My Pre-Birthday Weekend in Vegas

Last Friday, I took a short two-hour flight outta Seattle for a pre-birthday weekend in Vegas with my friend Bekki, her mom (“Auntie Claire”), and her mom’s friend Mary. I partied in Sin City with my friend Jenise eight years ago and spent an epic four days clubbing nonstop, going to Cirque du Soleil, and using the buffet at the Luxor to cure our hangovers. This time, it was more… shall we say… “refined.” Bekki generously booked us a gorgeous suite at the Venetian, and I managed to be sober for the majority of our girls trip (kinda). Anyways, here’s a breakdown of our weekend and some new Vegas favorites I definitely recommend to any future visitors.

Day One

After arriving at the hotel in the early evening and losing $20 at the Goldfish slot machine while waiting for Bekki, we settled into our suite and headed downstairs for a casual dinner at Noodle Asia. Bekki says she always comes here whenever she’s in Vegas, and I’ll totally be back next time as well. The dim sum options are on the pricey side, but SO yummy, and we loved the pan toasted noodles with seafood. Noodle Asia is also open until 3am, just in case you need some late-night munchies to soak up one too many cocktails.

Our chosen watering hole for the night was The Dorsey, conveniently located next door to the restaurant. This spot is known for its swanky atmosphere and vintage cocktails, and I was LOVING how the music was all hip-hop/R&B hits from the 90s and early-2000s. I started off by ordering the “Penicillin” (Scotch, lemon, ginger, honey, and an Islay whiskey float), followed by several rounds of the “Easy Street,” which was a light and easy-to-drink concoction of vodka, cucumber, elderflower, and lemon. After a day of traveling, The Dorsey was perfect for catching up with my bestie, knocking back a few drinks, and randomly dancing in our seats to the music while everyone else in the bar somehow sat still (I’ll never understand how anyone does that when a good song comes on, but okay).

Day Two

The next day, we met up with Auntie Claire and Mary for a fun afternoon at Number One Escape Room – my second escape room adventure, and my first time exploring off the Vegas Strip. We signed up for “The Cabin,” and it was so… much… scarier than I assumed it would be. Unfortunately, I can’t give any spoilers; but the staff was fantastic, the room was extremely interactive, and they did an amazing job creating a realistic atmosphere. Oh, and we made it out with twelve minutes to spare. 😉 Out of everything we experienced that weekend, I think Number One Escape Room was my favorite part.

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around the strip, starting with the gardens at the Bellagio. I loved the tranquil sound of the water fountain and koi pond, and the Asian-inspired floral designs.

…I also may or may not have been massively hungover from the night before (after The Dorsey, I downed another bottle of wine while soaking in our oversized tub at 4am), so the garden was a nice place to chill for a bit.

At the end of the night, I noticed several people walking around with yard-long margaritas which led our group to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville for dinner. I was all about the easy, tropical vibe of the joint that was filled with eclectic decor, huge screens playing footage of Jimmy’s performances, and a live show with two stilt walkers and an aerialist/hula girl. I hadn’t eaten all day, so it was faaaaaabulous to finally dive into a Bahama Mama cocktail, fried shrimp, and a good old-fashioned cheeseburger.

Day Three

Our last day in Vegas was also Auntie Claire’s birthday, so we began our Sunday in the best way possible – with another off-strip excursion to get an indulgent 70-minute full-body reflexology massage. Tip: Search Groupon before you go anywhere, as you’re likely to find some amazing deals. And all vacations should include a massage.

For Auntie Claire’s birthday celebration, Bekki treated us all to dinner at Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse (also located inside the Venetian). I had the heirloom tomato and burrata salad and the lobster bisque (both were delicious), and we ordered the bone-in bacon to share as a starter. I didn’t know “bone-in bacon” existed, but holy crap… I’m glad it does.

Delmonico was also sweet enough to give Auntie Claire and I complimentary scoops of their banana sorbet to pair with Emeril’s massive banana cream pie.

We spent the rest of our night attending a free craps lesson (might as well learn how the high rollers play), and I think I kinda got the hang of it. But when it came time to put real money in, Bekki and her mom went for it while Mary and I searched for the penny slots. In hindsight, I still left Vegas about $60 in the hole, so it might have been “cooler” to lose it all at the craps table instead of silently cussing out the Goldfish slot machine while I was packing.

Final verdict: Sure, Vegas is tacky and it’s nowhere on my list of “must-see places.” But it’s also crazy fun, especially when you’re with the right people, and it was perfect for a pre-birthday weekend getaway. At the end of the day, the city is all about cutting loose and having a good time. And even though I’d love to jet off to places like the Maldives, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back in Vegas (and staying at the Venitian FOR SURE) before I check off another exotic location from my bucket list.

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