So how do you Solo Las Vegas? Don’t worry – there are lots of things to do! I wasn’t really sure how this was going to go, but, I have to say, I had a wonderful time enjoying my time alone. I’m not a gambler and I’m not too interested in anything to raunchy or risqué. But there is so much in this city beyond all the “what happens here” stuff. It’s what I love about Vegas. Unfortunately some of the best stuff gets lost behind all the glitz.
So I found myself getting lost in Las Vegas. My sixth time in Vegas is my first time alone here. Why would you come to Vegas alone? Well, it’s a long story, but my husband is camping with college friends in Death Valley (two hours Northwest) and I am in town to run a half marathon. So I decided to take on Vegas solo…just another thing I am learning in my fabulous fifties. Solo Las Vegas is okay. Alone; but certainly not bored in this town.
I booked a room at the Flamingo. We’ve stayed here several times before. The Flamingo definitely has the best pool in town…but, not so much in November. It never occurred to me to check if the pool was open. It wasn’t. Oh well, it is November after-all, but the weather was great and I was looking forward to a little pool time.
Vegas Tip: Depending on the season, ask questions when you book your room. Vegas is not hot year around, but November is a great time to travel here, as the crowds are down and so are the room rates.
The Flamingo upgraded me to a suite when they were not able to offer me the King bed I had requested. Every time I have been in Vegas I have found the hotels willing to give you upgrades or perks. The rooms are not where they make the money, so they want you happy and a loyal return customer. So ask.
Vegas Tip: Over the years I’ve stayed at the Flamingo, Planet Hollywood and the Monte Carlo. For me, I avoid the “themed” hotels because they are more crowded and noisier with gamblers and shoppers. You are always welcome at any of the hotels whether you are staying or not. So I choose something quieter and smaller and just visit the giant hotels for the fun stuff.
I decided on this visit to check out some things in Vegas I had never done before, including some things in the outlying area. So I rented a car. You don’t need a car if you are planning on staying only on the “Strip”. But if you are in Vegas more than a couple of days, I really recommend getting a car…there are some amazing things to see within a few minutes of the strip and just an hour or two outside of town. It’s safe and the roads are good so a solo Las Vegas trip can include some outlying adventures.
Vegas Tip: Parking is free everywhere. The hotels really want you to come in and gamble, so parking is free and abundant. In my home city of Seattle you will pay $30 or more a night for parking at downtown hotels. Not so in Vegas. Take this perk into consideration in your decision on renting a car.
On this trip I visited three destinations in my car. I recommend all three;
Valley of the Fire State Park – 1 hour Northeast. What a stunning surprise this park was. It is surprising this park is not a National Park. It felt like a miniature Arches or Bryce Canyon. You can easily see this park in a half a day, either from your car or on a handful of wonderful walks or hikes that fit any skill level.
Red Rock Canyon National Monument – 30 min West. Another stunningly beautiful park with a great scenic drive if you don’t want to hike. If you do want to hike there are lots of great little trials though this beautiful park.
Death Valley National Park – 2 hours Northwest. Worth the drive (in the winter or early spring). You can do this trip in a day, or you can stay the night in Furnace Creek. Death Valley is a remarkable place. Several incredible sites are within sight of the main road, showing off the interesting geological aspects of the lowest place in the Western Hemisphere.
Vegas Tip: I did not go this time to Hoover Dam or Lake Mead but these destinations are also an easy drive from the Strip. In addition, Grand Canyon is about three hours away. You can easily make Vegas your home base to experience some of our countries greatest sites.
Back in Vegas I decided to take in two Cirque de Soleil shows during my visit. On previous visits I have seen some of the “showgirl” type of shows (Jubilee, Crazy Girls, Burlesque) and I have also seen Blue Man Group, Wayne Brady, Kathy Griffin and Jersey Boys. I’ve also seen Menopause the Musical several times, both in Seattle and in Las Vegas. This show is hilarious, and continues its long Las Vegas run at Harrahs. Laugh out loud – even if you are on a solo Las Vegas adventure.
Solo in Las Vegas I saw the Beatles Love one night and Mystere the next. Cirque shows are all spectacular, but I am always impressed how they can make each show so different. It makes you want to see all the shows. Love and Mystere were very different from each other, as well as very different from the two shows I have seen previously (O, Zumanity and KA). Beatles Love showcased original Beatles recordings including never before heard conversations of the Fab Four in the recording studio. Using these original works Cirque designed a wonderfully nostalgic walk down Beatles memory lane, using their signature acrobatics, special effects and costumes.
Mystere was very different from Love. I laughed out loud so many times during this, fun and light show which excelled not only in comedy but in costuming and definitely in acrobatics. This show included a great deal of audience interaction. I really loved it. And guess what? Being solo, I was escorted from my balcony seat down to row three! Perks for solo Las Vegas!
KA and O remain my all time favorites, but it really is difficult to compare these shows. There is nothing else like them on earth, and that is why they fit so perfectly well in Vegas.
Vegas Tip: Discount tickets can be purchased day of often for 50% off. Don’t expect to find all the shows available though. The very popular shows such as KA, “O”, Celine Dion, or Elton John are rarely available. If you have your heart set on these blockbuster shows buy your tickets before you come to Vegas and be prepared to pay full price.
