Monday, October 1, 2012

A Weekend in (Old) Vegas

My boyfriend and I spent the weekend in one of our favorite U.S. vacation destinations:

You've heard me talk before about the charm of Atlantic City (see, e.g., here, here, here), so I hope you'll indulge me in a bit of Vegas chatter now! This weekend marked my fifth trip to Vegas. This time, we decided to do something a bit different and stay off the main strip in Downtown Las Vegas (aka "Old Vegas"). We had an AMAZING time! Here are a few highlights:

The Freemont Street Experience

Old Vegas is the area from whence Las Vegas originally sprung. Downtown is steeped in rich history and resembles the crazy neon playground many of us think of when we imagine Vegas. The casinos bordering the downtown strip are covered in neon light and flashing bulbs.

There are tons of fun happenings on Freemont street...

Free concerts...

Haunted house! (temporary) (freaky. Haunted houses scare the you-know-what out of me, so why do I keep going in them?)


Every night between dusk and midnight, there is a laser light and music show on the overhang protecting Freemont Street (the main downtown strip).

One of the nice things about downtown Vegas is that all of the casinos (especially those on Freemont Street) are extremely close together. Although casinos on the new strip are next to each other, you often half to walk half a mile to get to the next door casino!

You can take your photo with "a million dollars" at Binion's (and they print it for you for free! You don't even need to give them your email address!)

The Heart Attack Grill

Okay, so we didn't actually eat here*, but this landmark of downtown Vegas is definitely a sight to behold. It is a monument to obesity in America, serving butterfat milkshakes, fries cooked in lard, and a "quadruple bypass burger" that contains four burger patties and up to twenty slices of bacon. If you finish one, the waitresses wheel you out of the restaurant in a wheelchair.

Did I mention that every customer gets put in a hospital gown upon entry? And that the waitresses are dressed in sexy nurse outfits?

The best (and simultaneously worst) part? If you are over 350 pounds (and weigh in on a public scale) you eat free.

No free burger for my boyfriend.

Ironically (and sadly) two people actually had real heart attacks in this restaurant a few months ago. In the first instance, the tourists inside thought it was a show and asked him to turn a bit while on the floor so they could get a better picture! (source)

* Hash House A Go Go

In case my claim that my boyfriend and I did not eat at Heart Attack Grill sounded superior, allow me to mention that we DID eat at Hash House A Go Go, which has a new location in The Plaza hotel in downtown Vegas.

Our breakfast looked like this:

Sage fried chicken eggs benedict (also featuring bacon, mashed potatoes, cheese, buttermilk biscuit, and chipotle cream). Thanks, watermelon. This plate must be healthy now! (source)

The Golden Nugget

We stayed at the Golden Nugget, which was perfectly nice and had an incredible pool!

OMG, that slide! Tragically I never even got to ride it; I saved it for the last night, but then there was a "biohazard" that closed the pool. Any guesses on the nature of the hazard? Poop in the pool?

While at the nugget, we sampled many of the restaurants at the casino (the italian place (Grotto) and The Grill...meh. Lillie's Asian cuisine and Vic and Anthony's steakhouse...DROOLSOGOOD). We also partook in a few poker tournaments. Although they had a very quick structure, we did pretty well in them. Amazingly, you can buy in an hour and a half late with a huge chipstack. I took first place in one small tournament and my boyfriend cashed in the same one.

The Mafia Museum

As you might imagine, the history of Las Vegas is steeped in the mafia. There's a very interesting museum downtown called the Mafia Museum. It gives you an interesting look at the role of the mob in America, and particularly in Las Vegas. Also, there are tons of fun photo opportunities!

I thought this quote was hilarious, spoken by a mafioso who suspected his house was bugged (and it was):

I live by these words with regards to the information I publish on the internet---nothing I wouldn't stand behind in person!

Pinball Hall of Fame

This destination was my boyfriend's idea and it was a HUGE hit. The pinball museum is a nonprofit that collects and restores pinball machines (some as new as this year, some fifty or sixty years old) and vintage arcade games. It doesn't cost anything to get in and all of the machines cost between a quarter and 75 cents to play.

Remember Paperboy? Does anyone remember the name of that tv show on Nikelodeon that allowed you to play in virtual reality inside paperboy?

I learned that I am HORRIBLE at pinball, but I had a lot of fun anyway. (hey, not my fault---I wasn't allowed to have video games as a kid!) Did you know that you can actually aim that metal ball so that it gets somewhere? Or that there are missions to accomplish in a lot of pinball games? Or that you can keep the ball in motion for longer than two minutes? I didn't!!

Me struggling with pinball. In case you couldn't tell from my in-the-mirror outfit photos, my boyfriend (while amazing at many things) is not a photographer.

The Outlets

Las Vegas is home to two outlet malls: one in the north, one in the south. I prefer the north outlets because they are open-air (the south outlets are in kind of a dingy mall). Plus, the north outlets have a Kate Spade! And it's only a mile from downtown Vegas!

Somehow I managed to escape Kate Spade with only two pairs of earrings (despite a 50% off everything sale AAAKCCKK purses). I did buy a few other things, though....budget, I promise I will be faithful to you after vacation!

Michael Kors iPad folio

Ah, Vegas, I only just left you and I already miss you! We will DEFINITELY stay in old Vegas again!

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