Giving Las Vegas a second chance

August 10, 2012 in Places,United States

The first time I went to Las Vegas was for my 21st birthday. I flew out for a fancy dinner and Cirque du Soleil show with my parents before meeting up with two girlfriends for three days of drinking and dancing. It sounds like the perfect coming-of-age scenario, but I ended up changing my flight in a late-night/early-morning fit and coming home early. I had a boyfriend and my girlfriends were single, I hated clubs and that’s pretty much what Vegas is: I decided then and there that Vegas wasn’t for me, to the chagrin of all my girlfriends who love a wild weekend away.

Renee Eggers & Christine Amorose at Spago, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

But when Renee and I were working out our itinerary, I grudgingly decided to give Vegas a second chance–but only if we saw a Cirque du Soleil show and with the explicit understanding that I was making no promises to party til dawn.

And I’m really glad I did. There’s still a sleazy, drink-until-you’re-incoherent, bachelor/bachelorette party vibe that I don’t love. But there’s also incredible restaurants, perfect pool-lounging weather and myriad chances to slip into a party dress–all within a few miles.

Renee Eggers & Christine Amorose at Zumanity Cirque de Soleil, Las Vegas, USA

The main reason I’d go back to Vegas? Cirque du Soleil. Renee and I saw Zumanity and it was completely unexpectedly cool. Yes, it’s the “erotic” one. There’s some nudity, there are some racy jokes, there are some sensual performances. But as with every Cirque du Soleil performance, it’s the incredible talent of the performers that shines through, the hold-your-breath stunts that they pull off Every. Single. Time. I loved the variety of Zumanity: it was one part acrobatics, one part modern dance one part comedy stand-up, one part audience participation. Best with an open mind and after a few cocktails–but highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend.

The ideal night in Vegas: classy dinner out, 10 p.m. show, dance until dawn. Or at least that’s what we did our first night, and it did not disappoint. Spago, Zumanity, 1OAK–where glitter rained out of the ceiling, hip-hop beats blared and a vodka-soda cost $15: Renee just couldn’t get over the “American-ness” of it all.

Las Vegas Strip on a sunny July day, Nevada, USA

On a post-Zumanity excitement high, I told Renee we should go on the roller coaster at New York New York. As soon as the shoulder restraint came down, what that meant suddenly became very clear–Renee started laughing when I turned to her with a look of fear and asked if we were going upside down. I may have a penchant for paragliding and little fear of skydiving, but I haven’t gone on a roller coaster in years upon years because, well–because I hate them. I was fiercely reminded of this while soaring upside down over the bright lights of Las Vegas, where I was so upset I didn’t even have the energy to scream. Check that baby off the list: now I’ve done an upside down roller coaster and I have no desire to try it again.

Christine Amorose & Renee Eggers in the Caesars Palace pool, Las Vegas, USA

As I sat drinking sangria, eating the most delicious brussel sprouts in the world and laughing uncontrollably with girlfriends (including the most gorgeous Vegas ambassador and blogger around, Abby Tegnelia) at Jaleo in The Cosmopolitan–after a day of lounging by the pool at Caesar’s Palace–I was glad I gave Vegas a second chance.

It’s the sort of place that melts effortlessly into whatever you want it to be: a weekend-long blackout, a shopping extravaganza, a never-ending buffet of top-tier restaurants, an uninterrupted day of reading in the pool. It’s expensive and it’s in-your-face and it’s hot–but there’s nothing quite like it.

Note: Cirque du Soleil generously offered me complimentary tickets for Zumanity, but all opinions are my own. Special thanks to Mom and Dennis for the delicious dinner at Spago! 

  • I love roller coasters, but the one at New York New York almost broke my neck! Seriously, that one hurt. All the pictures of me from the ride are of me wincing in pain. I need to go back to Vegas as an adult. Going with the family, shopping, seeing Beatles Love and houseboating on Lake Mead was fun, but I have to see what all the fuss is about. Zumanity sounds awesome!

