June 3, 2017

Weekend in Las Vegas Itinerary and Packing Ideas

What to do on a long weekend in Las Vegas and what to wear for a weekend in Vegas. Vegas itinerary for first timers. Vegas for 20 year olds. cheap vegas trip. how to save money in vegas. best friend getaway to vegas. | brazenandbrunette.com

If you're reading this then congratulations we survived finals!!! After having such an easy Fall semester that only had 2 finals, I have felt like I was dying this semester with 5. So when my best friend had flight points to use, I gladly went along with his idea to leave for a long weekend in Vegas right after my last final. The crazy thing that I realized is that the last time I went to Vegas was the weekend right before orientation and now here I am full circle going my last summer while in law school! 

I know that like 99% of my posts are only about law school (which btw, is how I like it because the whole reason Brazen and Brunette was started was because I couldn't find a blog that was all about law school) but I decided to do something different and make a travel post! One thing that really helped plan all of this out was using TripIt. I've loved the TripIt app since my study abroad days but if you go to their website then you can create an itinerary and add in all sorts of details like the address or website or booking information and then it will make a little map for you to know where to go and when. The day before our trip I added this itinerary to my phone's calendar and then it showed up on my watch so I always knew where we should be going next which was super handy!

My first trip to Vegas was very traditional in that I spent most of my time gambling/drinking and I didn't do a whole lot of touristy stuff, so that was definitely my plan for this trip. To figure out how to have a packed schedule in only a few days, I decided to make a theme for each day (this also really helped my outfits, but more on that below). 

Since our last trip was so laid back, we over planned our trip (and had a few snafus along the way) so I'm including our original itinerary and describing everything that we did get to do and what we planned on doing but will have to save for another time so you can pick and choose what to do!

Thursday/Thrills Day

I wore this cotton romper so I'd be cute and comfortable on the plane and then just changed into a nicer chiffon romper that had sleeves and changed my sandals to heeled ankle boots for dinner. Btw, I'm including how much everything cost and how long it took us to do each activity so you can keep that in mind when planning your own itinerary. Oh and the links will send you to where we got our tickets and directions on how to get there because you're welcome. And just because I know some people have kids, I'll put a * next to anything that I'd recommend doing with kids.

Vegas Sign*

Honestly y'all I can't believe that I forgot to do this on my first trip because it's so iconic! We meant to stop here on day 1 on our way to our hotel but unfortunately our flights were delayed a total of six hours and we had dinner reservations to get to so we didn't do this the first day and sadly forgot every other day until we drove past it again on our way to the airport 😔 So this is going at the top of my list for the next trip. Third time's the charm right??

SlotZilla on Freemont Street*

We wanted to do this first because you get a $5 discount if you go before 6 so we figured might as well just move it to the front of our list and save a few bucks. There's two options for this – one a typical zipline where you sit in a harness and another where you lay on your stomach and soar like a superhero. Guess which one we wanted haha. 

This was another thing that we missed because of our stupid delays. On Sunday we walked past it on our way to brunch (more about that later) but it doesn't open until 1 and we already had plans for after brunch. My suggestion would be to leave time right after brunch and go to it while you're on that side of town (it's like 15 minutes from the strip). I know you're thinking ha I'll throw up after mimosas but all of the reviews say that the line takes forever anyways since it's so popular so you'll have some time to chug some water. Or you could wait until it's a little later because when we went by the tunnel wasn't lit up like in all of the videos and I think they only do that at night.

Another idea is to make a full day or at least afternoon of hanging out on Freemont. It's the old strip so it has a lot of quirky and old-school casinos and the best part is that everything is cheaper on this side! We passed lots of places that had $5 tables for blackjack which means you'd get at least double if not triple the amount of games than if you were on the strip. And while you're playing your cheap tables you'll be getting free drinks so save you some money! Oh and if you want more zipline in your life after this one, there's also the VooDoo Zipline at the Rio!

