Spend a Perfect Weekend on the Las Vegas Strip

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Colleague Ryan Jacobson and his wife, Lora, recently enjoyed a weekend on the Las Vegas strip. Here is Ryan’s report.

If you think a vacation on the Las Vegas Strip is only for gamblers, then you’ve never been to Vegas. Until about a year ago, my wife and I felt the same way. Lora and I spent nearly 20 years of marriage ignoring Sin City and its countless vacation packages. Lucky for us, another couple encouraged us to give it a try last summer—and we discovered what we’ve been missing: the shows!

Las Vegas Strip

We decided to go again over Mother’s Day weekend. The prices were right (thank you, Delta SkyMiles American Express card), and it seemed like a good place to celebrate.

Inexpensive Entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip

We kept it simple (i.e., cheap) on Saturday. We did a lot of walking—14 miles, back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth. Window shopping at the Grand Canal Shoppes in The Venetian is a must. The Bellagio Water Shows are also worthy of a stop-and-gawk. They run every 15 to 30 minutes.

Las Vegas Strip

After sunset, we rode the High Roller, the Strip’s enormous Ferris wheel. It’s a highly relaxing and very enjoyable 30-minute experience—if you’re not afraid of heights. A ride can be had for under $20. (Note: If you ever pay full price for any attractions, you’re doing it wrong. There are deals everywhere. Start online with travel sites like Expedia, and spend a few minutes comparing deals. You can also stop at the many “discounted tickets” booths along the Strip to see what’s available.)

Our vote for Vegas’s best inexpensive entertainment is, without doubt, the dueling pianos at New York, New York’s Bar at Times Square. We reserved a table for a small fee, but there’s also a standing-room-only side. It’s an evening of your favorite songs, lots of laughs—and the pizza across the hall is quite good too.

Headline Show

The main event for us—and a big reason why we chose our Vegas vacation packages—was the show Absinthe, which we attended on Sunday night. We’d heard from numerous sources that it was Vegas’s best show of all time. Apparently, everyone else on the Strip was in on that secret. Ticket prices were up. Even the discounted tickets were $40–$50 more than they had been a year ago. Regardless, we definitely got our money’s worth.

The variety show was 90 minutes of incredible talents doing unbelievable things. It began with a man balancing on a stack of chairs 30 feet in the air and diverged into musical numbers, feats of strength, amazing acrobatics, and hilarious R-rated comedy routines. (If you are easily offended, you’ll want to skip this show.)

While I would give Absinthe an A+, I’d instead recommend a less-expensive and equally impressive Cirque du Soleil show found along the Las Vegas Strip. The awe factor is very comparable, and tickets to some of those shows are half the price.

If you enjoyed Ryan’s report from Sin City, check out his post about his hotel and dining experiences. Viva Las Vegas!

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