The first half of 2018 was truly horrible for our family. By the time September rolled around, my daughters and I were super excited for our Las Vegas girls trip! I’ve been to Vegas many times, but this was the first time for them. It was so much fun to go on a mother/daughter trip with these beautiful ladies — plus, we celebrated Lauren’s 25th birthday!
The airport in Boise, Idaho is pretty small — it’s definitely not among the most delayed airports in the country. Despite it being pretty early in the morning, we made no attempt that we were already celebrating before we even boarded the plane. With how much we travel, maybe the people at Boise Airport are already used to our shenanigans! Just look at those smiling faces!
Stay at The Planet Hollywood
After a pretty chill flight (yes, we wiped down our seats), we made our way to the Planet Hollywood. It’s my favorite hotel on the Las Vegas Strip! The location is really fantastic, as it’s near the MGM, Paris, Bellagio, Cosmopolitan and more. What I really love is that it’s connected to the Miracle Mile Shops, a massive indoor shopping area where you’ll find countless shops, restaurants, and even a Fat Tuesday. Plus, there’s a two-story Walgreens in case you need pain reliever, cheap bottles of water or other supplies.
I’m also a fan of the style at Planet Hollywood. It’s contemporary and spacious, which makes it feel a bit more majestic (without costing as much as Caesar’s!). The hotel had just undergone some renovations when we booked, but we didn’t get lucky. We were a little disappointed to miss out on one of the updated rooms, but we were still comfortable. Naturally, we followed The Ultimate Guide to Hotel Stays for Germaphobes and cleaned up, too!
Funny story — we were so busy having fun that I totally forgot to take a picture of our room or the hotel at all. I’ve been there many times before, so I didn’t even think about it. I’ll be sure to snap some pics next time (maybe I’ll get a renovated room)!
Try Pin Up Pizza & Café Hollywood
As soon as we unpacked, we hit the Strip! The girls couldn’t wait to see what all the fuss is about. While Hayley and I follow the keto diet, Lauren is a vegetarian, but we all had one thing in common that first night — we were starving! After seeing the hype about the biggest slices of pizza in Vegas, we had to stop at Pin Up Pizza. While there are plenty of keto-friendly options on The Strip, this pizza was worth the carb splurge!
Fortunately, it’s connected to the Planet Hollywood at ground level, which made it convenient. It was later at night so the pizza was a bit dry. It could have been fresher but it was still really tasty. Those garlic knots stole the show, though!
After some exploring, we made our way back into the casino level at Planet Hollywood where we ate some more. This time, we headed over to Café Hollywood, the restaurant that replaced my beloved Planet Dailies due to water damage. It was sad to see it rebranded, but the service and food were as good as I remembered!
Keto be damned! When we are on vacation, we allow ourselves to eat whatever we want. A Las Vegas girls trip is the perfect opportunity to indulge! Usually, the carbs hurt our bodies enough to make us regain control soon enough 🙂
Hayley ordered the chicken and waffles, which was a bit too ambitious for me with that syrup. When you haven’t had sugar in a long time, it really hits you hard (she learned the hard way!). I stuck with the nachos and piled on the meat for some protein. Our resident vegetarian also got the nachos, but sans chili. Everything was hot and tasty!
By the time we left Café Hollywood, our tummies were full, and we were ready for more action. We walked the Strip till well past midnight before calling it a night. That first night, our room was filled with giggles and excited chatter one minute, and complete silence the next. Having fun on a Las Vegas Girls Trip is exhausting!
See The Vegas Golden Knights!
The next day, we ventured down to the new T-Mobile Arena. We’re from Canada, so we’re always curious about anything related to hockey. It’s even more intriguing to check out an NHL expansion team based out of Nevada. We’ve got to say that the Vegas Golden Knights has an impressive space, and we hope to get down for a game sooner than later. In fact, despite being a native Montrealer, I’ve adopted them as my new home team!
Around the T-Mobile Arena, which is located just behind the New York, New York Hotel, there’s a great open area. Fans can gather around, eat and enjoy an outdoor pre-game show.
When Vegas made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in their very first season, there was a lot of celebrating out in that courtyard. Wish we could have been there!
Honestly, though, even though Josh would be wearing a Washington Capitals jersey, we’d love to find our way to Vegas for a game. I’ll cheer on my Golden Knights in some Vegas gear. Even the Statue of Liberty knows what’s up — look at her rocking that jersey!
