Sunday, June 17, 2012

Vacation Station: Vegan in Vegas

First and for most, Happy Father’s Day! There has never been such a relevant post on father’s day as this vacation post about Las Vegas. Clearly, hearing about my time in Sin City is a duty I must uphold on this on this sacred day. My family will be celebrating later, so right now – I have nothing to share until people get presents. Father's Day spoilers are not allowed.

So that being said…let's go to Vegas.

When you fly through Denver you get snow capped mountains to look at. 

At the beginning of this year I reviewed my calendar and realized that if I wanted to take a vacation, it would be best to leave before the department transition that was about to happen. (Before my promotion: Read here).

So after about three months of trying to figure out where we should go, Joe and I decided on Vegas. Vegas was on our bucket list.

We booked a stay at Aria and started planning our trip. With everything I had heard, it would be Disney on steroids but for adults.

Vegas had a few surprising takeaways. The wind tunnels were more extreme than I had thought. The wind actually conquered a girl’s skirt as we were making our way down an escalator by The Mandarin Oriental, only to get the comment of the guy behind her, “You just made my night Marilyn.” Lots of wind.

And when did Vegas become a family hot spot?  the amount of kids I saw was utterly… well, shocking. 

But all that aside the thing I love about Vegas is that you can do whatever you want. You could wear sweat pants, you could wear a show girls outfit, you could walk around with a snake and people just go about their business without any real sort of negative criticism or care in the world. It’s much more of a, “Uh, It’s Vegas” attitude -- which I found a bit refreshing in the midst of pure commercialized insanity.

Because I forgot to take notes and my memory is escaping me at times on the details, here are the top 8 things I liked most about Vegas. Some vegan, some just noted for fun purposes.

8. The Bellagio Fountains – Right like you don’t automatically think of Ocean’s 11. I do. The water breaks up the concrete strip. It's pretty and the music is classic.

7. The Wheel of Fortune Game - So basically I lost every time I played this game, but it is a lot of fun. If you like slots you should try it.

6. The outside moving walkway by The Bellagio - I know this is weird thing to be on a top favorite list for Vegas but I seriously loved it. It feels like you're floating outside. Some of you must be thinking well maybe she's never been on a moving belt or something? Not true. I also am not a fan of decreasing the chances for the public to get exercise, but there is something about being able to float along the walkway and enjoy yourself.

These photos are of the lobby area within the Bellagio. They're beautiful. 

5. The Aria Experience. I say experience, because the room was completely digital and it took us about 20 minutes to figure out how to turn on the lights and open the curtains. The pool looked lovely, however it wasn’t really warm enough for us swim, unfortunately. 

The actual structure of Aria is modern and beautiful. There is a waterfall wall (say that 10 times fast) at the front entrance. We didn’t have a view of the strip, but our view was serene - in a flashy kind of way. Also, Aria had a few chic bars and the Elvis show. 

The hotel is part of City Center and had a pub style restaurant directly connected to it, where Joe and I got drinks and watched The Master's.

Aria Lobby. Daisy Ceiling Garden.
View from our room.
Watching The Master's...

4. Ka and Elvis Cirque du Soleil Shows - we went to two Cirque du Soleil shows. Joe fell asleep at one of them, while I was captivated through both.

Ka is a dark tale that brings you through multiple, amazing battle scenes. I honestly never knew Joe fell asleep until the show ended and I asked him what he thought about the production. When his response was, “It was OK”? I replied with, “What do you mean OK? Did you see the two men on the circular pieces jumping rope and running? It was amazing!”

That’s when I realized he actually didn’t see that part because he was sleeping. I laughed. It’s Vegas.

The Elvis show was also great. It highlighted many more traditional acrobat moves expected from Cirque, all to the sounds of Elvis.

3. Wynn Buffet - We only ate at one buffet during our trip and we strategically selected The Wynn because of the reviews I had seen online.

Steve Wynn is a vegan so all of his restaurants accommodate vegans easily. The Wynn was a good 10-15 minute walk from Aria. But it gave us the chance to see the other notable resorts, The Bellagio, The Palazzo, Mirage, Ceaser’s Palace etc.

The buffet has many diverse choices and labeled options for vegans. Salad bars, stir-fry, soups, veggie rolls, fried rice, breads, cookies, and more. Joe could get meat stuff, I could get veggies and it was delicious.

2. Hoover Dam – If you go to Las Vegas, I highly recommend visiting the Hoover Dam. We rented a car for a day at Aria and booked it out there for a tour. It’s amazing.

The tour guides are awesome and the structural complexity and magnitude of the pieces are a bit surreal. Not like Grand Canyon wondrous, but definitely unbelievable to think that men could build something so culturally important and physically tenacious in 1931.

We took the full tour because Joe is a history buff and I just like exploring.

On the bridge overlooking the Hoover Dam.

1. Wing Lei at The Wynn – To celebrate my promotion and our vacation in Vegas, we decided to make reservations at Wing Lei. I had read good reviews online from other vegan bloggers. The dining area was wonderfully decorated with gold finishes and bright statement colors.

The food was delicious. There was  a full vegan friendly menu at the back of the dining portfolio and I ordered the best cocktail I had in Vegas. I don't normally order full mixed drinks,they’re usually too sweet or to tart for my taste. However, this drink was delicious. It was their signature martini and I believe had a hint of pomegranate. 

I didn’t feel as though I should take pictures because the atmosphere seemed more reserved, but you can get a sense of the restaurant through their website

So our time in Vegas was great. If you're traveling there as a vegan -- there are mounds of options. My advice is to call ahead and make it to The Wynn. 

If all else fails there is a Walgreens located in the middle of the strip near City Center. Grab some snacks. 


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