Day 1 – Get to Know your Resort
Each resort on the Vegas Strip is like its own Sovereign Nation. We stayed at the Aria Resort where my husband was attending a 5 day conference. The Aria was a great choice in a fab location. Navigating the hotel takes some practice. Hopefully by the second day you are able to understand the difference between the Promenade level, the Casino level, and the Conference area. The health app on my iPhone told me that I was walking on average 5 miles a day. I think 4 of those miles were within the resort. Vegas is definitely a walking town!
Now that you have basic navigation under your belt, it is time to suss out the pool, gym and spa. The Aria’s amenities are pretty sweet. The Aria pool is ranked at the top of the Vegas pool list. The gym was clean & not too busy. I guess gym time is not a priority in Vegas. I did not add Spa time to my 5 day itinerary, but you can find any imaginable spa treatment available along the Strip. The Canyon Ranch Spa appears to have the most stocked menu.
Day 2 – Explore the Strip
No Visa necessary to leave your Resort & explore the rest of The Vegas Strip. My favorite is getting up early to beat the crowds, and the Summer heat. “Dry Heat” is so overrated in my opinion. 104 feels really hot…no matter how you slice it. If you require air condition, you can explore Caesar’s Palace and the Italian Piazza located inside. It’s a bit confusing, because you feel like you are outside with the domed ceiling! I like walking up & down the stairs on the Strip and popping into all of the different resorts. One minute you are in NYC, Paris, Italy & then at the Wynn it feels like Costa Rica.
The STRAT is a 2.5 mile walk from The Aria and is totally worth the $20 ticket to go up to the top. I could not muster up the courage to do the Sky Jump. An 855 foot open air leap from a platform over a street was not calling my name that day. But..it’s definitely Instagram worthy.
Day 3 – Explore “Old Las Vegas” Fremont Street & The Neon Boneyard
Make sure to allow time for an outing to the Fremont Street area about 15 minutes from the Strip. This is old downtown Las Vegas and the original townsite of the city that was founded in 1905. It is a bit gritty, but this is what makes it cool and interesting. You feel like you are stepping back in time. The Rat Pack and mob bosses were the early inhabitants of this part of town.
The Neon Museum is non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. We reserved the tour at dusk, and our tour guide told us entertaining stories about the history of Vegas. A great outing for history or pop culture fan.
Day 4 – Shopping & The 7 Magic Mountains
I enjoyed window shopping in Vegas on the Strip. You can find the high end designers at The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, Shoppes at the Palazzo at the Venetian & Shops at Crystals at The Aria. If you are an outlet fan, you can head over to the Simon Premium Outlets North & South. One unique shopping experience is on Fremont Street at the Downtown Container Park. It is described as an offbeat shopping center built from shipping containers, plus galleries.
7 Magic Mountains is a public art installation by Ugo Rondinone is cool, colorful and unique. basically 7 brightly colored rock sculptures set against the stark landscape off of the 15 about 25 minutes from The Strip.
I love that Nevada is creating public art. According to Rondinone the installation offers a creative critique of a destination like Vegas. Physically & symbolically mid-way between the natural & artificial.
It’s free, easy to get to & a fun photo opp. But…it was super crowded and difficult to do so. It would be great if they had an acrylic barricade around it so that you could appreciate the vibrancy of the colors against the stark backdrop without humans..but that’s why it is public art.
Day 5 – Aerial Hoop Lesson & Ethel M.’s Chocolate Factory Tour
It doesn’t make much sense to go from an incredibly intense workout to a chocolate factory tour, but it worked well for my itinerary.
I’ve always been intrigued by the athleticism and artistry of the aerial performers. Where else would be better to take an aerial hoop class than in Vegas? Wow..notice my face is beet red. It was definitely at the top of the most difficult fitness classes I’ve ever taken. The amount of upper body strength to perform these stunts is incredible, not to mention performing them with grace & timing. Hats off to these talented hard-working humans!!
Cactus ? & Chocolate ? a great combo! Ethel M. Was Forrest Mars Mother. When he retired from The Mars Company (M&Ms, Milky Way) to Vegas in 1980 he started this small-batch artisanal chocolate factory as an ode to her. Better than Godiva according to the tour guide.
It is a quick tour through the gorgeous 3 acre cactus garden & the small pristine factory. I’m a dark chocolate fan and it was perfect! The pecan brittle was decadent.
A fun stop on the way to the airport or if you have another reason to be off the strip. Probably not worth a separate outing…unless you are fascinated with chocolate making.
Vegas – Once a Decade Kind of Place for Me
It seems everyone has a different relationship with Vegas. I hear “love” & “hate” often when discussing Vegas.
I was not overly enthusiastic to go back to the Strip for 5 days after being there 2 weeks prior for the night. Vegas is very spendy. I suppose if you are a high roller it could be very enjoyable. As for the average convention goer, the expenses add up. Plan on $6 cups of coffee, $18 glass of wine and $25 for breakfast (I don’t partake in buffets but they are a popular option). We enjoyed one high-end steak house dinner, but kept our other meals moderately priced. It is not like New York or Italy where you can find cute little places with delicious food.
I feel like I’ve had enough Vegas for a decade or two, but did enjoy my time there exploring during this trip. Everyone should experience this zany and outrageous city at least one time in their lifetime.