Written by Carmen on 29 Dec, 2008
I consider myself a connoisseur of steak. It’s one of my favorite meals, and it’s one of the things I treat myself to whenever I go to Las Vegas. Come on, Vegas is a foodie paradise, so how can you possibly not get a gourmet…Read More
I consider myself a connoisseur of steak. It’s one of my favorite meals, and it’s one of the things I treat myself to whenever I go to Las Vegas. Come on, Vegas is a foodie paradise, so how can you possibly not get a gourmet steak by a celebrity chef while you’re there?Each trip, I’ve splurged on a steak dinner, and I now offer up my recommendations for the best places for the best beef. Best Steak #1: Prime, at the Bellagio – I don’t know if it’s because it was my first trip to Las Vegas, if it was because I was celebrating a birthday or if it’s because the food was just that good, but Prime is my #1 choice for best steak in Las Vegas. The restaurant has a brown and blue décor, you can get a table that looks out onto the dancing fountains, and last but not least, the steak is awesome! My filet mignon took a while to prepare, because they wanted to do it right, but it was worth the wait. Probably the best tasting meat I’d ever had, along with the best tasting sauces – it came with four to try. The only reason I haven’t been back is because there are so many places to try, but it would get my hearty recommendation to any first timers who can spare $50 for a good steak.Best Steak #1.5: Delmonico, at the Venetian – When you’ve got so many great restaurants to chose from, it’s often hard to select the best of the best. I’ve eaten at Delmonico twice. The first time, chef Emeril Lagasse’s steak house was perfect. The second time, the meal wasn’t perfect at first, but they made it perfect on the second try. Emeril is one of my favorite chefs, with a southern flair for cooking that makes me feel at home. The steak was melt-in-your-mouth, and the sides were almost as good as the main course. I could order just side dishes and eat like a queen for a week. The décor is like a wonderful bistro, and I just like the atmosphere here. Only slightly less expensive than Prime, it’s still a splurge for your wallet, but also your taste buds. Best Steak #2: Cut, at the Palazzo – The only reason that Cut came in at #2 is the price. If it was on taste alone, it would give Prime a run for its money. If you like steak, you’ll love Cut. It’s modern décor isn’t overwhelming, the wait staff takes really good care of you, and you’ll find your eyes rolling out of your head when you taste the American Kobe filet mignon. Your eyes may also roll out of your head when you get the bill, but taste-for-dollar, it’s not that bad. Pretty Good Steak The BOA Steakhouse in Caesar's Palace can cook a mean steak, just not as bad to the bone as Cut, Prime, or Delmonico. However, you'll think you're in a celebrity restaurant just from the price tag. If you want a really good steak, just not a really great one, BOA in the Forum Shops will be a good pick.Best Burger: Burger Bar, Mandalay Bay – If you want a good burger, look no further than the Burger Bar. It’s likely one of the most inexpensive pieces of beef you’ll get in Las Vegas, unless you splurge on the $60 Kobe beef burger, adding expensive truffles and maybe a fleck of gold on top. There’s nearly always a line from 6 p.m. – on, so try it at lunch or in an off-hour. It’s a build-your-own experience. Chose the beef, chose the bun, chose the toppings, chose the sauce, choose the fries. There’s almost too much choice, but if you don’t like it, you can only blame yourself, because you picked it. However, I wouldn’t count on that happening. Close
I would say that the question I get asked the most from people who are going to Las Vegas is "Where should I stay?"There are so many considerations that go into answering this question. What do you want your Vegas experience to be like? Do…Read More
I would say that the question I get asked the most from people who are going to Las Vegas is "Where should I stay?"There are so many considerations that go into answering this question. What do you want your Vegas experience to be like? Do you want to be in the middle of things, or just have easy access to the middle of things? What is your budget? When are you going? Etc. So I’ve put together this list, after 7 trips to Vegas in 6 years, to answer this question for my IgoUgo friends.1. Best place to stay, period: Mandalay Bay – this hotel is always tops on my list of recommended hotels in Las Vegas. There’s only one downfall that I can see, and that is it’s location on the very end of the Strip. That minor inconvenience is easily overcome with cheap taxis, and the modern rooms, cool and well-ventilated casino, neat shops, Shark Reef, House of Blues, the new connector to the Luxor