Help us survive Vegas on Independence Day
June 25, 2015 5:06 AM   Subscribe

Next week I'll find myself, my partner and our respective mothers in Vegas for the Independence Day weekend. Whilst we're all down with a bit of a spin of the wheel, and some slot time, we're less-so pool party and nightclub people. I read a lot which suggests it is basically going to be pandemonium for the weekend. Help a fella out, and show a pair of 30-somethings, with their late 50-something mothers, how to have fun in Vegas during the holiday weekend. Thanks!
posted by metaxa to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I highly recommend checking out the Bellagio. This guy made their ceiling in the lobby. He makes these really intricate sculptures out of blown glass.

I think he may still have an active studio at the Bellagio, but I'm not sure. It's a multi-person effort to make his sculptures and blow the pieces, so it's rather fascinating to see. They have a whole shop dedicated to his work.

Also, if you can go to the Rio at night (which is featured in the opening montage for the original CSI), they have a two level roof-top restaurant. If you can manage to get in, even just for a couple drinks, the view is spectacular. You can literally see where Vegas ends. Light lights lights lights DARK. It's not like in a city where you can see farms and such twinkling in the distance. It's like a dome of darnkness. Unbelievable. Also, the food was pretty damn good.

The Paris casino has one of the 4 presses that Toulouse Lautrec used to make his prints. They also have a poster he made for a Sarah Bernhardt show that she autographed.

So, those aren't exactly "fun" things, but they are all things I didn't expect to find in Vegas and obviously the things I remember most almost 15 years later.

And as far as I'm concerned, there is nothing wrong with getting some drinks and snacks, sitting on a bench or edge of a fountain, and people watching. Vegas gets all kinds. ALLLL kinds.
posted by sio42 at 6:12 AM on June 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


From Fremont Street, take the escalator from street level up to second floor of the D. There is a Sigma Derby up there that is a lot of cheap fun. Plus they still have some slots up there that you still need a giant plastic cup to collect real quarters if you win. None of that fancy cashing out with a slip of paper stuff.

Hit up one of the old school casinos like the El Cortez and chill out in a low key bar like the Parlour. Container Park is kinda cool, but it'll be way hot in the middle of the day. That end of Fremont street in general is lots quieter than the other end.

Take them to the Chandelier at the Cosmopolitan for fancy drinks in a sparkly atmosphere. Earlier in the day it shouldn't be too crowded.

I would probably make dinner and show reservations before i went if there is something specific you want to do.

It is gonna be HOT.
posted by domino at 6:44 AM on June 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was going to suggest the art gallery at the Bellagio, and while it will be up for their new exhibit, Picasso, it opens July 3rd so it might be super crowded. I don't know as when we went to the exhibit there it wasn't at an opening time on a holiday weekend. But as I said, if you're there to look at the ceiling, which is amazing, then maybe check out what it's like to get into the gallery, which costs $19 an adult (unless you're military or teacher).

And, of course, there are shows, have you looked into getting tickets for a show that has appeal to you? Cirque has effectively taken over the town, which while a bit repetitive does mean there are lots of show tickets, and if you actually book before you get there you're ahead of a lot of the crowd. For example, one of my favorites of all of them is O, which is also at the Bellagio, and there are still tickets available. Not to say that you should spend all your down time at the Bellagio, just providing a for instance. If you prefer comedy or magic there are likely shows available, too.

Paris is also nice for hanging out, have a pastry and wander about. Mandalay Bay has a Shark Reef Aquarium that's a nice place to walk through. Some of the outdoor activities, like seeing the Vegas sign graveyard (The Neon Museum), sound terribly hot to me in July, but then it's Vegas, so what are you going to do?

Where are you staying in Vegas? I might have some other suggestions.
posted by dawg-proud at 6:49 AM on June 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know this is a totally touristy thing to recommend, but the one (& only) time I've been to Las Vegas, I was impressed by the light show on the ceiling over Fremont Street. I also enjoyed all the old-fashioned, "old-West" feeling small casinos along Fremont Street, as domino notes above.

The fountain show at the Bellagio is interesting to watch.

