12.31.2014

3 Things to do with 24 hours in Las Vegas


Thanks to miles and a willing travel partner, I had an eventful day after Thanksgiving. Here's how I would recommend spending 24 hours:

1. A Show
In my case, Justin Timberlake. Mr. Dreamboat himself. You know, Jessica Biel (ahem, Jessica Timberlake legally) is pregnant too, so that pretty much means we're in the same life situation and have lots in common. Plus, why's he got to be so dreamy? And his songs so dang catchy? After 4 or 5 JT songs became Repeat Songs of the Day (it all started with Pusher Love Girl, a song I like to think Porter would write for me if he were both a songwriter and drug user), I started compulsively looking at concert tickets. I've been to like 5 concerts ever in my whole life and I was seriously considering paying money for not only overpriced tickets, but travel to and accommodations in a random city.

Crazy talk!

With hearty encouragement from Porter (who loves when I'm actually interested in anything enough to want to spend money on it) and a push from a willing travel companion (and fellow JT fan, as Spotify could tell me), Christie and I landed on Vegas at Thanksgiving.

I realize now that many shows are probably worth coming to Vegas for. The night after Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder was performing. I may have considered Britney Spears, who plays permanently in Vegas now. I'm still waiting for the day I can talk someone into seeing Blue Man Group with me. I can't imagine there are many nights where there aren't at least B-grade comedians and magicians playing somewhere. I'm not sure how I made it through annual road trips to Vegas in college without seeing even one show (maybe because I was poor and afraid they'd all turn into strip shows by the end?).

2. The Spa 
Groupon chose Planet Hollywood, which worked out marvelously. Seriously, facials every day for the rest of my life. I'd never been to a spa affixed to a hotel before, and now I'm convinced that they are always gonna be top notch, because if I walked out of the spa splotchy or not dazed and elated from pure relaxation I would, you know, complain to the front desk and ask for a room refund, and in the case of Las Vegas, not gamble. So they've got to be good.

The Asian woman who scrubbed, steamed, and treated my face has been doing this for almost 20 year. And, let it be known (she did, with a proud crinkle in her eyes), she's almost sixty and looks 45. That is the power of the facial.

3. Good-Old Fashioned Wandering
This was my first time in Vegas staying in Downtown Las Vegas, which, contrary to everything I'd ever before believed about Las Vegas, is not actually on or even really near the Strip, but 20 minutes northeast in a totally separate block of smaller, older, and decidedly cheesier casinos and attractions than the strip. The bartender who served me oatmeal before I caught my shuttle back to the airport admitted that it's usually semi-local regulars who stay downtown-"the mullet crowd"(see below). Plenty to see even beyond people watching, with the Fremont Experience and my new favorite museum ever, the Mob Museum.

The strip is obviously good wandering as well, though a tad less peaceful, what with the million other pedestrians in cocktail attire, costumes, or sweatpants making their way through all the tchotchke shops and Mexicans handing out ads for female escorts in between the casinos. It is unreal to me just how many people there are in every casino (and how, considering how many smokers I saw, nowhere inside smells like smoke at all!). I guess everyone else caught the 'wander and people-watch' memo.

Just don't eat here. You will literally die. 

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