Itinerary.

I know I’m going to get a lot of kickback and complaints for using that word, so let me start by saying that I understand the general consensus that you shouldn’t plan too much on a Vegas vacation. And that’s true in two ways — you should never expect that you’ll get to do everything, and you also shouldn’t schedule every second so that you’re just in a rush from one activity to the next. You’ve got to go with the flow. 

I get it. 

But for me, a bit of an itinerary is a must. I’ll stress too much if I don’t have a plan (this goes for regular life, too). This time is also so damn important to me that I don’t want to “chance” my activities. Plus, though I own a small business for which I’m usually decent at making decisions (trying to get better every day), I can really suck sometimes at making decisions. 

Give me three hours in Vegas and I’ll be so excited and want to do so many different things that I’ll spend the first hour just trying to make up my mind. Or… in an effort to not do that, I’ll make a quick decision and start one activity only to question whether or not I’m having enough fun and switch to another. Then I’ll repeat that process until my time’s up. 

So… 

I am making an itinerary and you can hate me if that’s not your preferred way of doing Vegas. 

That said, I’m also going in with the understanding that a lot of these plans will change substantially. I still plan to go with the flow whenever possible. I’ll still roll with the punches and have a great time. 

I may even put out a second version of this post that outlines how I actually spent my time versus what I had planned. 

What I didn’t work into this plan was much specific time for taking pictures. I think we’ll get some of the Bellagio mugs near the Bellagio fountains and from a balcony at Cosmo. The other kinds of Bellagio mugs, too. I may get a Paris Las Vegas shirt pic in front of… Paris. Las Vegas pool bag pics at some pool somewhere. You get the drift. Lots of images of Vegas merch.  

Anyways, putting this together helps me dream and get excited. So here. We. go. 

So we don’t leave from our hometown, my wife and I, until around lunch. I really wanted to leave at like 6:30 in the AM because, with the time difference working in our favor on the way there, we’d still land at around 7:30 and get to enjoy a first early morning in Vegas (mornings in Vegas are heavenly). But that’s not good for her routine and I’m just thrilled she’s coming. So, we compromised, but it does take a big chunk of time out of the day and make for a pretty short trip for her. 

Yes, that’s right, she’s leaving a bit earlier than me so I can have a couple of days to get some solo time and because we don’t want to leave our son too long and, honestly, she can only handle so much Vegas. And so much me. 

This adds a bit of complication (like parking two cars at the airport), but I’m up for the logistical challenge. 

Note that, to make this trip happen, I’m so thankful for the sacrifices of my parents and my wife’s parents to watch our son and the logistics involved in handling all of that. 

A lot went into this. And I’ve worked hard to try and give back to everyone the best I can, but I know I’m blessed to be able to do this. I wish it weren’t so difficult, but if you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty dedicated to this Vegas dream. 

Picture of a welcome sign at the airport in Las Vegas.

2:40pm Arrive at “the Airport” (I refuse to call it Harry Reid, yet)

From here we’ve got to catch an… 

Uber to Cosmopolitan 

Check in, and drop our stuff at the room. I hope it’s a quick process because we have plans! 

We’re staying in a one bedroom suite (so we can get the Japanese soaking tub for Kathryn, haha) with a fountain view! Woohoo! It should be fantastic. I could just stay in the room and watch the view the entire trip… But also I have to get out and explore ASAP!

Dirt Dog (Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s / Horseshoe)

This is subject to change with the schedule. See, I told you I was flexible. It’s going to be a stretch, I know. But this is where Ubers will come in rather handy. Everything seems close, but we know better! 

4:20: Reservations for Omega Mart at Area 15

We can’t miss this and it isn’t exactly cheap. So, fingers crossed that there are no major delays!

I can’t wait for this experience. 

I looked it up, and best I can tell, a couple of hours should be enough here, though we’ll probably want more. I’d also like to look around Area 15 (and maybe enter another attraction), but we do have more plans on this night, so….

7:45: Mayfair Supper Club (Bellagio)

So, this puts a time limit on Omega Mart. We’ll have to get back to Cosmo and change into nice clothes and then Uber (to save our nice clothes from heat… but also to save time) to Bellagio. 

We’re really looking forward to this. It’s a late dinner, especially considering it will be like 10pm our time, but we’re really excited. 

