To take advantage of a three day weekend (thank you, MLK), Matt and I took off for a quick trip to
-- our second trip there in less than 6 months! A lot of people told us it wouldn’t be fun with just the two of us, and that it wouldn’t be nearly as exciting as it was the first time…and you know what? They all wrong! This trip to Vegas was a total blast! We are currently referring to it as "best weekend ever," actually! :) Las Vegas
We left work early on Friday and my mom took us to the airport (the usual for our trips)., and I hadn’t ever been there before. (Matt got a really reasonable deal for it on Priceline.) Once we checked in, we excitedly ran to our room…and when we opened the door, the lights came on, music on the tv came on, and the blinds opened up to reveal our pretty sweet view of Vegas. We both stood there with our mouths open like, “Whaaat just happened??” His name was on the tv screen, and there was a cool touch-screen thing (kind of like an iPad) that you could control EVERYTHING from. It was all just so cool!
After an easy non-stop flight in to LAS, and a not-so-quick wait in a ridiculous cab line, we made it to our hotel/casino: The Aria! It’s a new one in the
|That silver thing is "art" in the shape of the Colorado River.|
|Curtains automatically opening...|
|The view from our room|
|Dinner, Night 1|
|In the elevator|
|Our guest-list pass|
|Waiting in line...|
|This was the first thing we saw when we came up the stairs...|
The next floor up was just called Main Floor and IT. WAS. AWESOME. The DJ was amazing, and there was a huge outdoor area around a pool/waterfall with heat lamps – and of course bars everywhere. It was just a really cool party scene. We hung out under a heat lamp for awhile around the pool and had a couple drinks.
|Under the heat lamp outside the main floor|
The top floor, The Library, was closed for a private party until 11, but when we made it up there, it wasn’t near as cool as the first two floors. It’s a much more chill kind of lounge area with a pool table and no loud dance music. (No thank you!) Needless to say, we spent the vast majority of the night on the main floor just dancing the night away.
|Walking home from Cosmpolitan. We just jaywalked across that street!|
|The view we woke up to|
Yea, right. The line was so ridiculous at that buffet, and it would have easily taken us an hour I bet. We were hungry and didn’t have that much time to waste, so we ended up walking across the street to Planet Hollywood to try out their buffet. (Weather was just gorgeous the whole time!) No line at all there, and the food really was pretty good. I’m sure it all is at those Vegas buffets. Oh, and they even had COTTON CANDY in the dessert area. That’s an automatic winner for me (even though I was too full to get any by the end).
|A very blurry picture of the cotton candy!|
After lunch, we race-walked back to Aria, while stopping for a few pictures, to try and make a sports bet on the NFL game that day, but the line was too long (again) and we didn’t have time. We had to get to the lobby BY 1:45 to meet our bus for a HELICOPTER RIDE OVER THE GRAND CANYON! We saw this deal on Travelzoo last month, but decided it was just too much money to spend on top of everything else for the weekend (flights, hotels, food). But my mom came through with some $$ for Christmas, so that’s what we decided to do with it! Merry Christmas to us! ;)(basically connected to Aria) and ate at Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina, a little Italian restaurant. Our appetizer – calamari – was good, but other than that, the food wasn’t too great. I had ravioli and Matt had some sort of pasta dish, but we weren’t impressed with either of them.
We rode on a little bus out to an airport about 30 minutes away (napped on the way), watched a short safety video on helicopters, and our names were quickly called for our turn! There were seats for 6 people (+ the pilot) in the helicopter: 4 in the back, 2 in the front. The pilot assigned us our seats (based on weight, supposedly), and of course Matt and I got the FRONT SEATS!! I’m not going to lie, I would have been pretty disappointed if we were in the middle in the back! We wouldn’t have been able to see anything! But instead we had amazing views all around us in the front. I was in the middle, right next to the pilot, and Matt got the window seat. (He hadn’t ever been in a helicopter before, so this was even MORE exciting for him!)
