christmas in vegas

I don’t always get around to writing travel blogs, but when I do, it’s about Vegas lol. I’m writing this on my way out of town so needless to say, I’m somewhere between “ready to be back in my own bed and not living out of a suitcase” and in denial that this trip is coming to a close. But, between previous and future plans in the new year, I’m averaging a trip to Las Vegas about every 6 months and frankly, I’m far from mad about it. This was my first time visiting Vegas in the fall/winter and I really enjoyed it! It was different not having the pools open (usually one of my favorite parts about visiting here) and due to COVID, not all of the events/activities are going on at the moment, but if you’re willing to go with the flow and into exploring and experiencing The Strip — and maybe even some of the surrounding areas — you’ll still be set for a fun time. For me, it’s honestly fun to be around the city buzz but not feel rushed or crunched for time (or money) to make it from one thing to the next. Then again, maybe it helps that the last few times I’ve visited, I’ve been with someone who lived in the area and knows their way around and how to make the most out of the time there.

Also, Vegas in my mind has always been a summer destination, but after this trip I have a whole new appreciation for Vegas at Christmastime. Sure, it’s still the desert so it’s still decently warm out and you’re not exactly going to get a white Christmas experience while you’re there, but the resorts do such a fun job of decorating and making it feel as Christmas-y as possible!

This trip we stayed at Aria and MGM Grand, but in the past I’ve also stayed at Excalibur and Harrah’s. Aria has been my favorite resort so far, followed closely by Harrah’s! Both of them have nice contemporary renovations and are closer to the center of The Strip so they’re more conveniently located versus MGM Grand and Excalibur. Not to mention, Aria had tablets to control the lights, TV, curtains, and room service. We were a little bummed make the switch from the luxury of Aria to MGM, but overall we were obviously just happy to be there.

We were in town Sunday through Friday nights, so paying for primarily weekday night is a little more budget friendly than weekend nights would have been. Our nights at Aria were comped this time thanks to the My Vegas app — we were initially supposed to stay at The Mirage, but due to recent COVID regulations in Nevada, certain resorts are only open for reservations on weekends, so we scored an upgrade.

Let’s be real, the food is my favorite part lol. Right now, restaurants are limited to 25% capacity and require reservations ahead of time. Keep in mind that eating on The Strip is going to cost more. I personally don’t mind splurging to eat at the finer dining places you only get to go to in Vegas, but if you’re planning on eating something fast or “standard” (for lack of a better term) I would recommend doing so away from The Strip if you can because you’ll end up paying Strip prices for your Starbucks or Chick-Fil-A.

Some of the places we ate this trip included Benihana, Trevi in Caesar’s Palace, Battista’s Hole in the Wall Italian, Mon Ami Gabi in Paris, Yama Sushi, Lazy Dog, and In-N-Out. My favorite, have to eat at places to eat is Mon Ami Gabi (the classic steak frites is amazing… that butter is to die for) and Yama Sushi — they have all you can eat lunch or dinner, and it gets dangerous so fast lol. Battista’s was so much fun though because your meal includes a salad, garlic bread, free house wine, and a homemade cappuccino. My usual go-to at Italian places is the lasagna – I’m spoiled when it comes to lasagna so it wasn’t as good as my momma’s but it was still super cheesy and super yummy!

Most times on the trip, the phone did not eat first lol but I did make sure to capture a shot of the most amazing steak you’ll probably ever eat:

When it comes to drinks, you really can’t go wrong with sipping on coffee from Dutch Bros in the mornings or on a frozen daquari from Fat Tuesdays your the afternoons on The Strip. Truly, one of my favorite parts of going to Vegas is indulging in all the food I don’t normally have access to over here in Oklahoma. But, if your budget needs a break there’s really no shame in getting fast food or even snacks from Walmart and having a quiet night in the hotel playing blackjack, either!

I honestly spend a lot of my time walking around and exploring, but it comes with the territory of assisting a casino connoisseur gather content for their pages lol But I’ll play some slots or some $1/$5 minimum blackjack tables if I catch a wild hair. If you’re interested in keeping up with casino & Las Vegas news/updates, be sure to follow Casino Collective on Instagram + Twitter!

There are a lot of exhibitions in the resorts — some of the ones that stood out to me were the Real Bodies at Bally’s, Bodies at Luxor, and Titanic at Luxor. There’s also the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum, and CSI: The Experience in MGM Grand (I didn’t even notice this one til we were checking out and leaving the hotel). As far as shows go, of course there are the various Cirque du Soleils and magicians (I love a good magic show!) but as far as I know, not a whole lot of them are going on at this time. I haven’t gone to any of the exhibitions, attractions, or shows for myself yet but these are just the ones that stood out to me that I’m keeping in mind for the future.

Of course, there’s also tons of shopping to do around The Strip. Granted, they’re pretty much the same places you can shop at online or at your local malls, but hey — sometimes it’s just fun to get some shopping done, especially in Vegas! Something about it just makes the experience feel more luxurious and like you’re spoiling yourself a little more than normal.

Last but certainly not least of my suggestions of things to do or places to go is Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. When I went last May (pre-COVID) it was kind of overwhelming — big crowds, lots of different kinds of smoke filling the air (if you catch my drift)… but it’s been really fun to go to since then now that I’ve come to learn what to expect. I especially like it at night, and this trip we were able to check out Circa which was probably my favorite casino to stop by the whole trip. Maybe it’s because it’s new so there’s a lot of buzz, but it just had a really fun vibe — it was bright, clean, had fun music, and everyone in there just radiated good energy. You can tell no expense was spared in the construction of this place lol I definitely recommend checking it out!

A mysterious monolith even showed up while we were in town so… obviously we had to check it out. Overall, Vegas is a fun time. It’s probably one of my favorite places to go because you can make the experience so different each time you go with how much there is to do and try out in the area, both on and off The Strip. I have tentative plans to go back in May for Arbonne’s National Training Conference, and I’m sure I’ll find a way to end up back there before too long after that. This was just a general outline of my trip there, but I may go into details later about various aspects of the trip. I haven’t exactly planned the content out yet, but there’s so much that I can say + share about Vegas that it simply doesn’t fit into a single post. So, until next time!

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