What Happens in Vegas Ends Up on the Internet: Our 2018 Trip to Las Vegas

I'm so excited to share our Vegas trip today. At the start of December, hubby and I took our first plane-ride together out to Ve...

I'm so excited to share our Vegas trip today. At the start of December, hubby and I took our first plane-ride together out to Vegas for the Call of Duty World League (CWL) - the opening tournament in a series of matches for the most recent CoD game. While there, we definitely got to exploring and had a pretty fantastic time. It still doesn't feel real, because Vegas is a total sensory overload and I didn't actually feel like I was there the entire time I was there. Does that even make any sense? Probably not. Carry on.

Where we stayed

We booked our stay at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in an incredibly nice suite. Hotels in Vegas are surprisingly inexpensive, but there are "resort fees" tacked on nightly at most places - so keep an eye out on those and make sure to calculate them into your budget. I enjoyed the location of the hotel, because it was about a mile off the strip, so we were in a less populated area, even though it wasn't a sketchy location or anything. We walked a lot, there was food all around, plus a Walgreen's for any necessities we needed to pick up without paying premium prices at the shops in the hotel. Honestly, if you wanted to - you could spend your entire trip in one of the hotels/casinos. They're stocked with bars, restaurants, venues, slots and tables, gift shops, etc. It was really wild.

Before visiting Vegas, I assumed that since it's the desert, it would be warm year-round. While we were there, the weather stayed in the 40s and 50s, but wasn't what I had expected. Though it was chilly, it was really comfortable and a light sweater was the perfect piece of clothing - I only wish I had taken more than two sweaters. It was hot as hell inside the casinos, though.

I can only imagine the pool parties that take place at the Hard Rock - look at these pools (yes, I said pools... plural).

Biggest tip: Get the Backstage Pass Rewards card. It will literally get you discounts across the entire hotel (including restaurants and gambling). No one told us about until about halfway through our trip, didn't explain what it was, and by the time we figured it out, it was all too late. 

What we did

Obviously, we took a picture with the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, though we didn't do it during our first day there. It's at the very beginning of the Strip, near the airport and just past Mandalay Bay. There are places to park for free, but we just got dropped off and walked to the Strip from there to continue exploring. There was a line of probably 100 people waiting to get their pictures taken at the best angle by a man that just takes pictures there (I guess?), but we just walked straight up and asked someone else to take our picture, then left. So depending on how important all the perfect angles and everything are to you, you may not want to wait in line, so you can spend that time exploring instead.

We definitely visited the downtown strip, which is... overwhelming... to say the least. There are so many people, so many lights, strange men handing out flyers for prostitutes. It's honestly a total sensory overload, so if you can't get everywhere and see everything, that's okay. Honestly, we were there for four nights, and didn't even get through the entire strip because it was really overwhelming.

We did get a chance to go see the Bellagio Conservatory, which was decorated beautifully for the holidays (but incredibly crowded), and we watched the fountains, which were synchronized to Chicago's All That Jazz, and I loved it. We also walked through the area at the Linq Promenade, checked out Caesar's Palace and Luxor, and really just tried to take everything in. It really is a beautiful city. I think New York, New York was my favorite. I didn't get many pictures because I was in such awe and was really enjoying the experience, but it's honestly like a city inside of a building.

We took a trip down to Fremont Street, which surprisingly is almost five miles from the Strip, so we definitely had to grab an Uber/Lyft there. One thing to note about ridesharing is there are designated areas everywhere for rideshare services and typically the app will tell you where to go, but make sure you're following signs - it makes it easier to actually find your ride in the overwhelming amount of cars all over the place. Fremont is super interesting! It's like daytime in the middle of the night because of the lighted ceiling. Check out the casinos, because it's "Old Vegas" and everything was really trendy.

We decided to only attend one show, because they can get pretty pricey. We chose to go see Penn & Teller, and it was truly amazing. We bought same-day tickets to get a bit of a discount, so that was helpful. They have a residency in the Rio, so we enjoyed walking around there a bit and getting to see an older place a little bit away from the Strip. Penn & Teller are known for being comedic and giving away their secrets. I don't want to give away any trade secrets (just kidding - I don't know how they did any of the things they did!), but I will shout that I had a great time and laughed out loud many a-time. There was also the chance to meet them after the shows, but alas the crowd was crazy, so we didn't.