with shops and restaurants, a shuttle train to Luxor and Excalibur (though why anyone would go there is beyond me.) The staff is uber-friendly, everything is convenient, and there are great penny slots. The layout makes sense, and the rooms are easily reached from most anywhere. The wave pool and lazy river are incredibly fun. See? I love this place! You can get good deals here if you look, too.2. Best place to stay if you can afford it: The Venetian. – One of my best hotel experiences was at the Venetian, and if you can keep an eye out and be flexible, you can occasionally find decent deals on these, touted the biggest rooms on the strip. It has the details down pat, the staff is accommodating and not snobby, there is plenty of shopping, you can request a mini fridge for your room, there’s a huge seating area in the room, and it’s center Strip, smack dab in the thick of things. With the addition of the new Palazzo extension, this place has got it all. The next time I can get a deal to the Palazzo, that’s were you’ll find me. Best moderately priced hotel: Paris – Paris is one of the neatest of the themed hotels, with a foot of its Eiffel Tower reproduction stretching into the casino, which has tall ceilings and a sensible layout. There are lots of good places to eat, especially breakfast at Le Village Buffet, and the rooms, while not on par with Mandalay or Venetian, are perfectly fine. What are you doing in your room anyway? You’re in Las Vegas! The lobby is beautiful, and you feel like yelling "Vive La France!" as you roam the Parisian "streets." Plus, you’ve again got center Strip location, so almost everything is as convenient as it gets in Las Vegas. 3. Most overrated hotel: The Bellagio – In its heyday, I’m sure that the Bellagio was one of the nicest places to stay on the Strip – it’s certainly one of the most beautiful. It has a great location, a beautiful design, beautiful fountains, beautiful gardens, but not-so-beautiful service. In my opinion, if I’m paying for a 5-star, I want a 5-star. If I wanted a 3-star, I’d be paying a lot less over at Paris. Everything is overpriced here, from $12 drinks at the pool bar to the "who can afford this?" upscale retail shops. If you have money to throw around, by all means, throw it around here. However, one night here, with dirty dishes left outside my door from the previous guests the entire stay, was enough for me. Nevermore.4. Next best moderately priced hotel: Luxor – If you can get a great deal here, and this is usually one of the lower-priced theme hotels on the Strip, by all means jump on that deal. Stay in the pyramid, if for no other reason than to experience the inclinator – the "elevator" that "leans" as it heads up the pyramid. The only downfall is that the Luxor is starting to show its age, from slightly worn carpet and a smoky casino. However, they’re investing in upgrades, and maybe you’ll get lucky with a room that’s newer. Again, however, you shouldn’t be spending that much time in your room anyway, so it should be just fine for the price. Plus, I think the Luxor has one of the nicer pools, and a great spa, so don’t overlook this option.5. Hotel that I can’t even garner an opinion on: New York, NY – You know, this is one of the neater ideas for a theme hotel. The piano bar here is really fun, the Irish pub is fun, there’s New York pizza, and a roller coaster to boot. However, the room that we stayed in was so old and worn down that I was almost scared that a black light might display something that we didn’t want to know about. Also undergoing renovations, if this is the deal you get, make sure to get an upgraded room. The location is okay, not center Strip like Paris, and just not as classy, either. It’s mostly just . . . okay. Close
Written by svearvaldyr on 22 Dec, 2008
I visited Las Vegas 6 years ago with my then-girlfriend, now-wife. It was an eye-opening place. You hear accounts and stories about Sin City from those who love it, those who hate it and those who've never even seen it, but you really…Read More
I visited Las Vegas 6 years ago with my then-girlfriend, now-wife. It was an eye-opening place. You hear accounts and stories about Sin City from those who love it, those who hate it and those who've never even seen it, but you really can't understand it until you've been there and experienced it for yourself. Our first visit was magical. We stayed for a week, didn't gamble, and spent the whole time wandering around, taking pictures, checking out the shows and enjoying the over-the-top splendour of it all. This time around a lot had changed. The Strip isn't what it once was. At the moment there's a whole lot of construction going on for starters, which means that it's very dirty, very noisy and the famous skyline is somewhat marred by half finished buildings