As a Los Angeles native, Las Vegas, Nevada is probably one of my most visited destinations and my preferred escape when I’m looking for a quick getaway that isn’t too far from home. For me, nothing in the U.S. beats a Vegas girls trip and anyone who’s had the opportunity to visit Vegas more than once can tell you there is so much more to the city than the bright lights and buzzing slot machines; (though there is also something to be said about its undeniably intoxicating pull and it isn’t just the free-flowing booze.)
If you’ve never visited Las Vegas (first off, we need to change that) you may be surprised to learn that there are as many ways to “wind down” here as there are to “wind up,” and Vegas is one of those destinations that can provide a little something for every type of traveler. Las Vegas is also a destination that can be equally enjoyed by singles, couples, groups of friends, and believe it or not, even families. I took family trips to Vegas every year growing up when my father would travel for conventions, and I cherish the memories of visiting the M&M Factory, Circus Circus, and floating down the lazy river at MGM Grand. As an adult, I admittedly still enjoy many of these activities with my friends, albeit a little more tipsy this time. Vegas is my favorite place to get away with friends (we take annual trips there every summer) and while there are a number of places in the U.S. that make for an excellent girls getaway, there are none quite as fun and exciting as good old Las Vegas, Nevada.
Whether you’re celebrating with your besties for a birthday (like I did for my 21st), throwing a bachelorette party (like I had for mine), or simply want a trip with your BFF that is as rejuvenating as it is fun (like I did on my last visit) Vegas will be sure to deliver an epic girls getaway that is exactly what you need…and so much more. To celebrate National Girlfriends Day, my friend Sarit and I headed to Vegas for a few days of both fun and relaxation. The following is how we spent our time and my top recommendations for having the perfect Vegas girls trip.
Indulge in a spa treatment…but not just any!
When thinking about Vegas, rest and relaxation might not be the first words that come to mind, but with the seemingly endless amount of ultra luxurious spas there is no better destination to “treat yoself” and get pampered. The brand new Spa and Salon at Palms hotel offers the most contemporary treatments to match its decor. From an oracle reflection service that utilizes Tarot cards, a mercury in retrograde facial, crystal chakra balancing, and a restorative reiki massage, the spa’s new age meets traditional services are a fun way to unwind at Vegas’ most unique spa. [UPDATE: CLOSED DUE TO COVID.]
Dine out to your heart’s content.
Las Vegas is undisputedly a top foodie destination where world-class gastronomy and unique eateries can be found at every turn. From a 24-hour Taco Bell Cantina that serves alcohol, to the Michelin 3-star Joel Robuchon restaurant at MGM Grand, there are food options for every palate and budget in Las Vegas. The following is my recommendation for how to have the most epic foodie day ever.
Start your morning with a boozy brunch at Chica at the Venetian. Crafted by the famous Chef Lorena Garcia, the first Latina chef on the Strip, Chica’s elevated Latin menu features brunch favorites with a South American twist. Dishes such as a decadent dulce de leche french toast, benedict cazuela featuring poached eggs on top of a cheesy arepa and crispy yucca hash, and guava cheese pop tarts will have you wondering how you can ever go back to traditional breakfast items again. For a real breakfast of champions, be sure to wash it all down with one of the signature Latin cocktails like a tamarind guava colada, or a Spanish-style gin and tonic made with cracked juniper berry, watermelon ice cubes, cucumber and fresh mint. Each dish and beverage at Chica will leave you pleasantly surprised, as the unique combination of flavors is one that you won’t find at any other eatery on the Strip.
For lunch, head over to Black Tap Las Vegas, also at the Venetian for a feast for both your stomach and eyes. Originally from NYC where lines out the door are not uncommon, Black Tap is one of the first establishments to put Instagrammable foods on the map thanks to their CrazyShake™ milkshakes topped miles high with ingredients not even your five-year-old-self could dream of. Their Birthday Cake Shake for example is a heavenly blend of Funfetti batter and ice cream topped with a generous slice of cake, whipped cream, a heavy pour of sprinkles, and a cherry on top. Pair it with your choice of one of their award-winning craft burgers (veggie burgers included!) for a meal that will have all your friends and followers in awe.
A dinner at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan is a night you’re likely never to forget. Part meal, part show, this upscale modern supper club features an outstanding seafood-centric menu, ultra-impressive cocktails, and live musical performances. The experience is one a kind and the atmosphere is lively yet refined, in a dimmed setting with mood lighting in shades of purple, pink, and blue. Course after course is served to the tune of a live band who plays enthusiastically alongside an impressive tap dancer, while a rotation of singers make their way from table to table for a personal serenade. For an extra special table-side service, be sure to order the dover sole or banana flambé for dessert. Rose. Rabbit. Lie. will be a highlight of your trip and one meal in Vegas you definitely do not want to miss. [UPDATE: CLOSED DUE TO COVID.]