Cost: $40  

Big Apple Coaster at New York New York Hotel*

Funny story, we actually stayed at the NYNY our first trip to Vegas but always had had too much to drink so we were afraid that our stomachs couldn't handle it. Hence why I decided that our first day we'd get all of the "action" out of the way so that our hangovers prevent us from having fun again.

Yet again we got delayed on this. We decided to go on our last day instead and just go early in the morning before we drank. There were some people in line for tickets holding beer and I'm still very confused how they didn't throw up because there's some dips and twists in there! The lines look long but move pretty fast. And bring 2 quarters with you so you can get a locker for all your stuff.

Cost: $15

Dinner at Mastro's 

We had originally planned on having only one nice dinner this trip on Friday, but then a week before we went I received a $100 Open Table gift card from the Skimm!! Since I'd already guilted my friend into paying for Friday's dinner, I offered to take him out here. The restaurant itself is inside a mall in an open structure that reminded me of the Metropol Parasol from Seville. The only negative to this is that there were some like 10 year olds running around screaming in the mall and we were like Hi yes we're trying to enjoy our $100 lobster over here so keep it down.

Yeah, we spent way more than that gift card. One thing I'll say about this restaurant is that the portions are huge so don't order any appetizers, don't order any sides, and try not to eat all of the bread that they give you! The good news is that while the food was pricey, the drinks weren't really. They had La Marca Prosecco at $15 a bottle which is pretty much exactly what I pay when I buy it from the store!

Cost: $108 for both after the gift card, but we splurged 
Time: 1.5 hours

Chocolate Tour at Hexx Hotel

Ok so as you might have guessed by now we definitely had more than one bottle of prosecco at dinner and were a little too tipsy for anything else besides walking down the strip giggling to ourselves. Oh and because our flights had been delayed we also had to push back our dinner reservation to almost 9:30 so we were too tired to do anything else that night. This was another thing that we forgot to come back to so it's on my list for next time!

High Roller at The Linq Hotel

Once we realized that we were pretty tipsy at dinner, we decided not to go to the Happy Half Hour at the High Roller since we knew we were skydiving the next morning and decided to go the next day instead. I will say this about our bartender, he made the drinks strong and I was drunk after the first one so don't think just because it's an open bar you should go hard because you'll be blackout real fast.

But it was amazing! Honestly it was kinda one of those things that I could imagine doing every time I come back to Vegas and never getting tired of it! It was so relaxing for my feet to just sit and they views were amazing and it really was like its own little party.

Cost: $70 for 2
Time: 45 min

Minus 5 Bar

I went to an ice bar when I was in Amsterdam and thought it was pretty cool so I wanted my friend to experience it too but we were just too busy this trip so it'll have to be another "next time" thing.

Before this trip, we were looking up tickets and this ice bar gives you too options to either get tickets with a specialty cocktail or regular tickets and you buy your own drink. I know the one in Amsterdam is obviously not the same as the one in Vegas but I got the specialty cocktail and did not like it because it was basically crappy well vodka so I think you'd be better off just buying your own drink that you know you'll like.

Cost: $19

Friday/Adventure Day

Along with a lot of flight points, my friend also had a lot of car rental points built up so we went ahead and rented a car for the weekend, but you totally can walk around to all of these places! For our first real day in Vegas, we decided to leave town since we did have our rental car. I wore workout clothes for the day and then changed into this chiffon romper for the evening. 


This was another thing that we both really wanted to do our first trip but were always too hungover to do! So this time around we made sure to limit our drinks so that our stomachs could handle jumping out of a plane. We went indoor skydiving last summer and afterwards both agreed that this summer we would take it up a notch!

Sadly, we were up and awake by 7 that morning ready to go skydiving when the instructor called and said it was too windy which would be dangerous and had to cancel our excursion. The saddest part was that they were booked for the rest of the weekend so we couldn't reschedule at all. We were both pretty bummed about this because it was our "big thing" for this trip. The good news is that we got our tickets through Groupon so our tickets actually don't expire until November so we're considering going back and skydiving for my birthday.