The views really were just breathtaking – even on the way there as we flew over the Hoover Dam and
Lake Mead! But once we got in to the canyon – wow – that was just amazing! It’s SO big and you get such a different perspective from flying THROUGH it! It was about 20 minutes out there, we flew in it for about 30 minutes, and then another 20 minutes back. Totally worth the money and we were both really glad we did it! Such a cool experience!
As soon as the bus dropped us off back at Aria, we immediately caught a cab to make it to 5:30 mass at a nice Catholic church, Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer, just off the strip (walking distance to
). We knew we weren’t going to want to get up tomorrow morning and go, and it just worked out perfectly for us to go Saturday night timing wise. The message was good and we were glad we went. It was getting dark (and cold) by the time mass was over, but there weren’t any cabs around, so we decide to walk to Mandalay Bay to try and catch one. But as soon as we walked on to the main street, a cab just happened to be driving by and pulled over for us! Score! We always seem to have such good luck… Mandalay Bay
We were again a little pressed for time before another night out on the town, so we walked over to
shopping center Crystals
|He was on the phone taking bets...|
The views really were just breathtaking – even on the way there as we flew over the Hoover Dam and
|Training sight for pilots|
|Tried out a new panoramic app on my phone|
|I edited this on my iPhone - it almost looks fake!|
|(just snapped a few pics in the cab back to Aria...)|
|We watched these tornadoes while we watied for our food...|
|Dinner, Night 2|
|The view from the bathroom upstairs...|
So anyways, we danced and danced at Tao …(And we did some people watching: drunk Asian birthday girl with toilet paper hanging from her super short skirt, bigger girl at the bar who could more her butt unlike anything I’ve ever seen…) …until 3am. I don’t even know how we did it. That’s ridiculously late – 5am our time! But the confetti falling, people screaming and jumping, music pounding, and girls swinging from the ceiling probably helped. J We were both getting kind of worn down, so we left to head back to Aria for the night.
|DJ Vice - he's amazing|
|View from the balcony right before we left|
While waiting in the long line in front of Venetian for a cab, we found out that the couple in front of us was also going to Aria, so we agreed to share a cab with them. Why not save some money, right? So when we made it to the front of the line and a cab pulled up, I hopped in the front seat, while Matt and the other couple got in back. Our cab driver was from
|Pulled over on Las Vegas Blvd.|
Matt and I were still high on adrenaline when we got inside Aria for some reason, so we decided to dance in the lobby and then made a tunnel for our new friends (from the cab) to walk through with our glow sticks from Tao. Ridiculous, I know. Since we weren’t tired anymore, we had the brilliant idea of sitting down at the Black Jack table…at 4am. The dealer was also from
|I noticed this when we got back to the room...real classy.|
|The projection on the wall moved like water when you walked by it!|
To make up for that slight disappointment though, we got to touch stingrays!! There was one huge one (that we ever-so-nicely gave the nickname "big fatty") that was really working the crowd. He would zoom all around the shallow water, right up and over other stingrays, and flap up on the side where peoples hands were. We both got to feel him, and I thought he felt like cold, squishy pancakes. :)
Another reason we went down the Mandalay Bay was because we didn't have dinner reservations for the night, and we wanted to see if we could get in at Mix, at the top of THEhotel (connected to Mandalay Bay). It's supposed to have the best views of the strip in Vegas, and the menu looked pretty good, so of course we were excited to eat there. Unfortunately, we found out they didn't open until 6, and we had tickets to see a show at the other end of the strip at 7. That wasn't going to work. We sat down in the lobby and flipped through a brochure of all the restaurants trying to find someplace that looked good AND opened at 5. We finally settled on The Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris - mainly because they could get us in at 5:15 and it was in between our hotel and the show at Mirage (and I've always wanted to see the view from up there)! So with that finally settled, we took our time walking all the way back to Aria, and stopped in some souvenir shops along the way. (We also found out that you can buy discount tickets to alot of the shows right on the side of the street... Not cool since we had already paid full price for ours.)
We got back to Aria late afternoon, and had just enough time to relax for a minute before getting ready for dinner. I was again too lazy to do my hair, which helped us make it out the door in perfect time to catch a cab to Paris for our 5:15 reservation. (We should have walked. It would have been quicker since it was so close and traffic wasn't moving!)
