Author Archives: Gray Cargill

About Gray Cargill

Nonprofit researcher by day, travel blogger by night. Scifi geek and Keurig coffee lover all the time. Enthusiastic amateur photographer who cannot resist cute animal photos. Publisher of travel websites SoloFriendly and The Vegas Solo.

Las Vegas Shows Are Great for Solo Trips

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concert crowd

Pre-show crowd at House of Blues

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how I’m kind of sick of Las Vegas because I’ve spent too much time there over the past 15 years. One thing about Las Vegas that I’m not sick of, though, is its excellent variety of top-shelf shows. I’ve traveled around the world and when it comes to evening entertainment, nothing beats Las Vegas (okay, I suppose Broadway comes close). I believe experiencing a Las Vegas show can be an ideal way for a solo visitor to spend an evening. You might not feel comfortable going to a club or bar by yourself, but if you can go to the movies alone, you can go to a show alone.

On my trip last May, I decided to take advantage of the nighttime entertainment options in Vegas by seeing not one, not two, but three shows in one week.That’s the most I’ve ever done before, and I’m not the least bit sorry. All three were excellent, and they all offered very different experiences from each other, from the big, acrobatic production number of the Beatles’ LOVE (by Cirque du Soleil) at the Mirage to concerts by Billy Idol at the House of Blues and Lionel Richie at Planet Hollywood. I suppose if you really want to look for a common theme running through them, you might say all three represent the “music of my life.”

Note: All three of these shows offered theater-style seating, which is more comfortable for me as a solo. That’s something you might consider as you’re choosing which Vegas shows to see. Now, without further rambling, my show reviews:

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The Bloom is Off the Rose

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NYNY Sunset

NYNY Sunset

When I was a child, I loved hot dogs. Whenever we had cookouts, we grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, mostly because they were cheaper than steak or chicken, and we were not rich. One summer day at a cookout, I ate one too many hot dogs and got really sick. Really, really sick. For years after that, I couldn’t even think about hot dogs or look at them or smell them–let alone eat them–without feeling nauseated.

Why am I telling you this story? I was in Las Vegas in early May. I had an epiphany when that trip was over: Vegas is my hot dog.

I’ve gorged on Las Vegas for the past fifteen years and finally, it made me sick. Sick to the point I couldn’t wait to get home, and I didn’t want to write about my trip, process my photos or anything. I just wanted to forget about it and focus on other parts of my life. So that’s what I’ve been doing the past few months. Honestly, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner.

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Lyft and the Solo Female Traveler

This entry was posted in solo travel, Transportation on by .

Las Vegas

Las Vegas at night

As a single woman/solo female traveler, I’ve been a little slow to embrace the whole Uber-Lyft ride sharing phenomenon. The idea of getting into a car with a stranger runs completely contrary to everything I was taught about safety growing up, you know? But after awhile, I had to realize how ridiculous that was. I mean, really, what’s the difference between getting into a cab driven by a stranger or getting into an Uber or Lyft with a stranger? Some would argue that cab drivers undergo more stringent background checks, but you wouldn’t know it by some of the sketchy cab drivers I’ve gotten in the past.

Finally, on my latest trip, I had just reached my limit with the longhauling cabbie situation in Las Vegas and decided to give ride sharing a try. At least, I hoped, with the apps, if something bad did happen to me, the culprit would be easy to track down. And it was less likely that an Uber or Lyft driver would leave me in a dark alley outside the tour lobby of my hotel like a Vegas cabbie once did so I couldn’t report him to the valet for longhauling me. (Yeah, that happened.) Continue reading

Guest Post: My Best Las Vegas Solo Trip

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Today I have a guest post from Rona Wright, who only began traveling solo after her husband passed away. After reading her story, I thought her perspective could be useful for many readers–for other widows and widowers, divorcees, or anyone who finds themselves in a new situation of traveling to Las Vegas alone. But also for those who can’t relate to my travel style, which is very different from Rona’s. For instance, I’ve never felt the need to pretend I was married when traveling in the U.S. But I’ve been traveling solo for 20 years, so it’s perfectly normal for me. In any case, I’d say given how much she raves about her most recent solo trip, Rona has clearly become a “Vegas solo” herself. Here is her story:

I have been to Las Vegas six times; twice with my late husband, and four times as a Vegas solo. I have stayed at the Monte Carlo, Bally’s, Flamingo, Mirage, and recently the Venetian, which was the best place I have ever stayed in Las Vegas and would highly recommend to others.

This was my best solo Vegas trip ever.

Going to Las Vegas I have experienced all types of weather and holidays: Memorial Day, Christmas, July, August, November, and now April. When I went last month two out of the four days were rainy which is unusual for Las Vegas, according to the people I spoke with, but it was a welcome relief for them due to drought conditions. Actually it was quite comfortable, not humid, and it did not deter me or others from enjoying ourselves. As I always say, if you can’t find something to do in Vegas, shame on you. Continue reading

A Walk in The Park

This entry was posted in Attractions on by .

T-Mobile Arena

T-Mobile Arena at The Park, now open for business

I intended to publish this last weekend, but got sidelined with the flu for the better part of a week, so I’m a little late adding to the conversation about the opening of MGM’s new Park. But hey, better late than never!

Remember two years ago, when my brother (“Vegasbrolo”) scooped me by being in Las Vegas the day the High Roller and Linq promenade opened for business? Damned if he didn’t do it again this month when The Park opened for business. The thing that’s really maddening is that he didn’t know anything about either of these events! He just coincidentally happened to be in town at the right time. How’s that for luck?

