The Great American Road Trip: Three Days in Vegas

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Update: A Vegas Return

It’s hard to believe it’s already November and that my ambitious, five week exploration of the United States is fast approaching. The Great US Road Trip continues to take shape with Site 61 in New Orleans and Old City House in Philadelphia coming on board as accommodation partners for the trip from Los Angeles to New York.

We’re also achingly close to being able to announce a partner for our three days in Las Vegas, and that’s got me excited for all of the craziness we’ll get up to in Sin City.

You see, although I’ve been to Vegas before, my previous trip to Vegas was with my then girlfriend and her family – so it wasn’t exactly all strippers, booze, and high stakes gambling.

I think I blew about $10 on the slots and the rest of my spend went on Lion King tickets and deep fried twinkies at 3am…

While this trip will be done on a tight budget, I thought I’d let myself daydream a little about the kind of mad weekend I’d like to have if money weren’t an object. In that way, you can consider this a travel daydream piece.

But enough preamble – let’s see what madness we can get up to with three days in Las Vegas.

Night #1 – Martinis, Babes, and Entertainment (February 10th)

This is a day dream, right? So money isn’t an option!

While I can’t yet announce where we’ll be staying for our time in Vegas, I think it’s safe to say we’ll be in the mood for a meal when we finish the long drive from Lake Tahoe in northern California.

Me? I’m a dyed in the woold carnivore, so 35 Steaks + Martinis seems like the perfect place to start. After all, what could be more manly than a 35 oz steak washed down with James Bond’s signature martini?

But my traveling companion is one of those damned dirty vegetarians, so I dare say he won’t be over the moon with devouring one of God’s precious creatures.

No worries, there are plenty of vegetarian restaurants in Las Vegas for him to get his kale and quinoa fix at.

Showgirls on Fremont Street
Letting a few Vegas locals get acquainted with the beard in 2009.

With stomachs lined and heads already a little fuzzy, it’s time to party!

What do a pair of red blooded Commonwealth lads do in a place named ‘Sin City’? Look for pretty girls, of course!

We could get an eyeful of the bodacious babes at Hooters or at the Playboy Club portion of the Palms, relive the glory days of disco at the remade Studio 54 in the MGM Grand, head to the top of Stratosphere to ride the likes of SkyJump, X-Scream, or Insanity, or kick things off in a more mellow way with a live Vegas show.

The artsy stylings of Cirque du Soleil and the big band musicals might not be what the boys are after, so why not go down a slightly more adult path and take in an… ahem… show such as Crazy Girls, Peep Show, or Fantasy?

vegas showgirls jubilee
The girls of Jubilee. In the words of Liz Lemon: “I want to go to there”

I can’t say sporting an erection while sitting beside one of my best friends is an idea that fills me with excitement though, so perhaps one of the many headliners gracing Vegas will be worth a look.

A quick glance at the February schedule shows that Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez are in town – pass. But Absinthe looks like it could be fun.

That dinner buzz has probably worn off my now, so drinks must be had! Any number of bars along the Strip would act as a fine launching pad for a night we probably won’t remember – but some Googleing shows the likes of Diablo’s Cantina, Coyote Ugly, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar for a little country & western, Ellis Island for karaoke, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for some greasy food and silliness, Nine Fine Irishmen for a live gig, the Crown & Anchor for a few quiet pints, or a dizzying array of beers at Freakin’ Frog are amongst the most popular boozing venues in Vegas.

Or, y’know, just roam the Strip and see where the hottest/drunkest girls end up.

Given we’re on a bit of a budget, I daresay we’ll end up on Fremont Street at some point. With a fantastic old Vegas feel, $2 drinks, cheap food, and plenty of seedy charm – I’ve got a soft spot for Vegas’ other strip.

Day #2 – Adrenaline or Relaxation? (February 11th)

There’ll doubtless be a hangover to deal with come Saturday, so let’s just assume the morning isn’t something we experience. It’s safe to assume we’ll be out until late and sleeping until the early afternoon, right?

But when we do drag our sorry asses out of bed, we might just need a little help sobering up. A few thousand feet ought to do it. So let’s jump a plane with Skydive Las Vegas and ensure our heads are well and truly cleared for the day to come. If that doesn’t wake us up and have us feeling damned glad to be alive, I’m not sure anything will.

skydiving vegas
Nothing sobers you up quite as quick…

The sun shining and our feet on blessed, blessed solid ground – it’s time to get right back into things. Hard Rock’s Beachlife would be suitably decadent, but we’ve already spent a few hours sleeping at the hotel! It’d be a waste to spend more time there when the entire city is just begging to be explored.

I daresay we’d turn our attention to Thrillist’s very in depth analysis of the best pool parties in Vegas to make our decision, although I can’t imagine we could go far wrong when bikinis and ice cold beers are involved.

tao beach party
The beach party at the adults only Tao is said to be Vegas’ best

An afternoon of drunken stupidity will doubtless lead us to the gambling floor at some point. Whether our poison is poker, craps, slots, blackjack, or simply tipping the pretty waitress in the hopes that she’ll leave with us – we’re bound to have another night to (not) remember.

I’m not a huge gambler myself, but like most Aussies I do fancy a flutter on occasion.

I’ve written about how to gamble responsibly before, and I’ll be certain to exercise that level of caution on night #2 in Vegas. There’s still three weeks of travel to come, after all!

Deep fried twinkie
Deep fried Twinkies. So good you’ll need a cigarette.

Day #3: Seeing the Real Vegas (February 12th)

Two nights of heavy drinking will probably have taken their toll by now, so let’s assume that I’m going to be in the mood to see a side of Vegas other than the city with all of its makeup and pretty lights on.

We could head out to Hoover Dam after breakast or even pay a visit to the Mob Museum or the Neon Museum. There’s also a Zombie Apocalypse Store in Vegas where we can stock up for what would be the most eventful US road trip in history.

My travel buddy will doubtless be excited to pay a visit to Speed Vegas to try his hand at driving a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, but I’m quite partial to the idea of heading into the southern Nevada desert and camping out near Area 51. I’m in the middle of marathoning The X-Files right now, and with the itinerary also including a drive through Roswell, I’m quite excited about the possibility of being close to the world’s worst kept secret.

Whatever we do, I’m sure it will end up with some beers being consumed at day’s end.

Day #4: Goodbye Vegas! (February 13th)

After a day and a half of sky diving, drinking, ogling, gambling, stumbling, slurring, and dancing – I reckon we’ll be in dire need of some rest.

And somehow I forgot to include a single meal in my Saturday planning. Sweet Lord!

We’d best make amends for that. The Bellagio’s buffet is widely considered to be the best in town, so we’d be remiss to leave that off the rocket docket. Of course, sin city is resplendent with places to indulge your inner glutton. I’ve got fond memories of a buffet had pre-flight when I was last in Vegas.

We’ll skip out of Vegas after lunch, headed onwards to the Grand Canyon and idyllic Flagstaff as we continue our journey east.

Your Say

What would you recommend we do when we pay a visit to Las Vegas? What are your favourite bars, cafes, and tourist attractions in the city?

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