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Things I Like About Las Vegas

19 July 2011 1,819 views 27 Comments

Hating Vegas was easy. But after staying there for six days, I actually found some things to like about the place. This includes:

1. My hotel room: I definitely wouldn’t have made it through the week without a nervous breakdown if it wasn’t for my hotel room. Cheers to blackout curtains, a king bed all to myself, maid service, a lovely bathtub and shower, and Internet access.

2. Friendly locals: I was pleasantly surprised at how kind the bartenders, dealers, taxi drivers, and other Vegas staff were. I don’t know how they keep a smile on their face amid all the madness. Hopefully its because they are paid well and are smart enough not to gamble all their money away.

girls at minus 5

3. The bus system: The bus up and down the strip was a great way to save money on cabs – at $7 for unlimited rides in 24 hours, I highly recommend it, and there are stops outside of most hotels.

4. The shows: I can only speak for Cirque du Soleil’s KA, but if you have money, going to Vegas and seeing a bunch of the wonderful entertainment seems like a good way to go. My only complaint about KA was that the cheapest ticket with tax was $85 and I was so far away that I couldn’t see expressions on the performers’ faces. However, the stage was a technical wonder.

5. Bouchon and the lovely gardens at the Venetian: I love you, Thomas Keller.

Gardens at the Venetzia Tower, Bouchon

Gardens at the Venetzia Tower, Bouchon

6. Learning to play blackjack with my awesome colleagues at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall. Even though I lost the $15 I brought with me to gamble at the $5 tables, I really enjoyed learning how to play and watching others. I also prefer the camaraderie at the lower-end halls where I didn’t need to feel uncomfortable being a beginner and non-high-roller.

7. Sights including the waterfalls at the Wynn and the dancing fountains and Chihuly’s umbrellas at the Bellagio.

<a href=8. Lotus of Siam Thai Restaurant. The chef here tied with Austin’s Tyson Cole to win a James Beard Best of the Southwest award this year and when I tasted the food, I knew why.

lotus of siam dishes

9. Semi-legal Prostitution. Although I didn’t reach my goal this trip of meeting and interviewing a call girl, I did find out as much as I could by asking locals – like the bartenders at the rooftop bar of my hotel and a cab driver. What I learned is that call girls: carry big purses with all of their supplies, will not break eye contact with you like most women do, charge $800 or more for their services. They tend to work the same hotel once they get to know the security there and the staff, and as long as they don’t pull anyone off the [gambling] tables, they generally aren’t bothered.

10. The veggie burger at Burger Bar.

Delicious Veggie Burger at Hubert Keller's Burger Bar

Delicious Veggie Burger at Hubert Keller's Burger Bar

11. The way the lack of humidity and soft water make my hair look great.

So I didn’t hate everything about Vegas, in fact, I liked even more things than I thought I would. And while I would go back for a work trip, I’m pretty darn sure that I wouldn’t choose Las Vegas for a vacation. What did I miss?

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  • Marsha

    Great summery of Vegas. I really enjoyed reading your rant about what you don't like. As for what you may have missed, I'll be speaking for Adam on this one: The Pinball Hall of Fame.

  • http://thefirstkitchen.com/ Natalie S.

    I've been to Vegas once and I was a teenager, so there was no gambling and drinking involved… but I can say that the locals were certainly very nice and everything I ate was incredible! And I can totally get behind the lack of humidity and what it did for my hair.

  • Marsha

    Great summery of Vegas. I really enjoyed reading your rant about what you don't like. As for what you may have missed, I'll be speaking for Adam on this one: The Pinball Hall of Fame.

  • http://thefirstkitchen.com/ Natalie S.

    I've been to Vegas once and I was a teenager, so there was no gambling and drinking involved… but I can say that the locals were certainly very nice and everything I ate was incredible! And I can totally get behind the lack of humidity and what it did for my hair.

  • Cindy Townsend

    I love the burger bar as well! Yummy! What hotel were you at?

  • jodibart

    Thanks, Marsha. There's definitely a lot of cool things in Vegas that I didn't experience, like the Pinball Hall of Fame (which Adam N. did recommend before I went), downtown Vegas, Hoover Dam, and I'm sure a lot more.

  • jodibart

    There's something to be said for great-looking hair. Even Adam noticed when he came to pick me up at the airport!

