Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Parental Guidance: Vegas

In my family, "parental guidance" doesn't mean parents making sure something is appropriate for their kids, but rather us kids making sure something is appropriate for our parents - specifically our mom. Any movie over a PG rating (and some at a PG rating) is probably too violent or risque for her standards.

Despite this, she was interested in going to Las Vegas after hearing about my trip there a couple years ago. Although I strongly disagree with the city's marketing as a "family" destination (largely due to the pervasive smoke and lack of child-appropriate activities), I thought there was enough there for my mom to appreciate, even while avoiding the more cliche Vegas fare. My dad wasn't interested in going, so I planned a trip for me and my mom.

Presenting: a belated pictorial recap of our trip to Vegas last May.

The most expensive part of any trip to  Vegas is the meals (seriously, find a good deal on your flight and hotel, and plan on spending the same amount again on your food), but you can cut down a little by going to nicer restaurants for lunch and more casual places for dinner.

The show we saw the second night was at the Bellagio, so we picked this restaurant in their "casual" dining category. If I recall correctly it was reasonably priced, but it was a lot nicer vibe than I expected. I guess the Bellagio has a different definition of casual!

We saw two shows on the trip: Donny and Marie at the Flamingo and Cirque du Soleil "O" at the Bellagio. Donny and Marie was really my mom's second choice for her ultimate Vegas experience - she would have preferred Celine Dion, but we didn't realize until after booking the flights that she only performs a few months of the year, and wouldn't have any shows while we were there.

Lots of pretty sights in the Bellagio! Not being into gambling or clubbing, other than shows just wandering around and looking at the elaborate buildings is my favorite part of Vegas.

Enjoying the lights! My first trip to Vegas was a Thursday and Friday night - and I quickly learned the difference between a week night and a weekend night. Although the streets are plenty crowded no matter what, the weekend reveals a much more extreme party atmosphere, with more smokers, loud music, and bars open to the sidewalk. This time, I ensured the trip was two week nights. This also made it clear that the visitors during the week are an older crowd - my mom was surprised and amused by how many people we saw in her age range.

I somehow didn't make it to the Wynn during my first trip, which was unfortunate, because I think it's one of my favorites, in terms of aesthetic and atmosphere. I also understand that the owner is a vegan, so next time I definitely need to try one of the restaurants there, as they're supposed to be very veg-friendly.

I knew the Venetian would be my mom's favorite place (for both the atmosphere, artistic decor, and shopping), which is why we stayed across the street at Treasure Island. The one thing she really wanted to do before we left was the gondola ride, and I think that remained her favorite part!

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