Las Vegas hosts dozens of live shows nightly (more than anywhere I've ever seen except NYC): music concerts, comedians, circus acts, magicians, dance revues - pick a genre you like and there will be a live show to enjoy.
posted by Ardea alba at 6:55 AM on June 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Get off the Strip? I don't know where you're staying or why you're there or if you've ever been to Las Vegas before, but my favorite things to do in Vegas (a city I love love LOVE to visit) are largely off-strip: On the Strip, maybe visit one of the spas (I like Qua at Caesars, but the one at Aria looks rad too), or plan to see a show/have a nice dinner somewhere? I'd reserve dinner in advance, although you might be able to gamble (ha!) on getting a last-minute discount to one of the shows. On preview, YES SIGMA DERBY can kill both hours and lots of quarters. There's a machine in the MGM Grand too - on my last trip out there we spent way, way, way too much time cheering on little tin horses.

It's also surprisingly enjoyable to just sightsee inside some of the more elaborate casinos, honestly. The Venetian has a little mall with actual canals running through it. The Golden Nugget has, well, a giant gold nugget. And a shark tank. The Paris is a novelty with fake skies and Parisian streetscapes and little Metro entrances over the tables. The Mirage and Mandalay Bay both have animal exhibits. The Flamingo does, too, and you don't have to pay anything to look at the birds.

And the people-watching in the El Cortez is just EXCELLENT.

Have fun!
posted by bowtiesarecool at 6:58 AM on June 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I went last year and enjoyed the High Roller observation wheel. We went at night and it was really cool.
posted by Lucinda at 7:25 AM on June 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, we're staying at the Venetian, and 3 of us have been to Vegas several times.

Thanks for the great tips, please keep 'em coming! Particularly, where are good places to hang for drinks and eats, that aren't overrun with partygoers?
posted by metaxa at 7:33 AM on June 25, 2015


Ooh, you're staying in the Venetian? Be sure to go by Bauman's Rare Books. :)
posted by Pandora Kouti at 8:14 AM on June 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


On the flip side of all that lovely culture you could stop by Madame Tussauds, since it's in the Grand Canal Shop area of the Venetian. If you buy your tickets online ahead of time you can save 20%. I've never done it, so I don't know how busy an attraction like that would be, but you could call and ask, I bet they'd have an idea of foot traffic. Since most people are there to gamble, getting away from the crowds generally involves leaving the casino floor. The Venetian is also great for wandering around. And, of course, the Venetian has their own spa, and since you are staying there I think you don't have to buy a day passport, I think you can just go. I highly recommend, very relaxing area, you don't need to get a massage or any other service, you can just hang out in spa areas (salt room, hot tub, sauna, etc..)
posted by dawg-proud at 11:57 AM on June 25, 2015


I will second and elaborate on the spa day recommendations.

The nice thing about most Vegas spas is that you can pay for a "day pass" that gives you access to the general amenities (showers, steam, dry sauna, jacuzzis, etc) without actually paying for a treatment or massage. You usually get in-out privileges for the entire day until closing (usually around 8PM); so you can relax, go out for lunch, return, and so forth. The one drawback is that some hotels won't allow non-guests into their spas (like the amazing ones at Wynn/Encore), or--as is the case with Qua--the price for non-guests can be prohibitively high. (I think Qua costs around $75 for non-guests.)

Spas are a nice way to relax away from crowds (especially since the men's side is often quiet and sparsely populated) and avoid the Vegas heat. And the amenities can be really posh, like comfy robes, free fresh fruit, free beverages (fruit juices, sometimes tea and coffee), and all manner of toiletries (razors, toothpaste, cologne, hair products).

The following spas are quite nice and worth the price of admission: Qua (Caesar's Palace--yeah, worth it), The Spa (Aria--really lovely), Spa Mandalay (Mandalay Bay), and Bathhouse (Delano, which is the suites section of Mandalay Bay). (The Venetian spa is nice enough, but those I've listed are exceptional in their own ways.)

If this interests you'd, I'd recommend calling the spa in advance just to confirm prices, hours, and their policies regarding non-guests. I think you'd find a spa day a nice break in the action.
posted by Quaversalis at 11:04 PM on June 25, 2015


The MOB Museum (off Fremont) is a remarkably well-curated.
posted by lesalvo at 5:02 PM on June 26, 2015


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