Vegas is the last place I thought I would go this year, but I somehow found myself in Sin City this past weekend. I don’t gamble, and my clubbing days are way behind me, but my Vegas-enthusiast friend Nancy convinced me to go earlier this year. She goes every year and has some friends there, so I knew that we would have a good time.

This was my second time in Vegas, and my itinerary was definitely calmer than the last time I went. I think I was about 23 last time, so I had a lot more energy. This time, we went to “pool parties” during the day, and took it easy at night. Vegas itself was a lot more crowded because it was a holiday weekend!

Getting There

Flights are fairly cheap from the east coast. I think I paid around $300 but I’ve seen even less expensive flights on non-holiday weekends. United usually has deals as well. I recommend booking 3-6 months in advance if you can, and setting flight alerts on SkyScanner. You really don’t have to spend that much to get there. And shouldn’t, since you’ll probably spend a lot later.

For Canadian readers, affordable airline Swoop Airlines will be launching direct flights from Edmonton to Las Vegas in October. It will be the airline’s first U.S. route!

Where to Stay

We stayed at The LINQ, which is a fun hotel right in the middle of the strip. It was one of the best deals I could find so I was slightly concerned, but it ended up being pretty nice. The hotel is right next to a “promenade” with an In N’ Out Burger, the Vegas Brooklyn Bowl, Yard House, and a bunch of decent restaurants. It’s also walking distance to a few hotels like Ceasars and the Paris Hotel, so it’s pretty convenient. The pool is fun too – but be warned – it turns into a party around noon!

Last time I was there I stayed at The Wynn (who did I think I was!?) and it is gorgeous. Definitely stay there if you are looking for more of a luxurious vibe, and willing to spend a bit more.

I’ve also heard great things about The Cosmopolitan. A lot of people around my age (late 20s) stay there, it’s super hip and cool and has some amazing restaurants like Rose. Rabbit. Lie., Beauty & Essex, and Blue Ribbon.


A massive Bloody Mary and a Sangria pitcher at HEXX.

What We Did

There’s really so much to do in Vegas! Amazing restaurants, beautiful casinos, endless drinks, huge clubs, etc. so it really depends what you’re looking for. We stuck to what we knew – pool parties, food, and a show!

Pool Parties

The Vegas “pool parties” are one of a kind. It’s 100% not for everyone – you get done up in full makeup and fancy swimwear to see a DJ and dance by a pool (at least that’s what we did). Get there early or on a promoter guest list so you don’t have to pay a cover. From what I hear and experienced, Encore and Wet Republic are the best. We also went to D’rais which was fun!

Shows

Seeing a show in Vegas is a must! We saw Cirque Du Soleil: Zumanity at the New York, New York hotel and thought it was really entertaining. It was like a funny burlesque circus show. There are unlimited options and booths all over the strip where you can pick up discount tickets.

Restaurants

There are endless food options on the strip – high end, chain restaurants, fast food – everything! Some of the “best” restaurants in Vegas like NOBU and TAO are also in NYC so we avoided those. For breakfast, we checked out a few places that were walking distance including Off the Strip at the LINQ, HEXXChayo Mexican Kitchen, and of course In N’ Out. We were surprised to find that many of the nicer restaurants had happy hour until 7pm (both food and drinks), and then a late night happy hour after 10pm! We went to a really nice Greek restaurant called Estiatorio Milo in the Cosmopolitan and it was amazing. The happy hour was $10 shared plates and $6 wine. (P.S. I just searched for the website so I could link it, and apparently there is a Milo’s in NYC too! NYC really has everything.) We also wandered off the strip to a sushi restaurant at a nearby shopping center called Town Square.

Overall, we spent a lot of time just relaxing/vacationing so I was happy to get away. Leave a comment if you have any questions about what else to do in Vegas!