Ride the Big Apple Roller Coaster
The girls were really impressed by the detail in the New York, New York casino. It’s funny that, whenever I’ve been to Vegas, I haven’t really paid that much attention to that resort. Our Las Vegas girls trip taught me to slow down and look at things a little closer. That is, of course, until they were whipping by too fast for me to care. That’s right, while we were there, I decided to keep up my quest to ride all of the roller coasters by hopping on The Big Apple Coaster!
There’s a 144-foot drop, two inversions and it reaches a max speed of 67mph. The Big Apple Coaster is 22 years old and it’s absolutely terrible. Haha! I’m not sure that, even when it was brand new, it ever was a good ride. All of the passengers were gasping and laughing about how jerky it was, but I can scratch that one off my bucket list!
Ride to Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay Bay
As we made our way to Excalibur, we genuinely couldn’t believe how hot it was. It was SCORCHING! We would take a few steps and then literally want to lie down. If you’re not used to the heat, be sure to take regular breaks and get out of the Vegas sun. Thank goodness there are a lot of CVS and Walgreens along the Strip. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Even though our legs were tired and it was so hot, we skipped the train and walked through the Luxor instead. The girls were completely fascinated by the interior. It’s true, though. When you look at it from the outside, it’s hard to imagine what it looks like on the inside unless you’ve been there!
Of course, because Hayley is a huge fan of Titanic, we had to stop and check out the exhibit! Some of the souvenirs inside went beyond cheesy into questionable territory. Do we really want a replica of the iceberg that took so many peoples’ lives? Nah, we’ll pass! Most of it was cool, though!
Next, we made our way down to Mandalay Bay. Words can’t describe how emotional it was to be there less than a year after the shooting that left 59 dead and hundreds injured. There were flowers and makeshift memorials in various spots and we paid our respects before heading into the resort.
While we’re not Vegas residents, I’m very fond of the city. We even considered moving there at one point. I’m glad that during our Las Vegas Girls Trip we had the opportunity to pay our respects and have a moment of silence for the victims of that senseless act.
Hayley may have had Titanic, but Lauren found a massive sock store and we were in there for a long time! The girl has got a problem with socks! Even I loved a lot of the designs. It was hard not to buy everything!
Explore the Bellagio, Caesar’s and Hell’s Kitchen
After carbing it up for a whole day, Hayley and I felt pretty terrible — we both had the shakes and were super bloated. Lauren was very gracious in allowing us to make a pitstop at Buffalo Wild Wings (it’s connected to the Planet Hollywood). After some high fat, low carb eats, we were back in business and the Las Vegas girls trip continued!
We made our way back up the Strip, and stopped at the Bellagio. The girls were absolutely blown away by the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. No matter how many times I see it, I’m amazed too. Weird thing is that, even though I’m allergic to many types of flowers, I’m never bothered in there. They must have the best air circulation ever!
Of course, we had to stop at the Bellagio Patisserie for baked goods. We all got almond croissants (highly recommend this flaky goodness!). Hayley and I definitely felt the gluten and sugar all night. No regrets, though! We walked it off as we made our way to Caesar’s Palace. Both girls were completely awestruck.
Caesar’s at night was a lot of fun (even though it took us 40 minutes to find the walkway that connects it to the Bellagio). The girls loved the extravagant lobby, but there was one thing in particular that they HAD to do. Pose with Gordon Ramsay at Hell’s Kitchen, of course!
Just look at that man in all of his glory. This is the gift shop in the reception area of the restaurant. Not only is it expensive, but it’s a long wait to eat at Hell’s Kitchen without reservations. Maybe another day!
We started getting a little snacky, so we looked for something that was a little more within our price range. We spotted a White Castle across the street, so we made like Harold and Kumar and ran through the doors. They definitely don’t have one of those in Idaho!
Eat at White Castle & Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar
My grandmother loved White Castle, so we took a moment and dedicated this bag of goodness to her! It sounds so silly, but we miss her and it hasn’t been very long since she left us. It just helped us feel close to her for a few moments. Hayley and I loaded up on some classic sliders, and vegetarian Lauren wasn’t left out. Surprisingly enough, they even have a veggie burger option and she said it was actually pretty good!
One regret was that we didn’t make time to get to any of the Guy Fieri restaurants. With Lauren sticking strictly to vegetarian eats, though, it made it a little tricky. Plus, we tried to eat on the go whenever we could to maximize our time our on the Strip. This was a Las Vegas Girls Trip and not a culinary tour, after all!
