Last year, my brother, sister and I, set off on an amazing adventure to the US of A. Somehow, we survived each other and spent two incredible weeks city-hopping down the West Coast. If you’re planning a similar trip this summer and need ideas, look forward to reading my city guide travel series…
L A S T S T O P , V E G A S !
One big show
After a short stay in LA, we were headed for our final stop – Vegas! We travelled with Virgin America again and loved their fast service. When we arrived and left the airport we were surprised at the intensity of the heat that hits you. It’s like walking into a warm oven and feels like you’re slowly baking. This was at 6pm so we wondered just how hot it got in the day…
W H A T T O S E E
S H A R K R E E F A Q U A R I U M
To see some aquatic life, head to Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. Quite a variety of animals to see from Komodo dragons to jellyfish, sharks and starfish. My favourite part was the tunnel where you are surrounded by the tank and can spot the giant sea turtle.
C I R Q U E D U S O L E I L
Vegas is known for its extravagant array of shows and entertainment. Possibly the most famous of them all are the Cirque Du Soleil performances. We went to see Zarkana, performed at Aria hotel, and were taken aback by it! The acts are so impressive and very entertaining. There was also an element of comedy that ran throughout in the form of a happy and sad clown. My highlight was the sand art – amazing!
B E L L A G I O F O U N T A I N S
The Bellagio Fountains are another infamous Vegas landmark, located along The Strip. Shows are held every 15 minutes so it’s worth taking a quick stop to view it.
P E N N & T E L L E R
I love Penn & Teller! Two comedy magicians whose show is based around giving away the secrets of fake magic yet manage to dupe you anyway. After the show we were able to meet the magicians and even got an autograph for their number one fan – my dad.
T H E B I G A P P L E C O A S T E R
A fun little roller coaster if you can’t brave the High Roller that takes you 227 metres over The Strip… My brother and I really wanted to go on High Roller but my sister couldn’t put herself through it so we settled for The Big Apple Coaster instead. It does go a lot faster than you imagine and if you have any sort of neck or back pain, this ride is not for you! I had to concentrate on keeping my head from hitting the sides of my seat too much.
B O D I E S E X H I B I T I O N
The Bodies exhibition was amazing! Can’t believe how well they have managed to preserve muscles and organs and display them all together as a standing person… Slightly creepy but amazing. Takes a good couple of hours to walk through as there are so many different rooms and plenty to see. Fascinating.
G O N D O L A R I D E
Take a little break from The Strip by enjoying a relaxing gondola ride at The Venetian. You can choose outdoors or indoors around the shopping centre. We chose outdoors although it was baking hot! Our gondolier, Stefano, serenaded us with his fabulous voice and sang us the Cornetto advert’s song when he realised we were from England. Make sure you take a look inside the hotel as well, I loved the indoor ceiling painted to look like the outside. It confused us for a minute.
G R A N D C A N Y O N
A Vegas must-do! We decided to take the helicopter tour of the Canyon and booked with Papillion who do some great package deals. Before boarding, our pilot warned us that we may feel a little sick due to the windy day. Almost as soon as we were in the air I started to feel it but didn’t want to mention anything in case I set other people off! I took the pilot’s advice and tried to concentrate on a mountain in the distance to focus myself.
Apart from that though, the tour was stunning and the guide gave us some great facts about the Canyon. One of the most shocking parts was when we saw some flashing in the distance and our guide told us they were camera flashes from people sitting at the edge of a glass ledge off of a cliff…
W H E R E T O E A T
J O H N N Y R O C K E T S
Johnny Rockets is an American diner suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner although I’d say it is slightly on the heavy side for breakfast. We were incredibly full afterwards, though that may be down to the huge milkshakes we had. Really liked the food here – perfect for when you’re craving a burger and shake.
T H E C H E E S E C A K E F A C T O R Y
Wow. The Cheesecake Factory is amazing! For both dinner as well as their famous dessert. Possibly my favourite restaurant from the whole holiday… Portion sizes are massive so please make sure you are sufficiently starving before you visit. I had the Banana Cream cheesecake for dessert which the waitress also said was her favourite. Delicious!
P Y R A M I D C A F É
This place is great for breakfast and is known for its Orange Cream French Toast. So delicious and something I hadn’t tried before. We went here just before visiting the Bodies exhibition at Luxor.
W H E R E T O S T A Y
We decided to stay at a hotel away from The Strip, simply because of our really early morning flight out of Vegas on our last day. Silverton Casino is located really close to the airport and not too far from The Strip either. It’s a big, comfortable lodge with plenty of restaurants, an indoor aquarium and casino so we were pretty happy there. It was also considerably cheaper to stay at than one of the main hotels on The Strip. With a taxi rank outside, it was pretty simple to get to and from The Strip for our day’s activities or you can also take a shuttle bus. It’s quite a good idea to buy a cheap bus ticket online before your visit to Vegas which will give you a pass for up to three days on public transport.
If you liked this post, check out: Los Angeles
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