Cost: $159
Location: 1200 Kitty Hawk Dr #105, Mesquite, NV 89027

Red Rock Canyon*

Since we were already up and ready for skydiving, we decided to just grab breakfast and then move on to the canyon (which in hindsight we realized was early enough that we probably would've gotten great pictures in front of the Vegas sign without waiting in a big line). If you're staying at The Mirage, The Pantry restaurant right by the guest elevators has a great breakfast!

Anyways, the canyon was one of our favorite parts of our trip! My friend was a Boyscout so even though we took the Calico 1 trail (obviously I picked it because it has a kitty name haha), he had us veer off the trail a little and climb the rocks which was what made it really fun! Honestly we both agreed it was one of the highlights of our trip.

A few tips:
Go early — I'm glad we didn't end up going around noon like we'd originally planned because you're in the desert so by 10AM it was already pretty hot
Wear a mesh-back workout shirt — My friend's shirt was drenched in sweat and stuck to his back but I was much more comfortable in my workout shirt.
Bring water — My friend brought this hydration backpack that was perfect. It worked out that we finished it just as we were back on the trail but if we ever did that again I'd make sure to bring my own just because we had to ration our water so we didn't run out.
Bring sunscreen — I wore my flipbelt that I use to hold my stuff while running so I kept our phones on me, which freed up space in his water backpack. Since we had room, we brought a travel sized sunscreen bottle. We sprayed ourselves down fully before beginning and then I set a timer on my watch for an hour so we could re-apply. (I'd set another hour timer after this but we made it back to our car before we needed it). We were there for two hours out in the sun in tank tops and while we got a little tan neither of us were even a little pink.

One last thing, it's a great workout too. I decided to put on the Outdoor Walk workout app on my watch and it said we burned almost 500 calories! If you have more time than we did, you can add the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon to your little day trip since they're also close by. 

Cost: $7 per car
Time: 3 hours (including driving time)
Location: 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161

Dinner at Mon Ami Gabi

While we tried to eat cheap most of the trip, I wanted to have dinner at a really nice restaurant at least once. I found this place and what's amazing about it is that it's right across the street from the Bellagio fountains so you can watch them while you eat! As soon as I had picked out this place, we called and got a reservation and requested that our table be outside facing the fountains. It's French food and I was so excited because I love escargot— if you haven't tried it just because you think it'll be gross, it tastes like shrimp smothered in lobster butter!

We got there 15 minutes before our reservation to try to get a table on the patio and were told it was a 30 minute wait. We decided to just wait because honestly the inside of this restaurant was really dark for being 7 o'clock in the summer and plus I obviously wanted to see the fountains. What's nice is that it's right inside of the Paris casino so you can gamble while you wait. We'd made a pact that any money we won we'd spend on upgrading champagne but sadly we made a measly $2 (we stuck to penny slots and video poker since we knew we didn't have much time). But if your wait is longer than ours they have an Eiffel Tower Experience where you can go up to the top of their Eiffel Tower replica!

Once we were seated outside, I was a little disappointed to see that the view of the Bellagio was slightly obscured because there's a whole bunch of trees on the sidewalks. Luckily, once it got a little darker and the fountain lights turned on, it was much easier to see so the trees weren't so bad.

Cost: $150 for both
Time: 1.5 hours
Location: 3655 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Dessert at The Perfect Scoop*

I wanted to get their macaroon ice cream sandwiches to go along with our French themed dinner but didn't realize at the time that this is completely across town so we actually cam back here at a later time. Their sandwiches are huge and it's pretty cheap so I loved it!

Cost: $5
Time: 15 minutes 
Location: 7377 S Jones Blvd #115, Las Vegas, NV 89139

Cirque du Soleil 

Unfortunately for me, on our last trip to Vegas I had to leave the night before everyone went to a Cirque show so that I could get back for orientation. After reading the descriptions of all of the shows, we narrowed it down to O or Zumanity. At first we were going to see O but then once we realized that O was about $100 more a ticket so Zumanity it was. It's a risqué show which worked out because I just pretended that it was like Moulin Rouge and then it fit in perfectly with the French theme!

