Hey guys! It’s finally time for the next trip post! Usually I write a post for each day of my travels. Even though I very well could have on this trip, I decided to just write one large post about this vacation as we were so busy (and exhausted) the entire time! Sorry if it is really long, but I put a lot of pictures in the post for you to see! Enjoy! 🙂
Las Vegas!! Andrew just completed his Civil Engineering Degree last week and we decided to go to Vegas to celebrate! We invited my parents to come with and I’m so glad they said yes. We found an amazing deal out of Minneapolis… 4 nights and round trip airfare for only $300 CAD each. Such a steal!! We booked on Expedia if you are looking to find a similar deal!
We met up with my parents in Minneapolis on Friday, a bit early, but they were coming here to see Bon Jovi on Saturday night anyways. We just extended our vacation a bit and stayed with them in their hotel before we flew out Sunday night to LV. In Minni, we had a nice time hanging out with my parents watching the hockey games (our lives currently revolve around playoff hockey). Andrew and I went to a Minnesota Twins baseball game on Saturday afternoon (thank you $20 tickets), and we met up with my parents after the game at a fun hockey bar in downtown St Paul. After some Jagger bombs and many a vodka soda, we ended up buying last minute Bon Jovi tickets for about $25 each. It was so much fun and we had a great time rocking out to his music. Here’s some pictures from our time in Minneapolis!
Enough of Minni… you want to hear about Vegas. First of all, let me explain the “hard” work that my mother and I put into planning this trip. If you haven’t heard of the MyVegas apps then prepare yourself… this is a game changer. For about a month or so we both played slot machine apps non-stop and collected a bunch of loyalty points which we were able to redeem for free stuff in Vegas. This is a free app and does not cost money to play (unless you are an addict and buy coins through the app shop). I ended up being a little addicted, though. We’re talking me playing it on my phone, tablet, and 2 games at once on my laptop all at the same time at some points (sometimes I even had Andrew’s laptop going at the same time). There are four different apps you can download (MyVegas, MyVegas Blackjack, Pop! Slots, MyKonami). If you download all four and connect them to your Facebook account, you get even more points. If you are planning a trip to Vegas in the future, I highly recommend that you check it out. The points do not expire and you can redeem them for things such as free hotel stays, free shows, meals and more. This is something that the MGM hotels have done to promote their hotels and shows and it seems that not many people know about it yet. You can redeem up to 3 rewards in a 30 day period. We were able to get a couple of Buy One Get One Free Buffets, and 50% off our Cirque du Soleil tickets, as well as half off the Titanic Exhibit and the Shark Reef aquarium at Mandalay Bay. Well worth it, and the apps are super fun!!
So since flying from Minneapolis was such a steal, we had to pay $10 a day to park our car at the hotel while we were gone. We chose a hotel with a free airport shuttle so on Sunday afternoon, we hitched a ride to the MSP airport and boarded our flight @ 4:20pm. We arrived in Vegas around 5:30pm Vegas time (hello future jet lag), and caught an Uber to our hotel. Lyft and Uber are definitely our favourite modes of transportation to use. Taxis are extremely overpriced and the meter runs instead of it being a flat rate. The app also shows the driver the fastest way to your destination. Each hotel/casino in Vegas has a designated area, usually far away form everything, for Uber drop offs and pick ups. The shuttles in Vegas are way more expensive, although the thought of taking a limo was tempting! If you download Uber for the first time, use my code “haleighr98ue” for $10 off your first ride. If you download Lyft, use my code “HALEIGH10555” for $10 off your first ride!
We stayed at the Excalibur and I actually really liked it. It’s definitely on the lower end of the Strip budget and is a bit on the older side, but it was one of the cheapest hotels included in the Expedia deal plus it was the nicest out of the choices (compared to Circus Circus and the Stratosphere). Our rooms were updated and the hotel and casino were all clean and fine. I honestly didn’t have a problem with it, though my standards are probably low compared to others. I personally cannot justify paying hundreds/thousands for a hotel room to just sleep in it. We were barely even there, so why bother splurging. Others may disagree, but to each their own.
One other thing to know is that all hotels/casinos on the Strip charge a daily resort fee. Ours was about $57 CAD a day and this includes fees for the WiFi, fitness centre, basic pool use, etc. Hotels that are not directly on the strip don’t usually charge this fee.