I saw a sneak peak of the experience on an episode of The Coin Show and it just made me even more excited. 

Cosmo, Tub, Piano Bars, Relaxing? Who knows!

Kathryn, especially, is not into huge crowds or pumping music (read: no clubs), so the supper club is going to be perfect for us. By the time we get out, we should have had a fabulous meal and feel like we saw an amazing show at the same time. 

We may go out and explore after. We may go see Kathryn’s favorite — the Piano bar at The Paris — but most likely we’ll head back to the Cosmo. Kathryn will get to enjoy her amazing Japanese soaking tub, and I’ll likely sit on the balcony and/or head out to walk the strip a bit and just enjoy the town or lose some money in the Cosmo’s gorgeous casino (oooh… maybe the Chandelier bar if I can get in???).

Day two: Thursday 

Okay, so we were originally going to start this day with Bagelmania, but we both decided it was too much to fit into this day. So, we’re going to start with room service breakfast on the balcony (or more than likely, just some snacks from our suitcase / the Starbucks downstairs). 

It’s going to be a chill morning. I’ll probably try to get some pictures done. Maybe a chance to spread out things from our Las Vegas gift baskets for a few shots.

The first big thing is… 

11:30am Momofuku Reservations (Cosmopolitan)

Now this is early, yes. Hence the lack of a formal breakfast. But you’ll understand why shortly. 

Kathryn is really excited about this place. She’s a real foodie, and this place checks all the boxes. 

We’ve actually eaten here before, but it wasn’t that great. Don’t get me wrong, the restaurant was fine, but I was not. I was staying out pretty late on our last trip to get some solo time at night when Kathryn preferred to be back in the room. I think after three nights of staying out until 3am, even if I was fairly responsible, it just caught up to me for a moment. 

I felt pretty terrible and just wanted to go back to the room. 

Thankfully, we got my “soup” (that’s really not the right name for this glorious food, but you’ll have to ask the foodie for more details about that) to go and after I got a bit of that down and a nap in the room, I was good to go. 

Anyways… 

We’re going to give it a second go and on our first full day. I should be chipper and ready to rock!

 

Explore, Eataly, free time, take it easy 

So after Momofuku, we don’t have anything planned until dinner. This will be our time to walk more of the strip. We definitely want to hit up Eataly, so the plan will probably be to go through the Crystal’s shops from Cosmo and up to Aria (Kathryn LOVES Aria so we should have probably stayed there and saved a bundle… anyways) and then over to Park MGM and Eataly. 

Once we’re on that side, we may go to New York, New York and Crack Shack for a quick tasting (but not to fill up!). Richard Blaise is one of Kathryn’s favorite chefs and we even stood in line to be the absolute very first customers at one of his restaurants in Nashville. 

We’ll probably go to the Hershey’s store and it may be a good time for me to try a chocolate martini at the chocolate bar. 

We’ll probably cross over to the M&M store, Coke World, whatever! 

5:30pm Giada Reservations (The Cromwell)

Yes, this is super early again. But that’s because we have things to do! 

So, if you haven’t picked up, a lot of this trip revolves around food, and especially around Kathryn’s food choices. Again, it’s a treat to have her tagging along and it’s the best way I know how to ensure she loves Vegas, has a good time, and comes back. :) 

We’ve always talked about eating at Giada’s, but it never quite makes it on the list. So we’re going to do it! Should be great! 

I declined the $25 per person charge for guaranteed window seating, but we’re getting so many treats that I had to cut back somewhere. 

8:00 Reservations for the two-part Neon Museum Double the Glow Experience

This includes a 45 minute guided tour of the Main Boneyard and a bonus 45 minute Brilliant Jackpot show that goes through the history of Vegas and uses special effects to light up old signs that can not be restored or function any longer on their own. 

If you can’t tell by some of the Las Vegas t-shirts we have for sale, I’m super into the history of Las Vegas and hope we can honor it through this fledgling young company! 

We have ALWAYS wanted to go here. We have TRIED to go here. But something always gets in the way. Last time, we pulled up and it was randomly closed for the weather or something. 

So, I’ve booked tickets in advance to the whole thing and we’re really hoping for the best! Being an absolute nut about Vegas, I’m so excited about the history aspect! 

