When you think of Las Vegas, Nevada, what likely comes to mind are the main elements that make up Sin City—casinos, gambling, drinking, strip clubs, and impromptu weddings with an Elvis impersonator! My trip did not consist of those things—well, maybe a few drinks! 😉
Most of my time during my trip was spent at a health and wellness convention indoors at a luxury hotel called The Venetian—which was just as well as the daytime temperatures were around 105 degrees F at the time. But despite the focus being business, I still found time to enjoy aspects of Las Vegas I wouldn’t be able to experience at home in Wisconsin!
Where I Stayed
I stayed at The Palazzo, a luxury Italian Renaissance-themed hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip. It is connected to The Venetian, the location of our conference, which made it a convenient choice. We did a lot of walking between the venues, but it was nice to not have to enter the sweltering heat in between sessions.
The architecture and details of the hotel are beautiful. I appreciated the Italian-themed details and art throughout the Venetian, but what I really loved was our hotel room view of the city. I witnessed an AMAZING sunrise one morning, which was one of the highlights of my trip and one of my favorite photos!
Where to Eat and Drink at The Venetian
I’ll say this upfront, and I don’t think it’s a secret, but it is not cheap to drink or eat in Vegas (unless you are in a casino gambling, in which case it is expensive to gamble). So at all of the restaurants below, I was probably spending on between $15-25 a meal and $8-12 a drink. If you are looking for cheap/quick snacks, I suggest the Walgreens down the street from the hotel (oh, and they have wine;) )
The Venetian’s website has a great overview of everything you can find within its walls, including all the restaurant options. It gives a breakdown of each restaurant location, hours, cuisine, menus, drinks, photos etc.
The Cañonita is a Mexican restaurant located near the Grand Canal—an area featuring Venetian gondola rides.
I LOVE Mexican food so this was my favorite restaurant we ate at. They had really good salsa and guacamole while we were waiting for our main dishes. I had the Wild Mushroom Enchiladas, which was fantastic (and one of their signature dishes). I also tried their Sangria de Rojo, housemade sangria mixed with their classic margarita, which was very good as well.
Tao Asian Bistro
Tao was a little more upscale than Cañonita, and the menu was correspondingly upscale priced. Our group reserved tables for a pre-gala dinner. It was beautiful inside, complete with a giant Buddha statue. Unfortunately, my phone had died at this point and I didn’t get any photos. They had a lot of different options from different areas of Asia, but I wasn’t feeling very adventurous at the time and ended up getting Pad Thai Noodles with shrimp.
OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria
I enjoyed a glass of wine at this enoteca (‘wine bar’ in Italian). It was a good atmosphere for cocktails in the Venetian’s piazza among The Grand Canal Shoppes.
Sugarcane was probably my least favorite place we ate, although it was at the very end of our trip and I was likely tired and ready to go home. I ordered the Farm Fresh Green Salad which was okay in itself, but the dressing had something in it I didn’t like (probably cilantro…I’m one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap), and I basically ended up paying $11 for a salad I didn’t like or finish. Everything was served family-style and I could’ve ordered something else, but I guess I didn’t feel like spending the money. I heard great things about the brussels sprouts and the avocado toast though, and I think the others all enjoyed their food.
Being located right on The Strip made it fairly easy to get around to different attractions. While I didn’t have a lot of time for touristy things, I did end up making time to see the Bellagio Fountains and a Cirque Du Soleil performance.
To be honest, I was expecting a lot more from the Bellagio Fountains than what I experienced. I had seen it listed many times as a popular tourist attraction and had read good things, but I wasn’t super impressed with the three minute fountain show coordinated to a slow love song after the toasty 20 minute walk there. It was fairly easy to get to though, if you’re staying at The Venetian. Now I can cross that attraction off my bucket list!
Cirque Du Soleil
Incredible show. A. Mazing. If you are in Vegas, I highly recommend investing some of your time and money into seeing one of their shows. I had not bought tickets ahead of time, but had it in the back of my mind as one of my bucket list items I wanted to accomplish while in Vegas.
After dinner one night, two other friends and I decided we wanted to see a show while we were here and agreed on Mystère at Treasure Island (which was located across the street from us). We didn’t have any problem getting tickets (around $90 each) and were surprised at how close all the seating was to the stage. We were seated in the second level, but had a very clear view of everything and even had some performers right above our heads at some points! I don’t think there would’ve been a bad place to sit in the entire theater.
I was surprised at the amount of audience interaction there was, but it only positively added to the experience. And the gymnasts were absolutely incredible. I probably spent most of the show with my mouth hanging open in awe. The athletic ability was insane. And there is SO MUCH to look at—on the stage, in the air, and sometimes in the audience. Being in theater for several years also made me aware and appreciative of the other show elements, like the lighting and music and prop coordinating #nerdmoment. It was definitely worth the money.
How I Fit in My Workout
The Venetian does have a fitness center. However, due to the fact that it was filled with health and wellness conference attendees, we expected it to be packed pretty much the entire time. Instead, I found some workout alternatives.
- Walking. We walked everywhere, so this was likely a workout in itself, even though we were sitting for several hours of the day. Some of the ladies I attended the conference with had Fitbits and found their steps were much higher than average during our stay.
- Running The Strip. One morning around 6:00 am a group of us got up early to run The Strip for our workout. At 6:00 am it was already about 83 degrees, but it didn’t feel like a humid, Wisconsin 83 degrees. The sun was still rising, and although it was warm, the heat didn’t affect me as much as I was afraid it might. We ran 1.5 miles one way and back and then ended our workout by climbing up and down some stairs a few times. It was a good way to check out some Las Vegas Strip views too!
- Hotel room workout. If you follow me on my blog or social media, you might know that my most common workouts tend to be YouTube videos . I had thirty minutes to get in one of the days I was there and did three quick 10 minute FitnessBlender videos to get in my cross training before meeting some ladies for dinner.
Overall, I enjoyed my time in Las Vegas. There are a few things there I would’ve liked to have seen, like Red Rock Canyon or a few more shows, but I am happy with the things I was able to see and do in the short time I was there. If I visit Sin City again, hopefully I can experience more pleasure than business;)