and cranes. It's not just the construction though. The last time I visited the Strip was very separate to the rest of Las Vegas. There was almost no litter, no police presence, excellent customer service everywhere, no crime ... you could walk around the streets at 4am and feel very safe and secure. That atmosphere has gone somewhat, unfortunately. I saw several arrests around the street in the week I was there this time, there was litter everywhere, customer service had gone downhill rapidly the price of everything had crept alarmingly upwards. Vegas used to be place you could stay and eat very cheaply - because they wanted you to stay and gamble - but the gambling has taken more of a back seat and there's more selling, more unreasonably priced food, more expensive room prices. There is a broad range of options to choose from though, and particularly if you can drive around a little, there is still cheap accommodation to be had. There is a dizzying array of shows to choose from, many of them quite reasonably priced for what they are; and although the cheap food options have gone up in price, there's a lot of mid-range priced food that is a serious bargain for the quality you get. If you are going to Vegas, look for specials. Useful websites are vegas-specials.com and expedia.com. They have a lot of really good deals on offer. The best way to get good deals is to look well ahead of time (at least 30 days in advance) and to go during the week. The price of rooms triples on Friday/Saturday, as do the crowds. If you have the means to go Sun-Thurs or during the offseason then it's well worth doing so. Close
Written by melissabowman on 10 Jan, 2008
Since the Bellagio, MGM and the Mirage are all part of one I thought I would put these two together. When we first got to Vegas we parked at the MGM Grand and walked through there to get started. My first time in a…Read More
Since the Bellagio, MGM and the Mirage are all part of one I thought I would put these two together. When we first got to Vegas we parked at the MGM Grand and walked through there to get started. My first time in a huge hotel/Casino, I was amazed there is so much to do and see. The casino itself was huge, the sounds were amazing you could here chips clanging together everywhere. We walked though several areas of the MGM. We saw the lion exhibit which does not cost money, there were some great holiday decorations throughout the hotel, and you could smell all the fresh poinsettias. There are several shops and stores, a Rainforest Café, and a few other things as well. The MGM is known for hosting several fights, shows and other entertainments. We were only there for a short while and mainly walked through to get to the street and see more of the strip. However it was a nice looking hotel and if we ever go back that will be one place I would like to look into more for staying the night. Now the Bellagio was very different than all the other hotels we had been in. It was very nice and much more upscale. It was more of the luxury hotel. Still it had all the same things that the other hotels have, shopping, restaurants, shows, casinos, they were just much more fancy and higher class. The shops consisted of places like Gucci, Dior, Chanel, Fendi, and Prada are among the many high-end shops you will find here, defiantly way too expensive for my wallet. Still for some people it is like me shopping in Gap, H&M or other shops along that line. The Lobby of the Bellogio was the most impressive. The ceiling was very decorative with blown glass flowers. The atrium was filled with holiday décor, flowers and poinsettias, and everywhere you looked you could see how detailed everything was. It really was a nice sight. One of the main attractions to many tourists is the fountains. We never actually got to see them but from the front of the Bellogio the view is gorgeous. I really enjoyed walking around this hotel and seeing what all it offered. Close
This was my first visit to Las Vegas and to see the strip. It was everything I expected it to be. It was BIG, it was bright and it was busy. Going on Christmas Eve was pretty crazy and needles to say…Read More
