Vegas Labor Day Weekend.
July 22, 2008 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Heading to Vegas for the first time Labor Day weekend. Can i get some tips on what to do out there besides gambling. Which clubs should I definitely check out and shows/ restaurants?? Thanks.
posted by SummerLove to Travel & Transportation (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Penn & Teller, definitely. My husband and I saw them a few years ago and after the show they stood outside the doors and signed autographs and took pictures with anyone who wished to do so. The show itself was fantastic.

About 55 miles outside Vegas is the Valley of Fire. If you go, and I highly recommend that you do, make sure you stay for the sunset. It's amazing. Truly amazing.

You should check out Chowhound for eatery recommendations. Everyone has always been spot-on when I go there with a request.
posted by cooker girl at 10:14 AM on July 22, 2008

Toni & Tina's Wedding at the Rio was fun. Ditto Penn & Teller, great stuff. Rio's buffet = TOO LOUD!
posted by Freedomboy at 10:18 AM on July 22, 2008

Hey Hey Ms.Love :0)....First of all make sure you check out the Hotel's pool I didnt check out mine till the last day (I was at the MGM) and i regret it. All the clubs in Vegas mostly cater to woman so you shouldnt have an issue there....I liked LAX the most for some reason....followed by JET. On sunday make sure you go to the REHAB pool party on the hard rock hotel. New York, New York has a roller coaster it may seem cheesy but i guess is fun. The movie theater (regular movies) is the only thing thats cheap in vegas...but u coming from Tampa might not be impressed (here in NYC u pay $12.00). David Copperfield was at the MGM the girls i went with really enjoyed the show if you are into that sort of thing.......also make sure you find out who is going to be in of the girls i met overthere took me to see DJ tiesto...i am not a big fan but the club was sooo good that night and we ended up hanging out with some stars that were at the VIP...
posted by The1andonly at 10:24 AM on July 22, 2008

I heard from a friend that was just there recently that Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill is quite good.
posted by geeky at 10:42 AM on July 22, 2008

I was just there a couple months ago, and the outdoor terrace at Ghostbar on the top floor of The Palms afforded one hell of a nightime skyline view of all the city.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:52 AM on July 22, 2008

Cirque du Soleil shows - any and all - are pretty amazing and entertaining.
posted by GPF at 10:53 AM on July 22, 2008

Cheap-o-Vegas has some pretty good reviews, too.
posted by GPF at 10:55 AM on July 22, 2008

See a Cirque du Soleil show! Mystere was great, but the other ones have excellent reviews as well. The burlesque show we saw (X show) didn't impress either gender -- they needed to practice more. The Atomic Testing Museum and Pinball Hall of Fame are fun if you want to get away from the strip and spend money at a slower rate for a while. It's worth catching a fountain show at the Bellagio if convenient. Enjoy walking down the street with a margarita in hand.
posted by ecsh at 10:58 AM on July 22, 2008

I end up in Vegas a couple times a year on business and have to say that I've been consistently disappointed by the high-end brand-name chef restaurants so my advice is just skip'em altogether. On my last trip this Spring, though, three different set of people (including a friends who owns a restaurant in NYC) RAVED about the food at Social House at "TI" (formerly Treasure Island).

And I tell everyone that they must go to the Peppermill Fireside Lounge for a taste of old-skool loungey goodness complete with waitresses who call you"hon," bizzaro 1970s decor, and of course the sunken fountain/firepit.
posted by donovan at 11:00 AM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Liberace Museum!!!
posted by yodelingisfun at 11:06 AM on July 22, 2008

I'm okay with self-identifying as a nerd, so I hae no problem suggesting that you go check out the Star Trek museum, ride and Quark's Bar before it closes permanently, shortly after labor day weekend.

It's at the Hilton, at the north end of the strip.

Also, when drinking, try to avoid driving and cabs. Either walk or take the monorail.
posted by terpia at 11:07 AM on July 22, 2008

Rosemary's Restaurant!

No kidding, this place is fricking amazing (food and service). It is well off of the strip, but also well worth the trip there. All of the rave reviews about this place are true, it is truly a diamond in the rough.
posted by milqman at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2008

My must-do's when in Vegas are as follows:

1) Benihana at the Hilton- Awesome food and one of the most beautifully decorated restaurants I've ever seen. They also do the actual fire tricks that most of their locations here on the Left Coast don't.

2) Any Cirque Du Soleil show I can manage. My personal favorites are Love and Ka.

3) The Monorail. Now that it actually works, it's quite fun and cost-effective to ride. Gets you to any of the hotels on the strip within 15 minutes maximum.

4) In that same vein, I like going to the various hotels and walking around their various shopping avenues. The Venetian and Luxor are my favorites.

