Have you ever wondered how other people plan their Vegas trips? Well, step into my mind (It’s not that scary a place, really) as I walk you through a sneak peek of my upcoming Vegas trip–what I’m planning to do, and how some activities came off the list.
I know a lot of people just book flights and hotel and wing everything else once they arrive in Vegas, but I’m psychologically incapable of that. For instance, I had one unstructured day in Vegas on my last trip. I thought “Great, I can do whatever I feel like doing that day.” But when the day rolled around, I did nothing, because I am paralyzed with indecision when it comes to thinking on my feet. It was terrible. I wandered the Strip aimlessly and only succeeded in getting tired from all that walking. And trust me, that was not how I wanted to spend that day. No, it’s always better for me to have a plan of action.
This trip, however, was especially hard to plan. There are so many new things that have opened (hotels, restaurants, attractions) since my last trip in October, it was hard to squeeze everything in–and also make sure I have some rest and relaxation every day. (This is my vacation from my day job, after all.)
Here’s what made it onto my list, and what didn’t:
What I Won’t Be Doing
Did you know you could book a day tour to go kayaking on the Colorado River when you’re in Vegas? Neither did I until a tour operator contacted me to let me know. Of course, once I looked into it, I really wanted to do it. But trying to squeeze a full day trip into my schedule along with everything else was impossible this time out.
The tipping point came when I considered the importance of photography to me. If I were going kayaking on the Colorado River, I’d want to come home with some amazing photos of desert landscapes, water caves, and bighorn sheep. Neither my cell phone nor my point-and-shoot take very good photos. Only my DSLR would do. But how do you bring a DSLR on a kayak without running the risk of it getting wet or winding up at the bottom of the Colorado RIver? I’ve spent way too much money on that camera over the years to allow anything bad to happen to it. So goodbye kayaking trip. Sob.
I also had my heart set on going to the Monday night Dive-In movies at the Cosmopolitan–until the schedule came out and I learned the movies playing during my trip are two that I have zero interest in seeing. So despite the fact that I think I’d love the atmosphere of the Dive-In movies, that got scratched off my list, too.
One of the hottest new show experiences in Las Vegas is Rose. Rabbit. Lie at the Cosmopolitan. I debated for a long time whether I should check it out so I could review it, but ultimately decided against it. For one thing, the show itself doesn’t sound like anything I would personally enjoy, and it also doesn’t sound like the most solo-friendly venue, either. But if any of you have done it solo and would like to report back on it, please contact me!
Would you believe that in 13 years, I have never been to a concert in Las Vegas that wasn’t a resident headliner show? The timing of my trips has never coincided with anyone I wanted to see in concert. But this trip? Holy moly, it’s a smorgasbord! So many choices.
The Neon Trees are playing the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool for a very reasonable $30 or so. I love their music and would love to check out Boulevard as a concert venue. . .but some Internet research told me that the average age of fans who attend Neon Trees concerts is about 20. The idea of being old enough to be the mom of everybody else there kind of dashed any thoughts I had of attending that concert.
I agonized about going to the James Darren concert at South Point. He’s from my parents’ generation, but I’ve loved him ever since he played Vic Fontaine on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (he sings like Frank Sinatra). Unfortunately, he’s playing a venue that is all table seating. I hate table seating. There’s nothing more painfully awkward for me than being seated like a fifth wheel at a table with strangers. (If I could be seated at a table with other solos, it would be fine, but that is usually not the case with these places.) I guess I’ll just have to rewatch my DSN DVDs when I get home.
I really wanted to book a massage at the Aria Spa. But damn, their prices are steep. Which would be fine if I weren’t shelling out so much money on shows and attractions during this trip, but I’ve got to cap the budget somewhere. So I probably won’t be booking a massage. (I might still get a day pass though and just enjoy the facilities, because their spa sounds amazing. We’ll see.)
What I Will Be Doing
I’ll be spending 5 nights on the Strip and 2 nights Downtown. (Don’t ask me where I’m staying; I’ll tell you when I get back. It’s generally a bad idea for solo female travelers to tell people where they’re staying, especially on the Internet, since you never know who’s reading.)
I typically only spend one evening Downtown (and not overnight), but this trip, I wanted to dedicate some significant time there because it’s changed so much this past year, with the opening of Downtown Grand and the Downtown Container Park and various new restaurants, stores and attractions–like Slotzilla. I want to check it all out–and I really wouldn’t be able to do that in the course of one evening. The Downtown stay should be interesting, since the Culinary Union is going on strike starting June 1. (This better not interfere with my eating habits, because I will hulk out on anyone who gets between me and food!)
Shared shuttles are my preferred mode of getting to and from airports in other cities, but I’ve never used them in Vegas (because the airport is so close to the Strip and because I usually arrive after 9pm and just want to get to my hotel quickly). But due to my growing annoyance with longhauling cabbies, I decided it’s finally time to give this option a try. We’ll see how that goes.
One of the things I’m most excited about on this trip is attending the Billy Joel concert at the MGM Grand on July 7. I’ve been a Billy Joel fan since I was a kid (one of the first albums I ever owned was Glass Houses), but this will be my first time seeing him in concert. I’ve also booked a ticket to the new Mamma Mia! at the Tropicana. I never saw this show when it played at Mandalay Bay, but I saw the movie and have a feeling the live show will be even more fun.
Other things I’m looking forward to on this trip:
- Afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental (I’d like to see how it compares to the Petrossian’s)
- Checking out the Linq and High Roller
- Roaming through the Cromwell (since I can’t afford to actually stay there)
- The Atomic Testing Museum and Area 51 exhibit (I can’t believe I haven’t done this yet!)
- Revisiting Madame Tussaud’s for the first time in 9 years. (I have a very specific reason for this which will be revealed upon my return.)
- The sea turtle feed at Mandalay Bay. (I became completely obsessed with the “honu,” or sea turtle, during my recent trip to Hawaii, despite the fact that I didn’t actually see any there!)
- Trying a whole slew of new restaurants. (Because FOOD.)
- And of course, the Vegas Solo Meetup! I hope a few of you may be in town who can come and hang out with me.
You can follow along on my trip via Facebook and Twitter, and I’ll try to post some photos while I’m there, but don’t expect blog posts while I’m on vacation. I’m giving myself a much-needed break and going on “hiatus” for the next couple of weeks.
Now, I have 2 questions for you and I would love to hear your answers:
1. What new slot machines have come out since October 2013 that you think I should try? (Keep in mind, I get most excited about machines tied to popular culture, like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.)
2. What new hotels, attractions, and restaurants that have opened up in Las Vegas in the past six months are you most interested in hearing more about?
Add your answers to the comments section below and I’ll do my best to check them out while I’m in town!