We celebrated Christmas in Las Vegas this year and it was glorious. One whole week together, relaxing and enjoying the opulence that is Vegas. I took a bunch of pictures on our trip, as usual, but this was far from an action packed vacation. We did a lot of walking, spa-ing, napping, and shopping – fun for us but not exciting enough to include in my recap. So I’m going to change it up a little bit and bring you just the highlights of our Vegas trip in three separate posts this week – The Sights, The Attractions, and The Food.
For this post I wanted to write about the attractions of Vegas; what we did for fun and entertainment while we were in Sin City. Obviously there is a lot to do in Vegas and that’s one of the things I love most about it: you can totally tailor your experience to all of your personal interests. Some people think Vegas is all gambling and benders and prostitutes on The Strip. It’s really not. If it were, do you think an old lady like me would even step foot in this town? (let alone come back four separate times) Nope! So here’s what we did for fun on this most recent trip…
Well of course there is some gambling. We like video poker and table games like blackjack. We never lose much because we only play a little bit. I lost a whopping total of $10 on this trip (after playing a total of $40). Mostly we see gambling as entertainment: you pay to have fun for an hour or so and if you don’t lose it all, well that’s a bonus.
Of course Las Vegas is famous for their excellent shows – whether it’s Cirque Du Soleil, a concert, magic, comedy, burlesque, or one of the other hundred live entertainment events. In years past we have seen shows like Criss Angel and Absinthe but this year we opted to see David Copperfield at the Hollywood Theater in MGM. He was fantastic! John was even brought up on stage for the final illusion, met David Copperfield, and got a signed headshot!
Another classic Vegas staple is the Chihuly blown glass ceiling in the lobby of the Bellagio hotel. It’s really worth a visit – it’s grand and spectacular, just like the Bellagio. I could stare up at it for hours.
Speaking of the Bellagio, the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are a must see too, especially during the holidays. They have such a beautiful, well curated display of plants, trees, decorations, and water features.
One of the main reasons we picked late December for our trip (in addition to escaping for the holidays) was to see UFC 168 live in Vegas. We’ve been to one live UFC event before (in Montreal) but never in Vegas, the home of championship sporting events. We bought tickets right when they went on sale in September and were super excited!
UFC 168 was at the Grand Garden Arena in the MGM Hotel. The venue was amazing – the energy was unlike any I’ve ever experienced at a sporting event!
This event had a great card but the two main events really stole the show. First was the much anticipated Women’s Bantamweight Championship fight between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. Their rivalry going in to this fight was palpable and made for great drama. Rousey ending up winning the fight, with an armbar submission, which she has won 100% of her fights with. Pretty remarkable. Below is a picture I snapped of her being interviewed by Joe Rogan after she won.
The main event of the night was a rematch for the UFC Middleweight Championship between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva.
The event devolved into chaos early in the second round when Anderson Silva broke his leg off a checked kick by Chris Weidman. (Here’s a video if you’re curious though it is quite graphic!)
Most of the fights that night (11 total) ended in either knockouts or submissions. It was an extremely exciting event and a spectacular card of fighters. Heck, we even met Robbie Peralta afterwards at dinner.
Oh and did I mention we were sitting just one section away from the Fox Sports media booth?
And we had some fun taking these pictures (that I photoshopped later, obvs) in the MGM lobby before the fight.
Up next, our day off The Strip. One day on our trip we rented a car (a beautiful new Cadillac, that’s Vegas for ya!) and did a bunch of fun stuff outside of The Strip.
We went to the Pinball Hall of Fame which was really fun. John was like a kid in a candy store here!
The collection of vintage games (pinball and otherwise) was impressive. Everything was restored and in perfect working condition.
We also went to the Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas.
It wasn’t my favorite but I’m glad we went.
Just outside Las Vegas, in Henderson, Nevada, we went to the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden. Kind of a random pair but it was free and fun!
The chocolate factory was cool – the production line was up and running so we got to see all of the equipment in action.
Plus, free samples at the end of the tour!
The cactus garden was huge and had a lot of cacti I had never seen before in it. That’s the desert for ya!
There were Christmas lights all over the cactus garden but it was still light out when we were there. I would have loved to have seen this place all lit up!
Last but not least we went to the Neon Museum. I had heard about this place when they first opened and couldn’t wait to go.
The Neon Museum is a non-profit that houses a collection of about 150 old Las Vegas neon signs. The tour through the “boneyard,” as they call it, goes through the story of each sign, its historical contribution to Las Vegas, and the current status of each hotel now.
The tour was also really informative about neon itself – the chemical reaction within the signs’ tubes, how different colors were achieved, and the differences between neon and new emerging technologies (LED, etc).
I have to toot my own horn here – I loved these pictures that I took so much that I ordered a bunch of prints from Shutterfly when we got home.
The whole tour was fascinating and was my favorite thing we did on our entire trip to Vegas. I would highly recommend getting here any way you can if you are ever in the area.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog on The Food of Las Vegas!