Still, Hayley is a huge fan of Guy Fieri, so we stopped for this photo opp. Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar is located near the LINQ hotel, which is a pretty happening spot. I tried to get the girls to go on the High Roller Ferris Wheel, but I didn’t get anywhere. Josh and I will be staying at the LINQ on our next Vegas trip, so we’ll have to check it out!
Drink Up at Fat Tuesday All Day (and Night)!
Since we’re talking about high rollers, how about this picture of me with my second or third refill from Fat Tuesday? I’m not much of a drinker in my regular life, but when I’m on a Las Vegas Girls Trip, I might have a little dranky drank or two. In fact, this was pretty much me for four days straight. No regrets!
There are several options, but what I did was buy the mug I’m holding. Then, I’d take it back to any location and have it refilled at a discounted price. The slushies are actually pretty tasty and they’re also relatively light on alcohol. Personally, I felt it helped keep me cool in the heat, while keeping me mellow.
By the time we stumbled into the Planet Hollywood, our legs were pulsing with the rhythm of the Vegas Strip. We were so happy to get into our elevator — until Lauren stepped in vomit! Sigh, what happens in Vegas… yadda yadda. That was the first time I’d seen puke in the many times I’ve been to Sin City, but it was plenty. Be sure you look where you’re stepping!
Hit the Fremont Street Zipline
We started our third day with a bang! We drove over to old Vegas for the Fremont Street experience. It’s a little tricky to find parking, so we ended up paying for a spot in a parking garage. I’ll also say that it feels a fair bit dodgier than The Strip, so be forewarned about that.
We had a great time, though. Hayley and I bravely climbed up what felt like a million steps to get to the top of the Slotzilla zipline. It was really busy, so there was a wait, but we really enjoyed it!
It was a lot less scary than either of us expected, and it was over in no time! I wish we had chosen the other option that allowed us to fly like Superman from higher up. Either way, it was fun and we bought pictures as souvenirs. We were supposed to get digital copies sent by email, but they never arrived. Be careful with this one and check your email before you leave the area!
Even though it was still pretty early, Lauren and I hit Fat Tuesdays again (Hayley got Jamba Juice). Again, no regrets on this Las Vegas Girls Trip! We returned to Caesar’s Palace so that the girls could see the pool in the daytime. Absolutely magnificent! They loved it!
Don’t Miss Canonita and Taco Bell
After crashing and burning (it’s a long story) in the food court, we made our way over to the Venetian. Hayley and I were desperate for some carb-free, much-needed protein, so we inhaled our steak fajitas at Canonita. It was very pricey (thanks for covering this check, Lauren!), but just what we needed… or so we thought!
On the final night of our Las Vegas girls trip, we finally wandered into the Taco Bell. We’d walked past it so many times because it is attached to the Planet Hollywood. We never gave it much thought, because who wants to go to Taco Bell on vacation. Well, as it happens, we were missing out!
First of all, they have ALL the drinks and you can have them with or without alcohol and the container is so cool. Second, there is music and the place is bumpin’! If you go to Vegas and you like Taco Bell, don’t eat anywhere else. Just eat here. For every meal. Always.
The staff was amazing, the mood was fantastic and we regret not saving our pennies and eating here more often. It had great options for keto and vegetarians. Grrrrrr! Next time! Lauren even grabbed this adorable tank top!
Fill Up Before You Head Home
On our last morning, we enjoyed one last meal together on our Las Vegas Girls Trip. We sat down for breakfast at Ocean One in the Miracle Mile shopping mall in Planet Hollywood. This little gem is very reasonably priced and the portions are fantastic. We had a late-night meal there (burgers) during our trip, and the breakfast food was just as good.
With our hearts broken, we sadly walked out to the Strip one last time before heading up to pack our bags. What an amazing adventure, but all things must come to an end.
Heading back to McCarran International, we spotted a Raising Cane’s restaurant. We were tight on time and still kind of full from breakfast, but we had to stop. We hadn’t had those delicious chicken tenders and fries since leaving Richmond and we’ve been missing it!
Lauren suffered through the fried chicken smells in the car so that Hayley and I could scarf down a couple kids meals. Hayley couldn’t even stay sitting upright through her indulgence, but she powered through all the same. Needless to say, by the time we boarded our flights, we were stuffed.
We were really sad to see our Las Vegas girls trip come to an end. There’s no place like home, of course, but we all would have liked just one more day. Next time, we’re going to hit up some shows. This first trip was all about the Strip — and it was magnificent! See you soon, Vegas!
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