I was born-and-raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, so the idea of spending my "Dirty Thirty" in my hometown wasn't particularly appealing. After some thought, I was convinced that I couldn't turn the Big 3-0 anywhere else! I just had to find some things to do in Las Vegas to celebrate in style!
Hey! You know what they say, "30" is the new "21"!
Since Las Vegas is a relatively short distance from Los Angeles, about a 3.5 - 4 hour drive, I skipped searching for flights to Vegas and decided to drive. It's also really close to Salt Lake City, Utah and Phoenix, Arizona if you're doing a Southwest USA road trip.
You'll be in Sin City in less than 2 hours flying into
McCarran International Airport from any of those cities.
Even though the Las Vegas Strip is just over 4 miles long, many people enjoy walking between the many hotels and resorts stopping to gamble, eat, shop or simply take in the sights along the way. Plus, most hotels on the Strip charge either a daily rate or hourly fee to park in their garages, even if you're a guest.
Staying at Bellagio Hotel & Casino
You can choose any of the Las Vegas hotels and have a great experience, especially if you plan on seeing the city instead of staying in your room, but my friend and I prefer to stay at the Bellagio because it's nostalgic for us.
A prime location is everything on the Strip, and the Bellagio has it.
The Bellagio boasts several luxury shops, a variety of restaurants that include fine dining and a buffet serving all-you-can-eat crab legs, and an extensive pool area (with one heated pool open in the winter). Within it's wall, you'll find an ornate conservatory and botanical garden that changes several times a year, a fine art gallery, and one of the most popular Cirque du Soliel shows running, "O".
One of my favorite things about the Bellagio rooms is that a separate bathtub and shower are standard in all of their rooms. We had plenty of closet and dresser space as well as a large seating area to make us feel right at home.
The Best Deal on Show Tickets
Las Vegas is known for its' high caliber of nightly entertainment, from headlining residencies and touring concerts to sporting events, so we had three shows in mind: "O", "Le Reve", and "Absinthe".
To begin our search, the concierge at the Bellagio gave us a handy grid with all of the shows playing that week, the days they were dark (not playing), the times they started, and the price range of tickets.
Disappointed that "Le Reve" was dark that night, we opted for one of the other fantastic shows.
The gentleman at concierge told us that they would have good deals on tickets for shows in their casino, but the discount show ticket retailers would be of better value for shows where every seat in the house is a good one, like "Absinthe."
We shopped around for the best prices on show tickets
and got a great deal on fantastic seats to Cirque du Soleil's "O".
Pro Tip: Discount Las Vegas show tickets can be a great option for last minute deals. You can even go to the box office of the show you're most interested in to see if they have team members handing out discount coupons and promotional flyers. It doesn't hurt to go to the source.
Hit the Casino Floor
With our limit in mind, we hit the tables. I like to watch a couple of Craps games before I jump in and Jeremy spends his time winning at Roulette, which I stay away from because I usually lose, but we both enjoy blackjack and free drinks from the cocktail waitresses (always leaving a tip, of course!).
If a $15 and up minimum per hand is no issue for you, then the Bellagio is a great casino for you. If you're looking for a mid-range play, where you can place a minimum bet anywhere from $3-15, then you may want to try any of the surrounding casinos.
We browsed the halls and stopped by the stores at the Bellagio, Planet Hollywood's Miracle Mile Shops, and The Forum Shops across the street at Caesar's Palace. Each mall offered a unique aesthetic and had something that made it stand apart from the rest, like Caesar's Palace has a food court with fast food type options if you need a relatively inexpensive and quick alternative to the restaurants.
Fine Dining at the Buffet
I've tried several gourmet buffets on the Las Vegas Strip, and I will say that the Bellagio Buffet has the best crab legs in town, hot and cold, and anyway you like 'em. The entrees, trimmings, and desserts are pretty comparable to other high-end buffets, but you can't beat the quality and variety of the seafood offered at the Bellagio Buffet.
If crab legs aren't your thing, then you might take advantage of the very popular weekend champagne brunch.
I ended up losing my cell phone at the Planet Hollywood casino in true Vegas fashion, but somehow got it back when I checked at the hotel's lost & found for a second time before we hit the road back to Los Angeles.
Las Vegas has so much luxury, decadence, and temptation to offer and we were determined to make the most of it all in a quick two day trip to Las Vegas. I started this decade off right!
Let me know if you've ever celebrated your birthday in Vegas and what other cool spots I should check out in the future!
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