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Travelblog Gone with the Wine

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

Filtering by Tag: Venetian

Viva Las Vegas with Kids!

Paula Gaston

Las Vegas, also known as Sin City, is known for gambling, casinos, quick marriages and bars open around the clock. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!” they say. So why take your kids with you on vacation to such a place? In the USA, it is common to take kids with you anywhere you go. Same goes with Las Vegas. But I have to say, that one will see a whole different part of the city when you are not free to party and stay up all night long. We stayed there for two days with our kids, and we still had a great time!

CHOOSE A HOTEL THAT SUITS YOUR FAMILY

Planning a vacation in Las Vegas starts by choosing a hotel for your family’s needs. We always want to stay right at the Strip, the main road of downtown Las Vegas. Otherwise, you will have to drive over to experience it. No matter what, there will be a lot of walking involved in Vegas, so we like to be close to the attractions. During summer, Vegas can be very hot, so a nice pool area might be a good idea, but during the winter outside pools are closed. Many hotels on the Strip have some kind of a theme, or at least an attraction to bring people in. Theme hotels tend to be more expensive than others, and unfortunately some of them are a bit old and run down. But they are definitely popular. If you are looking for something newer and more “luxury”, the Cosmopolitan and Wynn are good but they have no theme.

One popular hotel among families with kids is the Excalibur Hotel where we stayed on this trip, and which I will tell you more about later. Excalibur looks like a castle and has a medieval theme. Right next to it is Luxor, which is also a fun choice, since it is shaped like a pyramid. We stayed there some years ago when we didn’t have kids yet. The most known of the theme hotels are New York New York, Paris and the Venetian with its Italian theme.

In front of New York New York

In front of New York New York

Luxor

Luxor

Paris

Paris

Venetian

Venetian

ENJOY THE FREE ENTERTAINMENT OF DIFFERENT HOTELS

We spend a lot of time in Las Vegas just by walking around and seeing different attractions the hotels have to offer. And the best part of that is, that most of them are free. My personal favorite is Hotel Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Garden located in their lobby. The flower arrangements are just amazing! Especially if you happen to be there at the holiday season. The water fountain in front of the hotel will have a show every 30 minutes starting from 3 p.m., sometimes even more often, and the music varies. In front of the fountain there are usually different kinds of characters who are waiting to get photographed with people, but it’s good to know that they will charge for it. It used to be Elvis impersonators, but on our last visit we saw multiple Mickey Mouses, and some super heroes.

Bellagio

Bellagio

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardenin

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardenin

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We usually go to the Venetian Hotel just to see their amazing gondolas which sail the canals inside the resort. In the Luxor Hotel one can get into an Egyptian atmosphere, and both New York New York and Paris are like little cities from inside. Both of them have nice restaurants in them. Last time we visited Vegas, the MGM Hotel had some live lions in their lobby, but I was happy to see that they had closed that attraction. I don’t think that the hotel lobby is the right place for wild life. The Mirage Hotel has an erupting volcano in front of the hotel which is also great entertainment.

The hotels on the Strip have everything from go-karting to amusement parks and minigolf. Or in case one wants to see all this from high up in the sky, there is also a pretty pricey ferris wheel in the downtown. Vegas definitely has something for everyone.

EAT IN SOME FUN RESTAURANTS

When it comes to Las vegas restaurants, there is so much to choose from. Almost every casino-hotel has their own buffet, but they also have other restaurants in them. On the Strip one can find the super trendy Shake Shack, Hell’s Kitchen or Rainforest Cafe. The last one is for sure a hit amongst the kids. I definitely recommend checking online what kind of choices there are before heading out and looking for a dinner place aimlessly.

BOOK A SHOW

Vegas is full of great shows and performers. One of the most popular ones must be Cirque du Soleil which has many different shows around the city, the Blue Man Group and David Copperfield. All shows of course, are not meant for kids, but if you are traveling with adults, don’t miss seeing some great entertainment. A list of different shows can be found here. There are some shows that are suitable for kids, though we didn’t see any on this trip.

GET A FAMILY PHOTO AT THE FAMOUS LAS VEGAS SIGN

The most famous landmark of Las Vegas is absolutely the Las Vegas sign at the end of the Strip. There is usually a line to get in front of it, but it goes pretty fast. If you can’t wait though, you can do what I did in the picture below; I took it slightly from the side of the sign. In front of the sign there is actually a couple posing. The earlier you get there in the morning, the fewer people there are in the line of course. There is a small parking lot where you can park, since the sign is in the middle of the main road. You can’t leave Las Vegas without getting your photo taken here!

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I have to admit that Las Vegas has not stolen my heart (yet) and is not on my TOP 10 list. Like always in Vegas, it took me a while to get used to the noise of the casinos and all the smoke. The second day of our stay we started to get exhausted by the hectic pace and all the walking. But still, it is nice to visit every once in a while and see the unreal life with all those neon signs. And everyone should experience it at least once in a lifetime!

Have you been to Vegas with kids? What was your experience like?

 

Las Vegas will Never be the Same

Paula Gaston

It's Sunday night and I wake up to nurse our newborn many times during the night. My husband's phone keeps buzzing and I wonder why he has the news notifications on, or who is trying to reach him. When he wakes up in the morning I hear cursing. Our close relatives have been in the mass shooting at Las Vegas, where 59 people died on October 1st, 2017, and 489 got wounded. They had sent some group texts to the family to let everyone know that they are ok, and what had happened. Everyone is shocked. Las Vegas will never be the same for us.

I visited Las Vegas for the first time two months after I had met my husband. We drove there with our friends to celebrate New Years. Las Vegas is a very strange city. It is in the middle of nowhere, in a desert, but everyone around the world knows about it. It is unreal with its themed hotels, world class shows and casinos. Everyone knows that you can get married in Vegas by Elvis or just use the drive thru. Everyone has seen the Las Vegas sign which is at the beginning of the Strip, the main street. It welcomes people to this party town, and everyone of course likes to joke that "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!"

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Part of the attractions of Las Vegas are the hotels. They are all different, and each one is stranger than the next. The shooter was at the Mandalay Bay hotel where he could see straight to the concert area, but he never had to go through the strict security required at the concert. Right after this incident, people started talking about hotel safety and whether we should have a security check when checking into a hotel. Doing that would be extremely expensive and time consuming; not only in Vegas but all over the world. And how inconvenient it would be for the customers. Recent years have not been kind to Las Vegas businesses, and this of course, wont help. 

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Bellagio's water fountain show is famous...

Bellagio's water fountain show is famous...

...and the flowers in their lobby are amazing!

...and the flowers in their lobby are amazing!

The Venetian Hotel

The Venetian Hotel

Last year only, about 43 million tourists visited Las Vegas, and about 100 000 people were working in tourism. So this city lives by the travel industry. Among the gamblers, there are a lot of regular tourists who visit Las Vegas, and many companies organize conferences and meetings there. And of course there are the wedding couples and wedding parties. I even have few friends who have gotten married in Las Vegas. We will see how all this will be affected by recent events. At least casino stocks were going down right after the shooting. 

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vegas_paris.jpg

For those of us who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Las Vegas has always been a party place for birthdays, bachelor parties or getaway -weekends. It is only an hour flight away, so it is an easy destination even for a shorter trip. However, if I was there at the moment, I don't think I would be in a partying mood. We will see how fast people forget the tragedy and return to "sin city". Before that, there is a lot of healing to be done in Vegas. We are so grateful that our family is fine, and at the same time extremely sad, that not everybody was as lucky as us.