Vegas, Baby: An Introvert's Take on Las Vegas
Well, I've made the decision to start sharing my travels! And I decided to start with the first trip I took this year - Vegas, baby!
It was a moderately stereotypical trip in the sense that it was, for the most part, a bunch of old friends getting together for a Bachelorette party in Sin City. But for me, it was an escape and a bit of a big question mark.
The question - After dropping however much dough to actually go on this trip, how much was I even going to like it?
I mean...I don't like crowds. Like, to the point where you'll often catching me saying "I hate people." I don't. I just hate crowds. I hate busy bars. I hate being packed into a dance floor where I have to elbow people just to get enough space to dance. I'm just not into it. My Friday and Saturday nights are often spent with a glass of wine and a movie or a good book. Winding the streets in Vegas in this go-go-go kind of atmosphere? I really wasn't sure how much I would like that.
Well, let me tell you exactly how I felt about what we did, where we stayed, and Vegas overall.
The deets - what we did, where we stayed...
THE TRIP: Thursday to Sunday, 4 days & 3 nights
THE OCCASION: A Bachelorette party for my good friend from college
THE HOTEL: Paris Las Vegas
I really enjoyed staying here! The only bummer was probably that even though our rooms were booked together, we were nowhere near each other. But, hey! Sometimes a little extra walking does the body good! We gave our bride-to-be the room best room, meaning that it had a view of the pool area! I wish I had taken a picture! But really, the hotel was pretty awesome. Now, granted, it's not one of the fanciest hotels on the Vegas strip, but for the central location and the price, you really can't beat it! I'd contemplated staying at the Luxor or Manadalay Bay, but I actually wouldn't trade the location of this hotel, which was smack in the middle of the Vegas strip, for anything! We did enough walking. I wouldn't have wanted to hoof it from the far end of the strip every time I wanted to see something! Plus, there were great restaurants and cafes, the Bellagio fountain was across the street, and the pool was amazing! Ya, there were $20 drinks at the bar, but that's Vegas! I really loved this hotel! I think the only other one nearby that I would try that is comparable in terms of location and price is maybe the Flamingo!
THURSDAY NIGHT: The NY NY Bar Crawl
If you're looking for value and the best bang-for-your-buck in Sin City, this is it! The Sin City Pub Crawl at the NY NY hotel. It was $39.99 per person, which isn't like dive-bar cheap, but when you factor in the fact that this includes cover, expedited entry and a drink at 6 BARS IN THE NYNY hotel, that my friends is a steal of a deal! And yes, that includes the Coyote Ugly bar! I don't know what cover charges typically are in Vegas, but in my college towns, they were like $5. That means that this pass almost pays for itself just with the cover charges! And then drinks? I paid no less than $20/drink in Vegas. Meaning that in two drinks this bar crawl pass had paid for itself! This was one of my favorite things that we did the whole time we were in Vegas! I highly recommend you hit the Bar at Times Square with one of the most kick-ass dueling piano shows I've ever seen! This was the first bar we went to and I frankly would've stayed there all night! Seriously - make that one a priority!
The verdict? This is a MUST DO, especially if you're tight on cash!
FRIDAY NIGHT: Thunder from Down Under
What's a bachelorette party without some man-butts?! Haha sorry I had to! And yes, we had to hit up Thunder from Down Under...when in Vegas, am I right?
I'm not going to lie, this was one of the more awkward things for me. I'm all for the female bonding, appreciating a fine physique, and it was definitely fun. Don't get me wrong. But there were times where I wasn't sure whether to look away because things were just getting a little too intimate or too hoot and holler with the other ladies in the crowd. Maybe if it weren't my first time seeing male strippers it would've been different, but it was! Maybe I just needed more alcohol for it to be more enjoyable! But as fun as this was, I definitely would reserve it for bachelorette parties.
One additional note is that we did up our tickets to I think VIP tickets. We got a table in the front (meaning our bachelorette got a little bit more love from the boys), and bonus we got included cover and drinks at a variety of bars and clubs at the nearby Vegas hotels for the rest of the weekend! This became a key money-saver on Saturday night!
I personally would much rather see our Saturday night show! I'll get to that...
The verdict? Unless you're a male-stripping aficionado, I would save this one for the bachelorette trips.
