Although I’ve been to Las Vegas 6 times I’ve never created a full itinerary of how we pack our days to make sure that we make the most of our trip. If you’re visiting Vegas for the first time it can be overwhelming. You certainly can’t see it all in one visit. Plus trust me you’ll catch the bug after your first visit. Which is great because there’s so much that you haven’t scratched the surface of! If you’re looking for some of our Vegas tips and other advice the rest of our Sin City articles can be found below;
- Discover The Best Places To Eat Amazing Food In Vegas
- 50 things to in Las Vegas that don’t involve gambling
- How to save money in Vegas while living your best life
- Restaurant – Sugar Factory, Fashion Show Mall
- The Neon Boneyard Museum
- Donny & Marie Osmond Show at The Flamingo (No longer running)
- Tenors of Rock Show at Harrah’s (now at Planet Hollywood)
- Legends in Concert at Tropicana Casino
- Siegfried and Roy’s Dolphin Habitat & Secret Garden
- Essential Vegas Guide Part II
- Top 5 things to do in Las Vegas
We arrived around 8 pm on Monday evening, having downloaded the Lyft app we connected to the free airport WiFi after we had collected our bags and proceeded to book a ride. Vegas prefers Lyft over Uber. And you’ll not wait more than 5 minutes usually for a Lyft straight to your hotel. The pick-up point is outside the arrivals hall, across the road and into the multi-story car park. Check the lift for the correct floor to meet your driver. This is clearly marked ‘Lyft/Uber Pickup Point’.
Get $10 free Uber credit with the code ELLEBLONDE here
Get $5 free Lyft credit with the code ELLEBLONDE here
We arrived at our hotel, staying at the Flamingo. We’ve previously stayed here and like it because it’s casual, not pretentious and in a great central location. It’s well priced and the staff are very friendly too. Slipping $20 in the back of each of our passports ensured we received the best check-in service. As well as a great room with a fabulous view over The Strip.
Note: this tip doesn’t always work if not the staff member usually will return the cash with your passport.
We headed up to our room to drop our bags and take in the views of the mountains behind The Strip. Before heading for a stroll down along The Linq. Where the High Roller is located alongside lots of stores and bars and restaurants. Do make sure you check out the Frozen Baileys at O’Shea’s they are incredible!
High Roller Tickets – best price online from Linq’s Website or Vegas.Com
Calling it an early night because of our long day travelling. We went back up to our room via Cafe to Go inside the Flamingo (opposite the buffet) and grabbed a Pepperoni Pizza. We like to call them 5 am pizzas as this is the time we first ate one on our previous trip! Working out it’s more reasonable to buy a whole pizza at $22 than individual slices at $9 each (plus taxes).
Groupons, coupons and comped savings: $5 Lyft credit = Total Saving $5
Our first day happened to be my birthday and we had booked a trip to the Magic Mountains via Groupon. The communication of the tour wasn’t great and there was a mix up with collection time. However, Alex the tour manager quickly resolved this and we had a great visit to the art installation. It’s such a beautiful concept and actually really impressive to see. Plus you know…Instagram!
On the way back we stopped for some shots at the fabulous sign too. You can’t go to Vegas and not visit the sign right?
Top tip: The sign is usually quietest around 5-8 am. If you’re looking to have a little bit of extra time to get the perfect shot!
After we had returned from the tour we walked along to Hexx. Which is located to the front of Paris for some birthday brunch. We had bought the $50 credit and paid something like $18 for this which was well worth it! You can see all of the Las Vegas Groupons here.
We decided to choose two appetisers to see how we got on with the intention to add more as we went. Choosing the Spinach Dip (a favourite American dish of mine) including artichoke hearts, creamy cheeses roasted garlic, tortilla chips.
This was teamed with the Surf & Turf Sliders – lobster, short rib, slaw aïoli, fries and brioche buns. We also tackled the Revolution Cocktail in a bowl which was great value as it lasted ages.
The two appetisers were delicious and full of flavour. They were huge portion sizes and served us perfectly for brunch. We were suitably full after this. Although in passing I had mentioned it was my birthday and after we had finished eating they brought out a little ice cream cake. Which was a lovely touch.
Afterwards, we strolled back to the hotel and headed to Charlie’s & Ritas. Located inside The Flamingo, using a 2-4-1 on Margarita’s coupon we had been given when checking in.