Explore, piano bar, rest, eat, bathe, what else?

Now, the Neon Museum is an almost two hour process, so we’ll not be done until close to 10:00pm. After this, we’ll probably be pretty tired. But it’s a good opportunity (and Kathryn’s last opportunity) to see her favorite piano bar. Hopefully we’ll make it out to that awesome place and enjoy some drinks, music, and maybe a snack on the way back. Kathryn will hopefully get another glorious bath, and I may head back out again… I promise to take it easy! The solo party is about to begin. 

Day 3: Friday 

This day is interesting because there’s a hotel change in the morning and Kathryn heads out in the early afternoon. 

This is the day where we moved Bagelmania. So even though we don’t have a reservation, let’s add it to the itinerary. 

This morning is also when we plan to take some additional pictures of things like the Las Vegas pool bag in front of Bellagio, more Vegas shot glass and Vegas mug pics, etc.

9:00am Bagelmania (near the Las Vegas Convention Center)

We’ll head here in the morning and boy are we excited (just like with everything else, duh). Kathryn is a big fan of bagels, breads, carbs, etc. So this is right up her alley and it’s another place that, when I found out about it, I knew would get her excited to come to my favorite town. 

There are so many different things I want to try that I’m absolutely getting two different sandwiches to try and find my favorite. Plus the prices don’t seem that outrageous, so I think this is a place to go a bit crazy. 

11:00am Check out of Cosmopolitan and into… Planet Hollywood 

I may run over to Planet Hollywood first thing in the morning and see if they have anything ready because, when I showed up just before 8am on a Friday during my last trip, I was able to get checked in right away for like $15 (no brainer). So, it would be nice to go ahead and have access to the room or at least check in so I could be early on the list. 

I’m getting a King bed (woohoo, bed to myself!) premium fountain view room (I think that’s what it’s called). It’s already going to be a step down from Cosmo, so I definitely didn’t want a bad view on top of things. 

I’m a bit anxious that an obnoxious banner for Criss Angel or Shania Twain will be in front of my windows. I kind of expect it. Frustrating, but it’s something I’ll just choose to look past and be excited about. I know you can generally see through these banners, but it’s not the same as an unobstructed view and I think the whole banner thing is rather tacky. 

This will be my third time staying at Planet Hollywood and these newly(ish) renovated rooms are much better than the first time I stayed (in 2018… I think). When I was there last time, it was with a bunch of friends so we didn’t need luxury, but it felt nice and safe enough and I was actually a bit impressed. Honestly, I enjoyed it more than I remember enjoying the rooms at the Paris (though also been a while). 

Explore, shop, find something to eat… do any remaining wishlist things

So sometime between Bagelmania and when we head to the airport to drop off Kathryn, will be our last chance for her to go to Fremont to see Circa for the first time, or get back to the Venetian (she really loves that place) or things on that side of the strip. 

We also love Earl of Sandwich and I missed that on my last trip, so we might hit that up for lunch because it will be easy on her stomach before the flight. 

But it’s also a good chance to see the Miracle Mile shops (the new renovations may be showing by then!) and even take a chance on Nacho Daddy. 

2:00PM Drop Kathryn at Airport 

So, I’m going to go with her to the airport because I’m an awesome husband. But I’ll be more or less nudging her along (while also sad to see her go) so I can start my solocation! 

From here on out I get to be selfish with my schedule and decisions with only the next morning to face the consequences! 

Due to some of the recent violence around Fremont, I’ve modified my plans a bit. Actually, I’ve changed my plans back to their original state. I’m going straight to El Cortez! 

I might swing back by Planet Hollywood to mix a drink in the room and then enjoy a kickoff at Beer Park, but I’m not sure. I was going to go see the new Resorts World before heading downtown, but I think I’m going to do that another day. 

3:30PM El Cortez, Fremont Street Experience

By now, Kathryn’s plane should be about to leave and we should be confident that it will actually head out (so many cancellations these days!). 

I’ve never actually been inside of the El Cortez, so I’m excited to see the funky carpet and enjoy some old-time atmosphere. And I’m just excited to get out on the street and poke around while the daylight still keeps most of the bad actors away. 