This was my first visit to Las Vegas and to see the strip. It was everything I expected it to be. It was BIG, it was bright and it was busy. Going on Christmas Eve was pretty crazy and needles to say in the middle of the desert it was cold. The weather for the 2 days we were there was cold, around 50-55, and very windy. Making some things not as much fun and walking not always an option with a 3-year old. However we were able to see a lot of the strip and even experience a variety of different things. We got to see the whole strip from the north end to the south end and Freemont Street, which is in downtown at night and during the day. Both views were quite amazing. The first thing I remember driving into Vegas from the East side was all the lights. When you come out of the mountains around the Hoover Dam, you can see Vegas, which at that point is 20 miles away, as if it were 2 miles away. For as long and as far as you can see it is just all lights. As you drive closer and closer all the lights get brighter and everything begins to get bigger. The first thing I remember seeing was the MGM Grand. It was so big and so bright. Of Course then you turn down Las Vegas Boulevard and then begin to see hotel after hotel. Big and bright. After driving down we decided to park and walk around a little. During the day the sight is just as amazing because each hotel holds its won theme and detailed decoration. From afar the hotels do not look that big but when you are stopped right in front of them and look up you realize how big there really are. The hotels have so much detail and are so beautifully designed in there very own way. Driving out of the strip you head towards downtown where you will pass several wedding chapels and eventually run into Freemont Street. I believe this was formally part of the strip where you will find the 4 queens and the Golden Nugget, Two of the oldest hotels on the strip. Freemont Street has been closed of and covered for tourists to enjoy shopping and sightseeing. Close
Written by MilwVon on 30 Sep, 2006
Cheesy as it sounds, a Las Vegas wedding can be romantic and all a woman can hope for on her special day! Given this would be a second marriage for each of us; we didn’t want to go the church route. David and…Read More
Cheesy as it sounds, a Las Vegas wedding can be romantic and all a woman can hope for on her special day! Given this would be a second marriage for each of us; we didn’t want to go the church route. David and I had been planning a summer wedding, in Las Vegas, but we had to accelerate our date due to other mitigating circumstances (and no, I wasn’t pregnant!). I spent days and days looking at websites of all the Las Vegas chapels checking out the prices, services, and even the live web-cam on one of them. Want to have some fun, just watch live video of people getting married in Vegas. We saw people dressed in everything from formal wear, tuxes, and the like...to shorts and tank tops.We chose A Hollywood Wedding Chapel (http://www.ahollywoodweddingchapel.com/) on Las Vegas Blvd. The price was right (around $150 including all gratuities) and the package perfect for what we wanted. For the $150, we were picked up at our hotel, the Excalibur Casino & Hotel in a nice limo. For the wedding ceremony itself, we received the services of a wedding celebrant, photographer who took one 24 roll of 35mm photographs, a video of the entire ceremony, my wedding bouquet, boutonniere for David and a bottle of decent champagne. Like I said, for $150 we got everything we wanted and needed.The wedding chapel was beautifully decorated with yellow and white flowers. There were several rows of chairs for those who have family and friends sharing in their special day. For us, it was just David and me along with the photographer (who also served as our witness). The photographer not only took photos during the ceremony, she also did the pre and post ceremony shots around the wedding chapel. They also had a nice wedding cake photo op location as well as other traditional wedding photo set-ups. They give you the roll of film and you get it developed at your convenience. Of course, we had ours done the next day at a local drugstore in Vegas. We couldn’t have been happier with our wedding pictures as they were gorgeous!!I should say that if you are planning a trip to Las Vegas to get married, you will need to go to the Clark County Courthouse for your marriage certificate. It will cost around $50. After your ceremony, the wedding chapel will file the completed license with the courthouse. Close
Written by Saphira on 06 Jul, 2006
On every vacation, there is always a pinnacle day. When all the other memories of your trip fade away, this one day will forever be etched in your memory. For me, no other day was as special, as the day I spent hiking…Read More
