Viva Las Vegas! Cirque du Soleil, Harley Davidson & paranormal adventures in Sin City
We arrived in Las Vegas at the end of our west coast road trip, our last 3 nights in the USA and where better to spend it? After dropping our car off at the airport we took a taxi back to hit the strip.
If arriving at the airport try not to use taxi’s they’re very expensive, $25 for a short 10 minute journey. We took Uber back to the airport for a fraction of this amount. If you have time and it works for you there is also public transport and shuttle options.
We were booked into the Vdara for 3 nights which is located between the Bellagio and the Aria on the strip. It’s a condo style property with no casino however, with so many on the doorstep it wasn’t a problem for us. We had a fountain view room on the 43rd floor and as well as the Bellagio fountains we also had a great view of the Eiffel tower at Paris.
We had tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s Ka at the MGM Grand which seems a short walk from the Vdara. It’s almost opposite the Vdara on the strip when you check a map, you will be surprised just how long it takes to get there. As all of the hotels and resorts are so big it does take time to navigate them and it’s easy to get lost!
We left the Vdara in good time with the aim of getting dinner nearby the theatre once inside the MGM. Wolfgang Puck’s is located perfectly across from the entrance of the theatre. There are no walls separating the restaurant from the thoroughfare around the hotel but this openness is handy because you can keep any eye on when the theatre opens and you need to go in. The food here was excellent, I had the ricotta gnocchi in sausage sauce and Richard had a veggie pizza.
We had seats in row D for the 9.30pm showing of Ka and would recommend these seats but none closer. A lot of the action is at height, a few rows back allows you not to have to have your head back for the full show but still be able to see the expressions on the acrobats faces as they perform. This was our first Cirque show and we really enjoyed it.
If you’re a biker there are a couple of key places you will not want to miss while in Las Vegas. We visited the Harley Davidson garage which is not far from the airport. It’s a large garage with lots of their bikes on display as well as plenty of merchandise that seems less expensive than in the UK. We did some shopping in here before heading back down the strip to our next biker themed stop – The Harley Davidson Cafe.
The atmosphere in the Harley Davidson Cafe is great and it’s full of memorabilia and cool custom bikes, a bit like a Hard Rock for bike enthusiasts. We had lunch here but you could do dinner and it would be just as good. I had a grilled cheese and Richard had the sliders. I also had a cocktail and got to keep a souvenir glass. There’s also a gift shop here, between this and the merchandise from the garage we were going home with quite a number of Harley souvenirs!
It’s possible to do a mini world tour while in Las Vegas, albeit a fake one, starting at the Luxor near the airport we start in Egypt. This is now one of the oldest hotels on the strip and actually if you don’t go in here first it feels quite small! It’s worth a quick look inside and take note of the elevators which are in fact inclinators here to take guests to their rooms up the side of the pyramid.
Next we’re off to New York, New York complete with half size Statue of Liberty and a roller coaster! We had breakfast here at the America restaurant, I had a croissant doughnut which was as amazing as it sounds, Richard had a cooked breakfast which he said was good too. The inside of New York, New York is obviously also styled after New York and you expect steam to come up from vents in the floor it looks just like you’ve seen on TV.
Further down the strip we arrive in Paris with it’s own Eiffel Tower. Parts of the legs of the tower come through into the casino which is cool. If you want to you can pay to go up the tower which would give you a great view of the strip including the Bellagio fountains. We skipped this though as it would have been very similar to the view from our hotel room, other than not having the Eiffel Tower in it!
Across the strip the next stop is to Rome, well the Roman Empire, at Caesar’s Palace. This place is massive, there are many restaurants inside and basically a full mall – The Forum Shops. I enjoyed spending my birthday money here at Michael Kors, and window shopping at plenty of other places, including Tiffany’s!
Back across the strip is my favourite hotel that we went inside – the Venetian – Venice, complete with gondolas. The hotel is gorgeous inside and I’d love to try a stay here on our next visit, all the rooms are suites and they look amazing. Also there is a Carlo’s Bakery inside, we joined the short queue and got some cannoli’s for later – they were really good although we have nothing to compare them to having never had cannoli’s before.
For many a must do in Las Vegas is to try out one of the buffet’s. We chose to try the buffet at Aria one night for dinner. There is everything you could possibly want on their buffet, different cuisines organised by country, you definitely wouldn’t leave hungry. My favourite thing on the buffet was actually the apple pie.
Our favourite meal was actually in the Aria but not at the buffet. They have a Mexican restaurant called Javier’s which looks very posh from the outside and doesn’t disappoint if you eat here. The atmosphere is great, more upscale than a lot of places we visited on our trip, it was nice to dress up and make a night of it. I had the fillet steak and Richard had a seafood option, both were excellent.
After our meal in Javier’s and a few goes on the roulette wheel we made our way out front to catch the Bellagio fountains which dance to music. We caught the end of time to say goodbye and all of hey big spender. Nothing compares to the fountains at Bellagio they’ve been there for years but still draw a crowd.
It’s worth going into the Bellagio even if just to see the conservatory. The decorations change with the season, the Fall decorations were up during our visit.
We’re big fans for the show Ghost Adventures and they did a lockdown in the town of Goodsprings just outside of Las Vegas at the Pioneer Saloon. When we found out there was a tour to take part in a lockdown here we had to go.
We were picked up from our hotel at 9pm and were taken to Goodsprings, around 30minutes drive away. When we arrived we were given a tour of the town and shown some of our ghost hunting gadgets. It was really eerie being in the middle of the desert at night, very dark and quiet!
While waiting for the saloon to close for the night we had pizza in the Goodsprings General Store which is attached to the Saloon. We also tried sarsaparilla which tastes like nothing else we could compare it to – you’ll just have to try it! Soon the saloon emptied out and we went through to start our lockdown which I was a bit nervous for – what do you say if any voices come through?
Voices did come through, some clearer than others, one it particular sounded like it said;
I can’t see
We also spent some time in the bathroom where they often hear voices using their equipment. We did hear a couple of voices in here as well, one told us to leave and when we started to another voice came through which had previously claimed to be Carole Lombard saying;
One thing we weren’t expecting when we booked this tour was that there would only be the two of us on it! We joined their team of three regular ghost hunters and they made the experience really fun. If you’re looking for something a bit different to do on your next trip to Las Vegas give this a go, you won’t regret it.
One story which has been proven to have happened at the Pioneer Saloon is the shooting of a patron who was caught cheating at cards. The walls of the saloon are made from tin and the bullet holes remain in the walls. The original card table is also still at the saloon and it’s this table we sat at during the lockdown.
We were taken back to our hotel after the lockdown and arrived back at the Vdara around 3am.
Checking out of the Vdara can be done using the TV in the room, you can also check your bill on here before checking out. After learning our lesson with the expensive taxi to the hotel we booked an Uber to get back to the airport and it couldn’t have been easier.
We certainly packed a lot into our trip to the USA and will definitely be back, there’s so much more to see!