Las Vegas Sign

Las Vegas

This year my girlfriend surprised me with the trip of a lifetime. She surprised me with the one place that I’ve always wanted to go… Las Vegas. I found out about the trip one week before we set off. So, it’s safe to say that this was truly a surprise. Here are some of my experiences whilst in Sin City…

The fitness

Due to the fact that the trip was a surprise of a lifetime, to an extent fitness wasn’t my main priority. It took me a few days to actually realise that I was finally heading to Las Vegas. My girlfriend was unbelievably organised in planning the Las Vegas adventure. This meant that we already had a rough day-day plan. So, we knew we had time to chill out and relax. As I didn’t want to completely neglect my fitness I used this time in different ways to maintain some fitness.

Hotel workouts

I have posted before about how effective hotel workouts can maintain fitness. Therefore, Las Vegas was no different. We stayed in the Aria Hotel which was a luxury in itself (More on that later), so I had a good gym on hand. The majority of the equipment was “traditional” gym equipment. A lot of weight and cardio machines, but it also had a great set of dumbbells and space for other types of exercise. At first I was going to go back to bodybuilding type workouts for the week. However, this soon passed and I realised a quick intense workout was better than a long sets and reps slog.

Aria hotel Las Vegas fitness
Aria’s gym was mainly machine based but also had free weights and room for individual training

Due to the time difference I found myself getting up early each morning. I took to heading straight down to the hotel gym and fitting a quick pre-breakfast workout in. This was nothing complex, and example may be:

21-18-15-12-9-6-3

Dumbbell thruster @20kg

Burpees

One thing I noticed was that, although inside in air-con it was still harder to breathe. I felt much slower than normal and not as strong but the effects of the workouts were just as good. I also did a couple of treadmill workouts, 1 minute on/off type workouts although kept these short and sweet too. The reason for this is that I was in Las Vegas! So, the last thing I wanted to be doing was training when we could be out exploring.

That was pretty much it in terms of gym based workouts. Once a day, short and sweet, early morning. I found that this was enough. As I mentioned, it felt harder to train as it was and it set me up for the rest of the day whilst also keeping me feeling as though I had got some fitness in.

Walk and run

One thing that we agreed to do was to walk everywhere. Not only is this an amazing way to see more of the place that you are visiting, but it is far healthier. Barring the commute to Downtown Las Vegas, we genuinely did walk everywhere. This was kind of relaxing in a way. It also wore us out quite a bit so was more demanding than I initially thought.

Las Vegas sign
We walked everywhere. Even to the Las Vegas sign.

Walking can often be overlooked. When you actually add up how far you walk exploring a new place it can be miles! We walked to all of the major hotels, around their malls, to restaurants and to any events we went too. If fitting fitness into a trip looks like it will be difficult, try to prioritise walking or jogging. This will mean you at least get some fitness into your stay.

So that was pretty much it for fitness in Las Vegas. As I said, it was not a priority on this trip. I wanted to spend as much time as possible exploring with Han, which we did…

The food

First of all, we were in America so the eats on this trip were obviously going to be epic! I’ve been to America before when I was younger so knew what to expect, however, this was next level. Here’s some of the highlights…

Holsteins

The very first place we went to was Holsteins in The Cosmopolitan. We visited Holsteins twice during the trip and it didn’t disappoint. They specialise in burgers ans shakes but take them to new extremes. As a pre-dinner nibble you get a bucket of Popcorn which is cool. Not only this, but the shakes are super alternative. I had a doughnut shake which I thought would be a doughnut flavored milkshake. How wrong I was.

Holsteins Las vegas
Holsteins burgers are amazing!

The shake that arrived as served in a tall glass as normal. They use real ice cream so have a ‘leftover’ shake bucket with your milkshake in case you want to top up. The doughnut shake actually came with a doughnut on top. I’m not talking about a small, for show, type doughnut either. This was a full-sized glazes, iced hundreds and thousands covered treat. I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Following this the burgers are so good! They are cooked more like a quality piece of red meat would be and not just thrown on a grill to burn. Each burger comes with a side of sweet potato fires which are also amazing. I’ll be honest, by the time you’re done eating you do want to curl up into a ball and go to sleep but it’s worth it.

For anyone heading to Vegas a stop off in Holstein’s is well recommended.

The Wynn

Another cool place to go for food is the brunch at The Wynn for a buffet style mid-morning feast. I would definitely go easy the night before as you can literally spend hours working your way through the food on offer here.

Wynn Las Vegas
The range of food at The Wynn was mind-boggling
Wynn Las vegas
Restaurant at The Wynn
Wynn Las Vegas
Wynn’s themed lobby

The Wynn is massively impressive. Walking into the lobby area and through to the hotel restaurant is very cool. The hotel themes the areas and when we were there it was ornate flowers and Chinese style lanterns. Not only this but they had mini theme park features such as a merry-go-round.

The buffet was out of this world. At one end it started with continental breakfast food, oats, fresh fruit, pastries and sweets etc. However, as you progressed it moved into American style pancakes, streaky bacon etc. All of this seemed pretty standard, although, the further down you got the more it moved into savory, lunch and dinner food. At the end of the room there was a full Chinese banquet and roast dinner!

The dessert or sweets section was particularly impressive. You got to watch the chef’s piecing together each individual dessert or order your crepes to your liking. Wynn was one of the best hotel brunches I have been to and would recommend it to anyone when in Las Vegas.

