Vegas baby, Vegas!
I’ve had a mild fascination with Las Vegas ever since I saw the movie Swingers in high school. It quickly became “the movie” amongst my group of friends, and we could quote it nearly word for word by the time we graduated. If you haven’t seen it, this is your chance to see 90’s Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn in a classic tale about helping a friend get over an ex – by taking them to Vegas.
It wouldn’t be until many years after high school that I actually made it there myself. And like pretty much everyone with a pulse, I had so much fun that I wanted to go back! I had my chance the very next year when I went back for a wedding held at the Venetian (to this day, one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever attended!). In recent years, some of my college/Pennsylvania friends have done an annual March Madness trip. I was planning to go last year, but as it happened, I moved to Chicago the same month! This year, I made it a priority to get out of Chiberia and head to the desert. We lucked out with beautiful, sunny, 80 degree weather… every single day! As the saying goes, what happens in Vegas
gets blogged about stays in Vegas. In that spirit, I wasn’t specifically planning to document the trip, but used my iPhone for a few random shots. The pictures aren’t the greatest, although in retrospect, I think it captures the blurry haze that is Las Vegas! First things first: hotels and casinos. We stayed at the Tropicana, which is a very average hotel. It’s located on The Strip, which was convenient, and has a great pool area, but other than that, it was pretty standard. We weren’t planning to spend much time there, so we basically just needed a place to sleep. Plus, it being March Madness, hotel prices were astromnomical, so the Trop suited us just fine. This was the first time I stayed on the southern end of The Strip, so I saw a lot of casinos I hadn’t been to before. We ended up spending most of our time at New York New York, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay, which were all in close proximity. We also spent some time at MGM and the Cosmopolitan. I think the girls are definitely leaning towards the Cosmopolitan for next year!
Next up, the food. We ate at some really great restaurants. I will say that the caliber of restaurants has really skyrocketed since my first trip to Vegas. Also helpful, our budget now allows for more than Subway and various chain restaurants! No stuffy white tablecloth establishments for us though; we chose places with modern cuisine and a fun atmosphere. The standouts were Mon Ami Gabi and Pub 1842 for brunch, and Todd English P.U.B and Jaleo for dinner . And now for the fun stuff: what we did. It was a really chill, low key couple of days spent with the kind of friends you’ve known for so long that you can just be yourself. The ones with whom you rehash a decade’s worth of inside jokes and laugh at the same stories that everyone has told a million times. The best! With March Madness in full swing, we spent a good amount of time watching basketball. Naturally, we discussed everyone’s bracket strategies, which is when I developed a brilliant, dare I say foolproof, method of picking teams, which hinges on the players’ uniforms – their leggings in particular. I’ve already said too much! While I’m not much of a gambler, I did make my very first sports bet. And I won! Not quite enough to quit my day job, but I was still really excited, as you can see in exhibit A:
Aside from the basketball, we enjoyed some pool time and even took a couple long walks up and down The Strip (our attempt at detox). One of the highlights of the trip for me was going to see the DJ Afrojack. My friend Lauren scored last minute tickets, and it turned out to be one of the most fun things we did on the trip! If you’ve read some of my previous blog posts, you know how much I love EDM, and Afrojack did not disappoint. It was an amazing show and we had a blast dancing the night away at Hakkasan at the MGM. There may or may not be a story involving a bachelor party from Texas, but it’s probably for the best if I leave it at that, ha. We spent most of the night on a balcony overlooking the dance floor, but I did make my way to the lower level at one point, and got right up to the stage! As with any good trip to Vegas, we were in and out in a few days. Just enough time to live like rock stars, but still leave on a high note!