 

If we haven’t already made it out to Fremont, this will also be an opportunity to take more pics of our Las Vegas souvenirs.

Downtown Grand 

I also plan to visit the Downtown Grand. I’ve never been inside of this one, either. They have Matt Bridger to thank for inspiring me to go there. 

Fremont Street Experience 

From here I plan to hit all of the classics along the Fremont street experience. I’m hoping that, by the time I get here, street performers will be in full swing and the place will have a party atmosphere while remaining rather safe. 

I’m particularly looking forward to going back into Circa (maybe try Vegas Vickie’s — we do have some merch that kind of looks like Vegas Vickie)  if I don’t make it with Kathryn, and I’m excited to go to the Plaza and, though I’m not a regular follower of his, to go see the new Brian Christopher slot machine. It’s amazing the influence this guy has captured and the dream he’s living. It’s really amazing. Mad respect. 

While I’m in the area, and before I’m too full of beer, I plan to hit up Pizza Rock, Nacho Daddy, Dirt Dog, or that Chili Cheese Coney place Bridger is always talking about. The point is, I’ll need to eat or I may forget to do so the rest of the night. That’s not a recipe for success the next day. 

7:00PM (or 8:00) To the Strip (ish)! 

I then plan to head either to the Mirage if I haven’t yet seen the Volcano show during this trip (fingers crossed it’s still there for me to see one more time), or maybe Resorts World might fit into this spot. 

But as I write this, I’m realizing that because of my Saturday plans and flight out on Sunday, I have to make it to the Mirage tonight if I haven’t already. So that will be a can’t miss. 

The Venetian

This may also be a good time to check out the Venetian. Again, if I’ve seen it already with Kathryn on this trip, I’ll probably skip for now. 

Casino Royale

A definite must-do on this trip is Casino Royale. It’s such a dive that you might not expect I’d be into it, but boy am I. There’s some good memories here and it’s just a fun spot I like to check out.

I’ve never taken them up on the $20 free play offer, so I’m going to do that this time, too. They used to have cheap video roulette in there that was my JAM. 

And, of course, cheap hot dogs or Pizza Hut is a great place to hit — located near the back of the casino. Yes, they have a Subway, but that’s not exactly calling my name at 11pm in the middle of a Vegas party. 

Into the night

I plan on letting the night lead. I’m happy to hold onto my Cosmopolitan room card so security will let me back in if I want to gamble there late. 

I may get Dirt Dog late. 

I’ll probably end up at the Linq. If I feel that I missed a true “party” scene, I may end up at one of the piano bars or Carnival Court. 

It’s Vegas, Baby! 

My only hope is that I head back to the room intact, with an appropriate amount of money, and put-together enough that I can enjoy a peaceful wind-down and intentional bedtime routine. You know what I mean. And in case I don’t (or even if I do)… 

Day 4: Saturday

10:30am Revive IV (Cosmopolitan)

So, to be realistic, I’m going to need some sort of help the next day. Now, I don’t think I’ll be in that bad of shape, so I considered moving this to Sunday morning. But I don’t want to be sluggish and thought I’d go ahead and get ahead of things from the start instead of catching up later. I’m going to book another on Sunday morning, but that’s just to reserve the spot. I may cancel if I’m feeling good to go. 

But my time is too valuable in Vegas and too rare to not do everything I can to feel my best. That starts with being responsible and intentional, but an IV doesn’t hurt. 

Last time I did this, it wasn’t as magical as I had hoped, but it definitely didn’t hurt. 

12:00pm Guy Fieri’s (Linq)

I’m so excited about this place. I’ll probably go every day. Which means that I probably won’t make it at all. 

I reserve the right to get Hot Chicken while I’m in Cosmo. Or cross over to Beer Park. Or do whatever the heck I feel like, really, 

Resorts world and Circus Circus?

If I don’t manage to go earlier in the week, I think this is the time I’ll dedicate to go see the new Resorts World and Circus Circus. 

I really want to try Gatsby’s. Hopefully they’re open in the middle of a Saturday afternoon for a cocktail. We’ll see if the casino draws me in. If so, I can’t wait for one of the drink carts I hear about where the cocktail waitresses just roll up with cold beers and such. Heck yes. That will be worth some gambling time right there. 