We also got the chance to explore MedMen, which is a pretty high-class dispensary in my opinion. Recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada for 21+, so we definitely wanted to check out a dispensary experience. We visited two dispensaries, one of which felt very much like a doctor's office - you went it, supplied IDs, and then had to wait in a literal waiting room for someone to call us back. It was very transactional. MedMen on the other hand was a totally pleasant experience. You showed your IDs at the door, then had them scanned into the system, and an associate would walk around with you and help you with so much. There were touchscreens that told about the percentages and whatnot of THC and where it was sourced from. You could smell it and stuff. They had edibles and drinks, thc gummy bears, pre-rolled joints, bud, self-care supplies, e-cigs. It was wild. The associate helping you would take your order and you'd wait to be called to pick it up. Then they'd enclose it in this really fancy bag with a childproof lock. The people that worked there were amazingly kind, super helpful, and remembered their customers - plus they told me I had to best sweatshirts (please give me all the compliments). Even if you don't smoke, visiting a dispensary if very much worth the experience. I would highly, highly recommend MedMen - they have locations in Nevada, California, and New York.

And of course, the main purpose of our trip was CWL, so I would read or nap a lot while Andre was enjoying all the ins and outs of the event. But I did go down for the main event, and got to see Optic win. I don't know much about eSports, but I do know Optic is a fan-favorite and the team-to-beat, so I wasn't surprised in their win against eUnited.

What we ate

Mr. Lucky's - Twice for breakfast, we ate at Mr. Lucky's diner. It's a 24/7 diner located in the Hard Rock Hotel and was somewhat inexpensive - meaning in the $10-20 range. I loved the proper breakfast sandwich both times, and loved it. It was basically a cheeseburger but with a giant sausage patty instead of a beef patty. I also enjoyed the garden mary, which was my first ever bloody mary.

Pink Taco - Also located within the Hard Rock Hotel, I was looking forward to eating there before we even went. The name is obviously an innuendo, but Mexican food is my favorite, and they literally have pink-shelled tacos. A little pricey for Mexican food, but inexpensive for Vegas.

Pizza Forte - Good, cheap pizza located in the hotel - slices were less than $5.

Big Chicken - I think was hands-down the best food I ate in Vegas. It's Shaq's chicken place, and it was literally just across the road from our hotel. The sandwiches are huge and delicious. The fries were like flat steak fries and they were delicious! We didn't see Shaq, but apparently he stopped by the store two days after we were there. SMH.

In-n-Out - If I got anywhere there's an In-n-Out, obviously I'm eating there. It was the first time I tried animal style fries, and really I could have gone without. It wasn't the best In-n-Out I've had, which was a little saddening. We went to location in the Linq Promenade.

White Castle - We have Krystal's down here in the Southeast, but I've never had White Castle before. Being a fan of Harold & Kumar, we definitely wanted to give White Castle a try. It was busy as all hell, but the grilled onions on top were delicious. The location we went to was on Fremont Street, right beside the Denny's.

Milk Bar - Our first night visiting the strip, we stopped by the Cosmopolitan because it is oh, so fancy. Located inside are a ton of restaurants that are on "must-have" lists, including Secret Pizza (which we found thanks to Emelia, but didn't eat because we were already full), EggSlut (which was closed when we stopped by), an Alice in Wonderland themed bar, and Milk Bar (where I had a pretty delicious, but overly-priced cereal milk latte).

Overall, the experience was really enjoyable. I still can't believe we took a trip to Vegas. I can't wait to see where we go next.

What are you favorite Vegas recommendations? 

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  1. Ahhhh you hit up SO many good places. Fremont Street is Chuck’s favorite. I haven’t been to milk bar yet but we ate at pink taco before Britney. Stayed F hard rock and loved it too- i met 50 cent at mr lucky’s! What a fun trip. I love Vegas so much haha

    1. We had sooooo much fun! Unfortunately, we met no celebrities, but we did have a fantastic time!