We then decided to have a little flutter in the casino and were both dollars up. Until my phone and cards were stolen. I think it was just a chancer walking past who has picked my phone up and not a hardened criminal. Security was less than helpful and too interested in chatting between them to care though.
This did put a dampener on the day as we had to head back to the room to cancel and block cards and phone. Do make sure you keep all your valuables in a bag on your person at all times.
Winning at the Wynn
After we had tried to sort this shambles out. We packed our bags and headed to the Wynn where we had (or should I say my Mum) received a comped night from playing on the Wynn Slots game. Checking in we headed up to our gorgeous room for the evening which looked out onto the strip.
The spacious room had an opulent reception area and a spacious bathroom with shower and bath (I think I miss a bath when I’m staying at The Flamingo). With Alexa controlling the lights, tv and even the drapes it really was a lovely treat after a crazy day.
We got ready and headed down to see the Water Show at the Performance Lake. In all fairness this was something that I wouldn’t be bothered if I didn’t see again. It was bizarre and equally pointless, the water fountains at the front of the hotel though however, are worth seeing. As they really are beautiful and quite jovial.
After our weird water experience, we decided to relax and dine at Charlie’s Bar + Grill. Which was showing all of the college football games and had a really nice atmosphere. We had burgers and beers and a really chilled time. Both Mum and I opted for the Chilli Burger ($20.50) which was served with a huge portion of fries.
The burger was tasty and of course massive! My only complaint, as with all American food, is that it’s served tepid whereas I like my food scalding hot!
After dinner, we headed into the casino to play on a couple of slot machines and ended up on the day.
There’s been talks and a big question hanging over the casino industry to could Japan become the next big casino destination?
Groupons, coupons and comped savings: $104 on Magic Mountain Tour, $32 at Hexx, 2-4-1 Margarita $19, $169 Room at Wynn = Total Saving $324
Steps Walked: 11,824
Waking up at the Wynn, to the gorgeous view of the Strip and the Wynn villas below. We got ready and checked out of the hotel. Storing our bag at the bell desk we headed across the road to Fashion Show Mall and in particular Macy’s.
As Thanksgiving was the following day and Black Friday the day after the stores were beginning to drop their prices. Ready for the pandemonium that Black Friday causes. Once we had picked out plenty of suitable gifts for family Christmas gifts we headed back to the Wynn. To the buffet for Brunch. Again Mum had 2 buffet entries comped from playing Wynn Slots.
After standing in the buffet queue for around 25 minutes we were seated. Having decided to pay the $22.99 each to upgrade our (complimentary) buffet to include bottomless wine, beers and cocktails. We began with a rum-based cocktail before heading to have a look at what was on offer. From Lobster Benedict, Crabs Legs, Sushi and Soup as well as yoghurt and parfaits and pastries to start. We chose our starters and sat down and tucked in.
With Thanksgiving pending, we decided to have a turkey and beef dinner for our main course. However, there were burgers, pizza, pasta, Asian dishes and lots more to choose from. We gluttonously checked out the dessert selection too afterwards which were incredible. The buffet was one of our favourites we’ve been to in Vegas and comes highly recommended.
After our stomachs were suitably full with food and drink we headed back to the Flamingo to drop our suitcase off. And then across the road to Caesars Palace to pick up our Mariah Carey Christmas Show tickets and have another flutter in the casino. Turns out we had brought some good luck with us as we kept leaving the casino up!
We took a stroll back across the road and down the Linq. Where we headed to Favorite Bistro where I took advantage of their $5 happy hour vodka. Mum opted for an Irish coffee ($15!!!!). We both decided that despite looking amazing on Instagram, Favorite Bistro wasn’t our favourite.
See what’s on in Vegas when you’re there on Ticketmaster.
We did watch the tree lightening at the Linq before we headed back to the hotel with chips and dips for a chilled evening as our feet were a little sore.
Groupons, coupons and comped savings: $101.98 at Wynn buffet = Total Saving $101.98
Steps Walked: 14,583
Happy Thanksgiving. We woke up and switched on the TV to watch the start of the Macy’s Day Parade in New York as we do every Thanksgiving. Before getting ready and heading to the Monorail out the back of Flamingo hotel. This was something we had never used before.
We could have got a 2-4-1 day pass (playing myVegas), however, the ticket booths weren’t open with it being Thanksgiving. It was $5 for a single ride which, in all honesty, I find exceptionally high priced. Especially when RTC (bus) tickets are $8 ($5 – will teach you this trick further down) for 24 hours and they take you all over Las Vegas.