  • jodibart

    I stayed at the Mandalay Bay so it was essentially attached to my hotel! Everything on that menu looked amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/GrubbusAllOver Eli Castro

    Great review! I did a Vegas write up a ways back with similar experiences (even stayed at the same place, sounds like) – at the time, I was impressed with Mesa Grill (though partly that was low expectations). And last time I went I discovered Bouchon and a couple of Batali's places (best by far was B&B).

  • Cindy Townsend

    I love the burger bar as well! Yummy! What hotel were you at?

  • jodibart

    Thanks, Marsha. There's definitely a lot of cool things in Vegas that I didn't experience, like the Pinball Hall of Fame (which Adam N. did recommend before I went), downtown Vegas, Hoover Dam, and I'm sure a lot more.

  • jodibart

    There's something to be said for great-looking hair. Even Adam noticed when he came to pick me up at the airport!

  • jodibart

    I stayed at the Mandalay Bay so it was essentially attached to my hotel! Everything on that menu looked amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/GrubbusAllOver Eli Castro

    Great review! I did a Vegas write up a ways back with similar experiences (even stayed at the same place, sounds like) – at the time, I was impressed with Mesa Grill (though partly that was low expectations). And last time I went I discovered Bouchon and a couple of Batali's places (best by far was B&B).

  • jodibart

    I didn't eat at Mesa Grill or any of Batali's places although I've been to some of those in NY. You know what was really good too? Border Grill.

  • http://twitter.com/GrubbusAllOver Eli Castro

    Great post! I had a similar experience a while back – coming in with low expectations and being pleasantly surprised. Last time I was there I had a lovely time at Bouchon and at several of Batali’s joints in and around the Venetian (B&B was the best, by a mile). I only go for work, but when I do, it’s not a bad gig, all things considered.

  • http://twitter.com/GrubbusAllOver Eli Castro

    I'll add Border Grill to the list :) I was actually at the other end of the strip – The Venetian – and you can't go 20 feet there without running into a Batali venture. Next time I go I'm checking out Lotus – anyone that's tying Tyson Cole for anything has gotta be pretty kick-ass.

  • Mom

    See, my dear daughter, there are things to like about Las Vegas…especially the carnival atmosphere and the uniqueness of such a place.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=29610467 Michelle Nezamabadi

    Thanks for the review, Jodi. Sad we weren't able to meet up. I wasn't able to go to Lotus of Siam, but it will be on my list next time. My favorite things about Vegas was the sweet potato tater tots at KGB in Harrah's, the food at Emeril's in the MGM (food was some of the best I've ever had and the service was spectacular), and that the hotel we stayed in (MGM Signature) was no smoking anywhere and no casinos. The best thing about Vegas was that everyone who worked there was so kind, and genuinely so. The bartender at Caesar's told me where to get a reasonable priced drink that wasn't watered down, the cab driver gave us a little history of what we were passing, and the maids told us about tucked away places of the hotel that were comfy and quiet. Vegas was better than I expected, but 2 days is more than enough.

  • jodibart

    Oh mom. One thing you and I will NEVER agree on is Las Vegas. I still love you though.

  • jodibart

    Hey Michelle–yeah, meeting up with anyone who wasn't a colleague just wasn't going to happen last week, but it sounds like you were having a great time through following your FB posts. Also, I'm jealous that you got to check out In N Out burger. The no smoking at MGM signature sounds nice.

  • jodibart

    Oh mom. One thing you and I will NEVER agree on is Las Vegas. I still love you though.

  • jodibart

    Hey Michelle–yeah, meeting up with anyone who wasn't a colleague just wasn't going to happen last week, but it sounds like you were having a great time through following your FB posts. Also, I'm jealous that you got to check out In N Out burger. The no smoking at MGM signature sounds nice.

  • http://shoestringaustin.com Shoestring Austin

    Yuck, Vegas! I'm surprised you found this many good things about the place. I'm with you: I don't know why people want to gamble their money away in some cheesy Disney-esque temple of fakery, and even the best of their stage shows seem embarrassing to me. Great post, finding the bright side of this hellhole!

  • jodibart

    Yes, it definitely has a Disney feel, and not in a good way. Also, it sucks to feel embarrassed by your fellow humans, right?!

  • jodibart

    Yes, it definitely has a Disney feel, and not in a good way. Also, it sucks to feel embarrassed by your fellow humans, right?!

  • jodibart

    Yes, it definitely has a Disney feel, and not in a good way. Also, it sucks to feel embarrassed by your fellow humans, right?!