This show was amazing! (but just an FYI is a topless show) We literally ran from dinner to get here on time (I was in these heels ha ha ha) so for future reference know that they still let people at least 10 minutes late.  Since he made me sprint in heels, my friend bought me a huge margarita which was perfect for this show. Fun drinking game- drink every time you either think or actually say out loud oh shit! By the end of the show I had drank so much that I had to have a nice woman help me unbutton my romper so I could go to the bathroom lol.

Cost: $206 for both
Time: 1.5 hours
Location: 3790 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Saturday/Party Day

I wore this tie-front cotton dress for brunch and after the pool and then changed into this romper for the club. We actually only planned to go clubbing just this night since our last trip was all about clubbing and we had too much to see! This day we were all over the town so we depended heavily on Uber and Lyft because it's still cheaper than taxis. One tip tho if you use these is that every hotel that we went to had a lane for valets, a lane for taxis, and a lane for ride share. And at least at the Mirage and the Rio the ride share lane was on the other side of the building so make sure you ask the valet people where to go so your driver can find you!

Brunch at Stratosphere Hotel

Brunch is my favorite meal of the day so I did a lot of research to find the perfect brunch with bottomless mimosas. While $32 for bottomless mimosas and an endless buffet is a great deal, honestly I was a little disappointed in their mimosas because they used crappy orange juice. Seriously I couldn't even finish one because it tasted so weird. We ate a lot and their buffet even had crab legs which were pretty good, so my advice would be to save $6 and just get the regular buffet or if you upgrade to their champagne buffet just ask your waiter for a bottle and skip the OJ.

Cost: $32 
Time: 45 minutes
Location: 2000 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104

Pool Party at Daylight Vegas 

What we did was go through the 11 best pool parties in Vegas and one by one checked to see who was DJing each day while we were there. My friend is obsessed with J Cole so once he found out that he'd be at a pool party, our tickets were bought instantly. We also had looked at getting tickets to a DJ Khalid pool party because I knew that'd be lit but those tickets sold out really fast. Make sure that you start looking for these tickets ASAP so you don't miss out on a really good party. Oh, and sorry guys it sucks that your tickets are so much more! But if you can't find one DJ that you like, you can always just go on a pool party pub crawl.

One thing I'll say about Daylight is that the drinks are very expensive. Since I knew we were going to be drinking in the sun all day I decided to get a water and that was $20 because you had to pay for the cup! And the margaritas were really amazing but those were $40 and you had to keep paying for a new cup every time 😬 At one point I decided to switch to beer and I was able to get 2 Coronas for $22 which wasn't too bad once I overheard the guy next to me pay $17 for a shot of vodka! But honestly it was worth it to throw down and have a good time because the atmosphere was so fun and this was another one of our favorite parts of the trip!

Cost: $60 for girls/$100 for guys
Time: 5 hours
Location: 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Shark Slide at the Golden Nugget*

I thought it'd be really cool to ride a slide that goes through a shark tank but unfortunately that morning we found out that the slide was closed for repairs. I'm not sure when it will be repaired and working again so you'll have to check their website before you go.

Location: 129 Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Tour of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing*

We're both fans of the show and really excited to go on this tour but we didn't do enough research and found out too late that they don't do tours on the weekend. Another thing to keep in mind is that even after you buy the tickets you still have to go to their website and make a reservation at least a day in advance. Since we got these tickets on Groupon they're still good for another couple of months so we're considering going back and doing this if we go back for skydiving. 