Compare Monorail Tickets as part of the Las Vegas Pass or from Vegas.com
Anyways we headed to the MGM on the Monorail. Walked through the casino and out across to Tropicana to pick up our tickets gifted by Vegas.com to see Legends in Concert.
We then crossed the Strip and walked through NYNY and to the Park MGM. Where we picked up our Aerosmith Deuces are Wild tickets and walked to visit Haus of Gaga. Unfortunately with it being Thanksgiving, it was shut so we decided to head into Eataly for a spot of lunch.
Save your money at Eataly
This relatively new European food market hall sure looks great, but in all honesty, was absolutely pitiful. It’s nothing more than an overpriced food court. We like a bowl of pasta and a bottle of wine when we’re on holiday. Mum had fancied this before heading to Eataly. So we took a seat and I headed to the bar and bought a bottle of Pinot ($45).
Before Mum went and ordered the pasta. I chose Mushroom Parpadelle, Mum opting for the Rigatoni which totalled $48 for 2 bowls of pasta!!!!! I get it’s Vegas but the portion size was not very Vegas. And for nearly $50 the pasta was disappointing, to say the least. There is a proper restaurant located in Eataly alongside the food vendors, we hadn’t realised this until afterwards. However, it’s not somewhere we enjoyed so certainly won’t be back.
Leaving Eataly the rain bounced down, like rain I had never seen before in Vegas. We ran along into the Aria and took the free tram to the Bellagio where we went into the Christmas shop and of course to see the Conservatory.
The theme was the Thanksgiving harvest with gorgeous colours and lots of floral animals. It was absolutely spectacular and one of my favourite displays I’ve seen at the Conservatory. It really is somewhere you should make a point in visiting every trip as it’s ever-changing and no two displays are the same.
We then took the SDX to the North Premium Outlets (there’s two North and South – both accessible by bus) where the Black Friday sales had already begun. As it was Thanksgiving and the weather was awful the whole place was deserted. Which great for spotting bargains and not having to stand in awful Black Friday queues. We picked up some great pieces most 50-70% off outlet prices before taking the SDX back to Fashion Show Mall.
Heading into Sugar Factory like we have the last 2 years (we’re big on traditions) we were seated. I ordered a goblet, like always and the big cheesy. Mum ordered a Bacardi and Coke (she was given something not even remotely similar) and fish & chips. Our meal arrived and it was alright, not the same standard that it used to be.
And our server, well he was exceptionally rude and hostile. We didn’t enjoy our meal at all and then when we handed over our Groupon. The same one we’ve used for the previous 2 years he wouldn’t accept it. Instead, only giving the value we had paid for it off our meal.
Meaning that for the $25 we paid we should have had $50 worth of credit, he only took $25 off the bill. Extremely disappointing and we both commented that we wouldn’t return again at all.
Groupons, coupons and comped savings: = Null Groupon at Sugar Factory – Total Saving $0
Steps Walked: 22,984
It’s Black Friday….and our favourite day of the holiday. It’s the day we get the majority of our Christmas shopping done. We started the day off with another win on the slots in the Casino, this time playing our favourite game of the trip Game of Thrones. We hopped on the Deuce bus and headed to Fashion Show Mall. Where we spent a good 2 hours in Macy’s. Both agreeing that the deals in Macy’s were far greater than the outlets.
We did shop until we dropped with the use of Dropit an amazing free service that the mall was offering for the holidays. Simply create an account on the app, drop your shopping off, the hosts scan your receipts for security purposes. Then they seal your shopping in tamperproof shipping bags.
They give you a time you can drop until and then your shopping is delivered to the hotel bell desk. All while you can track this on an app on your phone. The service is usually $15 to use however even at that price I think it’s great value for the service. It saves you carrying your bags around. We stopped shopping momentarily to head to the food court where we shared an Ike’s Sandwich. As we just needed a bite to fuel the remainder of our shopping.
Jumping back on the SDX up past Fremont and back to the North Premium Outlets, we battled the crowds for around an hour and a half and then sick of standing in queues we headed back to Fashion Show Mall on the SDX. Laden with bags we jumped on the Deuce here which dropped us the 2 stops down to nearer our hotel. At home, I wouldn’t use the bus but in Ibiza and in Vegas I’m a huge fan of this mode of public transport. It’s so easy to use and the buses run regularly.
