as it’s very a really neat  thing to see. There are actually two different tours you can take, a short one and a long one…of course my engineering husband insisted we take the long, in-depth tour. I would have been happy just walking around the dam outside and calling it a day, the tour was actually pretty interesting.

I loved all the art-deco style details

 On the tour you got to see just how the Hoover Dam generates power, Cam was in heaven!

 At one point in the tour, you got to walk through this tunnel to look out the front of the dam which was really cool!

View from the middle of the dam

There’s also this super steep stairway inside the dam that we got to see, it was crazy! I don’t know what would be worse, trying to climb up or go down!
Our tour guide was this adorable old man who had been working at the Hoover Dam for ages. He had a lot of interesting stories and genuinely seemed like he loved his job. Plus, how pretty are those elevator doors? Kind of cool when they actually used to do government project with some stylish details.


After the tour, we did some more walking around. It’s neat because the Hoover Dam spans Nevada and Arizona, so you can stand in both places at once!

 On the dam in front of Lake Mead
The lady we asked to take our picture insisted we take a kissing one too…ha.

Our tour guide told us a story about the dog that lived in the area while the dam was being constructed. All the workers took care of him and when he died, they wanted him buried at the dam so he has his own little plaque. 

After the Hoover Dam, we headed back to our hotel but had to stop to get some photos in front of the iconic Las Vegas sign first!

Mandalay Bay is actually that gold building right behind the Las Vegas sign

Sunday night, we headed back out to the Strip to grab some dinner, but first we had to stop and watch the famous Bellagio fountains!

We ended up having dinner at Todd English’s restaurant, Olives, inside the Bellagio and the food was delicious. After dinner, we headed down to Treasure Island to see the Cirque du Soleil show Mystere! We had never seen any of their show’s before, so it was definitely an experience. All the acrobatics were incredible and we really enjoyed it!

Monday morning, we had to stop by the Pawn Stars shop since we watch the show all the time. Luckily there was no line when we got there and we were able to walk right in…but there was already a line forming when we left. It wasn’t much to see, but just kind of neat to say we’ve seen it. I was hoping we’d see Chumlee but no such luck.

For brunch, we decided to go check out the Wynn/Encore casinos, located at the north end of the Strip. I think of all the casinos we visited, they were some of my absolute favorites. They seemed a lot more upscale and the decor was really whimsical with lots of color and butterflies on the tile/carpet.

We had brunch at a really adorable place called Society Café inside Encore, and I absolutely loved the food and the decor of this place as well.
I love when we take a picture and no one bothers to tell me my hair is sticking up.

After brunch, we wanted to go see the Neon Museum where they keep a bunch of the old neon signs but there weren’t any tours open. However, we got to see some of the restored signs in an area of town north of the strip. It’s definitely cool to imagine how old Las Vegas must have been.

Overall, I really enjoyed Vegas and I totally get the appeal. It really is like adult Disney World, it’s just complete sensory overload the entire time you’re there. In the same way that some people love Disney and go over and over, I know lots of people are obsessed with Vegas. While it’s definitely somewhere I’d go again for sure, given the choice I’d much rather go to a city like NYC or San Francisco. At the same time, I do think it would be really fun to go back to Vegas with a group of girlfriends in the future!
That’s all for me today folks! Xoxo