  • Choco_mademoiselle

    Aaaa, hopefully in some near future I’ll get to explore the USA! definitely giving a chance to Vegas, if given an opportunity!
    cheers!
    Angela :)

  • camorose

    I’m very glad that I waited until I was 21 for my first Vegas experience–and this time was heaps better than that! I think Vegas can definitely be a prime destination in your mid to late 20s–so many good shows, restaurants, cocktails, etc.

  • camorose

    It’s a super popular spot for most foreigners when they visit the USA–good fun!

  • I’ve always wanted to do Vegas as a really expensive date weekend- eat at all the amazing fancy restaurants and see the cool shows.  And I’m jealous you went to Jaleo, sooo good!

  • I am willing to give it a 2nd chance, because my husband is dying to visit, but the 1st time I went I was miserable. Sooo not my kind of place! You look gorgeous in these shots!!!

  • KaleenasKaleidoscope

    It’s true, Vegas sleaziness kind of sucks but the city has so much to offer that the experience can really be whatever you make of it. I am SO jealous you got to see Zumanity! It’s definitely on my bucket list (well, as are ALL the Cirque shows). I’m an aerialist so I’m a little bit Cirque obsessed. I recently saw the Cirque show Iris in Hollywood and you absolutely MUST see it–it blew my mind, it was the greatest show I’ve ever seen! 

  • I so remember you guys telling me about the “American-ness” of expensive cocktails and glitter coming from the ceiling! I had so much fun with you ladies — I’m so happy we got to have dinner. Thank you for the huge compliment . It makes my whole day when people see THIS side of Vegas!!

  • Oh I so wish I could have this kind of Vegas experience! Glitter raining down from the ceiling and actual dancing? That’s my Vegas dream! I seem to end up with groups interested in getting guys to buy them drinks and finding the best place in the clubs to stand like an anchovy in a can with incoherent techno music. Maybe someday…

  • purplekat99

    While I also don’t love Vegas, I do like that there is something for everyone, even if you hate the “typical Vegas weekend” stuff

  • Brad Montgomery

    Ah, Vegas! I haven’t visited Vegas because I’m not really
    sure what to do there. But I am
    considering to visit the place since Vegas has something different to offer for
    a specific person. I guess I have to carefully plan my trip there.

  • camorose

    I think Vegas would be the perfect fancy date weekend! And yes, the brussel sprouts at Jaleo were out of this world!

  • camorose

    Ahhh so keen to see more Cirque shows! That’s actually the main reason I’d want to go back to Vegas–I haven’t seen O or Mystere yet!

  • camorose

    Absolutely loved meeting you in person, Abby–we had so much fun at Jaleo! Keep up all the good work as the best classy Vegas ambassador around!

  • camorose

    It was pretty awesome! Totally possible to go to Vegas and have a good time while still buying your own drinks :)

  • camorose

    Very true–there really is something for everyone there.

  • camorose

    You definitely just need to have an idea of what you like and don’t like–it’s easy to get distracted by all the options!

  • I’m not a fan of Vegas. The first time I went was on a cross-country road trip just like yours. It was mid-way through the trip and my girlfriend and I were exhausted. The other two times I went for work conferences. They were a bit better because a lot was paid for. But I still have no desire to go back of my own accord.

  • I LOVE Zumanity, so, so good! Have you checked out Mystere and LOVE there? LOVE may just be my fave Cirque show ever! Hoping to catch opening night of Totem while I’m in Atlanta on business later this year too. Glad you gave Vegas a second chance, I do love it there, but only in small doses!

  • camorose

    I think the only reason I’d go back for is Cirque de Soleil and the chance to read by a pool all day–the rest, ehhh.

  • camorose

    I saw LOVE for my 21st–really want to go back for Mystere (my parents’ favorite!) and O. Love Cirque!

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