SATURDAY DAY: Mandalay Bay Aquarium
Not going to lie, daytime activities are harder to figure out in Vegas! After chilling by the pool in the morning, we headed down to the Mandalay aquarium. It was supposed to be very cool and very Atlantis-themed. And it definitely was! Heck, the hole Mandalay Bay hotel is immaculate! Probably one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever stepped foot inside! But the aquarium itself wasn't all that amazing. It's an aquarium! Plus, for how far you have to hoof it down the strip to even get to Mandalay Bay, I was left wanting more.
The verdict? If you need something less Vegas-y and more chill (#introverting), I say just hang out and relax by the pool rather than hoofing it down to Mandalay Bay to spend money on this.
SATURDAY NIGHT: Absinthe at Caesar's Palace
Out of everything we did here, this was by far my favorite part! Bar none. Hands down. That's it.
If you're into shows that are remotely funny, awe-inspiring, or acrobatic, you need to see this show! It was like Cirque du Soleil meets burlesque meets circus meets comedy. It was such an incredible array of performances and awesome visuals. Yes, the humor is a little crass, but since you're reading my blog, I kind of assume that we at least have a similar sense of humor. ;-) Plan to be packed into a tent with tons of other people, and, yes, plan to spend way too much money on cocktails (#Vegas...though I highly recommend their signature Absinthe cocktail). But even given all that, I loved this show! You're so distracted by the amazing visuals and performances that you literally forget you're a sardine in a can. I promise.
The verdict? THIS IS A MUST SEE! Of everything I did in Vegas, of every show I've ever seen, this is probably my all-time favorite. See it. You won't be disappointed. If and when I go to Vegas, if I have the option to see this show again, I TOTALLY will.
SATURDAY NIGHT: Hyde at the Bellagio
You know how I mentioned those VIP tickets we got for Thunder from Down Under? Well, we wanted to use them. So, after Absinthe, we decided to head to one of the few clubs on our passes that were still open. Hyde at the Bellagio.
I'm going to bypass some of the more dramatic details of the night (like me getting dropped by some guy and hitting my head and also me getting dared to dance on a table by our bride...). I will say this though. Being at Hyde was probably my least favorite part of the trip. Yes, we got a whole bunch of free drinks with our VIP passes. Yes, I danced my bootay off, which is something I love to do. But Hyde made me hyper aware of everything I was concerned about when it came to going to Vegas. The crowds. Being a sardine on a dance floor. And not feeling good enough or attractive enough compared to all the other girls in slinky Vegas cocktail dresses. I was definitely a bit intoxicated while we were there (cue emotional Ellyn) and my introvert-o-meter was definitely teetering toward empty, but a lot of aspects of being at Hyde amplified just about every one of my insecurities and concerns about the Vegas atmosphere.
Lessons learned. I'm not a Vegas club type person. If you are, no judgment! I hope you have a hell of a time! It's just not for me.
The verdict? Give me piano bars and Irish pubs. Glitzy Vegas nightclubs with dress codes are not my scene.
My overall impression of vegas
You can quote me on that. Haha, but seriously, I was pleasantly surprised by Vegas. I frankly thought my experience at Hyde was going to be how I felt the entire trip. Like I didn't belong in this place with too many people, girls in slinky dresses and too-expensive drinks. I though I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself in the slightest! But you know what? I did!
What I really loved about Vegas was how much you could personalize your experience to you. If I ever go back, I would fill mine with shows in the evenings, more Absinthe than Thunder, sightseeing (next time: Fremont Street!) and pool-lounging during the day. There really isn't as much go-go-go as I thought there would be! The one time I got fed up with crowds, I was able to take my iPad down to the pool or back to my room and read in peace and quiet for a while to recharge my batteries. That's exactly what us introverts need! We can enjoy and cut loose. But when our social batteries are drained we need a chance to recharge! And I definitely felt I had ample opportunity to do that in Vegas at our wonderful pool!
That being said...how much fun you have in Vegas definitely has a lot to do with the people you're with! Whether or not they know you and compliment you. And for me, I had a great group! Half of them I had known since college and they know me well. The other half? They were new friends! We had a great time together.
And this introvert? Well, I think she'd definitely like to head to Vegas again for round 2! ;-)