Cost: $39
Location: 3451 W Martin Ave C, Las Vegas, NV 89118

Dinner at Wahlburgers*

Since we had such a big brunch we didn't have lunch but after drinking at Daylight all day we were starving! We had passed by Whalburgers after we were walking around the Paris hotel the night before so I suggested we try that since burgers are usually fast. We both loved it! I got the Our Burger and ate it in like 5 seconds no lie and even got some ice cream for dessert which was also delicious. Our waiter was super friendly and the place was just awesome. And since it's in a little outdoor shopping area, I also got to stop by the Lush store that was right outside and get something so I could take a bubble bath that night.

Cost: $12
Time: 30 minutes
Location: 506 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Clubbing at The Jewel 

Ok this is my most embarrassing confession of this trip. We had tickets to go see Steve Aoki at this great nightclub (which he is an amazing performer and 10/10 would recommend) and I had the hottest outfit all planned out. But after our burgers, it hit us that we were both so exhausted from partying all day in the sun and now were both stuffed and so what was meant to be a quick power nap so we could rally ended up in us going to sleep before 10 on a Saturday night in Vegas 😳 

While we obviously were very upset that we missed out, in the end we realized that we probably wouldn't have had as much fun because we were both so exhausted. So my tip to you is plan your power naps for mid day instead of post-dinner! 

Cost: $20 for girls/$30 for guys
Location: 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Sunday/Fun Day

I feel like we did so much this day! This was our last day in Vegas so we made sure to get a lot in. I wore a semi-long sleeve floral romper since we checked out of our hotel that morning. One pro tip that I learned while studying abroad is that most hotels have a little room down in the lobby where you can store your luggage if your flight is much later than your checkout! My friend had never heard of this but he called the concierge and sure enough just as long as we were out of our room by checkout they were totally fine with keeping our bags safe so we didn't have to carry them around with us!

Brunch at the Perch

Another bottomless mimosa brunch because we were ballin' on a budget y'all. This has been my favorite brunch of my life so far! Not even kidding! It's over on the old Vegas side of town in what's called the Container Park which is basically a whole bunch of shipping containers stacked up into a shopping center with each container being a different store. The whole vibe really reminded me of Austin and it felt very catered to 20-somethings and didn't feel at all touristy.We got there just in time because I noticed that around 10:30 there starts to be a line and while we were lucky enough to sit in the cool AC some people had to sit outside where it was pretty but already getting a little hot. 

Their mimosas were made with real orange juice which I was grateful for after the day before. Oh and with the bottomless mimosas they just leave you a carafe of orange juice and your own bottle so you can make it exactly how you like it! I got the monkey bread and it was delicious! Oh and their waitstaff is amazing— I was sitting on a high bar stool and clumsily dropped my fork and before I could even get out of my chair one waitress had already picked it off the floor for me and literally as soon as she left our waiter was right there with another set for me. Seriously, it's worth the 15 minute drive to get here from the strip!

Cost: $30
Time: 1 hour
Location: 707 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Gun Range

While we were looking up skydiving on Groupon, this was recommended so we went ahead and got this, too. I grew up shooting guns at our farm so we decided we'd do some shooting and see who's better (happy to say that I was). There was also an offer on Groupon to crush a car with a tank which looked really badass but sadly was out of our budget.

The guys here were super friendly and even let us take pictures with all of the guns and even pictures with our targets which was really nice. At first we were looking at the Groupon dividing up who got to shoot which gun but it turned out that they let us each shoot all of the guns so we were glad that neither one of us missed out on the experience. Oh and a great thing is that they offer a free shuttle to and from the strip so we saved money getting a ride out there!

Cost: $299 for two
Time: 1 hour
Location: 5155 Dean Martin Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89118

Lunch at Lobster Me*

We ate here last time and loved it so much that we came back! The lobster rolls and lobster mac & cheese and lemonade are so good. Plus, this one is located in the Venetian which is absolutely amazing! If you have trouble finding it within the winding hotel, you can actually go to their website and it will give you turn-by-turn directions on how to get from one shop to another.