On every vacation, there is always a pinnacle day. When all the other memories of your trip fade away, this one day will forever be etched in your memory. For me, no other day was as special, as the day I spent hiking at the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area.Located just 30 minutes from downtown Las Vegas, Spring Mountain is a nature lover’s 316,000-acre dream. As the car carried my husband and I through winding mountain roads the temperature soon turned a pleasant seventy-two degrees. It seems a bit odd once you arrive at the top of the mountain. Here you are staring at rising snowcapped mountains in a place known for its desert beauty. We stopped at the visitor’s center, where the staff could not have been more pleasant and helpful. We grabbed the entire stack of hiking maps and set off to take some pictures. We stopped at several scenic points to admire the vast expanse of pine and aspen trees as various birds flew happily between the branches. During the winter months the mountains are used for skiing and it is amazing to see the amount of devastation inflicted to the trees caused by various avalanches. After much deliberation, we decided on a hiking trail. The great part about Spring Mountain’s hiking maps, is that they give you the accurate amount of miles for each hike. Also listed is the difficulty of the path and the approximate length of time it will take you. This was extremely helpful as we are only novice hikers and need as much information as possible. We decided on the Fletcher Canyon Trail. It was listed as “moderate,” which seemed doable, and it also promised an interesting water feature at the end.The beginning of Fletcher Canyon is very similar to most nature trails. Clear paths lead the way through lush green pine trees, filling your lungs with the scent of Christmas. I must admit we were disappointed at first. The map had promised water all along the trail, but all we saw were dried up rock beds. Finally about half way through the trail we heard the faintest trickling of what sounded like water. It was so exciting, almost like finding a treasure. The rest of our hike was accompanied by the sound of water splashing playfully over rocks. After a very mild walk, you are finally thrust into the rock bed itself, where you must scramble on top of precariously slippery rocks. This is where it is essential to have good footwear. You would be incapacitated if you wore flip-flops or some other impractical shoe. I also found it helpful to walk sideways, as it seemed to provide better balance and prevented me from slipping head first into the rocks. Once past the rock bed, you find yourself immersed in a limestone canyon. The walls loom above at almost two hundred feet. It was slightly eerie as each walked upon stone sent up a resounding echo. For a while I thought someone was behind us as I kept hearing a sort of scrunching noise. Finally I realized that it was the echo of the water bottles and twizzlers bouncing around in my backpack. You feel a strange sense of isolation and abrupt quite seems to make you move more slowly, feeling that somehow you are disturbing someone or something. In certain places where the water still flowed, tiny wild flowers bloomed. Compared to the stark white gray walls and floor, their colors of yellow, pink and purple radiated with ferocious brightness. We didn’t even talk, but walked on slowly immersed in our own solitude. Our secludedness was finally broken by the sound of loud rushing water. We hurried our pace until we came to the object that will forever be implanted in my mind. It was a chute of water or I guess a waterfall if you could even call it that, lovingly carved out of a limestone rock by fresh spring water. When we were showing our vacation pictures to others one person commented, “that’s it.” I had to bite my tongue. I guess they were not there to see the clear spring water running freely down a smooth carved limestone chute. To think of how long it has taken the water just to carve out the stone and how it will continue to work carving and eroding long after I have seen it. It was nature and science at its best.Whenever I am very stressed, I take my mind back to that day with the silence and seclusion of the limestone canyon and the bright vibrant flowers. I imagine that I am at the end of the canyon and the only sound I hear is the rushing of cool spring water through limestone. I think these experiences are what vacations are all about. The memories and experiences we take with us to help us through the mundane everyday part of our lives. I know that I will always take Spring Mountain with me and I hope you will consider experiencing it for yourself. Close
Written by two cruisers on 20 Jun, 2006
Iowans love to comment that Nebraska is a Native American word meaning “ a long way across”. We suspect that Nebraskans say the same thing about Wyoming. The first day covered the lush green of Iowa and Eastern Nebraska. We watched farmers planting fields, pretty…Read More
