Las Vegas, Nevada
Holiday Inn – Desert Resort Club
Desi Burrito | Eggslut | Pizza Rock | Flour and Barley
Saks Off Fifth
Seven Magic Mountains | Fremont Street | Red Rock Canyon
Las Vegas reminded me, overwhelmingly, of the poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The city rises up from the barren desert as if it simply materialised there. And yet, upon closer inspection, it is clear that men built it as a testament to their will and might, and even, as proof of their power over nature. I can’t help but imagine that someday, when it is ready, the desert will simply take back the land that we humans have borrowed from it to build our playground.
And Las Vegas is exactly that; a playground for adults, a place where there is little more to do than eat, shop, gamble and sleep. We made a real effort to find unexpected, and, quite frankly, more interesting things to do. I think that, for the most part, we succeeded. There’s no doubt we enjoyed ourselves in the process, too. But after a week spent in Sin City, I can’t think of a single reason why I would ever need to go back.
Holiday Inn – Desert Resort Club
We stayed a block off the strip and it was the best decision we could have made. We were pretty much on the opposite schedule from everyone else in Las Vegas, waking up early and going to be before midnight, so having a bit of distance between us and the noise of the Strip was the best thing. Plus, we scored an amazing deal on a two-bedroom space with a balcony and kitchen, which we took full advantage of!
An important thing to know about Las Vegas is that it is not a budget-friendly destination unless you work very hard to find reasonable prices – especially when it comes to food. The Strip is a bit like a theme park and the price of everything, even water, is set at a theme park rate. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to eat well without breaking the bank…
Desi Burrito – 670 East Flamingo Road
We stumbled upon this food truck when we happened to drive by and what a find it was; Desi Burrito combines two of my favourite cuisines, Indian and Tex Mex, to create the most unusually wonderful, and mostly vegetarian-friendly, burritos.
Eggslut – The Cosmopolitan
It’s probably for the best that we only discovered this LA-transplant breakfast joint on our last day, or we would have been eating egg sandwiches for breakfast every morning. The menu offers a short list of options but no matter what you choose, you really can’t go wrong. If you love bacon and eggs, Eggslut is a must visit in Las Vegas.
Pizza Rock – 201 North 3rd Street
While we had read about Pizza Rock, which has won almost every imaginable pizza award at some point, before our trip, we had no specific plans to visit until we stumbled upon it while wandering through Fremont – and quickly discovered that every one of the awards the restaurant has won has been very well-deserved. The pizza is amazing.
Flour and Barley – The LinQ
Las Vegas is the only place I can imagine being struck by a pizza craving at 11 pm. It’s the only place I can imagine being out wandering around at 11 pm, come to that. And for those late night cravings, Flour and Barley’s takeout window hit the spot every time. Five dollars will buy you an enormous, piping hot slice of pepperoni pizza – my favourite late night guilty pleasure.
Las Vegas is what luxury shopping dreams are made of, but you won’t find anything unexpected or original. All of usual suspects, from Gucci to Chanel, have multiple locations on the Strip. To be honest, I debated whether or not to include this category at all.
Saks Off Fifth – Las Vegas North Premium Outlets
In the end, I want to mention Saks Off Fifth at the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets because their customer service was impeccable. I expect limited customer service at an outlet store, and Saks Off Fifth exceeded all my expectations. I found some great deals, too!
The Strip is long, but because Las Vegas is on a desert plain, you can see it from everywhere you go. And once you’ve seen one casino, you’ve seen them all. But there is so much more to Las Vegas than the Strip, and if you’re willing to travel a little, some wonderful sites await.
Seven Magic Mountains – South Las Vegas Boulevard
I would have gone to Las Vegas just to see this art installation. A twenty-minute drive down Las Vegas Boulevard takes you into the open desert, where seven multi-coloured columns rise from the sand. Erected as a tribute to artists who worked in the area in the 1960s, Seven Magic Mountains has an ethereal quality and is particularly beautiful at sunrise. But dress warmly if you visit in the early morning, because the desert is a cold place unless the sun is out in full force.
Downtown Las Vegas is a must-see for anyone who loves vintage architecture and design. When you turn onto Fremont Street, you will feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1970s. This is the Las Vegas you’ve seen in movies, complete with neon signs and restaurants advertising beer and broads. (The 1970s wasn’t really very glamorous, or even pleasant, for women.) I admit that I didn’t love the neighbourhood, but I’m glad to have experienced it.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area – State Highway 159
When you travel to the desert, it is important to actually see the desert. We visited the beautiful, unspoiled Red Rock Canyon National Conversation Area. The scenic loop drive is perfect if you love nature and uncomfortable shoes, because you can see the sites with your window rolled down and stop only when you want to, rather than actually going on a hike. (Although if hikes are your thing, Red Rock Canyon has lots of them, too.)