Part of our 10 year anniversary trip included a couple of days in Vegas mid-May, during the same week the CDC advised that those who had received the vaccine would no longer have to wear masks indoors. While there were a few places we visited still enforcing masks for all, in most places there were about 35% of people still wearing masks. So while technically Vegas didn’t feel 100% like “old Vegas”…it felt pretty darn close to pre-pandemic times.
Here were some of our highlights and our top time-saving tip once you arrive at the airport:
Taxi > Uber/Lyft: We arrived at McCarran International Airport around 10PM on a Wednesday night. It’s pretty easy to find your way to the Ride Sharing or Taxi pick-up area–but once we got to the Ride Sharing area it was overflowing with people waiting and both Lyft and Uber had zero drivers available. There was no one directing traffic so to speak, so it was chaotic. We decided to see if a taxi would be faster and–lo and behold–someone was running this area, it was super organized and the line moved really fast. We maybe spent $15 more for our ride to the Strip with the taxi, but who knows how long we would have sat there waiting for an Uber. (Pro tip: bring cash for the taxi to avoid the credit/debit card convenience fee.)
Read the fine print: When you’re booking (especially during off-peak times) you might be like me and find yourself blown away by how inexpensive the hotel rates seem. In most cases, that’s because there are resort fees (typically between $35-$45 per night) that get tacked on once you click to book the room, so make sure you’re taking those into consideration. You can’t “opt out” of these fees and only a few hotels in Vegas don’t charge them.
Park MGM: We were only here briefly on our first night but were impressed with this (now smoke-free) hotel on the Strip. For less than $100 for a mid-week night, we had a room with a view of the Strip and a standard room set-up was pretty comfortable! My FAVORITE thing about the Park though is Eataly–a huge Italian marketplace with more than dozen eateries offering things like mozzarella bars and melt-in-your-mouth freshly made Italian pastries. And pasta. So much pasta. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, Eataly is worth a trip.
MGM Grand: Felt a little bit like Disney World but we enjoyed our stay here as well. I love a completely random fact, and the one I learned about the MGM Grand is that it’s the third-largest hotel in the world. Tons of food options, four pools, a lazy river, Topgolf and entertainment all on-site. The one thing I noticed about these two hotels that I was kind of surprised about was–unlike a Disney or Universal–they aren’t fully utilizing their apps or mobile food-ordering like I thought they would be.
The Cosmpolitan: While we didn’t stay here, we walked through and I wished we had! Their “food court” options make the MGM Grand’s look like something from a 90’s mall. I knew as soon as I started researching that we had to go to Eggslut for breakfast, which is located inside The Cosmpolitan. Arrive early, the line starts getting long FAST! But I promise you won’t be disappointed–this was one of the better quick breakfasts we’ve had in a long time. (I ordered “The Slut”-their signature dish consisting of a soft coddled egg with potato puree made served in a glass jar. Topped with grey salt, chives and fresh slices of baguette for dipping. I’m drooling just typing this.
Breathe Oxygen Bar: If you’re feeling jet-lagged or like you hit Vegas a little too hard one night, 30 minutes hooked up to the oxygen here will make you feel like you’ve gotten 8 hours of sleep a night for the past week. The girl helping us also went around with these little massage devices that use TENS and EMS therapy–we loved it so much we took a mini home!
While this trip was fast and Vegas was more or less a stop-over, it made me look at Vegas in a new light. I think I would 100% come back strictly to eat my way through this town and try out as many pools as possible. 😉