Valley of Fire
Still on east coast time, we woke up early on Sunday to rent a car to head outside of the city limits. Because the government opted to shut down at the exact timing of our visit, we didn’t want to mess with any closures of the National Parks (Red Rock Canyon is only 20 minutes away from the strip) so we decided to head an hour north to Valley of Fire State Park. This ended up being an awesome choice and one of the most beautiful parks I’ve been to. I’m going to write a post that gives a little more detailed about our time here, but this is well worth your time if you’re looking for some fresh air. We had perfect weather in the winter, though we crossed many signs of heat warnings in the summer so be aware of any trail closures due to temperature.
Rock and Reilly’s
With numerous hikes under our belt, we were starving when we got back into the city having survived the morning on Clif bars and trail mix. We stopped at Rock and Reilly’s to watch some football (one of us) and order the best grilled cheese in the country (the other one of us).
I intentionally saved some room in order to stop at Pink Box Doughnuts on our way back to our room. We selected a half dozen to enjoy the rest of the weekend, which was perfect for our busy mornings later on. Spoiler alert: they were all delicious and certainly lived up to their reputation.
After another nap-filled afternoon, we made plans to visit one of the most popular buffet restaurants in the area. Another perk to the off season is the zero wait time it took us to get into this stunning and sophisticated restaurant. Although buffets aren’t typically my preference, Vegas is known for them. What is the Sin City if not filling yourself to the point of nausea? It was extremely challenging to pick and choose what to enjoy but I settled on some sushi and a spicy mac and cheese with enough room for #allthedesserts. When we were uncomfortably full, we made our way to the main event for the weekend! We knew we wanted to see one infamous show while here and decided on Penn and Teller at the Rio.
A quick uber ride led us to the Rio Grande Casino. I read about their sky bar beforehand and we decided to take the elevator up to get a view of the city. If you go early enough (before 10pm), it’s free to wander up there and take pictures of the view. It looks like a neat club for after hours, but we were more than pleased to soak it up before the mayhem began. If you’re feeling really adventurous, there’s a zipline that connects the two hotel buildings on the Rio Grande together starting at the VooDoo lounge. Luckily, we had a show to get to so I didn’t have to make up an excuse to skip it.
Penn & Teller in Rio
We rode the elevator back down and made our way to the theater for Penn and Teller. Despite being a large show, the room was small enough for you to feel close enough to the action. The magicians were hilarious (even with one who didn’t speak!) and it was clear that they had perfected their art form. I will note that while the show was amazingly fascinating, I was starting to lose steam and may have shut my eyes for a minute or two..or ten. It was clearly past my bedtime.
Las Vegas Sign
With a later start to the day, I was feeling much more refreshed Monday morning. For our last day in the city, we made plans to visit “Old Vegas”, but not without a stop in front of the iconic sign! Despite it being the off season, there was a solid half an hour wait in line to get a picture in front of the site. We snacked on some left over Pink Box Doughnuts and made an executive decision to take a picture on the side of the sign so we could get to our planned day. I can’t really tell the difference, so this seemed like the best idea.
The Mob Museum
Another uber brought us up the Fremont area where we were dropped off at The Mob Museum. I am beyond intrigued with crime life and this fulfilled a lot of the questions I had about the mob. Although unsettling and graphic, the museum was interactive and presented stories in a way that was intriguing without being too gruesome. It was almost like a podcast come to life and I would certainly go there again.
Fremont Street Experience
After the museum, we walked up and down the main street attractions and marveled at the sites. From the nearly-nude street performers to the Heart Attack Restaurant, there was a lot to see. I was even surprised to see more zipliners flying over the road. Clearly that’s a thing here. We headed off the main drag and walked by numerous wedding chapels to get to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, a show that Dan loves and would be silly to miss while we’re out here.
Gold and Silver Pawn Shop
The shop was filled with miscellaneous items and it was neat to see the collections that they had. I was sad to see that the main stars weren’t there, but I do have my eye on some diamonds I saw in the cases!
Our last stop for the weekend was at another local spot in Fremont. Although well reviewed, the food was just mediocre for me..though that might have been because vegetarian options were limited. However, the butter burger was well received by the gentleman in the group.
Sufficiently full of food and less cash, we made our way back to the hotel to collect our luggage and head to the airport. We had a late night flight that landed around 4am Tuesday morning, which gave me plenty of time to make it to work that day..but not without a snooze or two. I’ve found that I’m really loving a quick winter getaway when the weather starts to get bleak in D.C. (channeling last year’s romp to South Beach). Las Vegas was the perfect trip for a long weekend and will give me the motivation to make it to spring! Stay tuned for a full recap on spending a day in Valley of Fire State Park! Less than an hour north of Las Vegea, Nevada.
Have you been to Las Vegas? What’s your favorite long weekend getaway?