I met Les Rose at a television storytelling seminar in Florida a few years ago. The leader of the seminar set our name cards next to each other because he knew we would get along. As a television news photographer, Les has an amazing networking ability and he works hard to keep in touch with many of the people he’s met over the years. When he couldn’t make it to our September wedding, he invited Terry and I to meet him in Las Vegas for a weekend of food and shows. We booked our plane tickets for January.
As always with TV news, big stories can eat away at scheduled time off and Les wasn’t able to join us. “Mr. Vegas” sent us two emails filled with great things to see and do on the Strip (he called the list “Virtual Les”). His fabulous wife, Michele, made sure we got the confirmation number for two tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show Mystère, which was fantastic.
Les has been to Vegas on more than 200 occasions for work and even some for fun, so when his Vegas friends are hosting out of town guests, they call him for a rundown of things to do. Here’s a portion of The Great Les Rose Vegas Scavenger Hunt. His recommendations are italicized, followed by my responses.
Hash House A Go Go at Imperial Palace...breakfast place…do NOT over order. I still crave the Bacon Waffle I had at this restaurant, which was our first food stop in Vegas on a Saturday morning. They serve “twisted farm food” in giant portions with giant forks and the pancakes are as big as steering wheels. Next time I eat here, I am ordering the Snickers Pancake…or the Bacon Waffle again. Yum.
Bellagio…see fountain show at night…every 20 minutes or so if the winds behave. Classic Vegas.
The Burger Joint at Flamingo…one of those burger places with a multitude of choices…order ONE French fry for the table…and there are five types…and free fry refills! After this late lunch, we were so full that we did not eat until the next day. Let me tell you, that is not normally how we roll. By the way, the average Vegas visitor walks six miles a day, so bring comfy shoes and don’t feel guilty about what you’re eating.
Flamingo: see the interior courtyard with flamingoes and koi fish – free of course! Treasure hunt: look for the Bugsy Siegel bust somewhere in those gardens…only place of honor for a mobster. Photos to prove it!
Margaritaville – on Strip at Flamingo–only if you can get a rooftop table…preferably at night! We walked by, does that count?
Mirage Volcano — free and fun! We caught this show in front of the Mirage Hotel one night on the walk back to our hotel. It involves loud drum music, a light and water show. Very cool.
At the Venetian, stroll around the gondola shopping area…or enjoy the frescos on the ceiling around front desk. It felt like we entered another world – or country. Loved it.
Here’s the part of the scavenger hunt list that we did not get to, but maybe you will:
MAC KING at Harrahs…get a discount coupon at total rewards desk near check in, first floor…shows are at 1 and 3…you GOTTA do this!!!
a) Go to PARIS, ride the Eiffel tower at dusk…see the fountain show from way up there…so great!
b) see fountain show AT NIGHT…every 20 minutes or so if the winds behave
c) the front desk, look at the ROOF in the main lobby…Chiluly glass flowers.,…keep walking to the garden…keep that camera handy…
d) to the left side of the flower garden…go towards the rear to the chocolate fountain…largest in the world
e) A bit pricey but so great is OLIVES: get a table to view the fountain show, or not…fab fab food
f) the buffet is pricey but what a way to go
Mirage: front desk check in…has a pretty darn cool aquarium…look for the sharks!
SECRET GARDEN OF SIGFRIED AND ROY is worth the $$$s…small but really rare albino lions and tigers…and up close to dolphins…
Cosmopolitan Hotel….JUST opened last month, chock full of public art…total hipster!
City Center/Aria…Cosmo is part of it…
Food and More:
- Toby Keith’s “I love this bar and grill” – at Harrah’s
- Crepes at Paris…yummmmmy
- Peppermill–locals’ coffee shop on strip…always good and tasty…
- Hard Rock HOTEL…the Cafe on the strip is new and fine…but Mr Lucky’s 24/7 is great for breakfast…Great blueberry pancakes and loads of cool memoribilia.
- Half price tickets–Tix2Night…great way for DAY of SHOW – One show for that is “Jubilee” is the LAST old school show (Vegas show girls) and worth 2 for 1…late show topless…some early shows not…at Bally’s.
- Blue Man Group a BLAST…look for discounts on line or Tix place.
- Caesars for shopping…most successful mall in the USA…maybe world…really cool…high end food includes Joe’s Stone Crab, Chinois, or Spago…sooooo gooooooood! Hate shopping but love this mall.
- Orleans Hotel has a tiny 500 seat showroom but decent oldies acts…Benatar to Neil Sedaka and Osmonds (not Donny and Marie!…that is Flamingo…)…off Strip near Rio.
- Gold Coast has 24 bowling near Rio…$1 games late at night.
While in the city, we also visited Madame Tussauds and saw Holly Madison’s Peepshow. For the most part we stuck to the Les list and that’s really the best advice you can get – stick to the list. We just can’t wait to go back. We have lots of things to cross off the scavenger hunt list! Thanks Les!