We were in the room for a quick change before taking a Lyft to MGM where we redeemed our complimentary buffet from the myVegas rewards. This was the first time visiting the MGM Buffet and it was really lovely. It’s not as big as the Wynn or Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan, however, it was really nice. The food was fresh and delicious and there were lots of choices. Bottomless beer and wine were also included with the buffet, bottomless cocktails were additional. We certainly enjoyed the buffet and would be back.
After our buffet, we headed to see Legends in Concert at Tropicana. A show which has been running for over 30 years features tribute acts to legend musicians. Each show features an array of different acts so it’s always a different performance when you go to see them. I always think I’ll enjoy tribute acts then realise that I’d rather see the real deal.
The evening we saw featured Reba McEntire and American country star, Bono from U2 who was questionable, Mariah Carey and my personal favourite a fabulous Elvis. The show was average, I think I was the youngest there.
Everybody else really enjoyed it but it’s not something I’d rush back to see. Fortunately, I’d had a few wines at the buffet for the show. Post-concert we hit the slots in the casino before getting a Lyft back to our hotel.
Groupons, coupons and comped savings: = $15 free Dropit service, $80 +taxes at MGM Buffet = Total Saving $95
Steps Walked: 19,846
How should every Saturday morning begin? In a casino of course, back to Game of Thrones to take more money out of the machine we went. Before a sunny stroll back down to Hexx for breakfast as we had thoroughly enjoyed my birthday brunch.
This time no Groupon with it being a Saturday. I opted for the Chilaquiles which kind of was their own take on Huevos Rancheros. It featured chicken, roasted salsa tortilla chips, two eggs avocado mole, sour cream, asadero. The plate was huge and again fresh and tasty.
We sat inside this time and the ambience was really lovely. Mum opted for the Turkey Club, which was served with applewood smoked bacon lettuce, tomato, herb mayo avocado, cranberry challah on waffles. At first, she said it was a bizarre flavour although she did really enjoy it! We both really liked our two trips to Hexx and certainly recommend visiting.
202 to Rio & The Palms
I had read that the 202 bus, which you get on next to the side of Caesars takes you 1 stop to Rio and 2 stops to The Palms. There are no ticket machines at this stop however a 24-hour pass will cost you $5 (instead of $8 on The Strip) and can be used on the whole RTC system including Deuce and SDX buses. We jumped off and went to Rio for the first time. We both really wanted to play the Kiss Mini Golf.
Rio as a hotel is quiet and relatively old fashioned as a whole. It’s quite dark and reminds e a little of Paris. It’s too far out for my liking however I’m glad we’ve been especially to Kiss Mini Golf. If you’re a Kiss fan, like I am it’s so cool.
Through the gift shop, there’s authentic Kiss memorabilia and even a Wedding Chappel where you can hire the members of actual Kiss (minus The Demon) to attend your wedding. The cakes you can buy as part of the package were absolutely fantastic.
Crazy Crazy Crazy Golf
The mini-golf itself is 18 holes of pure neon enjoyment. When you start playing they play a Kiss track of your choice and the entire course goes through the history of Kiss. Which if you didn’t know is quite fascinating. The course leads up to the final hole, where you have to attempt to get the ball in Gene Simmons mouth. This was one of the most enjoyable hotel attractions we’ve visited in Vegas and a trip to Kiss at Rio is a real must! Take your Total Rewards Card for a $3 per person discount.
After Kiss and naturally, another flutter in the casino we boarded the 202 back to the Strip and then the Deuce to Fashion Show Mall to pick up the last pieces we needed in the Macy’s sale. Before taking the Deuce down to PBR at Planet Hollywood to make use of our bottomless beer and burger Groupon.
We probably didn’t make the most of the bottomless beer. Simply because we couldn’t drink lots of it and ended up only having 3 pints each. The burger was standard, it was quite tasty and the fries were well fried.
We did have desserts afterwards too Mum had the Apple Pie and said it was tasty as it was full of cinnamon and tasted like Christmas. I had the Snookie which was a cookie in a skillet it was fine but really sickly. It’s not the best for food. However I do love PBR for the atmosphere especially as all the college football was on, it’s one of my must-visit bars when I’m in Sin City.
All I want for Christmas is…..
After our late lunch, we headed back to the hotel for a very quick change before we took to the slots once more in the hotel before crossing the strip and heading to the Colosseum for the Mariah Carey Christmas Show at Caesars. We had just bought tickets last minute to hopefully get us in the festive spirit and because, well…Mariah in Vegas right?!
