The pool scene in Las Vegas has changed a lot over the past few years. During the week the pools in Vegas may be a nice place to relax and read a book while catching some rays but that changes at a lot of hotels the weekend pool parties take over. While a few heated pools are open all winter long most of them close. The closed pools in Vegas are re-opening all throughout March with the MGM Grand pool having been the first to re-open for the season on February 22. Pool parties are a whole other story. Las Vegas pool parties come in two varieties – Big and Bigger. This is Vegas after all.
Normal weekend afternoons at many of the major resort pools have shunned RnR for DJ’s. Chances are that you won’t be able to make it through your book with the music cranked up to 10. There are fun, yet still affordable pool parties like at Planet Hollywood and Flamingo which both feature anonymous DJ’s (more on this in a second) spinning your favorite current party tunes.
I can feel it is March because I have that college basketball itch! My beloved University of Arizona Wildcats are in the Pac 12 and the tournament is moving from the Los Angeles, Staples Center and relocating to the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The viewership of the tournament had declined in the last couple of years (which is obviously the reason I was able to get a seat in the front row at Staples last year) and the forces that be, believe moving the Pac 12 tournament to Las Vegas will attract more attention. I think they are right! This is yet another good reason to visit Las Vegas in March (as if you needed another reason). What better appetizer for College Basketball March madness than with PAC 12 tournament basketball.
If you don’t feel like dealing with the hustle and bustle of the huge, somewhat over-played restaurants and bars that everyone goes to when they visit Las Vegas, then I have some great suggestions for you. I have had the pleasure of frequenting a few bars and restaurants that fly under the radar in Las Vegas and I am going to give you a peak into my secret stash.
Firefly is a true favorite restaurant amongst Las Vegas locals. Not to mention the fact that it is a tapas restaurant, which is perhaps the greatest invention ever (you get a little bit of this and a little bit of that or a lot of that). What could be better? A dessert sampler!
Some people call “The Mob” the founding fathers of Las Vegas. They were gangsters, hoodlums and thieves that migrated to Las Vegas from all over the country. Before Las Vegas became big business run by corporations the mob ran this town. From the early 1950′s through the 1980′s you could find the mob running the best casinos on the Vegas strip.
Even though the mob helped make Las Vegas the tourist destination it is today it wasn’t without it’s flaws. The mob was always known for being a major part of prostitution, drug dealing and loan sharking. Mobsters were often ruthless businessman who withheld tax money that should have gone to the Government to build schools, hospitals and roads. However, there were a small portion of the mob that changed themselves for the better to become model citizens and respectable businessmen.
I was first in line last year when I heard that Motley Crue was doing the first ever rock n’ roll residency in Las Vegas. This was a groundbreaking event for rockers around the world. We no longer only had the option of just seeing Elton John or Celine Dion with our parents for a show night out. Now, rockers of the world were able to unite at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s Joint to rock out to our favorite anthems with a bunch of other rock revelers. I joined my fellow “Crue Heads” and definitely participated and left my “Shout at the Devil” and loved every minute of it.
I no longer needed to pack skin tight dresses (that would fit a 5 year old) with 5 inch stilettos but traded that Vegas uniform the much more rock appropriate tight black pants, high boots, tank and a ton of jewelry.
NCAA Basketball Tournament, AKA March Madness, is one of the busiest sports weekends in Las Vegas. This year the tournament begins Tuesday, March 19 but the Madness doesn’t begin until Thursday, March 21. The first weekend of March Madness is spread over four days making it the second busiest event for the sportsbooks in Las Vegas behind the Super Bowl. This chaos complicates things for people that want to wager on the games and even for people that just want to watch the games.
There are 16 games on each of the first two days with another 8 games on the first Saturday and Sunday of March Madness. Sportsbooks will be overflowing with people before the first game tips off on March 21 around 9am pacific time. Besides betting on the games sportsbooks are a great place because they’re open to whomever wants to just sit and watch the games. During March Madness those seats are at a minimum. If you want to watch the games on the big screens of the sportsbook make sure you arrive early because those seats are first come whether you bet on the game or not. There are tales of some people paying the homeless to sleep in the sportsbook overnight to ensure that they seats.
I know the newest Las Vegas attractions always need to out due the previously newest and greatest attraction. It has come to my attention that you and 21 other people can be strapped to a moving “table” and hoisted 180 ft. over the Las Vegas strip all in the name of a good meal and drinks? I am all for trying new adventures but a few key points go through my mind when thinking about this apparatus.
First, I don’t love heights. I know Rihanna sings about “Diamonds in the Sky” but I see a 7-ton table dangling over the black asphalt of Las Vegas (when staring straight down I am sure you don’t see any twinkly diamond lights, just BLACK hard cement). Yes, I love a great view but I would prefer looking from the protection of a building or enclosed area where my feet can touch some sort of ground. Suppose you are hoisted up to enjoy a fantastic meal in the sky. You are strapped in to your chair with a safety harness, with no chance of escaping (falling) and all of sudden as the waiter serves you your luke-warm French Onion soup (for your left side of course) you notice your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend and their new lover staring across from you at the other end of your table. What a wonderful dinner you will have when all you want to do is get the hell off this nightmare in the sky and run the opposite direction. Dinner in the Sky will teach you some patience for sure.
If you haven’t been to Las Vegas in the past year you may not know about the major transformation happening to
the Vegas strip. O’Sheas was closed last year so that Caesars Entertainment could build their open air mall area in the middle of the strip called The Linq. The Linq will open in December with a host of new shopping and dining options but without a casino. While new things to do on the strip are cool, low rollers that frequent Las Vegas have been saddened by losing one of their favorite dive casinos.
Hope you all had a blast in Las Vegas and won some money on the Super Bowl game. I did not. Sore subject. No worries for me because the PAC 12 tourney and March Madness are on the horizon and I am going to win my money back. I am.
But before we actually get to March, we need to get through February and Valentines Day. Las Vegas is a romantic city. No, it is! Where else can you travel from Rome at Caesars Palace to the Palazzo in Italy and to Paris all in the same day without every getting on a plane and still have time for a delicious dinner and a show? You can do it ALL in Las Vegas and all you need is a few bucks for a cab ride (and a date helps too).
When visiting Las Vegas we often try to find some new and different places to eat, drink and be merry. Sometimes we’ll wander into an off the strip dive that nobody knows about and sometimes we’ll stop off at some of the more famous hidden gems. Lola’s Louisiana Kitchen is one of those famous off the strip gems. You may have heard of Lola’s while watching Diners, Drive Inn’s and Dive’s on Food Network or you may have read about Lola’s on a message board as it’s one of the hidden locals’ favorites.
Lola’s is a small restaurant located near The Vegas Strip in between the Stratosphere and the World Market Center which is about a 5 minute cab ride from Wynn Las Vegas. There’s almost always a wait for a table at Lola’s Louisiana Kitchen which is as close to traditional Louisiana cajun dining as you can find in the country. Lola’s recipes are inspired by food from the entire state of Louisiana.