10 July 2008

Skeevie vs. kitch in Las Vegas: Advice from a long-distance wife

I'm a long-distance wife. My husband, Mike, lives in Las Vegas and I live in Waco. This means that I've been to Las Vegas several times, but not as a tourist. On many trips, we never even go to the strip or enter a casino. There are many other things to do in Vegas.

Here are my picks.

Breakfast spot

The best place for fantastic breakfast (and spotting B-list celebrities from VH1, MTV, etc.) is The Cracked Egg http://www.thecrackedegglv.com/. The place Mike goes, where he always sees the b-list celebs, is the Rainbow Blvd. location.

The "sin city skillets" are enormous. And enormously delicious. They do not skimp on anything. I have never been able to (nor should I ever) come even close to being able to finish one of these huge skillets.

With most breakfasts, you get a choice of toast or coffee cake.


Red Rock Casino/Resort/Spa http://www.redrocklasvegas.com/index.php. It’s modern, hip, and brand new. It is NOT on the strip. Red Rock is very chic, but also is family/kid friendly.

ALL of this is at the Red Rock:

The largest luxury bowling center in LV http://www.redrocklasvegas.com/entertainment/bowling.php. And they do mean luxury. We have a blast there.

If there are children, the best childcare http://www.redrocklasvegas.com/entertainment/kids_quest.php. Kid's Quest is like a dream come true for kids, whatever age group or gender. Not only is there a

A specially-designed floor-to-ceiling climbing maze and play structure consisting of up to 35 challenging activities includes tunnels, slides, ramps, stairs, climbing nets, periscopes, air hops, bumper bags, talking tubes and other activities allowing children to crawl, climb, bounce, hop, tumble and slide in the comfort and safety of a professionally supervised, secure environment.

But also a full stage with costumes and karaoke, electric guitars, video game stations, a full section of nothing but dress-up and make-up stations, a Barbie area, and probably a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting. Also, there is a snack bar, where the kids can get meals or candy and drinks (whatever parents have approved). We took the grandkids there one evening so the adults could go to the casino. Every day afterward they asked several times if they could go back!

Prices are very reasonable, as well. I highly recommend it, and so do my grandkids!

16-theatre Cinema complex http://www.redrocklasvegas.com/entertainment/regal_cinemas.php, to catch a movie, if that's what you're in the mood for.

They also have a magnificent spa.

And the Red Rock is the most luxurious place to stay! The rooms are giant and have spectacular views of the mountains, and of course, of Red Rock Canyon.

The casino host is Winston Morgan. He's a fantastic guy that Mike has become acquainted with over the last couple of years.

Celebrity hangout

From what I hear, The Palms http://www.palms.com/ is where celebrities hang out at the night club. I have never been there. I’m not a night club person, nor am I a celebrity (I know, you thought I was).


Favorite shows I’ve seen:

Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre at Planet Hollywood - http://www.comedypet.com/. This is a delightful show. We went for the kids, but the adults enjoyed it just as much. Popovich rescues cats and dogs from animal shelters and trains them for his show. It's a pretty intimate theatre and did I say, it's delightful? It's delightful.

Gordie Brown at the Venetian – hilarious! http://www.gordiebrown.com/

La Reve at the Wynne – spectacular, over the top, beautiful. https://boxoffice.wynnlasvegas.com/shows_info.html


Bonnie Springs Old West Nevada http://www.bonniesprings.com/ is a “wild west town,” complete with gunfights, bank robberies and hangings! We had a blast with the kids there. On weekends, they get deputized by the sheriff and join the posse to help catch the bad guy. Very old: this is no Disneyworld.

Neon Museum (and boneyard) http://www.neonmuseum.org/. I haven’t been to this yet, but plan to see it on my next trip.

ElDorado Mine http://www.eldoradocanyonminetours.com/. This is a real mine that is being restored by the family that owns it. Also famous as a movie location. You actually go into the mine -- it's dark, sometimes you're walking on planks above a 50-foot crevasse. But it really is cool. And they also tell you all about the movie connections, etc.

Other stuff for kids

Circus Circus has an amusement park with rides galore.

Oh, yeah, and gambling

Word of advice – if you are going to gamble, decide exactly how much money you are going to LOSE before you get there. Do NOT spend any more than that. Do NOT assume that you will win, ever. They don’t build those spectacular casinos by giving away all the money (I know it's cliche, but that doesn't mean it isn't true).

Craps is pretty exciting, but can be confusing and moves fast, so unless you really know how to play, I suggest you watch for a while first and ask the table crew to explain things.

I like to play Let it Ride. Simple to learn (just sit down and ask the dealer to teach you how to play).

I also like to play Blackjack (best at a table with a single deck, rather than multiple decks). Just play by standard guidelines (see chart here http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/how-to-play-blackjack1.htm) and you can make your money last quite a while.

Other stuff

Go hiking in Red Rock Canyon. There are several well-marked trails. Each one clearly indicates how long it is and the level of difficulty. Take plenty of water. The canyon is lovely, with all the shades of the earth and rocks and desert.

And, I shouldn't forget, the best costume shop is the Williams Costume Company at 1226 South 3rd St downtown. You never know when you might need a costume shop in Las Vegas.

On the strip, see the fountain show at the Bellagio. Skip the (Treasure Island) TI Sirens, it not only lame, it is also piggishly sexist. Walk through the Wynne to see the hand-blown glass ceiling art and other spectacles.

As for downtown, I think it’s pretty skeevie. Lots of deadbeats, lots of drunkards and lots of beggars. People may try to talk you into going downtown to see the Freemont Street Experience. Believe me when I tell you that it’s not that great. If you must go, be careful with your valuables and stay in a group. It is definitely the seedy side of Vegas. Last year a guy in a slot machine place tried to beat me up. He was drunk off his *@# at 2:00 in the afternoon and thought I was trying to steal his slot machine. Luckily, he was, as I said, drunk off his keester and I moved a lot faster than he did. Last time I was there, we got out of the car and were greeted by a guy vomiting. As soon as he was done, he asked us for money. That’s not my idea of a holiday!

Safe travels!

UPDATE: Mike left Las Vegas for a new job in San Antonio the last day of 2008. We are still long-distance, but at least live in the same time zone and even the same state.

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