Not huge fans we didn’t have high expectations but from the first note, she sang wow, we were absolutely mesmerised. The show was phenomenal and she had truly gone all out with fabulous stage production, ballet dancers, a gospel choir.
Even her children came out for a song or two. Her voice was incredible, she was really hilarious and poked fun at herself as well as really getting the audience involved. It was absolutely incredible and something we’d both love to see again. It truly was the highlight of our week.
Groupons, coupons and comped savings: = $3 each on 24-hour bus ticket – $6, $3 off each with Total Rewards card at Kiss Mini Golf $6 saving, PBR Groupon was $120 paid $44.25 – $75.75 saving – Total Saving $87.75
Steps Walked: 16,236
Our final full day in Vegas began with a trip on the Deuce back down to Fashion Show Mall to Macy’s as a coat I had bought still had the security tag on. We had this removed and couldn’t help look at a few more bargains. Before heading back to the Wynn Buffet to redeem another complimentary buffet from the Wynn Slots game. It appears you can only redeem one buffet a month. However, this was 1st December so we managed to get 2 complimentary buffets through our stay.
The food was very much the same, still equally as delicious and we, of course, opted for the $22.99 each unlimited drinks add on too. We only really ate 2 meals a day on this trip, on buffet days though sometimes we only ate once a day.
After spending a couple of hours in the buffet we took the Deuce back to the Flamingo where we had a relaxing time packing our case and getting ready to head to see Aerosmith at Park MGM. We made the most of our RTC unlimited 24-hour pass ($8). Taking the Deuce to the Park MGM (was the Monte Carlo) where we went to Haus of Gaga firstly. To look at some of Gaga’s most famous costumes and outfits including the meat dress which has now been jerkied. The outfits were sensational. This free exhibition is on whilst she has a residency at Park MGM and if you like Lady Gaga or are interested in fashion then it’s worth visiting.
Three shows in three nights
Aerosmith were really really good in all fairness and really gave it some for the Deuces are Wild tour given their age. They did, however, play songs that weren’t as popular as their main hits. They only played 3 or 4 of their huge tracks. So unless you were a super fan you probably weren’t going to know the songs.
The stage production again was phenomenal and made use of the audience on the stage in pens as well as huge toys coming from the ceiling in Toys in the Attic. They even put out a huge walkway to the back of the arena during Walk this Way. It was thoroughly enjoyable, although we both did prefer Mariah. But glad we saw them just to say we’ve seen Bon Jovi and Aerosmith in the same year.
Groupons, coupons and comped savings: $101.98 at Wynn buffet = Total Saving $101.98
Steps Walked: 14,187
Our flight home was a 4pm flight so we decided to head to the airport around lunchtime. In the morning we headed out along to the Venetian to check out Black Tap (which was closed) as we were going to grab a spot of breakfast. We wandered through parts of the hotel we had never seen before. Before using a $5 Walgreens voucher I had accrued from connecting my Fitbit to my account and it converting steps into cash. We took a last stop into Sephora and picked up a few more Christmas gifts. Before heading to the hotel to check out and collect our luggage.
Checking out on the machines was super easy and efficient. We booked a Lyft to take us to the airport and headed out to be picked up. After using taxis previously, we both agreed that Lyft is the only way to go now. As our transfer to the hotel from the airport was under $10 and our transfer to the airport was $15 which beats the $20-$40 we’ve paid in cabs before.
Pay for the lounge
We were flying Club World with BA so had use of the Club Lounge at the airport in with our flights. The international departures at McCarran isn’t the best, but you can pay for lounge access before you fly or at the reception if it’s not full for around $40. Regardless of which cabin class you’re flying in. See exact pricing here. This included an unlimited bar, hot and cold food and snacks, tea, coffee and non-alcoholic drinks and free wifi. I personally think this is worthwhile doing as it works out better value than buying food in the airport.
Total savings over the week = $720.71 from playing reward games and making use of Groupon.
We saw a lot of different things we’ve not previously done before, however, if it’s your first visit to Vegas a lot of your time will probably be spent hotel hopping to see the hotels and the special features and attractions each hotel has. Factor in around 30 minutes walking time to each hotel and do make use of the Deuce and SDX whenever possible. They’re so simple to use and they will save your feet. You can also get to Fremont Street and the North and South Outlets as well as the sign on these buses.
Have you been to Vegas? I’d love to know how you spend your days in the comments below.