When Matt called to make the reservation at Eiffel Tower, they asked him if it was for a birthday or anniversary celebration. It was close to our 5 month anniversary, and that was kind of what we decided this trip was for (ie how we justified a random trip to Vegas), so that's what he told them. Man, did that pay off! When we walked off the elevator (took us awhile to figure out how to get up) and in to the restaurant, the view was just amazing. It was dusk, and all the lights from the strip looked so cool. And then they sat us at literally the best table in the entire restaurant. Seriously. We had a perfect view of the Bellagio fountains just across the street...which I had been dying to see the entire trip. And then our cute little waitress (who just moved to Vegas from Oklahoma) greeted us with, "Happy Anniversary!" Of course the fountains went off shortly after we were seated...and I think I squealed like a little girl, I was so excited!
|View while waiting to be seated...|
We finally figured out what we wanted to eat, and when the watiress came back to take our order, she informed us that they have a souffle for dessert that takes 30 minutes to bake, so they always ask ahead of time to find out if you're going to want one. Of course we had to try that. Anything that takes 30 minutes to bake has to be delicious. I ordered braised short ribs over egg noddles, and Matt had venison chop (I think). They brought us some sort of cold celery soup for an appetizer, unlike anything I'd ever had. My ribs were ridiculously good. Easily the best I've ever had. And Matt enjoyed his dinner, too (it was way to undercooked for me to try). The fountains went off a few more times throughout dinner, and it was all just so perfect!
|Cold celery soup appetizer|
|Braised ribs over egg noddles|
|Pistachio souffle = AMAZING|
Once we found where the show was and picked up our tickets from the box office, we realized we had a couple minutes to spare (shocking, since we just RAN there). We both needed some water, so we walked back to a little bar we found by the entrance. Well, there just happened to also be a candy store right across from the bar. You know I can't pass that up! So while Matt went to get us a cup of water, I started filling a bag with candy...and wasn't quite done yet by the time he got back. Candy selection is an important decision - it can't be rushed! Matt started getting slightly antsy and kept looking at his watch, but he did (impatiently) wait for me to check out with our candy, and then rushed me back to the line for the show. We were STILL early, and for the recod, he really enjoyed that candy during the show!
|At our seats inside. No cameras allowed so I had to sneak my phone out!|
|Under the sheet!|
After the show was over, we raced to a bathroom (I had been holding it for a loooong time because I didn't want to miss the show), and then I remembered hearing about a volcano erupting outside of Mirage! Well of course I had to see that! We only had a few minutes to make it out front and find it, and I was FREAKING OUT that we were going to miss it. Mostly joking around, but I really did want to see what this volacno was all about. There were TONS of people lined up along the sidewalk with cameras out waiting for it to start. I just knew it was going to be amazing. The dramatic music started and crickets started chirpping (we named them lava crickets), drums beating, and then...some water came out of some rocks like a fountain. It was colored with light to look orange, but come on! I burst out laughing, and was slightly disappointed in the "volcano spewing flames 100 feet in the air." Yea, right. See for yourslef in the pictures... (The fact that I got so excited to see that made the whole experience just hilarious!)
Once the amazing "fire show" that I just HAD to see was over, we decided to head to Palazzo for a drink and to check out the new night club there, Lavo. It's ran by the same people that creatd Tao, we we just knew we were going to love it! Matt had already gotten us on the guest list for the night, too. Unfortunately, after the long walk there, we were told the line doesn't even form until 10pm and the club opened at 11 (I think). It was only 9, haha! We really just wanted to get in and see the place - we didn't have the energy to party another night. So we sat down at a bar/restaurant and decided to have a drink and see if we could wait it out. Fail. We were just too tired. I was falling asleep at the bar, and Matt had a headache and wasn't much better. Apparently two nights of up all night dancing is enough for us. We're getting old. I wsn't happy about it, but we walked out and got a cab back to Aria to call it a night. After all, we did have to get up at 4am to make it to the airport for our 6am flight back home. (That flight was my idea to save some money. I think it was worth it.)
|Our last picture inside the elevator at Aria|