Of course a fabulous thing to do in Vegas, when you are solo or anytime, is shop! Some of my favorite shopping areas are at The Venetian, The Bellagio and Paris. The Fashion Show Mall, across from The Wynn is also very popular. This trip I was shopping for make up and a new handbag and boy did I have a lot of places to choose from. There are many shopping areas I have still to tackle, so of course I have some great reasons to make another trip to the “Strip”.
The days are over where Vegas was a cheap destination. You still can find inexpensive meals and hotels, but the really hot items are gonna cost you. So if you are on a budget (few of us aren’t) get lost enjoying some of the free entertainment available all around you. You just gotta know where to look. Since I was alone, I really enjoyed just walking around and taking in the sights and sounds. Be sure to stop and see the fabulous fountain show (free) outside of the Bellagio check times here, the amazing atrium indoor garden (changes seasonally) inside the Bellagio (free and one of my top things to do in Vegas), and the belching volcano outside the Mirage check times here.
Be sure to check out the free light show in Fremont ( one of my top things to do in Vegas). In fact Fremont is really fun, and its too bad more people never get down there. If you are brave enough the a highlight in Fremont is the Slotzilla Zipline! Not free but so much fun! Get your tickets in advance, because it often fills up! I can’t wait to do this again.
People watching is fantastic, interesting, entertaining and free way to spend some time; have a seat and watch the show. Solo Las Vegas you will see rhinestone and sequins next to jeans and t-shirts, and sometimes hardly nothing at all. But it is Vegas. It’s come as you are (or as you want to be) everywhere in Las Vegas.
Vegas Tip: If you are planning on being in town in November or December check into special shopping packages available at many of the hotels. These packages include shuttle services to many of the best shopping malls.
Vegas Tip: Although the Monorail, in my judgement, should extend both North to Fremont and South to the Airport, it currently runs from the MGM North to the Convention Center. Depending on where you want to go, it might be a good choice to help you get around, especially for a solo Las Vegas adventure. Taxi’s are plentiful as well.
Some of my favorite solo Las Vegas sites I discovered on this trip. Not free but for a minimal $18 I highly recommend the wonderful Neon Boneyard Museum, just North of Fremont (free parking). This guided tour is a fascinating walk down Vegas memory lane. A night-time tour (with lights) is also available. This might now be my favorite thing to do in Vegas. For a minimal charge I also recommend the New York New York roller coaster, the trip up the Eiffel Tower and the changing exhibits at the Imagines Exhibitions Gallery at the Venetian. This visit I lost myself here enjoying a most remarkable exhibit of National Geographic photography for only $20. Many people really love the High Roller Wheel. I thought it was just okay.
You do get a good view, and you can have drinks while you make the full circle…it just wasn’t as exciting as I was expecting. But you can’t love everything I guess.
Being a coffee addict, I have to say, finding a good cup of coffee in the hotels is tough. You will pay more for a cup of coffee than you will for a beer a lot of places. No Vegas hotel I have ever stayed in has provided coffee in the room….remember they want you in the casino not in your room. However there are several Starbucks throughout the strip (and other espresso kind of shops) if you are in need. When you are on your solo Las Vegas adventure coffee is a must. And don’t forget, Starbucks always has free wi-fi too, so don’t pay your hotel for wi-fi if you don’t want to.
Vegas Tip: I’ve noticed in the shopping mall areas you will find many shops and restaurants offering wifi. I locked on to free wifi at Sephora of all places while at the Planet Hollywood shopping mall.
I can’t write this whole love-fest article about Vegas without talking about food. You could spend the rest of you life just getting Lost in the Las Vegas food scene. You can spend $2 or $200 or $2000. There is something for every pallet and wallet in Vegas. Now don’t be shy. Just because you are solo doesn’t meant you shouldn’t eat well! Every Celebrity Chef you can think of has a place in Vegas. These Chefs are, of course, not actually in the kitchen. So you are paying for the name. I’ve dined at many of these places not always successfully. I will give a big thumbs up though to Tom Collichio’s Craft Steak at the MGM and
Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill at Caesar’s Palace and Hubert Keller’s Fleur at Mandalay Bay.
Vegas Tip: Check out Top Vegas restaurants and tons of other great information at my favorite Vegas website www.lasvegas.com
Some of the best food I’ve had in Las Vegas are in places where you never heard of the Chef; Hash House A Go Go at the Plaza in Fremont (two other locations as well), Picasso at Bellagio, The Buffet at the Bellagio, the Oyster Bar at Harrah’s, The Border Grill at the Mandalay Bay, Lotus of Siam off strip, and Mon Abi Gabi at Paris, Indian Oven off strip and the iconic Peppermill.
So I survived my four days solo in sin city and I can highly recommend getting lost in Las Vegas, alone or with a friend. You can make Vegas whatever you want; highly charged and fast paced, or slow down relax and enjoy the scenery. It’s a bit of a freak of nature in that way – well, that’s Vegas.
Loose yourself. Solo or not.