Since, in so many ways, I am not the quintessential Las Vegas gal, most of my friends, family, family friends, friends of friends, frenemies, friends of my neighbor's cat, etc. all like to ask me about my favorite places in my new city. You know, how just a small town girl does Vegas. As often as I answer these questions, I never get tired of them because I love sharing the places that have helped make Las Vegas my new home.
For the last month or so, I've been writing reviews on Yelp. Scratch that. I've been a Yelping machine, spreading the love about the places that have captured my heart. Then I got to thinking that maybe I should share some of my Sin City insights here on le blog. So, without further adieu, the places that make me happy in my new home...
Just a Small Town Girl's Guide to Hotels, Pools, Yummy Food, Good Drinks & Places to Make You Pretty.
- Before I lived here, when I was just another tourist, I fell in love with the MGM on many trips. Yes, there are newer and fancier hotels on the strip, but something about the MGM just feels so easy and comfortable. The rooms are fantastic and the pools. Oh, how I love the pools. When my friends Todd and Katie came on a trip with me a couple of years ago, we spent hours happily floating in intertubes down the hotel's "river" drinking Bud light limes and doing nothing but smiling.
- Other reasons I love the MGM? My very favorite sandwich in the whole world is here at 'wichcraft (fried egg, bacon and gorgonzola) and the best meal that has ever, ever, ever touched my lips is located at the MGM. Which brings me to...
- Shibuya. On my aforementioned trip to Vegas, my friends and I fell in love with this restaurant. Yes, it's definitely spendy, but we opted for the more affordable tasting menu and have never regretted it. I still dream about the rock shrimp tempura and the Kobe beef. Honestly, just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
- My second favorite dining experience in Vegas leads me to the top of the Palms. Jenner's family and I went to Nove for his birthday last year and that dinner is still imprinted on my heart. The view at the top of the Palms makes this meal special all by itself, but the meal. Mmm. I went for the four course prix-fixe menu - an appetizer, pasta, main course and dessert all for $45. The balsamic flat-iron steak was to die for. I hope to take my bff, Carina, here when she comes at the end of the month.
- Now, let's get off the strip for a moment, shall we? I myself live a few blocks from Las Vegas Boulevard and love all that it has to offer, but let's be honest for a second. I would always prefer to get away from the tourists and the traffic and the blinding Ed Hardy get-ups. If you have ever read my blog before you know that I love no place more than the Golden Nugget. I dedicated an entire post to it here. Trust me, this is where you want to stay.
- Another place I suggest you visit off the strip is The Artisan. Walking into this hotel is like being transported into an old Hollywood haunted mansion. True story. The Artisan has a boutique ambiance (with an added spooky flair) that is hard to find in Las Vegas. While I haven't stayed in the hotel just yet, it's definitely on my to do list. I can tell you that I love their drinks, food, pool and dance parties. Oh, and check out the chapel while you're there. It's got a Gothic vampire vibe.
- If you're in the mood for more casual dining, there are two places I have to nudge you in the direction of. Yama Sushi is my heart. You simply can't beat their all-you-can-eat special for $25. Oh, and the "Sun of the Beach" roll at Yama will change your life. If you're in the mood for tapas, fantastic drinks and a fabulous view, then you have to go to Firefly at the Plaza. This is definitely my go-to place in Vegas and while I love both of their locations, you'll love the downtown spot because it overlooks the light show of the Fremont Street Experience. Go here, save money - it's crazy affordable - eat the stuffed dates, drink the sangria and leave happy. You can thank me later.
- If you're looking for a show to take your friends to, I have to strongly suggest you go see Frank Marino's Divas. (Of course, if you don't like drag queens then this show probably isn't for you. Also, if you don't like drag queens, we probably don't have much in common and I'm not sure why you're visiting my blog. Harsh, but true.) Frank brings all the divas. Liza. Tina. Cher. Madonna. Britney. Beyonce. This show brings the laughs and the tears.
- As far as bars go, I always suggest you get off the strip and head downtown. The Griffin and The Beauty Bar will not disappoint. Strong drinks, good music, local hipsters. You'll love it. These are the places where everybody knows your name, but nobody cares.
- Last, but not least, I can't make a guide to Vegas without telling you where to go to get pretty. Let's keep it real here, ladies. For a trip to Las Vegas, you probably want to tend to your hair. For the hair on your head, you must go to Globe Salon. When I first moved from Seattle, I didn't know where to begin looking for a salon and because I take my hair pretty seriously, this was no easy task. Luckily, I turned to Yelp and couldn't say no to Globe's amazing reviews. Then I realized I had a friend who went there (Hi, Joanne!) and made the call. After telling the receptionist about what I was looking for, she made an appointment for me to see Megan. Wow, am I ever glad she did. Megan just gets color. Not only has she made me every shade of blonde and red, but I also trusted her enough to ask for the bangs I was always too nervous to try prior to meeting her. Oh, and um, I LOVE THEM. Megan is an artist, end of story. As for Globe, if their massaging shampoo chairs didn't seal our relationship, the fact that they just made Elle magazine's list of 100 salons in the country definitely made this exclusive. As for the hair you don't want to keep, I suggest you go to the Box. Their salon is entirely dedicated to the art of hair removal and they serve wine before your appointment. Sold. Oh, and ask for Erin. She's the best.
Whew, there you have it. My guide to Vegas. I'll keep you posted as it changes and please tell me the next time you're in town! I've got several places in mind to take you. :)