Not even record high temperatures can slow things down in Las Vegas! Your local news may have told you that Las Vegas set records for high temperatures. Yes, weather is fascinating.
The biggest news in Las Vegas this week was the opening of Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay. The show opened to rave reviews from the mainstream press and blogs alike. Michael Jackson ONE has two shows nightly Saturday through Wednesday at 7pm and 10pm. The show is dark on Thursday and Friday nights and a few random dates throughout the year.
Mandalay Bay announced that they will be building the 2nd largest rooftop solar panel arrangement in the United States. The panels will be set on top of the 20,000 square foot convention center and will be able to power about 20% of Mandalay Bay. MGM Resorts has had an eye for being green. They specifically designed CityCenter to be one of the most green hotels in Las Vegas. You can read more details from the Las Vegas Sun.
If you’ve been to Vegas in the past year you’ve probably noticed a ton of construction happening on the Vegas strip. The middle of the Vegas strip is undergoing a major metamorphosis with Caesars Entertainment closing O’Sheas and Bill’s Gambling Hall while renovating and turning the Imperial Palace into The Quad. Much of this is being done to create room for The Linq which will be a shopping, dining and entertainment district anchored by the largest observation wheel in North America. Construction on The Linq is scheduled to end by the end of the year but there might be some work that carries over to next year.
The Linq will be located directly in the middle of the Vegas strip across the street from Caesars Palace. Here’s a glimpse at the variety of shopping and dining options that will be available when The Linq is complete.
Las Vegas is always hot and I say that often but this weekend it’s going to be SERIOUSLY hot. Las Vegas is expected to break records for how hot it is. Temperatures are set to go as high as 117 degrees in the shade. Add 15 degrees to that when you’re in the sun. There is an excessive heat warning until Monday night at 8pm according to The Weather Channel. If you’re coming to Las Vegas this weekend you may want to add some water to the booze run. You may also want to pack some extra moisturizer and lip balm so you don’t dry up. The heat is awesome and you should enjoy it but some precautions to ensure you enjoy it will go a long way.
What better way to bring the heat than with some fireworks. The 4th of July will bring fireworks shows to the Vegas strip and to the suburbs so you’ll be able to see pretty sparkles wherever you may be. Caesars Palace will have a 10 minute show beginning at 9pm on July 4th. If you’re away from the strip you can see fireworks coming from either Red Rock Resort or Green Valley Ranch at 9pm. Those shows will only last 9 minutes so if you need that extra minute make sure you’re at the strip. Downtown Vegas usually has a fireworks show on the Fremont Street Experience. It’s not real fireworks but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.
Speaking of Downtown Vegas there are a few new things happening. The Plaza opened an electronic poker room this week. There are no dealers or cards because everything is digital. If you prefer touching the cards Golden Nugget, Binions and El Cortez are your live/human poker room choices. The newest casino coming to Las Vegas is the Downtown Grand. Their new website says they’ll open this year but most people expect it to be fully operational in 2014. The site has no info on it but you can sign up for a newsletter and rewards program now. I’m a bit excited for Downtown Grand, so I already signed up.
Gray Cargill: Solo travel blogger, writer, amateur photographer.
Location: South Burlington, Vermont
Gray has been travelling to Vegas by herself roughly once a year since 2001. Her blog VegasSolo.com includes experiences and tips for Vegas goers.
Q: Do you always travel to Las Vegas by yourself?
A: Pretty much always. I have been there with my uncle and once with a friend of mine but most of my trips have been solo. I go everywhere by myself–I am a solo traveler. That’s what I have been doing since the late nineties. Why would Vegas be any different than anywhere else? I started (traveling solo) out of circumstance. I didn’t really have anyone to travel with, and I got sick of waiting for someone to travel with. When you feel like you have to go with someone else then you also have to wait for their schedule to free up and for them to have the money and for them to have the interest in the same destination that you do and that’s a lot of waiting and a lot of maybes. For me, I just like the freedom and flexibility of being able to go when it is convenient for me and where I want to go and do what I want to do.
Obviously there is a price difference. If you travel with somebody you can share costs. Solo travellers have to foot the entire bill themselves. My travel style might be different–maybe I don’t stay at the 4-5 star hotels all the time. I am pretty frugal in my everyday life though.
Q: Even though you go alone what is the social aspect of travelling alone
A: When I first started going I was rarely social. But it’s so easy to chat with people, you know, meet people casually, like 5 minutes here and there. My favorite icebreaker is if you’re in elevator or in a line just turn and ask “So are you winning?” Most people gamble and even if they are not gambling they will just tell you what they have been doing.
In my opinion, chocolate can solve everything. Sunburned? Hot? Hung-over? Tired? Hungry? Eat some chocolate; it should be considered a food group. During a recent trip, I was lucky enough to come across some incredible chocolate finds. Check them out!
If you have a car, you cannot miss the opportunity to tour Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory. It is a short distance from the strip and well worth the trip! The entrance winds you through an M&M store with every color M&M’s imaginable along with cute souvenirs for kids of all ages. After passing through the M&M portion, you past a glass wall of the chocolate factory and get an up close and personal view of how the chocolates are made. At the end of this hallway, you can chose between a free sample of either milk or dark chocolate. Then around the corner you will walk into the chocolate addicts dream, their chocolate store. They have a display case full of chocolates that look as good as they taste, tables upon tables of every possible combination of chocolate/flavors and even homemade ice cream for those hot days. Check out the brittle (my personal favorite), they even dunk that in chocolate! Even if you can’t make it to the actual factory, make sure to check out their retail store located inside the Las Vegas airport. You might miss out on the experience, but you won’t miss out on the taste!
