Long Weekend Travels

I was so excited thinking about sharing this post because on the 10th of December, not only was I traveling, but it was also my 26th birthday. I spent the weekend in the one and only Las Vegas! Joe and I have both traveled there before, but we wanted to take a trip together, and after finding ridiculously cheap plane tickets, we made it happen!

We were also lucky to find great flight times, so we left around 7 AM on Saturday morning, which put us at our destination around 10 AM west coast time. The day we left was the first day DC had seen any snow, but we weren’t sad to leave it behind for a few days of sunshine! We stayed at the Aria Resort & Casino and it was beautiful!

We spent our first day eating lunch at the Aria Cafe and walking one end of The Strip. The Aria is near Monte Carlo, New York New York, and MGM, so we decided to see some sights right away. Also included was a trip to CVS to stock up on snacks. 🙂 I love New York New York so much that we headed back there for dinner and drinks. The city was all decorated for Christmas and it made everything more fun to see!

Las Vegas has a monorail, but we stayed on the other side of the street from where this is located, so we used the mini monorail that ran between Monte Carlo, Aria, The Shops by Crystal, and the Bellagio to get out of the cold after dinner! I planned on staying up until midnight East Coast time to celebrate my birthday because I didn’t think I could hang…but I was distracted by all there was to see in the Bellagio!

The Conservatory and Botanical Garden in the casino had a huge Christmas display that included a 42 foot tall Christmas tree and 28,000 poinsettias! Everything you saw was made from flowers, and of course they had a classic train set running around the bottom of the tree. The train had a camera on it so you could see yourself in other parts of the room as it drove around! We gambled a little bit on this night but didn’t walk away as big winners. 🙂

Sunday was my birthday, and I woke up to a nice delivery from my mom: chocolate covered strawberries and champagne! I woke up before the sun, and had a great view of the desert behind the hotel. I loved that our room faced away from The Strip and figured out that the HUGE mountains I was staring at were actually about 18 miles away. They seemed so grand and close! Joe decorated with a banner, heart shaped balloons, and those big paper circle lanterns. So sweet!

We spent the day doing all the best things — drinking champagne, eating at The Aria Buffet, taking advantage of the free hotel gym, and laying by the pool reading a book. 🙂 It was close to 70 degrees on this day, so although that would feel a little chilly on a summer vacation, I was more than happy to lay in the sun in December in that temperature. The Steelers played the Ravens on this night, so we ate a quick dinner and settled in to watch the game. I was convinced I was going to win on a slot machine called Fu Dao Le because everyone I was watching was winning, but I had no luck and ended up watching Joe play Craps for awhile!

Monday was a fun day because we decided to walk the opposite end of The Strip and see as much as possible. We missed the Bellagio water show, but were able to see Bally’s Casino, some shops outside, Caesar’s, and The Flamingo. The objective was to make it to The Venetian, but we got distracted playing Blackjack at a really cheap table in Margaritaville in The Flamingo. I can finally almost hold my own playing Blackjack after watching Joe play for a year, so that’s exciting. 🙂

Caesar’s was a fun stop because I have been to another Caesar’s casino in Atlantic City and while some things were the same, others were much more grand. We also had to check out the Sports Book at practically every place we stopped, and I thought their set up was the best. They had so many TVs and other statistics on the wall! I know next to nothing about betting on sports games but Joe had fun with this all weekend. 🙂

I was so excited to go back to MGM on this night because we had tickets to see a Cirque de Soleil show called Ka. Neither of us had ever seen a show in Vegas, so it was a new experience! When we were buying tickets online, we saw that some of the top level seats were similar in price to some in the third row…so of course I chose the third row. 🙂

The show is described as a story of coming of age through love, conflict, and the duality of Ka. I have to be honest, I had trouble following the storyline at some points because what was happening looked so cool! The stage could move 360 degrees, and there were also smaller platforms that the performers were on at some points. You could also see them behind the railings on either side of the stage from time to time. I was amazed at their flexibility and coordination!

And now I’ll leave you with some professional pictures we had taken at the Cirque show. A photographer stopped us on the way in, and I couldn’t say no. You can’t put a price on memories, right? 😉 This was such a fun trip, and kind of spur of the moment because we jumped on the cheap plane tickets as soon as we saw them. We had a great experience flying, at our hotel, and really wherever we went around town. But two fun facts about the way home:

  1. We were seated next to a very enthusiastic passenger who was certain he was sober enough for another drink. The flight attendants did not agree. There was some foot stomping and yelling on our neighbor’s part. #yep
  2. When we got to our car, the battery was dead, and it was 15 degrees. #winterisawesome

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