Cost: $35
Time: 30 minutes
Location: 3377 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Gambling at NYNY

Even though we stayed at the Mirage, we actually didn't end up doing any gambling because the cheapest tables we could find where $15 and we didn't want to risk blowing through all of our money in just 6 rounds. After lunch on Sunday was actually when we finally made our way to do the Big Apple Coaster and afterwards we decided to stay and gamble for a bit because we remembered where the cheap tables were from our last trip (they have a few $5 tables but they're always packed and with a few vultures waiting to steal a spot so we settled for the $10 tables which btw are right by the yard drinks station). 

The best part about gambling is that you get free alcohol while you're there but my tip is to ask for a water every now and then because they count on you getting drunk and losing all of your money. We played blackjack which I love but tbh is frustrating for me because obviously lawyers hate math so it was stressful for me to quickly add up my cards and then add up the dealer's and everyone else's cards and try to do a quick odds game in my head to decide whether to hit or stay. Luckily my friend is a math person so with his help I ended up doubling my initial $100 but then I lost half of it and stopped because I was scared I'd lose it all and I wanted to go shopping with my winnings. My friend was already down like $20 so he was fine with stopping and moving on with our over-packed itinerary.

Cost: $15

Sugar Factory

Ok, so tbh I really just wanted to come here for the insta-worthy drinks haha. This place is in the Fashion Show mall so my original plan was to run to Sephora while we were over there but we ended up having to skip this altogether because my friend had a surprise for me so this is item #139 for things that I'll have to do next time.

Cost: $25
Location: 3200 S. Ste. 600 Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Go Karting*

While my friend was on Groupon getting our gun range tickets, he apparently stumbled across this and decided it would be a fun surprise! I'm glad he ended up buying us two races each because this was really fun. Their sign says that they have the fastest go karts in Vegas and I believe it because we were actually drifting around the turns! And if you're short like me (I'm 5'2") just make sure that you ask for foot petal extenders so that you can fully reach the gas and break lol. It's right by the airport so if you do end up taking your bags with you it'd be a fun thing to do right before you left.

Time: 1 hour

KISS Mini Golf*

After the gun range and go karting, KISS mini golf seemed like a great way to keep the competition going and would've worked out perfectly because it was in the same location as our show that night but after showing up late to our first show we didn't want to risk it so it ended up being our last "next time" thing.

Cost: $24
Location: 3700 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103

Penn and Teller*

We decided to go here for our last show because what's more iconic Vegas than magic or comedy? This show is both and was really entertaining. It's definitely geared towards kids but I didn't think it was too kiddy for adults. We got seats on the front row of the second floor so we could see everything perfectly but you might consider sitting in the first 20 or so rows near the stage because they pull a lot of audience members to participate throughout the show. Another thing that's great that they do is the guys stay after in the lobby for pictures so if you get out of there fast you can snag a photo.

Cost: $64
Time: 2 hours
Location: 3700 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103

Dinner at Taco Bell Cantina

Our flight was at 1 am that night (lol I know kill me) so we stopped by here and loaded up on food and alcohol before we went to the airport. I know you're probably thinking that Taco Bell is insignificant and wondering why I included it on our itinerary. I'll tell you why — this is the Taco Bell Cantina and is really cool and is only in Vegas. 

Cost: $20
Time: 30 minutes
Location: 3717 S Las Vegas Blvd #140-A, Las Vegas, NV 89109

This was only my second time to go to Vegas, but I learned a lot on my first trip. My first time I overpacked thinking that I'd be fabulous and change 3 times a day and have a daytime outfit, a dinner outfit, and a nightlife outfit. But then I realized that the right romper can be all three of these with the change of shoes and makeup! And the right dress can also be just as versatile! If you've never been to Vegas before, let me give you a little tip — Vegas is a walking city so unless you're actually used to wearing heels all day every day, stick to flats for the day. Actually, during the day most people are dressed pretty casual so don't think that just because it's Vegas you have to wear club clothes all the time. If anything, think of daytime Vegas outfits more like being pretty similar to Coachella outfits.

Here's some outfit ideas for when you're packing!




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