5) The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. Has a large collection of sharks and other marine life, if you're into that.
posted by arishaun at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2008

Here's a two-word review of every hotel that counts on the strip:

Stratosphere: Penis envy.
Sahara: Smoke infused.
Circus Circus: Hunter Thompson.
Riviera: Locals only.
Wynn: No identity.
Treasure Island: No Depp.
Palazzo: Housing bubble.
Venetian: Boring rehash.
Mirage: STAY HERE.
Harrah's: Broken down.
Imperial Palace: Sports book.
Flamingo: Too noisy.
Caesar's Palace: Decent shopping.
Bellagio: Mirage lite.
Bally's: Expensive monorail.
Paris: Uninspired forgery.
Monte Carlo: Theme? Theme?
New York New York: Boring Boring.
MGM Grand: Poor lions.
Tropicana: Decent teppanyaki.
Excalibur: VegasDisney, 1991.
Luxor: VegasDisney, 1994.
Mandalay Bay: Wannabe Mirage.

In short, if you want your Vegas trip to be memorable, and not one of "holy crap did my feet hurt at night", just stay at the Mirage. The buffet is a good representation of the quintessential Vegas buffet, the restaurants are all good, the clubs are fine, the drinks are good, basically, why go a million places all over town to see a variation on what the original MegaResort perfected?
posted by mark242 at 12:50 PM on July 22, 2008 [6 favorites]

Nthing Cirque du Soleil, and Samba Brazilian Steakhouse is great if you're a meat lover. I've actually had fun in Vegas just checking out the different resorts. They're all decorated a little differently and many of the big ones offer attractions in addition to the gambling/food/clubs.
posted by cnc at 12:57 PM on July 22, 2008

Lotus of Siam -- inexpensive, off the strip, and architecturally underwhelming -- is supposed to be one of the best restaurants in the country. Gotta have a reservation.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:22 PM on July 22, 2008

Suites at MGM Signature are amazing!! So are the 16 swimming pools (I recommend a novelty sized margarita and a few laps on a lazy river). See Blue Man Group - totally random and unexpected (loved "Ticket's Tonight" get the best seats in the house for 60% of the cost - just get to the booth early in the morning).

Drink as many $1 Margaritas as you can find - good rule off thumb, if the casino is sleazy or not a resort = $1 drinks!!

Eat at IN and OUT burger (by Wild Wild West off the Strip).

Oh, and I cannot stress how big and far everything is. You have already been told this, just know that it is 3-4 times bigger than you already think it is. I walked through a pair of runners going up and down the strip from MGM to Fashion Show Mall. Have comfortable shoes!!!

Finally, see the fountain at Bellaigo. Morning, Afternoon and at Night. There are many different performances and was a highlight of my 5 day trip.

Have fun!
posted by saradarlin at 4:05 PM on July 22, 2008

it can be hard to get in, but I enjoyed Tryst -- it felt unique. great dance floor

GhostBar at the top of the Palms is nice and chill with a great view of the strip

'rehab' is a massive pool party at the hard rock sunday mornings, imagine mtv spring break every sunday morning -- also hard to get into, but look into it.

foundation room at mandalay bay is VIP only, except for mondays (i think). also a great view of the strip -- but i can't really remember how big the dance floor was

+1 on the star trek rides :-)

keep in mind that i'm not sure how all of the days i've mentioned will work on a long weekend

if you have men as part of the party, consider bottle service. depending on how many ways they'll let you split it, and how much oyu spend at a club, it might be cost effective, eliminate the waiting in a line, and give you table to sit at.

also, if you know where you're going to eat dinner the same place as your clubbing experience, see if the casino will hook you up with a line pass or something.

last tip on lines (clearly i love skipping lines), people on the street have passes they give away for 'a tip'. i've been successful with these, but i was with a lady so who knows.
posted by maulik at 4:17 PM on July 22, 2008

Don't stay at the Sahara. Dirty. I've stayed at Super 8's that were 10 times cleaner.

Seconding the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton. Even if you're not a huge Trekkie, the rides, oops I mean "missions," are pretty fun. :)

The aquarium thing at Mandalay Bay is cool.

Take a gondola ride at the Venetian.
posted by at 4:19 PM on July 22, 2008

Also nthing Cirque Du Soleil - I swear that their production Ka
was probably the most creative, amazing thing I've ever seen in my life - costumes, choreography, acrobatics, dancing, music, the sets - it was all just amazing.
posted by gt2 at 9:03 PM on July 22, 2008

I recently enjoyed Blue Man Group, Penn & Teller, and Cirque du Soleil - only saw one of the shows they put on and regretted not having time to see more. Also saw Wayne Brady, who is hilarious and talented, and with whom I ended up shaking my butt on stage. (Not in the dancing well sense, as in being crap at dance and so just turning around and shaking my buttocks at the crowd. FUN!)

Blue man group - get into the lobby fast, they come out for photos and general weirdness but the crowd grows rapidly. Ditto with Penn & Teller, they're happy as anything to takes photos with you and sign stuff.

Had an amazing dinner at the `outdoor' bit of the Venetian. There is an Italian restaurant with an outdoor eating part and a marble bar. They serve a selection of meats, cheeses and wines that are exceptional.
posted by tomble at 12:49 AM on July 23, 2008

Cool. can't wait. Thank You all.
posted by SummerLove at 6:44 AM on July 23, 2008

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