I’ll have to decide about getting and using a loyalty card here. Of course, if I gamble a lot I’ll regret not doing it. But… (see my section on “considerations for the trip as a whole”) I may want to save that play for a dedicated gambling time to try and get comped at Resorts World. I doubt it will take all that much. I hear they’re anxious to draw in more folks. 

Afternoon break? 

Anyways, I had originally planned for this time to also be when I go to Luxor and that side of things. Though I have a history with going to Luxor on the last day and that sounds like a nice time to go. So we’ll see. Plus, I want to make sure I’m in good shape and ready to go for a bangin’ night out! 

6:00pm Mojito Bar (Caesars Palace)

Let the pre-game hit full swing. I plan on mixing some drinks in the room and on the way, but then stopping at Mojito Bar for a drink before my show plans for the night. 

7:00pm Absinthe (Caesars Palace)

I am so damn excited for this show that I can hardly communicate. I heard so many great things and intended to go so many times, but it never works out. I finally pulled the trigger on this trip. Kathryn made it clear she didn’t care to go all that much, so I’m going solo! 

I’m going to head over early and make sure the cocktails are flowing so I’m feeling great! 

Give to Caesar what is Caesars

After Absinthe, I’ve decided this is Caesar’s night. It should still be relatively early, but I’m going to head into the palace and have a heck of a great time. I plan to do a lot of gambling here. 

We’ll see where the night leads. I’ll need food of some kind, but there’s a good chance I’ll skip. That’s not great. So I’ll see about planning something around Caesar’s (Bobby’s burgers, perhaps?!). Maybe after I’m done there I’ll head toward the linq promenade and get something there. 

As an official Parrothead (no really, I’m a member of the club), it’d be a shame to miss Margaritaville, but I will be back in October for a trip specific to Jimmy Buffett, so I may pass this time. 

None of our Vegas shirts depict Caesars quite yet, so I won’t be too worried about taking pictures during this part.

We’ll see! 

Day 5: Sunday

Interesting note on this day. I’ve splurged (I did this last trip and found it enjoyable) again and booked Sunday night at Planet Hollywood. So I can stay all the way until I leave around 7pm to catch my 9:15 flight. 

I’m going to do everything within my power not to make this a “sad” day. It’s a major reason why I already have another trip booked up and why I’ll have yet another before I finish that one. I want to always be assured that I’m coming back. At the same time, I do owe it to my family to see some other places. We’ll see what can be arranged ;) 

So there’s all kinds of things that, by this point in the trip, I know I will not have done. I’m hoping not to be too tired and sluggish to run around and also not so worried about maximizing my time that I’m indecisive, So, I really should embrace the point of this itinerary and book some things, but I think I’m going to leave the schedule rather loose for now. 

10:30 am Reviv IV (cosmopolitan)

I’m going to book this and cancel if I don’t need it. This place is hella expensive and only sort of works miracles for me. So if I’m not in terrible shape, I’d really like to save the money. But… without a reservation it’s impossible to get in on the weekends. So, I’m going to reserve a spot. 

Chandelier, Beer Park, whatever I’m feeling (Guy’s again?)

I’d like to get to the Chandelier bar if I haven’t already. I still haven’t had the Lemon Verbena. And the afternoon seems like a much more reasonable time to get a seat anyways. I’ll try to book a reservation that morning if I’m really feeling it. 

Beer Park is such a great place to absorb the fact that you’re in Vegas. And I don’t think that going to the chandelier bar precludes me from going to Beer Park and vice versa. 

Luxor 

A great last-day spot, I may end up doing a run at Luxor and even Excalibur (I’ve never been to the enchanted castle). I once hit Luxor literally as a stop on the way to the airport out of town and had some of the best 30 minutes ever. I wouldn’t call it a tradition to go on the last day, but I just might like to conjure up some of those good vibes. 

I also have a Luxor Las Vegas t-shirt that I may try to get some pics of here. 

Carnival Court

This place makes the list again because of its proximity to Guy’s (and the Linq which might be a great last hurrah) and its live music that you can often find during the day. 

It’s also close to the High Roller so, for all of these reasons this might be the time I call this place home for an hour or so. 