ANYWAYS, our first night in Vegas included us exploring the Excalibur and the Luxor, and enjoying the buffet at the Luxor hotel (which was 2 for 1 for both of us thanks to our trusty app). It was so good and there was delicious crab and shrimp!! We played some slots and called it an early night, though it was about 2am for us back home. Sadly at this buffet Andrew had slimy crab hands and gave me his engineering ring to hold on to. I put it in my wallet and we haven’t seen it since. 😦 I’m so upset about it because it was so special to him but we looked EVERYWHERE the whole rest of the week and it has vanished. It must have fallen out of my wallet when I pulled cash out or something. WAY TO GO HALES!
Monday morning began with an early walk down the strip past the Luxor and Mandalay Bay to the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign. There was a line to wait in but it was worth the 20 minute wait because no one else was in our pictures with us. There were some people who would stand near the edge and take selfies with the sign or take pictures of each other but the angle was off and people in the background would show up in their pictures. A guy was there who used my phone to take our pictures and he made us pose in all kinds of funny ways. There was an Elvis impersonator there who was hilarious and my dad was very excited to have him in some of our pictures!
Very fun little photo shoot. We tipped Elvis and the photographer and walked back towards the strip. We headed back inside Mandalay Bay because Andrew and I had a reward that we redeemed for 2 for 1 at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. I’ll tell you right now this was a huge waste of time. I’m so glad we didn’t pay full price for this because it was literally a 5 minute walk through the aquarium. We’ve been in way cooler places for less money!
As we continued to walk through the Mandalay Bay casino/hotel, we randomly walked past a sports memorabilia store and Pete Rose was there signing autographs. This was the highlight of the trip for Andrew and he did not stop saying “Hey remember when we met Pete Rose!?” for the rest of the trip. If you don’t know who he is, look him up because he has a pretty interesting background about betting against his team in baseball. Andrew got a signed baseball and we got some pictures with him. I’ve never seen Andrew so giddy!!
We headed back to the Excalibur to freshen up for the afternoon/evening of casino hopping. We walked across to New York New York, MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, Paris, and Ballys. My parents rode the roller coaster at NYNY and they really liked it. Andrew and I rode up to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris and it was from a dream. We watched the Bellagio fountains go off while we were at the top!
Next we headed to Freemont Street! We took an Uber and as soon as we started walking downtown LV, you can tell this place is way different than the Strip! The casinos are older, everything is lit up so bright, crazy people are walking around, and the ceiling is covered in a huge lit up canopy. There’s a zipline that goes over top of the street too. It was so much fun!! Andrew randomly showed up with this huge drink in a leg cup and carried it around all night. Yes, it did indeed make the trip home and is apparently going to stay in our living room…if it ends up disappearing, don’t tell Andy!
We loved Freemont and would definitely spend more time here next time! One of the coolest things was when the Vegas Knights scored a goal, a huge flaming puck zoomed over head on the light canopy! There was live music everywhere and we casino hopped all the way down the street.
The next morning (Tuesday) we woke up and started with the Titanic Artifact Exhibit at the Luxor (1/2 off tickets thanks to the MyVegas app). Just me and Andrew went to this and I have to say it was one of the coolest places that we visited in Vegas. You were given a card at the beginning that assigned you as a real passenger on the ship and at the end you had to look on the memorial wall and see if you lived or died. Andrew didn’t make it but I did and funny enough the woman was travelling to Winnipeg, Canada! There were real artifacts from the Titanic throughout the museum and they created it to look exactly like you were on the ship. There was a replica of the grand staircase that Jack and Rose stand on, an outdoor deck to walk on with a view of the stars, the cabins where third-class and first-class passengers slept, the actual largest piece of the Titanic that they found at the bottom of the ocean, and a real iceberg that you can touch and it was freezing! Sadly they don’t allow you to take photos inside but I snuck one of the iceberg because I’m such a badass. 😛
From the Luxor, we took an Uber to where we left off on the Strip the day before and continued on through the casinos until it was time to go back to the Excalibur to freshen up for our shows that night. We went to the Venetian which was absolutely beautiful and we did the indoor gondola ride. It was pretty expensive, not gonna lie, but ended up being one of our favourite things that we did the whole trip. My mom was really looking forward to this and I’m glad it did not disappoint. Our gondola driver was hilarious and sang the whole time so that probably helped!
