Remember that one time in Vegas?
Is a phrase that I thought I would never hear myself say. But it happened. I went to Vegas, with friends, and the whole drive home we were cackling about "that one time Vegas".
What comes to mind when you hear the name LAS VEGAS? Ok, blot that out and keep reading. I'm not a wild party person, but I have a friend who is from Sin City and invited a couple of us to drive (~5 hours, sans traffic from Los Angeles) over for the weekend*. I was a little conflicted about going, I mean what was I going to do the whole time we were there? However, my mind was quickly changed and my perception of the city altered, as I was shown Las Vegas through the eyes of a true Las Vegan (not plant-eating vegan but city-slicking vey-gan). If you're looking for things to do that are off the beaten track, or off the beaten strip is what I should say, here's a couple of ideas.
Things to Do:
1. Grab a cocktail at The Laundry Room
I know I said this was a non-stereotypical stay, but what's Las Vegas without at least a little alcohol. Think classy, not trashy. The Laundry Room is a speakeasy hidden in the back of the Commonwealth Bar. The only way to enter is to text in your reservation and await further instructions. Once inside, either choose from the menu of elaborate drinks or have the resident mixologist craft you a drink based on your preferred tones and flavors. Super cool, right?!
2. Catch the Brilliant! experience at the Neon Museum
There's an iridescent glow across the whole city from neon that overwhelms the sky. Where does the retired signage end up? At the Neon Museum! They've created an interactive light experience, detailing the history and glamor of Vegas using some of the old signs, music plus, you guessed it, LIGHT!
3. Stand amazed at Seven Magic Mountains Ugo Rondinone's art installation is about 15-20 minutes drive into the desert. The towering, colorful artwork is playful, vibrant and honestly, an engineering marvel. I'm a huge fan of art in general, but if you need another reason to visit, it's a photography goldmine. I support all who are just trying to live their best basic Instagram life. **the exhibition is only scheduled to the end of 2018, but they're trying to extend it.
4. Play a couple of games at the Pinball Hall of Fame
For sure the most random but delightful find of the entire trip. When you first pull up it looks like nothing other than a vacant space in a strip mall that time forgot, but enter and you'll find a huge room filled with nothing but pinball. Run (walk) wild and let your inner child loose by playing game after game of an arcade favorite, with machines from the 1950's onwards. The Pinball Hall of Fame is strange and eclectic, much like the rest of the city.
5. Get lost in a fantasy land at the Writer's Block Bookstore
You go to Vegas for the culture, right? Maybe not before, but you will now! This quirky, independent bookstore has the classics mixed with oddities that you wouldn't find anywhere else. They're temporarily closed until December 31, 2018, but should be reopening early in the new year.
Places to Eat:
1. Hash House A Go Go
The Hash House A Go Go Vegas location was featured on Man vs. Food awhile back, and I can see why. They have colossal sizes (can someone say to-go box?), which I believe require a team of people to be able to finish one plate. Usually, large means flavor-lacking, but not here! Opt for the fan-favorite sage fried chicken & waffles or try Margie's famous crab cake benedict. You can't go wrong with anything on their menu.
Every trip needs a brunch spot. Set behind The Strip in Downtown Las Vegas, you'll find a line of locals waiting outside this New American breakfast joint. Fret not, the line is pretty speedy and while you wait you can have a look at the cool art murals or amble around Container Park, a shopping center inside of shipping container crates. The hardest decision you'll have to make is whether to go for the breakfast or brunch menu!
3. Luv-It Frozen Custard
It's a local specialty. They've been serving up frozen custard since 1973 and are rated the "Best Frozen Custard in Las Vegas".
4. Dutch Bros Coffee
I didn't know that there were any locations south of San Francisco, so I was PUMPED. I fell in love with this coffee shop on a different road trip from LA to Seattle, with the same friend I drove to Vegas with, about 2 years back. Whenever I'm the Pacific Northwest I always stop for Dutch Bros. as many times as humanly possible. My personal favorite is the Iced Kicker, which is an Irish Cream Breve. I have yet to branch out and try other things because my visits are so few and far between.
*President's Day Weekend, yes, all the way back in February.
Until next time,