Iowans love to comment that Nebraska is a Native American word meaning “ a long way across”. We suspect that Nebraskans say the same thing about Wyoming. The first day covered the lush green of Iowa and Eastern Nebraska. We watched farmers planting fields, pretty farms, and small towns. The second day’s drive from North Platte, NB to Rock Springs, WY found towns further apart, fields were home to irrigation equipment, and then an occasional oil well. The color green was replaced with beige, and whole communities were surrounded by bleak barren hills. Dust devils could be seen as well as plumes of dust rising behind speeding pick-ups. Seeing an occasional antelope proved there was life out there. By Day 3 we began to angle down to Utah and the scenery started to get interesting again. At Park City we were rewarded with good food, too. At the Silver Summit Café I had a wood-oven pizza that was superb. My husband claims his grilled ham and cheese sandwich was pretty good, too. This café proudly proclaimed it was the 2004 winner of “the best truck stop grub”. Lunch for two was under $15. Park City was the site of some of the Winter Olympics events in 2002. Remaining buildings and event sites could be seen from the highway.The drive from Heber City to Provo follows Provo River, first along a wide valley fenced in by snow-capped peaks, then into the dramatic Provo Canyon and out into a lovely area with small ranches. We saw fisherman in waders casting in the lovely river. Mares with newborn colts frolicked on the ranches.From Provo to Cedar City we enjoyed the beauty of the mountains on the east and the desert on the west. Cedar City proved to be a lovely college town with extraordinary beauty to the east and south. It is the gateway to several National Parks and Monuments. Close
Written by gatorgirl1977 on 06 Jun, 2006
On one of the day trips out of Vegas, my friend and I decided to visit the Hoover Dam. I think it had to be the hottest day ever known to man. The reports on the radio stated it was about 113 degrees. As we…Read More
On one of the day trips out of Vegas, my friend and I decided to visit the Hoover Dam. I think it had to be the hottest day ever known to man. The reports on the radio stated it was about 113 degrees.
As we drove we saw breathtaking views of Lake Mead and the Colorado River. We pulled off several times to take photos of these bodies of water. When we arrived at the dam we found a massive parking garage structure. There was a charge for parking, but it was under $10. This made parking no problem at all. The Hoover Dam also offers a tour; however, my friend and I didn't take it. If I were to do the experience again, I would definitely take the tour.
After leaving the car, we walked on part of the dam and grabbed some great photos. We went back to the gift shop and grabbed some ice-cream. I'm telling you, it was so hot it was hard to breathe. I think most of my ice-cream was melted before I took my first bite.
After finishing our ice-cream we grabbed the car and drove across the Arizona/Nevada state line.
All in all, it was a fun way to spend an afternoon. I don't think that the dam by itself would be a full day trip.
To get to the Hoover Dam from Vegas go southeast on I-515. It will turn into US-93. Just continue on 93 till you get to the dam. Unlike the Valley of Fire State Park, the Hoover Dam was a breeze to find.
The Valley of Fire State Park is one of the most beautiful sites that I have ever visited. With its gorgeous red rock structures naturally eroded by winds and brilliant blue skies, it was unreal. There is even a natural arch here along with beehive-like…Read More
The Valley of Fire State Park is one of the most beautiful sites that I have ever visited. With its gorgeous red rock structures naturally eroded by winds and brilliant blue skies, it was unreal. There is even a natural arch here along with beehive-like structures. It is like visiting somewhere out of a dream or from another planet. There are numerous trails and hiking opportunities here.
The Valley of Fire is located in the Mojave Desert. I can not stress how absolutely breathtaking this place was. With admission to the park being under $10, it was a great way to spend a day.
The Valley of Fire is located about an hour outside of Las Vegas. To get there take I-15 northeast, then take Nevada Route 169 at Crystal south to the park. Please be aware that some of the signs might not be clearly marked. The first day we attempted to go to the Valley of Fire we ended up lost and landed at Lake Mead. While Lake Mead was a great excursion, it wasn't the one we had planned. The second time around we asked our hotel and they gave us much better instructions.
When we went we ate a late breakfast and skipped lunch, just make sure that you bring plenty of water with you. We were extremely parched by the time we returned to Vegas. Also don't forget your sunscreen.
We probably only saw about two other cars out in the park the day we were there. This made the excursion feel very special and private. It was as if all the natural beauty was a secret or hidden treasure we had discovered. More than any of the other things we did in Vegas, this was my absolute favorite outing.