How cute!! We headed back to the hotel to shower and freshen up and then we split up for the evening. Mom and Dad went to see Elton John at Caesars Palace and Andrew and I went to see Ka, a Cirque du Soleil show, at MGM Grand. My parents loved Elton John and we really enjoyed Ka. Our tickets were half price and we had really good seats.
We met up at Caesars Palace and then headed to the Linq High Roller which is the tallest ferris wheel in the world! This is one thing you HAVE to do if you’re in Vegas, and do it at night time because the lights are so cool on the Strip at night, especially from 550 feet up!! I got a really good deal on these tickets. When we bought our tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower earlier, they had a deal that the High Roller tickets were only $20 each with the purchase of the Eiffel Tower ones. So I bought them then and we were allowed to use them anytime, even at night, which is usually more expensive. You can also ride a drinking car on the High Roller which costs more money but you get an open bar with a bartender during the 30 minute ride! We just brought our own drinks on with us. It’s really neat because the ferris wheel never stops moving so even when you step on and off of it it’s slowly moving past you!
On Wednesday we went to a few more casinos and the cold rainy weather finally peaced out so we were able to go swimming at the hotel! The Bellagio was so beautiful and the lobby and conservatory were my favourite parts.
This evening we went to Treasure Island, the Mirage, ARIA for the dinner buffet (which was amazing and half price for us!), and to see the Bellagio fountains at night. The volcano at the Mirage was really cool. It got super hot close up!
On Thursday we rented a car right in our hotel and went exploring. Our flight was leaving at midnight that night so it worked out to check out that morning and keep all of our luggage in the back of the SUV all day instead of storing it at the hotel and having to go back and get it on the way to the airport. We just dropped the car off right at the airport that night which saved a lot of time and effort. Our first stop this day was the Hoover Dam! I didn’t really know what to expect but it was way cooler than I thought it would be.
We drove from here to Red Rock Canyon. We didn’t pay to drive the loop through the canyon but we saw it from afar which was neat. I didn’t really find this that interesting, but maybe if we drove further it would have been more exciting?
We drove back to Vegas and had a 12:40pm tour at the Neon Sign Museum! I highly recommend this if you are visiting Las Vegas. It’s something different to do off the Strip and you get to learn a bunch about the history of Las Vegas and the evolution of the signs as the city grew. Our guide, Mitch, was great and very knowledgeable. Apparently they still have around 700 signs in storage that they can restore and put on display somewhere but they are running out of room and money to do so. Only a few of the signs on display are functioning and light up. I can’t imagine a tour at night being that much better because only about 7 of the signs are functioning. I’m sure it would still be neat though! People get married here all of the time and I can see why! We really enjoyed the 1 hour tour.
We stopped in at Gold and Silver Pawn Shop which is the shop featured in Pawn Stars, a show that my Dad always watches. Sadly none of the guys were there but it was cool to walk through the shop. It was also exciting to drive downtown LV during the day time and see how different it is from the Strip. I lost count of how many wedding chapels there were!!
We stopped at the Rio and Circus Circus which weren’t exciting and then ended the day at the Hooters Casino where we gambled and watched the Pens and Jets games! I had some $1 margaritas… how can they sell them for so cheap! From here we went to the airport, dropped the car off and boarded our flight at midnight to Minneapolis. We landed in Minni around 5:30am, took the hotel shuttle back to our cars, said goodbye to my parents and we went our separate ways home for a sleepy drive. We are exhausted and jetlagged but it was so much fun!!
I know this is the longest post you have ever read so I’m shocked if you’re still reading but I wanted to share one last thing that we did on our trip to make it special. Every casino that we went to, we went to a roulette or blackjack table and traded a $1 bill for a $1 chip from that casino so that we have chips as souvenirs for every casino we visited! We went to a grand total of 30 in those 4 days. THIRTY. No wonder our feet were sore!!! I just need to figure out how to display them or store them somehow. If you have any ideas, leave a comment and let me know!
Thanks for reading!