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Fear and Loving in Las Vegas w/ a heaping side of Canyon

Community Highlights North America Fear and Loving in Las Vegas w/ a heaping side of Canyon

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Not that kind of loving - Jeez! My brother lives in Las Vegas and I just travelled there to meet my new niece. Who is adorable - obviously - and I am officially in love with. But don't worry, I am done being the annoying bragging Aunt (BUT SHE IS SO CUTE) and I want to share this trip report with you as we did some things we haven't experienced in Vegas before.

I'll give you my opinions on the activities below so keep reading!

  • * High Roller ferris wheel
  • * Grand Canyon West Rim
  • * Stratosphere SkyJump
  • * Assorted other restaurants and venues - I can't reveal everything up front!

We flew into Vegas at night. If you have never been there before, please try to arrive at night. I did not do this the first time and, as much as I hate to admit it, was a little disappointed seeing it for the first time during the day. Much less impressive that way. Keep that in mind!

We rented a car, which involves taking a shuttle from the airport for all rental companies. I sat next to a guy in a cowboy hat I decided looks like George W and across from a tattoo-covered rocker with her elderly grandmother. Gotta love Vegas! We didn't have a wait and used the kiosk at Enterprise for a quick rental process. No complaints.

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Driving onto the strip I always get excited to see the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. But I'll be honest, I may have a special nostalgia for this sign... Yup, that's us on our wedding day in 2005! Awww...

So we continued on to the Aria where we are staying for this trip. This is our third time staying at Aria and its a pretty fantastic hotel. Unfortunately after about a 15 minute wait to check in, they did not have any available upgrades for us as they did the first two stays... You know the hotel is packed when you try to tip the front desk attendant for an upgrade and they tell you to keep the money until she sees if there is anything available. Never got that response before! We were still on the 22nd floor and this was our view (below)
So not too bad...

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The rooms at Aria are spectacular. I won't spoil the surprise but the blend of luxury and technology shows itself off upon your first entry to the room setting the ambiance for your stay. The housekeepers are great and go the extra mile to make you feel spoiled and the beds are VERY comfortable. If you have to set a wake up alarm I highly recommend taking advantage of their wake-up setting and at your desired time the black out curtains will slowly open and music will softly play from your TV. I really need to install this at home! One more tip, call the front desk and request turn down service for your stay - why stay in a great hotel and not be spoiled? Now if only I an get my dogs to do this for me at home...Leia get on it!

The next day was Friday and we put in some family time in the morning. For lunch we went to a ramen-house off strip in Vegas' Asian district. Its my husband's favorite, so he was happy. Oh the sacrifices we must make for our loved ones... I'm joking, it was good, I just had some of his soup (is it ok to call ramen soup? Am I going to Japanese food jail for that?)

That evening we met up with my family again to all go on the High Roller Ferris wheel that towers over the Las Vegas Strip.
The High Roller soars to 550 ft. and it periodically tells you your elevation via tv screens inside the pod. It costs around $19.95 for day tickets or $34.95 for night. We experienced it at night and the views were spectacular!large_IMG_20140628_134130.jpg
The next day we ventured over to one of my favorite places in Vegas - the Bellagio Conservatory. This is a must see for me every time I am in Vegas. They change the décor every season and the entire walk-through display is made from flowers! Its so gorgeous!
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The next day we planned a trip to the Grand Canyon West Rim at Hualapai Village. This is about 2.5 hours from the Las Vegas Strip. We stopped at Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam for a quick viewing but opted out of the tour. Got a few good pics...
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We then continued on to the West Rim. The West Rim is technically not part of the Grand Canyon National Park and the land is owed by the Hualapai Tribe. When you drive to the entrance you purchase tickets for the tour which includes 3 stops. We boarded the air-conditioned bus (thankfully as it was over 105 degrees outside!) and we opted for the second stop first. This is the first lookout point, as well as the location of the skywalk bridge and an authentic Native American village.

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We chose not to do the skywalk, pictured above, as it is $35 extra to walk out on the bridge, and (this part was the kicker for me) they WON'T ALLOW YOU TO TAKE PICTURES!! Plus you can walk right up to the edge of the canyon anyway so we didn't feel like we were missing out on a lot. WON'T ALLOW PICTURES! Can you tell I am still annoyed with this?!
Anyway...here is the first part of the "fear" in this blog title. Since there are no barriers to the edge of the canyon my husband finds it fun to push the boundaries. I can't even watch him because it scares me too much so my father took this picture...
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For some reason the heights don't bother me when I am there, only when my husband is...maybe I'm just scared we haven't had a chance to raise his life insurance policy? (kidding of course). But here is a picture of myself on the edge.
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The next stop was at a higher point where you could climb up a rock formation for stunning 360 views.

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The last stop was an old-timey Western Village where we had lunch. The town had archery, panning for gold, a magic show, jail and some other cute little facades. You could also take a horse and wagon ride but we felt like it was too hot for it.

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For the next fear inducing activity, that evening my husband decided to jump from the Stratosphere. This is called the Sky Jump. You are hooked to a cable 885 ft in the air and plunge down to earth at up to 45 miles per hour.

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The following night we had dinner at the Mandalay Bay Buffet, which is always pretty decent and then went out for the night. We started at the Foundation Room in Mandalay Bay. It has incredible décor and breathtaking views of the strip. The bartenders are also really nice.

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Next we went over to the Wynn to go to the XS nightclub in Encore. On the way I got some shots of the Wynn lobby.

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The Wynn is a nice hotel but I would not necessarily recommend staying there. Its nice but feels like a Bellagio rip-off a bit to me. That, paired with its location far north on the strip its definitely not my favorite. When I am in Vegas I love to walk from hotel to hotel on the strip and a central location is important, IMHO. Now if you get an amazing deal there or want to drive around more, than by all means go for it. The same goes for Mandalay Bay. Its nice but so far South on the strip. The good thing about Mandalay is they do have a tram to Luxor and Excalibur so its a little easier to travel to a more central location. But I digress. So we entered the XS nightclub in Encore and I was duly impressed.
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I am not really a club person but I have been to a fair amount of them. This place was straight out of the movies. I felt like I was walking through with Johnny Depp and Prince Harry or something. Actually wasn't it here that Harry took his infamous last night swim? The outside club area is pool side with platforms that allow you to dance on the water. So cool! It was fairly packed with good music and it was a Monday!

Our last morning there was actually my birthday so I asked my family to meet me at Hash House a go-go for breakfast. If you haven't tried this place you must! The portions are enormous and the food is out of this world delicious.

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Sausage gravy pot pie
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Caramelized Banana French Toast

That was the end of our trip. It was a great time filled with fun, family and blackjack. Actually played the best blackjack of my life and made enough to cover our hotel and rental car! Score!
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Here's till next time Vegas! Oh how I love you!

This featured blog entry was written by travelzealot from the blog Travel Zealot.
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By travelzealot

Posted Sat, Jul 05, 2014 | USA | Comments