Vegas, Baby

The wife and I will spend a few days in Vegas next month, assuming we’re let out of Hawaii – who knows what will be happening at that time? – and the coronavirus be damned. I’m not all that concerned with the coronavirus anyway, as I’m more of a Dos Equis man.

We already have our hotel and flights lined up. Just want to know what’s good to see. Which museums? Definitely will hit the Mob and National Atomic Testing museums. Have no plans to go outside Vegas, so no Hoover Dam or Grand Canyon (been to both before anyway). Which shows are good to see. Buffets? We’d heard the Wicked Spoon had a great buffet now, but we know someone who just returned from there and was disappointed in it. He recommends the Bellagio’s buffet.

Any advice will be appreciated. Our one and only other time in Vegas was a few hours one afternoon in 1995. We’d spent some time at the Grand Canyon and was supposed to head to LA, when we decided to shoot up to Vegas for a quick look. I won $50 playing blackjack in Circus Circus. (We watched some bum in a disheveled suit stagger across a street, and I told the wife that’s what happens when you spend too much time in Vegas.)

The Pinball Hall of Fame. $20 in quarters will last you hours in that place.

Thanks. Was thinking of that one.

The two best shows in Vegas, bar none, are Cirque du Soleil’s O and Ka. They’re also about the most expensive, and almost never discounted. (You will probably not find tickets for them at the discount ticket booths or sites.) The three or four other CDS shows are also very good, and less expensive, but if you want the ultimate Vegas show experience, it’s those two.

The buffet at Paris was one of our favorites.

We were thinking of that but are not really circus fans. Does one have to be in order to appreciate it?

Non-gaming stuff: YOU MUST GO to Andiamo’s Steakhouse. Pricey. I had the worlds best Caesar salad I’ve ever had. Made table side with yolk, anchovies… the lettuce and croutons are perfect.

And you need to take a tour of Ethel M’s Chocolatier. You must have their hot chocolate.

Also Cirque de Solei “Love”. Tribute to Beatles. Incredible!!

For gaming, roulette. I always win a couple hundred. Bet the line on both zeroes and play bottom
Third or red/black. The zeroes will hit eventually!

I’m more of a blackjack man and am boning up on craps. But I was thinking a little roulette might be fun.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Keep them coming.

Assuming I’m not being whooshed, despite the name, CDS is not what most people think of as “circus.”

Trailer for Ka.

Trailer for O.

If that’s your idea of circus, then maybe you won’t like these shows. They are, however, absolutely mind-blowing theatrical experiences in theaters custom-built at a cost of over $150 million each. The stage of the water show, O (punning on the French for water, eau) is a huge pool with multiple platforms that can be raised and lowered within it so that a performer can dive into it from 40 feet overhead, and seconds later be walking on or above the surface.

Ka’s theater is even more impressive, with a huge platform that rotates in all three dimensions, alternately becoming a ship rocking on the sea, a desert, a vertical mountain, and a battlefield seen from above.

This only hints at the astonishing stagecraft of the CDS shows and says nothing of the incredibly talented performers, the music, the costumes, etc., etc.

If you like standup comedy, the Mirage tends to have major standup stars every Friday night. I know that Tim Allen, Wayne Brady, Ray Romano, and David Spade have all appeared there (in the Mirage’s Terry Fator Theater) on Friday nights.

Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club, at the MGM Grand, doesn’t seem to have quite the same star power, though Garrett himself does perform from time to time, and it’s more like a comedy club, as opposed to a theater.

I found both the Mob Museum and the Neon Museum really underwhelming (and overpriced). And I’m a person who likes museums.

The Mob Museum just didn’t have many artifacts & what was there was poorly organized. (A lot of repeated information. I’m pretty sure I read the same facts four or five times. But it was hard to tell because there was no coherent throughline.) The Neon Museum wasn’t as bad - the volunteers there were really knowledgeable, but it was really highly priced for what’s available.

I’ll second the recommendation for “Love”. The only other Cirque shows I’ve seen are Mystere (which was good) and Zumanity (meh).

And this isn’t exactly a “Vegas” experience in the traditional sense, but if Lady Gaga is there doing her residency shows while you’re in town I’d highly recommend both. If you aren’t a big fan of her dance hits, you might skip the Enigma show, but that Jazz & Piano show is just stellar, and kind of has a little bit of an old-school Vegas vibe.

I guess I’ve not paid much attention to Cirque de Soleil. I always had the impression they were a circus act. Definitely will give them a chance if we can.

Sorry to hear about the Mob Museum. You’d think it would be really well done. We’d like to hit a comedy act. Doesn’t New York"s Comedy Cellar have a Vegas branch? We’ll check out the lineup at the Mirage.

I thought the Mob Museum was actually pretty good. But it’s more focused on historical narrative rather than artifacts and collections. That will probably change as time goes on; the museum is still fairly new. And some of it is a bit over-the-top as only Vegas can be.

If you like hiking or nature walks, now is a fantastic time to visit Red Rock, Valley of Fire, or the Lake Mead recreation area. It’s too hot for hiking during the summer. Valley of Fire in particular is amazing, and you can easily spend multiple days there.

The Hoover Dam tour is also pretty cool if you like engineering and art deco elevators.

The Bellagio has a nice art gallery which is currently showing a collection of Japanese paintings. The aquarium is shitty tho.

Thanks, but we don’t even go hiking here in Hawaii. As we age, we’re definitely more indoor people. We’re not leaving the city proper. But still considering the Mob Museum.

If you like staying indoors, there’s always the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. Or you can go see the Titanic exhibit at the Luxor.

Yes they do, at the Rio.

Human Nature
Carrot Top (Yes, I am serious!)
Mac Davis

The best steakhouses are Delmonico (Venetian), CUT (Palazzo) and fuck everybody else.

The best buffet is either Wynn or Studio B (M Resort).

Cosmo has the best slot floor.

The best place to observe the daily “Walk of Shame” is Mon Ami Gabi (Paris) breakfast. The best breakfast is at Peppermill.

My 2 cents:

  • I enjoyed the Mob Museum. I wish they had focused more on the “Mob in Vegas”, which would have seemed an obvious angle, but there was only a little mention.

  • I have been to a number of Cirque Du Soliel shows (“O”, “Mystere”, “Ka”, “Love”) and would recommend seeing at least one. They are each unique in their own way. Of the ones I’ve seen, I would consider “Love” to be more different - it seemed that more of the acts were of a “dance” nature than “gymnastic”. But the music (and sound system) rocks !

  • Gamble downtown. For Craps, Binions (was Horseshoe) used to be the “mecca” for craps, but not so much anymore. Still a fun place to play. It is also cool to walk across from the California Club to Main Street to see the “golden arm” (epic craps rolls) hall of fame.

  • Speaking of California Club, if you’re missing it, you can get Lappert’s ice cream upstairs !

  • If you want to get away from the craziness of the strip, head out to Red Rocks for some beautiful scenery.

  • There are all sorts of uncommon activities to spend your casinos winnings: stuff like throwing axes and firing automatic weapons. But of note there is a place called “Dig This” where you get to operate industrial earth moving equipment: bulldozers, excavators. I was a bit skeptical going in, but I had a blast.

I’ve seen the same shows as you, and I’d agree Love is the best of the bunch, especially if you are a Beatles fan. After that, O, Ka, and Mystere in that order. I have not seen Zumanity.