Tip: Book a table well in advance. Reservations fill up quick!
Imbibe on the prettiest cocktails at Vegas’ poshest cocktail bars.
We all know there are no shortages of places to grab a drink in Vegas. Patrons roam the casino with blended cocktails in vessels as tall as baseball bats and you likely can’t walk more than 10 feet without encountering a bar or cocktail waitress. Vegas runs on booze which obviously translates to one of the best mixology and craft cocktail scenes on the planet. Enjoying a pre, or after-dinner-drink at one of the many chic cocktail bars is one of my favorite activities to keep the momentum going, and with so many gems to choose from it’s hard not to keep giddy buzz. Not a drinker? No problem. Each of these places offer virgin cocktails as pretty as their alcoholic counterparts, and their food menus are just as good.
Vanderpump Cocktail Garden. This dimly lit and twinkling bar found inside Caesars Palace exudes exclusivity and style. Their menu of innovative cocktails run bright and fruity to sinfully sweet and each one comes as a presentation that’s seemingly more beautiful than the last. Their menu of small plates and desserts like the Rosé Cake pictured above are perfect to share whether you’re coming in for a pre-dinner snack (who says you can’t have dessert first?) or a late night bite. Owned by Ms. Lisa Vanderpump herself, Vanderpump Cocktail Garden is a trendy, chic, and beautiful gem insides Cesar’s that will have you swooning from top to bottom.
Primrose at Park MGM is a quaint French eatery and while more restaurant than bar, the menu of imaginative cocktails really steal the show. The Lavender Scroppino made with Absolut Elyx, lavender syrup, prosecco, crème de violette, and lemon sorbet can only make way to the Smoked Bijou, which consists of Bombay Sapphire East, dolin rouge, green chartreuse, and orange bitters, which is served in a flamboyant glass box that releases clouds of smokey vapor upon opening it. The setting at Primrose will have you feeling like you’ve been transported to a garden chateau in the south of France, and their all-day menu is ideal for a fresh and light lunch, perfect for when you need a break from a marathon of overindulgence. If there is one hearty menu item you should absolutely not pass on, it is their famous Garden Fries, which are fried pickled dill beans and hot peppers, served with sauce gribiche. This crunchy tart treat is so addictive and unlike anything I’ve had before.
Rosina at the Palazzo is equal parts swanky and sultry and gives off an old-school glamorous speakeasy vibe. Oxblood velvet couches and opulent crystal chandeliers adorn this dimly lit and unassuming casino level bar, making it the perfect place to visit when you’re all dressed up for the night. Their menu anchors on classic cocktails made just right, and the bar’s very own “press for champagne” button (a literal button to push when you want champagne) will make sure your glass is filled with bubbly all evening long. Four secret menus at Rosina give classic cocktails a twist in the form of Manhattans, Mint Juleps, Old Fashioned-inspired cocktails, and Celebration Champagne cocktails. The attention to detail at Rosina is unmatched, and will leave you with even more surprises that you’ll just have to experience for yourself.
See a famous Vegas night show.
No trip to Vegas is complete without attending a show or concert. On previous trips, I’ve enjoyed Cirque Dd Soleil, Blue Man Group and various musical performers that have toured through. This time, my gal pal and I in true girls-night-out fashion went to see the amazing Magic Mike Live and it definitely did not disappoint. Not knowing what to expect, the fantasy-driven show had us completely blown away. It was not as raunchy as one might expect, but still utterly sexy, impressive, and entertaining. The dancers were talented and engaging, and the female emcee and audience participation had us laughing to tears. I would be happy to attend it again, and will let the following gifs speak for themselves.
Tip: If you want to get called up on stage, wear pants to the show! They won't bring you up if you're wearing a dress or skirt.
Dance the night (or day) away at a club.
There are no shortages of day and night clubs in Vegas, and getting guest-listed for them is relatively easy for girls. If you’re traveling to Vegas for the first time, you can check out this calendar of who is performing at the various clubs and sign up for a guest list spot. You’ll also probably come across club promoters approaching you in the casinos, or even sliding into your DMs on Instagram if you’re tagging Vegas and the hotels. I like to check which DJs/artists are performing and make my decision based off of that.
