In July, my sisters and friends went to Las Vegas to celebrate my older sister’s doctorate virtual graduation. My sister, Abby, sister-in-law, Adel, Abby’s sister-in-law, Jade, and my good friend, Katherine, and I needed a girls’ getaway, and this Las Vegas celebration turned into a Moms’ Retreat. My older sister, Althea, lives in Las Vegas, and she planned our itinerary from day to night events. The experiences she planned were a mix of typical Las Vegas and unique local events. We stayed at my sister’s house for our visit and rented a large SUV.
Here’s a detailed view of our day-to-day activities.
Brunch at The Buffet at Wynn
We went to brunch at The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas. The buffet in Las Vegas is one of the best. I’ve eaten at several buffets in Las Vegas, and Wynn is up there in ranks. The Buffet at Wynn was definitely a high standard of an all-you-can-eat dining experience. There were many sections and different types of food groups from cheeses, salads, fruits, meats to different cultural food. There were carving stations of different meats, a custom omelet station, and a custom pancake station. The dessert station was an abundance of sweets. It was hard to choose. We ordered the bottomless mimosa with our brunch. With good food, drinks, and wonderful chats, we ended up being there for three hours.
We walked around Wynn after we ate. The decor at Wynn is very colorful and vibrant. There are artistic designs on the floor, colorful round balls hanging on the trees, and a cute carousel and balloon. Above the ceiling were these umbrella-designed lanterns. There was a water feature with waterfalls outside. The hotel is beautiful. It made for a perfect photo op.
Dinner at Beauty & Essex at the Cosmopolitan
The dinner at Beauty & Essex was a divine experience. Beauty & Essex is a speakeasy restaurant and lounge at The Cosmopolitan owned by celebrity chef, Chris Santos in partnership with the TAO group. The front of the restaurant is a storefront vintage pawnshop. It’s a real working store with a display of vintage guitars, jewelry finds, and other antique pieces. At the end of the pawnshop is a door entrance to the actual restaurant. Walking through the restaurant is an experience in itself. The lighting, the romantic decor, and the music were alluring. The food looked enticing. This restaurant has been booked all Summer. A reservation is highly recommended.
The food at Beauty & Essex was exceptional. The menu has shareable items that are appetizer portions. We ordered several items to share. We ordered the ‘Chile Relleno’ Empanadas, B&E Crispy Chicken Sliders, Oven Braised Chicken Meatballs, Mexican Street Corn Ravioli, Spaghettini, and Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumplings. The food was very filling for appetizer portions. The best dish would have to be the Tomato Soup Dumplings. We ended our meal with the Wonder Wheel dessert. Our Wonder Wheel had macarons, cotton candy, and other pastries. The food was delightful and charming.
After dinner, we walked around The Cosmopolitan. There’s this beautiful lighting display in the main area by the elevator. It looked like a massive chandelier and glowed purple. On our way out through the parking lot, there was a big mural display from Shepard Fairey of Obey Giant. I’m a huge fan of his work. I own several of his shirts.
Las Vegas Weekly Awards at Area 15
The Las Vegas Weekly is the local’s guide on what to do in Vegas. My sister and her friends invited us to the Las Vegas Weekly Awards at Area 15. The whole event was entertaining. The setting was more of a club scene with a DJ, stage, vendor stations, bar, and an outdoor area. The theme was Out of this World. There was an astronaut picture on the sidewall. I loved that they had vendor stations with cotton candy, ice cream, a bar, and a photo booth. We had the best time at this out-of-this-world event. It was great to “cut a rug” for a change.
Area 15 is new immersive entertainment and events complex in Las Vegas. In the parking lot, there was a “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign. Inside the events, the complex had a psychedelic atmosphere. There were lots of neon lights. For a second, it reminded me of the store, Spencers. There are several sections of this complex that host different events. Currently, a Van Gogh: Immersive Experience is held there.
Seven Magic Mountains
In the middle of the desert are these giant-colored rocks that are thirty feet high. The public art installation is a sight to see. The Seven Magic Mountains was created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone as a creative expression of human presence in the desert. There are seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders. These giant rocks are worth a visit if you are in Las Vegas. This exhibition opened in 2016. It was supposed to be a 2-year view. The exhibit was extended through the end of 2021 because of its popularity. I hope they continue to keep it. Be sure to check out the Seven Magic Mountains website for any restrictions.
What to expect on your visit to the Seven Magic Mountains:
1. Located 7 miles from South of Las Vegas.
2. Free and open to the public.
3. Parking available.
4. No tours.
5. Bring plenty of water.
6. Best time to visit is morning.
7. Wear comfy shoes.
8. No restrooms.
9. No amenities.
10. Bring cameras for pictures.
Valley of Fire State Park
The Valley of Fire State Park is a marvelous wonder consisting of 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone. The colors look like painted stripes on the gray and tan limestone. The Park maintains ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. It’s located 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The Park is open year-round and has several campsites with shaded tables, grills, and water. There are several popular trails to hike. Be sure to check out the Valley of Fire State Park website for any restrictions.
