Friday, June 13, 2014

7 Things to do in Las Vegas

New York City was a blast and we were certainly glad we got to visit, but it was time to move onto our next destination: Las Vegas! I was excited to be on the West Coast again where things are a little slower paced. I loved it because my husband and baby were able to join us. Now I could relax a bit more with A.J. to help me coordinate activities and find our way around. Plus, being on the West Coast means more chances of wheelchair accessibility, and Vegas is definitely wheelchair accessible. I've never had to worry about that being an issue thus far (Thank goodness!).

We had much better luck with finding taxis that allowed all of us in one taxi. Right from the airport there were plenty of wheelchair accessible taxis that fit everyone and our suitcases, even at the wee hours of the night. Score! We got to the Stratosphere hotel and waited in a long line (I guess everyone else's flight got in at that same time too) to check-in. Our beds felt like the greatest gift the universe could give us at that moment, after a long and restless red-eye flight.

The next day, we were ready to continue our GO-cation. Here are some of the things we did.
1. We spent a whole day the Las Vegas Premium Outlet Mall - North, which as I was told, is the best outlet in Vegas.
My family was in shopping heaven. That was the first time I'd ever been with people I know on a real shopping spree and shopped until they dropped. They left every store we went into with something in hand. You see, in Brazil, everything imported is about triple the cost of suggest retail price. My mom got a pair of Nikes for $54 whereas in Brazil it would easily go above $150. Crazy! One of the workers there told me that most of their customers are foreigners so that explains why everyone shopping there was also on a shopping spree. I felt so left out leaving with one bag and one wallet for myself while the rest of my family left with tons of bags that barely fit into the cab.

2. Casino tours along the Strip -
There are so many casinos/hotels along the Strip, each with a theme of its own and tons of beautiful decorations to accompany them. We had a great day walking down them and exploring a bit. I have a feeling this ranked among the top 3 of my hostdad's favorite cities in America. The reason being that it's illegal to gamble in Brasil (very, very Catholic country), so this was a huge treat for him. My hostdad may or may not have spent hours on end at the machines and won $1400 (appalled that 30% was taken out for taxes).

3. Bellagio -
If there is one hotel you had to choose to visit, I would definitely say the Bellagio is that one. Just think of old-time classy meets smokes and machines. My mom and aunt were in awe with the intricate designs of the Bellagio from the tiles, to the blown-glass ceiling, to the exhibition room. We very much enjoyed their exhibition room that is changed every few months. This time, it was decorated with kites, beautiful flowers in the form of frogs, etc. I can't believe the amount of time and effort it must have taken to put together something so beautiful for the eyes. Little Boston kept leaning from one side of me to the other, while on my lap. This tricky little boy is becoming more mobile and wanted to crawl off of me to touch everything. After, we headed out to the water show which accompanied by "Singing in the Rain." Perfect.

4. View from Stratosphere Tower & Rides -
Our room passes gave us access to the top of the Stratosphere to see all of Las Vegas from the tower. We got a full view of Vegas from the top and even gawked at people going on rides from the to of the tower. It was kind of scary watching as people bungee jumped off the tower. The only thing separating us from them was a thin layer of glass so we were able to see what they were doing as well as the thrill and anxiety on their faces as well. Wow! It was here that I learned my hostdad is deathly afraid of heights. How this info slipped me, I'm not sure, but I was certainly fine with not going on the rides. I love roller coasters as much as the next kid, but the thought of teeter-tottering off the Stratosphere makes me want to pee on my pants. In other words, I'm just supportive like that.

5. Top of the World Restaurant -
We made reservations earlier in the day to the restaurant at the top of the Stratosphere called Top of the World for some fine dining experience. From there we were able to see the full view of Las Vegas at night, while our dining table circulated around the tower.  It was quite an experience to see different aspects of Vegas from our dining table. Head over to the link above to check out the dinner menu. We ordered the soup of the day which was a light creamy lemon curry, Grass fed Australian Wagyu Skirt Steak with Asian Chimichurri, Prime Creekstone Farm New York Steak with Peppercorn Sauce, Roasted California Mary's Farm Free Range Chicken Breast, and additional sides. All of our mains deserve a #yum. It was all sooooo good and all sooooo pricey. I kept having to tell myself {and A.J.}, this doesn't happen too often so don't freak out when the bill comes! And wow was that one hefty bill….

www.diaryofatravelingwheelchair.com6. The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop -
Apparently my host dad and brother watch the show, "Pawn Stars" all the time back home and really wanted to see the shop for themselves. They were appalled when I told them I had never heard of the show before (I'm so lame, I know ). They insisted that the interesting about the show is not so much the antiquities but rather the stories about them. So we went and they got to see a huge pawn shop and I think that really made their trip. Well just call me grant-wisher :)

7. Buffets -
Something else Vegas is known for besides the hotels and casinos are the buffets. There are tons of them and they're so cheap! You can easily find one for less than $10/person. Brazilians aren't really into those, or at least not my family, so we didn't go to any. But certainly check it out when you're in town!

Our family had a great time in Vegas as there was something for everyone to do. I want to thank my sweetheart, A.J. for being such a wonderful, patient, and fun tour-guide and chauffeur to us. He really made it so great for all of us because he is a Vegas baby. However, my throat really started to hurt from all of the translating. It was like I was talking twice the amount as I normally do on a daily basis. I could never hack it as a professional translator. I'm not sure how they do it. Super people. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to my host brother and aunt as we moved on to California.

Have you ever been to Vegas? What do you recommend doing there? I could definitely use a few suggestions if you have any, so fire away!

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