High Roller 

3:30pm: High Roller 

I’m pretty damn terrified of heights. But there are odd exceptions that I can’t seem to figure out. I think the trend is that I do well with large structures. I also do really well once I’m on the way down from a height. It’s pretty odd, actually. I could be 110 stories up and climbing and terrified. If I turn around and start to head down, I could be at 109 stories and pretty fine. 

So… if I do get terrified, I have some hope that I’ll enjoy at least the second half of the trip. 

Even so, the tickets for this are not booked. I may or may not go. But if I’m really feeling lost without doing something epic on the last day… if I feel like I’ve wasted being there until so late (more on that in a bit)… I may just do this. 

Note… I’m probably going to do the Happy Half Hour. This is where there’s an open bar on your pod and I hear the service is great. 

This may be necessary to survive my fears. First, I’ll hopefully be focused on getting value for my money. Secondly, liquid courage never seems more necessary. 

Caesars, downtown Las Vegas, any of the various malls

I include malls and shopping as options here because I’ll get to walk around and enjoy Vegas inside

But if you can’t tell by this laundry list of options, I’m going to keep it pretty relaxed on this day. I’m going to see what I’m going to miss most and get it done. 

Leave for airport

In a dream world, I will have spent tons of fun time gambling and will leave with as much money as I brought (or more!). But hopefully I just head to the airport in one piece, feeling generally good to go, and happy and thankful for this trip. 

Remember… I’m coming back! 

flight

Go home, young man

I wanted to book a late flight to maximize my time in Vegas. I also wanted to fly home direct. I also didn’t want to spend a fortune. I didn’t want to get home quite this late, but flights booked fast and so… 

I’m not leaving Vegas until after 9pm local time. That puts me home somewhere around 1:45am. Then it’s a ride to my parking spot. Then it’s a 30 minute drive home. Then it’s a 9am (or before!) wake up call from my one year old son. All of this after five days partying in my favorite city. 

This. May. Be. Brutal. 

Worth it, I’m sure. 

Considerations for the trip as a whole 

I’m not sure this needs a whole section, because I can really only think of one thing right now. But I’m trying to decide how to handle the rewards / loyalty stuff. For the amount I love Vegas and the amount I’m starting to spend there (I used to almost never gamble, but now I like to set aside a nice budget and stick to it. I’ve always just spent about a hundred bucks and usually come out ahead), I don’t get any special offers, really. 

So I’m staying at Cosmo and love to play there, but of course, it’s expensive. And the rewards transition to MGM is a bit confusing at the moment. As it stands, I do have offers for cheap $99 nights there, but by the time I’m ready to book for next year, I bet they’ll be gone. 

Planet Hollywood is Caesars and I’ll be staying at another of their properties in October, Flamingo (sigh, I know… I love the concept but I hear it’s a dump. I’m going with a bunch of party Parrot Heads that are 30+ years my age… so it will just be a hoot). So, I kind of want to max my Caesars play and try to get comps for next year. 

But I don’t want to feel pressured to only gamble at certain properties. 

Also… I have the MGM slots app and have accrued a lot of credits there. So next year I’ll probably cash those in for some free rooms. And since my favorite hotel, Cosmo, is going to be part of MGM, it kind of makes sense to go loyal to them. 

So I’m kind of stuck. I’m going to definitely play rewards cards at MGM and Caesars and maybe slant my play towards Caesar’s properties. But I think I’m not going to stress so much about it. Like I want to gamble at Downtown grand. So I just won’t stress about leaving some of my bank roll there. I want to do the same at places like The Venetian. 

I think the difference with those places is that I may not get a rewards card just yet and save the opportunity to do what I’ve heard recommended a number of times — register somewhere new like the Venetian and do a bunch of gambling there on that trip. Dedicate all of your gambling to that property. And even if you don’t do more than normal, you may pop up on their radar as a first time guest and they’ll give you a big comp offer to see if this trip was just the tip of the iceberg. I hear that works best for just a one day or two day stay. So I might do that some time and then move to another property for more of a regular time. I’m not sure. 

Bored yet? All I know is that Bridger gambles $300 / day and varies his play at different properties and MGM seems to give him great deals. I’m sore I could do some comparable gambling — especially if I dedicate most of my spend to a single property or organization and don’t mess around too much on outside properties like he seems to do.