There’s no where in the world quite like Las Vegas (okay…maybe Macau). My most recent trip to Las Vegas was my third visit to Sin City, so despite being another work trip, it was time to write about it on the blog. Traveling to the same city three times might seem like a lot to some people, but for Vegas, I feel like I go could ten times and still not feel qualified to write a whole city guide on it – there are SO many places still to cover! Instead, I’m rounding up my top 6 favorite places I have been to, what’s on my wishlist, things you should know before you go, and more!
Things To Know Before You Go
- The airport is only 5 minutes drive away from the Strip. This is so rare compared to most other cities I’ve traveled to around the world, and it’s so nice! I was able to go out for dinner and drinks, go back to my hotel to change and finish packing, and still make it to the airport with time to spare before a redeye.
- The hotels are gigantic. If you don’t like walking, Las Vegas may not be the city for you. Or, at least, make sure you pack comfortable shoes. I stayed at the MGM Grand this most recent trip and my hotel room was a 30-minute walk to our event space within the same hotel (and I wasn’t even staying at the farthest end).
- It’s very expensive. While there is a wide range of places to eat, drink and stay, generally, the good ones are pricey. You can get free drinks in the casino if you are actively gambling/using machines and can spot a server, otherwise it’ll run you $18 for a cocktail just about everywhere. I found it to be worse than NYC, where most cocktails cost around $14.
- People come to Las Vegas from all over the world, so don’t worry too much about your attire. I always think of Vegas as being super dressy, but I was reminded just how casual 85% of the people actually are. That said, it’s worth checking restaurant dress codes online before you book a place. Also, refer back to point number two – ladies, you don’t need to wear heels every day!
- It gets HOT in the summer/fall. I thought traveling in September might be cooler than my Scottsdale trip in June, but nope! It was pretty unbearable walking from hotel to hotel, even at night. It’s dry heat just like an oven.
- A saving grace to consider: the monorail. It doesn’t make the most sense for all outings, but the monorail is a good option for when it’s hot outside and/or when you are wearing heels.
My Top 6 Restaurants, Bars and Attractions
- Morimoto at MGM Grand – Renowned Iron Chef Morimoto has restaurants around the world, and they are worth the hype. When I went to his Morimoto location in Las Vegas, the sushi was all super fresh and beautifully made, but the stand out to me is the Braised Black Cod. This is one of Morimoto’s signature dish that is available at most, if not all, Morimoto restaurants I believe. It’s phenomenal! I also experienced fantastic service and recommendations – especially from their large sake menu. You honestly can’t go wrong with anything here – the cocktails and desserts were a hit with our group too!
- Mon Ami Gabi Bistro at Paris Hotel – Centrally located at the Paris Hotel, Mon Ami Gabi is everything you’d expect from a French bistro. I’d love to go for brunch next time, but for dinner, I would recommend skipping the petite seafood platter and go for the wild escargots de bourgogne instead, with an order of French baguette to dip in the sauce after. Bon appetit! It was some of the best escargot I’ve ever had. For groups that were large like ours (15 or so), they said they could split the checks but it would take at least 30 minutes from the time that we were ready to close out. I’ve never heard that before, but it’s something to consider if you’re going for bachelor/bachelorette parties.
- The Chandelier Bar at The Cosmopolitan – As one of the most popular places in Las Vegas, I consider The Chandelier Bar to be one worth checking off your bucket list. The chandeliers draped around the bar are stories tall and just spectacular. They also have a special “experiential” cocktail called The Verbena, which I’ve detailed on my Instagram here. It is truly one-of-a-kind and sure to be memorable! While you’re at The Cosmopolitan, check out their restaurants. In my opinion, they have the best selection for dining.
- Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesar’s Palace – This was a new discovery on my most recent trip, but we loved it so much we went back twice! Even though it’s located right off the casino and food court, the ambiance transports you into a chic, whimsical garden. The service was great (even during COVID) and the drinks were fabulous. Gordon Ramsay was also seated two tables away from us and stayed for hours….so there’s that!!! I’m such a fan of him and couldn’t believe it was my SECOND time seeing him randomly! My first was on the streets of London.
- Skyfall Lounge at the Delano – Unless you’re lucky enough to have a panoramic view of the Strip from your hotel room, seeing it from above at one of the Strip’s rooftops or lounges is impressive. Since the Delano is at the Southern end of the Strip, you pretty much see it all!
- The Fountains at Bellagio Display – In addition to checking out an iconic show or concert, make sure you go to The Bellagio at some point to watch the fountain show where more than a thousand fountains sway in front of the hotel, enhanced by music and light. The display spans more than 1,000 feet with water soaring as high as 460 feet into the air. It happens every 15-30 minutes from as early as noon on weekends and holidays to as late as midnight. You can view it while walking the Strip, or from some of their restaurants. For details on the schedule, restaurants and more information, check the link provided above.
At The Top of My Wishlist
- Hell’s Kitchen at Caesar’s Palace – Gordon Ramsay’s iconic restaurant is named after his long-running reality TV show, Hell’s Kitchen. Make a reservation weeks in advance if possible because it’s one of the most popular in the city and books up quickly. What would I order? The beef wellington, of course!
- Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres at the Sahara – The adventurous eater in me is eager to try Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres. I also love that it is mostly small plates meant to be shared so you can try more in one sitting. While I thought this was tempting enough, I read that he offers an all-new umami-centric dining experience with their Truffle Fest menu, available exclusively during the month of November!
- Ghost Donkey at Cosmopolitan – If you’re into tequila and mezcal like me, Ghost Donkey is one of the few speakeasies on the Strip. I tried to go with a few friends last time I was there but it was a bit too full for our comfort, so I’m saving it for next time. It is very small inside, but it’s easy to spot before/after going to the Chandelier Bar. You’ll find it on the second floor in the food court with a little donkey sign above an unmarked door.
You Can’t Go Wrong
I’ve been to most of these reputable, celebrity chef chains in NYC or elsewhere, so they’re worth checking out in Vegas too!
- Tao at the Venetian
- Hakkasan at MGM Grand
- Nobu at Caesar’s Palace
- Momofuku, STK, Beauty & Essex, Jaleo, Scarpetta, Blue Ribbon at Cosmopolitan
- Carbone at Aria
Other Restaurants on my Wishlist
- Sinatra at Encore
- Amalfi by Bobby Flay at Caesar’s Palace
- Lago by Julian Serrano at the Bellagio
- Yellowtail by Akira Back at the Bellagio
- Javier’s at Aria
- Rosina Cocktail Lounge at The Venetian
- Sparrow & Wolf off the Strip
- Firefly on Paradise off the Strip
- Legacy Club at Circa Hotel – a rooftop on 60th floor
I’d love to know where your favorite hotels, restaurants, bars and shows are in Las Vegas. Leave me a comment below and I’ll add them to my wishlist for next time!