Mon Ami Gabi

Mon Ami Gabi is based in the base of the Eiffel Tower along the Vegas strip. This is one place that you have to go to for breakfast. The restaurant has a really vintage theme about it and offers some amazing food, especially the breakfasts. We headed here late morning and you can opt to sit inside or outside facing the Bellagio. The service here is so good. The waiters will give you a little background to the area and the restaurant. They aslo describe the content of the menu and how dishes are composed as in more upmarket restaurants.

Mon Ami Gabi Las Vegas
Mon Ami Gabi, Las Vegas

The good thing about Mon Ami Gabi is that you can eat healthily if you wish. I was feeling full from previous days so opted for an egg white omelette with greens. However, you can also indulge. We ordered a side of pancakes as we thought this may be a nice finisher. What we didn’t take into account was the size of the pancakes. They are super thin and cooked to perfection however they are massive! They cover a dinner plate from edge to edge and you can order an array of toppings. Whilst this isn’t the healthiest choice we were in Las Vegas so wanted to indulge. Mon Ami Gabi is a great choice should you want to eat slightly healthier or indulge.

Mon Ami gabi Las Vegas pancakes
Mon Ami Gabi pancakes are some of the best we’ve had

M&M world

One final offering that is technically food related is M&M world. This place really isn’t a food source but so cool to go to. The wall of M&M’s has so many flavors is hurts your brain. You simply walk around with a bag and top up as you wish before going to the till. Not a healthy choice but worth a visit.

M&M world Las Vegas food
M&M world Las Vegas, not healthy, but worth a visit

The place

Las Vegas has endless things to do, here are the ones that we had fun doing and one that got away…

On the way

On the way out we flew direct from Manchester, UK and this was a good option for getting there quickly. However, on the way back we had a layover in New York. Unfortunately, this was not long enough to leave the airport but it did make me think. A cool way to get to Vegas but also see a bit more of the USA would be to fly into another city and do one of two things:

  1. Have a few day layover and explore before flying on to Las Vegas
  2. Hire a car and drive through to Las Vegas

Bother are a good way to see more of the country than you originally bargained for. If I was to go back this is something I would do. The drive up to Vegas is quite long with the desert but at the same time is exciting.

Getting around

As I mentioned earlier, bar the taxi to Downtown we walked all over the place. This was the best option for us as it allowed us to see more and to get some cool photos. Even if I went back a second time I would walk. The good thing about most of Las Vegas is that everything is within walking distance. If you really walk you could walk right the way down the strip. You may want to get a taxi if going out at night or to spots further afield, but in the majority, walking is the best option.

Downtown

Downtown Las Vegas is my favorite part. There is just something cool about this being the original Vegas and it has this classic feel. The main drag with all of the famous casino’s on now has a zip wire all the way along and a light show. The place is constantly buzzing and there are street performers all over the place. Wandering around gives you a feeling of “old Las Vegas”. It is amazing to think that some of the biggest names in the world performed there and that is where everything began. You can either wander around and see the sights or gamble in the casino’s. We did a bit of everything and then went to get food. This was in a really artsy bit jut beyond Fremont St where we had mini sliders. As I said, Downtown is my favorite part of Vegas and a must when visiting.

Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas, my favorite part

On the way to Downtown we went up the Stratosphere. The rides on the top are stomach churning but so much fun. I was going to do the jump from the top but ended up going on the rides instead.

Stratosphere Las Vegas
Views from The Strat

You can literally see the whole of Las Vegas from the top and everything looks so small. A short stop here but a good one for anyone on the way to Downtown.

Pool parties and nightlife

When in Las Vegas you have to let your hair down. We went to Wet republic at the MGM on the Friday during the day. This was a great experience, it can be quite pricey but worth it, especially if in a group. The live DJ’s and atmosphere is awesome.

Las Vegas Wet Republic
Pooool party!

After the pool party we headed onto see Calvin Harris in Omnia, Caesars Palace. I’ve seen him before in Ibiza, however, he was another level in Vegas. I would say that you have to go to at least one big night when in Las Vegas. The place is full of different types of nights to go to, not just dance music. We even got to see one of the Bellagio’s fountain shows when we were on the way which reminded me of Ocean’s 11. The nightlife and pool party scene kind of makes up modern-day Vegas. Perhaps if you are slightly older this isn’t for you, but as i mentioned there are plenty of other shows. I think one even had a hologram Michael Jackson show!

Grand Canyon

This one is the one that got away. We planned on getting a helicopter to the Canyon but never ended up doing so. It takes a full day which we didn’t have time for in the end. The helicopter takes you right over the Canyon which is meant to be incredible. Another option is to hire a car and drive out there but again, this is a 5 hour drive each way. If I ever go back the Grand Canyon is something I will definitely do. However, for now, I’ll just have to look at pictures.

To finish

Las Vegas was everything it is rumored to be and more. I still can’t believe Han surprised me with it. There is quite literally something to do for everyone. In reality, is the type of place that you can’t fully describe until you’ve experienced it. I have touched on some of the highlights from our trip but there were so many more. So much so, that I could write about Las Vegas for days. I hope some of our experiences have given you an idea of how fun it is and if you haven’t been makes you want to!

Please share your experiences if you have been, or your thoughts if you haven’t, in the comments below…..

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