But since I couldn’t get away from the office at this time, it worked out well for me that he was there. Once again, I enlisted him to be my intrepid, on-the-ground blogger/photographer. So Vegasbrolo and his wife went down to the Park twice to check it out–once during the day and again later at night–and he sent me his photos for use on the blog. He offered some brief initial impressions of The Park, which are also included below.

I’m not going to throw a lot of facts and figures at you about what’s available in the park. There are plenty of other Vegas websites where you can get that information. These are just the initial photos and impressions of your everyday, average visitor to Las Vegas–just like you and me. His words below, in italics, are pretty much stream-of-consciousness (in other words, he was texting me). Anything not in italics below is my commentary.

The Park

Shady seating outdoors in Vegas? This alone is worth building a Park.

Local press is all over the place.

Very much like the walkway down to High Roller [The Linq Promenade] but more of a “park” atmosphere (as you would expect). There seems to be many different areas where local musicians are setting up. Looks like a big event by the Toshiba T-Mobile area.

Toshiba Plaza

Setting up for an event at Toshiba Plaza

Toshiba Plaza has two acres of space for outdoor events, concerts, etc. This is in addition to the Arena. I could see this being a fun space for the right events.

There are actually 2 large theatres flanking the park. One is built, the second is under construction. The one that is under construction will have much more capacity than the existing ones.

Very much a park feel with bag toss and ladder ball games. Lots of trees. Lots of seating areas. Outside park tables have table games, like Connect 4.

Bag toss game

Haven’t I always said the one thing Vegas was missing was a good bag toss game? Problem solved.

Looks like most of the bars/restaurants are open. . .

Sake Rok

Sake Rok

Sake Rok – The wait staff are also the entertainers; every 20-30 minutes, they sing and dance. Somewhere down the road, the screen above the outside bar will show the waitstaff doing their singing routine inside the bar.

[I can’t wait for that. I probably won’t ever eat there, because I don’t like sushi, but I’d love to see the waitstaff sing and dance.]

Beerhaus – Has games inside like ping pong, pool, etc. plus more table games like checkers. [Glad to see Vegasbrolo had his priorities straight here. Who cares about food and beverages–it has ping pong! LOL, I kid, I kid. He took pictures of the menu here, and the beer menu is quite extensive.]

Beerhaus draft menu

Beerhaus draft menu

I confess, I don’t quite understand the whole ticket system for drinks here. This isn’t the county fair. Anyway, Beerhaus also has beer in bottles and cans, non-alcoholic brews for $4, cocktails for $10, and wines by the glass ranging from $5-12–but not more than 6-7 options in each of those categories. The food menu is similarly small and features more meat than anything, with prices ranging from $4 for a snack to $14 for a 1/2 free range chicken meal. There’s no question that this is primarily a beer hall, which is fine if all you want is a beer. But I probably won’t be eating here.

CPK- nothing to report. [If you’ve been to the California Pizza Kitchen at the Mirage, you pretty much know what to expect.]


This place is definitely on my list to try.

Bruxie (the waffle place) – Same menu all day. You can have dessert for breakfast or breakfast for dinner, LOL. Just “interviewed” one of the chefs from Bruxie (such a rookie, I didn’t get his name but he is from Mass).

The Park at night

Nighttime at The Park

I have to admit, when I first saw Vegasbrolo’s daytime photos, my initial reaction was that The Park looked like it wasn’t quite ready for prime time, if you know what I mean. It just didn’t resemble what I’d pictured it would look like, and I couldn’t see myself wanting to spend a lot of time there. But when he sent me his nighttime photos and impressions, I got more excited about it. Nighttime seems to bring out the best in The Park.


Fountains in The Park at night.

Why come here? To get away from the sounds of the slot machines. There are live musicians all throughout and waterfalls–very serene.


See? Cellist.

Lighting (or lack thereof) is a great tool for creating boundaries. . . .By keeping the perimeter darker and the center lighter it defines the area.

The other nice thing? No pan handling, or people dressed up as cartoon characters. Not sure how long that will last, but it’s nice to get away from that, too.


And of course, the Bliss Dance statue looks better at night, too.

The only food and beverage establishment they actually tried out was the Beerhaus. He answered my question before I even asked it:

So why did 2 non-beer drinkers decide to stop at the Beerhaus for a drink? Because it was very inviting. The side of the building opens up, exposing a very large bar.


The Beerhaus at the Park, nighttime

[He added that there was plenty of seating at the Beerhaus that night. They sampled Tenaya Creek Brewery’s Bonanza Brown Ale with coconut. The Beerhaus was giving out free samples.]

Bonanza Brown Ale

Tenaya Creek Brewery’s Bonanza Brown Ale with Coconut. Made in Las Vegas.

He did manage to snag a photo of the open kitchen at Bruxie, the waffle sandwich place:

Bruxie open kitchen

Commence the waffle-making!

If you look at the bottom of the photo you can see all the waffle makers. There was a worker “trimming” the rough edges of the waffles for better appearance.

Great. Now I’m hungry. And thirsty.

Many thanks to “Vegasbrolo” for the great photos and first thoughts on the Park! What’s the next big thing opening in Las Vegas? I bet whatever it is, he’ll be there then, too. 🙂

Have any of you been to The Park yet? What about the Arena for a concert? What did you think of this new neighborhood on the Strip?

Photo credit: All photos in this post are the property of Vegasbrolo.