What happens in Vegas…


What happens in Vegas…stays in Vegas, right? Well not for this girl…there’s just too many good things I must share about my past experiences in sin city. Last weekend five of my hometown girls each flew in from different states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and California to meet for a big celebration: Danielle’s Last Fling Before the Ring! In this entry I’ll count down the top ten things I’ve done in Vegas starting from the top…literally. 

#1: Top of the World Restaurant – Stratosphere
After a delayed flight, rushed taxi cab rides, and a jaunt through over twenty stories of the Stratosphere I finally arrived at the Top of the World Restaurant where my girlfriends were waiting for me. We ordered some delicious red wine, salads, and appetizers while we talked, giggled, and gawked at the gorgeous views of the Las Vegas strip…all the while the restaurant was continuously rotating a complete 360 degrees. After dinner we rode an elevator up to the observation deck for some fresh air and a breathtaking view of the entire strip. Dinner was amazing but spendy so if you can’t afford a big dinner bill be sure to buy a ticket for the observation deck…you don’t wanna miss that view! If you’re feeling brave, take a spin on one of the thrill rides on top of the tower or free fall from more than 800 feet above ground. 

#2. Eiffel Tower – Paris Las Vegas
Our next stop on the list is the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. At 460 feet above ground, this half-scale replica of the real Eiffel Tower also offers an elevator ride to the very top with great views of the heart of the strip including the Bellagio and Caesars Palace. A ride to the top is normally $10 per person but Keenan and I were able to score free tickets from a coupon book we received for staying at the Flamingo. If you can’t make it all the way down to the Stratosphere, I would recommend this as an alternative. 

#3. Thunder from Down Under – Excalibor
Now that you’ve seen the top of Vegas, let’s go down under to the sexy Australian imports of the Thunder from Down Under show at Exalibor. This wildly popular male revue was the perfect show for our bachelorette celebration as well as many other bride-to-be’s and their posses. The male entertainers ranged from firemen and cowboys to the infamous milk man. If you’re looking for a fun time with the girls, be sure to check out this show and you won’t be disappointed. 

#4. Serendipity 3 – Caesars Palace
With friends gushing over Serendipity’s delicious frozen hot chocolate and the Food Network awing over their $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae, I couldn’t resist checking out this cheery restaurant seated at the front of the immense Caesars palace. So when Keenan and I got a coupon for a free frozen hot chocolate, we didn’t think twice about going . Before induldging in the frozen hot chocolate (derived from 20 different types of chocolate), we snacked on some chicken strips served with three different sauces and popcorn shrimp served on a bed of popcorn. The food was awesome and the frozen hot chocolate was the perfect fix on a hot, sunny day in Vegas. 

#5. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville – Las Vegas
Hey, it’s five o’ clock somewhere so head to Jimmy Buffet’s for lunch or dinner and enjoy one of their smooth margaritas any time of day…there’s no judging here. This laid back restaurant is filled with the sounds of island music and adorned with loud decorations like a slide that leads into a six foot tall margarita blender and a small passenger plane hanging from the ceiling. 

The first few times I visited Margaritaville I was seated upstairs but the third time I was finally seated on the main level which I found has ten times more character and liveliness than the second level. There are tables that resemble fishing boats, an island stage, live entertainers on stilts and of course, palm trees. A little fair warning – Margaritaville is a bustling place so if you go around dinner time you’re bound to wait awhile for a table. My recommendation is to go in the late afternoon before the mad dinner rush, grab a margarita and some appetizers. The Jamacia Mistaica Wings, tossed in honey habanero sauce, are awesome and the Volcano Nachos are truly a massive volcano of delicious nachos with all the good stuff: chili, cheese, guac, jalapenos, and sour cream. I’m telling you…there’s a reason we keep coming back to this place!

#6. Forum Shops – Caesar’s Palace
With over 160 luxury shops housed under dreamy blue skies and picturesque architecture, its no wonder the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace was named America’s top selling mall in 2009. With its high end shops like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Christian Dior, and Jimmy Choo, this mall generates a whopping $1,400 per square foot. Besides it’s extravagent shops and decor, this Roman themed mall features a huge Trojan horse, a 50,000 gallon salt water tank filled with sea creatures from brightly colored fish to sharks, and a number of Roman statues. Head to the center of the mall to the Atlantis show where the gods come to life for a live show. Even if the shopping is out of your price range (which it generally is for me), I would still recommend checking out the mall or grabbing a bite to eat one of the many restaurants inside like the Cheesecake Factory or Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. 

#7. Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
This amazingly creative and detailed botanical garden at Bellagio is quite the site to see. But would you expect anything less from a luxury hotel and over one hundred expert horticulturists who maintain the garden? Of course not! I’ve stopped here two out of my four trips to Las Vegas to check out the gaden – which is constantly changing with the season and holiday – and each time I’ve been blown away by the garden’s new design. One of my favorites was a huge green frog made from dozens upon dozens of green kermit poms. While you’re there don’t forget to see the Bellagio Fountains, a free choreographed water show that runs Monday through Friday from 8 p.m. until 12 p.m…the show runs during the day too but I’d recommend going at night.   

#8. Bar at Time’s Square – New York, New York  

“Don’t stop believing….hold on to the feeeeeeling” and “Sweet Caroline…baaa! baaa! baaa!” are just a few of the classic hits you’ll hear blaring from the doors of the Bar at Time’s Square inside New York, New York. Any fun loving person will be immediately drawn to this lively bar which is home to some of the best dueling pianos acts in Vegas. The pianists are fun, hilarious, and at times a little risqué but they’ll play anything you’d like to hear from “Baby Got Back” to “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places.” 

A little tip doesn’t hurt if you have a special request or want your song played next. My girlfriends and I went to this bar to celebrate our friend Lacee’s 25th birthday. Some nice gentlemen paid the pianist to play “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” and employed a few men from the crowd to reenact the scene from Top Gun while Lacee sat atop the piano. Awesome! Oh and if you’re hungry for a snack when the shows over, stop by Sirrico’s next door for a slice of pizza. 

#9. Cirque Du Soleil’s Beatles Love – The Mirage  

Let me start by saying…Beatle’s Love is THE MOST AMAZING show I have ever seen. Director of the show, Domonique Champagne, said she “wanted to create a Beatles experience rather than a Beatles story, taking the audience on an emotional journey rather than a chronological one, exploring the landscapes and experiences that have marked the group’s history.” In my experience…she did just that. I was completely taken back by the exceptional sound system, dynamic stages, amazing costumes (see a glimpse of the costumes here), and outstandingly talented artists (a cast of over 60 artists from around the world)….not to mention the music! What a remarkable tribute to the Beatles! You MUST see this show! 

#10. Qua Bath & Spa – Caesar’s Palace
There’s simply no better way to relax after those late nights in Vegas than an afternoon at Qua Bath and Spa. This luxurious spa features a full line up of services from stone massages to crystal body art as well as a series of roman baths. After a long bachelorette party weekend, the girls and I treated ourselves to an afternoon at the spa. For under fifty dollars we got complete access to the spa’s mineral baths, tea room, herbal steam room, sauna, and arctic room. Nearly four hours of rest and relaxation in this spa, fit for celebrities, brought us back to life. Best idea ever! 

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