The US economy is getting better and MGM Resorts is planning that the economy will continue to grow. MGM Resorts has already begun major renovations to their hotels and casinos on the south end of the Vegas strip and they have more new projects happening now and in the future. Changes begin all the way to the south of the strip at Mandalay Bay and head as far north as Aria.
If you’ve been to Mandalay Bay this year you’ve probably seen some of the renovations that are already complete but there is still more to come. One of the new dining options at Mandalay Bay includes Citizens Kitchen which replaced Red, White and Blue. You’ll also see that Mandalay Bay has a new nightclub powered by Cirque Du Soleil called Light. It’s sister dayclub called Daylight opened Memorial Day weekend. TheHotel is being rebranded as Delano Hotel and will begin taking reservations next year.
Heading next door to Mandalay Bay you may remember that Luxor recently began work on a full fledged outdoor concert and festival area. This is taking place behind the hotel so you’ll never know it’s being worked on. Heading north on the Vegas strip you’ll be able to see the bulk of the MGM Resorts construction.
Today is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. Let’s face it, it’s hot everywhere… especially Las Vegas. If you are trying to beat the heat, check out one of these cool treats!
Vegas is known as “Sin City” so it goes without being said that there are frozen alcoholic beverages everywhere you look. Maybe you are under 21, maybe you need a break from the alcohol or maybe you don’t drink at all. We found some great places to grab something to cool you off if you are in a hurry!
Serendipity 3 is located in front of Caesar’s Palace. It is a whimsical atmosphere with an even more creative menu. They are known for their extravagant meals and large portions, but sometimes also their wait. Skip the line and check out their outdoor counter located right by the restaurant entrance. Try their famous frozen hot chocolate, it is a thinner, icier version of a milkshake. While all are delicious, my personal favorite is the strawberry.
The more things change in Las Vegas the more they remain the same. Themed casinos used to be the big thing in the 80’s and 90’s. The idea was to create a tourist destination open to everyone. Gambler could enjoy the casino floor while families could wander the rest of the elaborate hotels and enjoy aquariums and so forth. Casinos today are bringing in less than half the income for the hotel operators so the focus has been on non-gaming amenities. Last year was the year of nightclub growth and this year it seems as if the focus is on things every family can do. The latest discussion is around Polercoaster at Tropicana. This 650 foot high rollercoaster is planned to be part observation tower and part roller coaster. You can find more details and video at the Las Vegas Review Journal.
There’s a lot of construction already happening across the street around, in front and behind New York-New York and Monte Carlo. While everyone sees the action on the Vegas strip there is a 20,000 arena being built behind the two hotels that will open in 2016. There are already arenas at MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay but they are smaller. I’m expecting that once construction is complete on this new arena that one of the smaller arenas will be repurposed for something else. This is just conjecture on my part.
Vegas is known for many things, gambling, drinking and nightlife, but Vegas also has some of the best food out there. Buffet’s typically offer a vast spread of food and focus on quantity, not quality. They tend to be visited for their sheer consumption opportunity, not to experience delicious cuisine. Nothing could be further than the truth at Vegas’ newest buffet at Caesar’s Palace.
Recently, Caesar’s Palace took on a huge project and spent a ridiculous amount of money to remodel their entire buffet. The hard work and money was well spent. The décor is modern, sleek and classy while still paying respect to Caesar’s atmosphere. The dining area can hold an impressive 600 people while serving hundreds of delicious items daily. The food, service and experience are one of a kind. Each item is carefully executed and delicious. While the quantity is impressive, the quality is what makes them stand above the rest.
Their brunch is the best out there and will satisfy your every craving. Arrive early, a line will quickly form. The buffet might be a little overwhelming, but during the walk to your table the staff will give a tour and eagerly answer any questions. Make sure to let them know of any dietary restrictions, in my experience they have been very vegetarian and gluten-free friendly. Thankfully, proportions are small enough for you to taste anything that entices you.
Las Vegas is great because you can have any experience you want. On one of my most memorable trips to Vegas my friends and I spent a morning drinking (too much) vodka and playing blackjack at Bellagio then hopping into a limo to the El Cortez for some .25 cent roulette. It was an epic day for the ages but what stands out was the ability to go from being a high roller to a low low roller within a few hours.
Even though I live in Las Vegas now and have access to learning about places I never would have found as a tourist I still enjoy going out and enjoying the finer things in life like I did as a tourist. For me that includes a great steak, a cigar and a really good drink. I shared my favorite steakhouses earlier this year and now I want to share great places where you can enjoy a great cigar and drink.
There are two great cigar lounges on the Vegas strip that offer different experiences. Casa Fuente is located in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace and has a large selection of cigars in a massive humidor. While they offer fantastic sangria and mojitos they also have very limited edition Glenfiddich and other single malt whiskies which compliment a cigar very nicely. Every now and again Casa Fuente will hold tastings of limited edition high end spirits (like Glenfiddich) that go nicely with a cigar. Casa Fuente is so devoted to high end booze that they have a special spirits society that’s open for anyone to join. Casa Fuente really is the best of both worlds. Unfortunately due to complaints from visitors at the Forum Shops the smoking space has been cut in half. You now have to smoke by the bar. This isn’t such a bad deal because the cigars and drinks are great but it was nice to have the extra space to spread out.
It’s been more than three
The Stratosphere is currently in
Last summer we gave you
Eataly’s sixth U.S. location opened
It feels like just yesterday