Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Best of Las Vegas!

Now, as some of you may know – I moved to Las Vegas a little over three years ago from Sydney, Australia to take up a position in Viator’s Las Vegas office. I’ve had plenty of time to see the great things Las Vegas has to offer (and the not so great). Here is my version of the Las Vegas Review Journals “Best of Vegas” poll. Whether a local or a tourist, you can’t go wrong with this list!
Happy Hour at Paradise
Happy Hour at Paradise

Best Bar

Without a doubt, Paradise Cantina on Paradise and Harmon is the only place to drink! They have the city’s best happy hour (2 for 1 drinks between 4pm & 8pm every day), the staff are friendly, and there is even a patio for outdoor drinking. This is a watering hole mainly frequented by locals, but because of the location, a few tourists do wander in and find a great, unpretentious place to have a drink or some food. There is not one person (including my Mum) that I’ve taken here that hasn’t enjoyed ‘Paradise’ (and I have taken a LOT of people there!)

Best Show

OK, so I’m a little biased here, but the one show I highly recommend to ANYONE coming to Las Vegas is Human Nature (and they also won the ‘real’ Best of Vegas award, not just mine!) Four white guys singing Motown just doesn’t quite sound right, but sound right they do! Sure – the dancing may seem a little cheesy in this day and age, but they are being true to the genre. These are four incredibly talented guys that are also just really nice people – so unusual in the cut-throat world of entertaining. This is one show that will have you dancing in the aisles (literally).

Best Comedy Show

L.A. Comedy Club has introduced me to a number of great, up and coming comics and you are always sure for a laugh when you go here. There are 2 venues, one downtown at the Four Queens Hotel and another that  just opened at Wasted Space at the Hard Rock Hotel (which is very conveniently across the road from Paradise Cantina). Some of my favorite comics? K-Von (now star of Disaster Date on MTV), D’ Lai and Shang.

Best Comedian

There is no one else for me other than Vinnie Favorito. When I first went to this show, I had absolutely no idea who he was and had no idea what to expect. This Italian from Boston blew me away with his quick wit, his ability to make fun of people in a way that leaves absolutely no one offended and his memory! I mean, he remembers everyone’s names and refers back to them throughout the show. The act is full of swearing, so it’s not for the faint-hearted, but if you like a good laugh – then you can’t miss this one. Again – something I recommend to anyone that has a sense of humor.
Enjoyinig Laughs with Vinnie Favorito
Enjoyinig Laughs with Vinnie Favorito

Best Hotel

Now, I don’t hang out in the hotels very much, I am usually just in them for meetings or meals, but I think my favorite has to be The Palms. It’s off the Strip, so you miss the frantic energy out there, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sure – this is the place the beautiful people stay, but it has a small casino, the rooms are awesome (with very comfortable beds) and it’s got some of the best views in Vegas.

Best Restaurant

This is a tough category because Las Vegas has SO many great restaurants, therefore my  nominees are: Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris Hotel (great food, great views); Cana at Town Square – a Tapas place that has ‘to die for’ Truffle and Parmesan chips and Sensi at the Bellagio has four separate kitchens delivering four different cuisines. But my favorite has to be CraftSteak at the MGM. The owner is Tom Colicchio – co-host of Top Chef on Bravo, and he has put together a stunning array of dishes. It’s not cheap, but the food was absolutely delicious. I’d go back again in a heartbeat!

Best Shopping

My favorite place to shop is at Town Square. There is a wide variety of retail stores (including Sephora and Apple), but there are also a ton of restaurants and bars and even a movie theater. This is an outdoor mall, one I liken to a Norman Rockwell village, especially at Christmas time. It’s just a great place to shop and hang out with friends and it’s centrally located on the Strip, just south of Mandalay Bay.

Best Free Thing to Do

This is a toss-up between the Bellagio Fountains and Fremont Street and you’re going from classy to well, not so classy. The Bellagio spent millions on their fountain show and you can tell – it really is a sight to behold and every time I drive past, even after 3 years, I turn off the radio, wind down the windows of my car and enjoy them. At the other end of the spectrum (and the Strip) is Fremont Street. There has been a big revival downtown, and there really is no better place to go to wander the mall, watch a free light show every hour and see live bands (for free). The last band I saw at Fremont Street was Lady Antebellum just a few months ago. There is a great vibe down here and even if you only visit once in a while, it’s well worth it.

Best Attraction

I love the TV show, now I get to be Gil Grissom at CSI: The Experience! This is about to celebrate it’s 1st anniversary in Las Vegas, so it’s crazy that I only just got to go there now, but I did last week and I loved it! In a nutshell, you examine a crime scene, then using fingerprint technology, DNA testing, autopsy analysis etc, you get to try and solve the crime. Super fun stuff to do for an hour or so, and great to escape the summer heat!
Solving Crimes on CSI:The Experience
Solving Crimes on CSI:The Experience

Best Getaway

And speaking of summer heat – where would we be without Lake Mead? This is my absolute favorite thing to do in summer! Rent a boat and cruise Lake Mead, stopping at places like Sandy Beach, The Wishing Well or the Narrows to swim in the warm water, or head to the Hoover Dam and literally marvel at the new bridge (it really is spectacular). You can also rent houseboats for a day, week – whatever you want, that are fully equipped – my friends and I often do that a few times during the season. Even though the water level is constantly dropping, it is one of a handful of “Happy Places” that I can’t now live without.
Relaxing at Lake Mead
Relaxing at Lake Mead
So there it is! My Vegas top things to do…All of these things have brought some form of enjoyment to my life in the past few years and I take every opportunity to share these with my friends and fellow travelers! Enjoy my friends!