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A Weekend in Las Vegas (Without Céline)

If you've never flawlessly belted [read: hopelessly butchered] "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," have you ever truly lived? One of my best friends and I decided to see the legend herself, Céline Dion, at the Colosseum in Las Vegas. On the day of the concert, we received an email informing us that the concert was canceled [gasp, faint]. After frantically scanning the premises for Ashton Kutcher, we pulled ourselves together and decided to make the best of it. Why waste time sulking about things you can't change? Here's how to have a fabulous weekend in Las Vegas, even when Céline gets a cold.


Transportation: Uber and Lyft

If your activities are on the strip, Uber and Lyft are your best options. Our rides ranged from $7 to $15, and we split the fares. Most casinos/hotels have a designated Uber/Lyft area. As much as we would all love to get dropped off at the front and swagger in like a high-rollin' VIP, this is simply not realistic in Vegas. There are usually "Rideshare" signs posted throughout the casinos, and the staff is always very helpful to point you in the right direction. McCarran airport has a designated area as well, so be aware that you may have to walk to get to your pickup point when arriving in Las Vegas.


Michael Jackson's ONE by Cirque du Soleil at Mandalay Bay

This show was not why we came to Vegas, but it did a splendid job of filling Céline's perfect, French-Canadian shoes. You will only leave disappointed if you are expecting to see untalented people doing things that are not gravity-defying and not amazing. They give you a little bit of paparazzi treatment before the show, but the pictures cost extra, so kindly ask a stranger to snap a pic like we did. It turned out pretty well in spite of my "This isn't Céline, but I'm okay" smile. There's no intermission, so go to the restroom before the show.


Brunch at Lago in the Bellagio

Chef Julian Serrano has found a way to assemble a delicately-portioned meal that leaves you full, but also craving more, simply because it's so delicious. The back area of the restaurant provides an up-close view of the iconic Fountains of Bellagio. If you want the stellar view, make a reservation. We pretty much wandered in, so we did not get a table viewing the fountains. Instead, they seated us right beside the pastry buffet. What a tragedy. Brunch is only served on Sundays from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. If you have the option, get the Raviolone. I managed to slurp up all of the creamy truffle sauce using only a fork. We all have our talents.


Fremont Street's Slotzilla Zoomline

Fremont Street is affectionately known as "Old Vegas" or "Downtown Las Vegas." It has the older, classic casinos, and the atmosphere is more laid-back than life on The Strip. I highly recommend taking an afternoon to explore the area and take a ride on Slotzilla's Zoomline. Cruising over Fremont Street with everyone below cheering and waving had us feeling like superheroes- capeless ones with mascara cascading down our faces in the wind, but superheroes nonetheless. The experience itself was $42 per person (including taxes and fees, prices may vary based on dates and times). Our experience took maybe 30-45 minutes, and we booked online that morning. They have a bag that attaches to your harness so your stuff can zoom with you (within reason- a pack mule carrying your tequila bottles is a no-go). No photography is allowed during the "flight," but the Slotzilla staff takes pictures for you. You can also sign up to use one of their Go-Pro helmets, but surprise!- the pictures and video cost almost as much as the experience itself. We decided to simply savor the excitement captured by our watery eyeballs.


If you're afraid of heights, or feeling nauseous, for the precious sake of the innocent people below, definitely don't do this. For a milder thrill, try the Zipline instead of the Zoomline. It's shorter, lower to the ground, and you sit instead of lay on your stomach.


The Linq's High Roller

This was one of the best decisions we made in Vegas. Depending on how high or low your standards are, that sentence may not mean much. Boasting the title of the "World's Tallest Observation Wheel," it stands over 100 feet higher than the London Eye (because it's America and everything is a competition). Definitely go after sunset; that's when those Vegas lights really get to show off. Booking online allows you to get discounted rates and skip the lines. We arrived around 6:00 pm on a Friday and waited maybe 5 minutes. Each experience lasts around 30 minutes.


Another one of those disclaimers: If you're afraid of heights, this may be a scooch out of your comfort zone.


The Recap

Are these the only fun things to do in Las Vegas? Absolutely not. There's plenty of things we didn't do, and many things I didn't write about, such as encountering the mostly-naked, dad-bod man dancing for money on Fremont Street. Or making our own dance floor while taking in the views of The Strip on the balcony of the Foundation Room lounge at Mandalay Bay [YAS GIRL, YASSS]. And that lounge at the Mirage (Rhumbar) which you should maybe skip. It's a cool atmosphere, but it's overpriced, and they'll accuse you of breaking their hookahs. I don't even like hookah, but that's Vegas, man.


Stay hydrated, folks. It's dry out there.