After a long four-hour drive from LA we finally arrived in Las Vegas. This was the first time the cast of The Hills had led us astray as on the show Kirsten and Stacey drove to Vegas in an hour. We learnt pretty quickly we shouldn’t base our trips on this “reality show”.
We were staying at the Golden Nugget in downtown Vegas which is about 10 minutes from The Strip by taxi ($25) or an hour if you take the bus ($7). Downtown had a light show called the “Fremont Experience” which was pretty cool – the ceiling basically comes alive to tunes of “American Pie”, while people zip-line above you..all very surreal.
The next day we cruised around The Strip – the plan was to pick a casino each day and see what each had to offer. The first one was Treasure Island…apparently there are shows here every night from 6pm-midnight every 30 minutes but we didn’t see it. We walked in, bought some Margaritas and headed onto the strip. We learnt three things about Vegas that afternoon:
- You can walk the streets of Vegas with alcohol
- Take the escalators / walkways (not the stairs) to enter all casinos and when crossing the road.
- Gambling = Free Drinks
Casinos: Every Casino has some entertainment, show or attraction you need to see. We went to New York, New York, which had an awesome roller coaster (where you should be able to see Vegas from, IF your eyes remain open), the Paris Hotel where we went up to the top of the Eiffel tower and then the Bellagio has an amazing water fountain show every 15 minutes. We tried to get on the Gondolas at the Venetian but we were late every time and missed out, but the Venetian was amazing – they’ve decked out the main dining area as a replication of San Marco’s Basillica in Venice which looks fabulous! We had dinner there with Michelle and Adam (our friends from Chicago) who came down to visit us! Super sweet!
Craps: Not what you think, it’s even better! By accident we walked into a casino called O’Sheas (which is a casino that doesn’t sell bottled drinks for the fear that their customers will use them as weapons). Here, we found a dealer who was willing to explain the rules of a game called “Craps” and this is where our addiction began. It’s quite hard to lose, so it kept us there for about 3 hours and after 5 or 6 free drinks, we were rolling the die like pros. Lots of fun and between couples we came away with $1000 – Apparently, this is the game to play in Vegas, so if you go to Vegas you gots to play some Craps!
That night after a few too many drinks I decided to become a wedding planner and book in Jack and Gabe’s vowel renewal wedding. They wanted Elvis to be the celebrant and we found a place that could do it for under $300, so we booked it in.
The Bucks & Hen’s Day: The boys went to fire M-16 Machine Guns at the Las Vegas Gun Shop. It was $55 dollars for a whole 10 minutes of shooting guns at the range, but awesome none the less. We girls had planned a day of spa, pedicures and manicures but shopping for the perfect bridal couture was harder than expected. Five hours later we found the perfect wedding dress and bridesmaid dress, we were set.
The Wedding: The wedding took place at a little chapel called the Wedding Chapel of Las Vegas, we had a Limo pick up to take us there. Elvis was the celebrant and walked Gabe down the aisle, while playing “Love me Tender”. The ceremony was completed with Jack and Gabe reciting vowels to each other complete with Elvis song lyrics including “I Promise not never be a Hound Dog” or “Return you to Sender”. It was a crack up and lots of fun. Memories all round and lots of posing with Elvis…
Grand Canyon & Hoover Dam: It was a short wedding reception as we had to get up the next day for our helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. We booked for a three-hour helicopter ride in the morning and then a three-hour boat cruise down the Hoover dam in the afternoon. Loved the helicopter ride, it’s a weird feeling hovering over land but very cool. Complete with champagne breakfast in the canyon, it was our highlight of Vegas (after the wedding of course). The boat cruise down the Hoover dam went for a bit longer than was necessary, an hour would have been sufficient but it dragged out for another two. It didn’t help that our tour guide was a science teacher, so he was a little more into the plants and rocks than we were…You can book the helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon without the float down the dam, so would probably do that next time.
- Try stay on the strip if you can
- Always gamble because you get free drinks
- Don’t eat on Fremont street at the 4 Queens buffet
- Only visit O’Sheas Casino during the day
- If you decide to get married, do it at the end of the strip so you get the free ride in the Limo down the strip
- If you want to use the pool, the best time for sun is in the morning
- Play some Craps!