Some of my favorite clubs in Vegas include Tao, XS/Encore, and Marquee. All 3 of these also offer day parties so you can choose when you want to let loose. Some general tips to remember are to be sure to confirm what time the guest list closes to avoid having to pay cover, and if you’re going with a group make sure there is an even number ratio of girls to guys, or preferably more girls to guys. Lastly, make sure everyone in your party is adhered to the venue’s dress code.
Reminder: Never accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended to be consumed again. Vegas clubs have excellent security but it's better to be safe than sorry.
Book a day bed and lounge by the pool.
After a wild night out or simply to get some needed R&R, a day at the pool is order to slow things down before they speed back up again. Renting a day bed, pool chairs, or a cabana at the hotel is the perfect way to escape the Vegas heat while sipping cocktails and taking a dip in the pool.
The great thing about Vegas is that it can be enjoyed any time of year. Winter nights can be chilly, but the desert climate also means it’s never too cold during the day and pools are open all year-round. The Venetian has a number of pools to choose from including a renovated pool deck perfect for relaxing in the sun. If you prefer something more lively, the Venetian’s TAO Beach hosts one of the best day parties (and nightclubs) in Vegas with live DJs every Thursday – Saturday, and is also open for regular pool hours 11:30am-6pm every day.
Where to Stay for Your Vegas Girls Trip
The Palazzo Las Vegas is easily my top recommendation for where to stay on a Vegas girls getaway. I’ve stayed at the Palazzo many times over the years and love it for so many reasons. Never mind the fact that I am a lover of all things Italian (including my husband who is 27% according to 23andMe) the Palazzo is a favorite of mine for all of the following:
1. The Palazzo is a luxurious, 5-star hotel and all rooms are suites so you’ll have ample room no matter what.
2. The Palazzo is ideally located on the strip, neither not too north or not too south, making it an easy walk or quick cab ride away to the other hotels and top attractions.
Tip: Looking for a private car service for your trip? Presidential Limos is the best car service in Vegas and offers various vehicle types depending on your needs.
3. The Palazzo is joined by the Venetian, so the dining, shopping, and entertainment options are endless and amazing. The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian is home to some of the best shopping in Vegas including a few of my personal favorites, Barneys, Sephora, Louis Vuitton and a whole host of other luxury brands. Two interconnected hotels also means more options for dining, entertainment, and swimming pools to lounge about. You could enjoy your entire trip at the Palazzo and Venetian without ever having to leave.
4. The Venetian is also home to one of the hottest clubs in Vegas, TAO night club and day club where the top internationally-known DJs and artists perform regularly. Their day club, TAO Beach is one of my favorite pool parties and can easily and (freely) be accessed as a guest at the Palazzo.
5. While both the Palazzo and Venetian are incredible to stay in, the Palazzo is slightly taller (if you enjoy a high floor) and the standard suites are a drop bigger.
Want to stay at the brand new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas? Click here to see my review!
Five More Unique Things to do in Vegas
Dining, drinking, lounging, and dancing may be some of the more obvious ways to enjoy a girls weekend in Vegas, but the city and its surroundings offer many more unique experiences to make your trip as memorable as can be. Here are a few more items to add to your list of experiences to complete your epic Vegas itinerary.
1. Do yoga on the High Roller, the world’s largest observation ferris wheel.
2. Visit the Neon Museum, a.k.a. Neon Boneyard to see the retired neon signs of Vegas.
Tip: Visit just before sunset to get the unique perspective of the signs during the day, and when they are lit up at night.
3. Take a helicopter ride.
4. Bungee jump off the The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod or enjoy their other thrill rides.
5. Visit Seven Magic Mountains, an ever-so-Instagrammable outdoor art installation located in Henderson, Nevada about 20 minutes from the strip.
Getting to Las Vegas – 2021 Update:
If you are thinking about traveling once again as destinations re-open, you can trust American Airlines to safely get you where you need to go. I have relied on American Air for essential and safe travel throughout the pandemic as they implement the highest standards of health and safety for all travelers. With American’s Travel with Confidence initiative, you can expect proactive measures such as touchless check-in, touchless food & drink services on flights and in lounges, mask requirements, hospital-grade HEPA filters on all aircraft, and enhanced cleaning procedures for every flight. American is an airline I feel confident recommending for safe travel in 2021.
Whether you are looking for a trip that’s relaxing, exhilarating, indulgent, or some combination of the three, there is one thing for sure about Vegas and that is that you’ll never be bored. Vegas serves as a lavish utopia for all that is fun and feminine, and I can’t think of a better place to travel with my girlfriends any time or occasion.
Just remember, as the old adage goes…”What happens here, stays here.” (Except when I blog about it. 😉)