View these spots on your visit:
1. Elephant Rock
2. The Beehives
3. Mouse’s Tank
4. Rainbow Vista
5. Pink Canyon
6. The Fire Wave
7. White Domes
8. Seven Sisters
9. Atlatl Rock
10. Arch Rock
11. Fire Cave
Dinner at Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio
We had a very classy dinner at the Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio. The restaurant is vibrant and classic. We had the best table which was right next to the window that overlooks the famous Fountain of Bellagio. We had so much fun being entertained by the jazz band and the lovely singer. There were also other performers around. A lady was performing acrobatic on a hoop while hanging at the ceiling. There were ladies in costumes going around taking photos with the guests. The whole ambiance was amazing.
The food was a classic menu with steak fillet mignon, lobster, and salmon. I had the salmon, and it was delicious. My friend had the lobster, and it was a huge portion. We ordered their signature champagne cocktail with cotton candy around the wine glass. It was very much fancy dining.
We also walked around the Bellagio after dinner. There’s a colorful Glass design at the reception area. The Conservatory and Botanical Garden is so intricately designed. It’s basically an art installation created by Horticulture and Engineering teams to transform the 14,000-square-foot Botanical Garden into a showcase of inspiring sights, sounds, scents, and colors. The design changes by season. It was gorgeous!
Limo Ride to the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
My sister rented us a limousine to ride around the Las Vegas strip. A Cadillac limo arrived to pick us up at the Bellagio after dinner. We rode the limo down the strip. We had so much fun listening to music and drinking champagne. We stopped the Fabulous Las Vegas Sign for a short time. The sign gets several visitors all day and night. Thankfully, they have added a parking space next to it now. There was a line to take photos. Be aware there are people trying to earn money to be your photographer.
David Copperfield Magic Show at MGM
The limo dropped us off at the MGM. We had tickets to watch David Copperfield that night. I’ve heard how amazing David Copperfield’s show was. We all undeniably agreed to watch his show. I had seen clips of him cutting people in half and levitating in the air. I was absolutely expecting to be wowed by his performance. What we watched didn’t meet my expectations at all. The storyline was nostalgic and sweet in the beginning. Then, it became a bit strange when the alien puppet joined the show. It didn’t feel like magic at all. I was highly disappointed. We left feeling like we didn’t watch a magic show.
We celebrated my sister, Althea’s doctorate graduation hosted by her friends. It’s a proud moment to witness this momentous occasion. Althea finished her doctorate in clinical psychology. I know how much she worked to get to this point. In my culture, you don’t see a lot of Filipinos in the field of psychology. She’s helped so many people as a psychotherapist. Congratulations Sister!
Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay
My sister’s friends invited us to the Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay for cocktails. The Foundation Room is a restaurant and lounge with a rooftop view from Mandalay Bay. From my understanding, the lounge area is membership-only. My sister’s friends had a table reserved. The view from the balcony was amazing. This place had another perfect view of the Las Vegas Strip. It had a great vibe with the music and cocktails. We had a great time dancing. The place got a little crowded towards the evening. It was nice having a table area. We didn’t stay long as we had tickets to watch Fantasy.
Fantasy at Luxor
The Fantasy show at the Luxor is an adult-only event. It’s a burlesque show with a group of women led by Lorena Peril. There’s singing, dancing, acrobat performance, and comedic skits. There was a magic show in between the performances. This show isn’t something I would have preferred to watch but I was wildly entertained. The host was very funny. The magic was better than David Copperfield. My sister knew the host, and she told her to give us a shoutout. It was fun to get a shoutout to the Mamas in need of a break. Interestingly, there were a lot of couples watching this show together.
Luxor’s design theme is Egyptian. The whole hotel is shaped by a pyramid. There are a lot of Egyptian statues and elements all over the whole hotel. There’s a giant sphinx statue at the front of the hotel. There were several statues of the Pharaohs inside as well. It’s a beautifully unique hotel.
Brunch at Café Lola
We had brunch and coffee at Café Lola. Café Lola is a very cute café with beautiful decor. This café was voted Nevada’s most Instagrammable café by Food Network for its unique decor, creative drinks & pink-hued floral walls. It’s definitely a great place to do a photo op. The floral backdrop is very romantic-looking. We enjoyed our sandwiches and coffee.
Pool Day at Red Rock
We spent some time at the pool at Red Rock. It felt very good. The week of activities was fun but exhausting. The weather was perfect that day. The clouds gave us a little shade from the summer heat Las Vegas has. We had some cocktails and chilled out. Soaking in the pool was so relaxing. The only downside is that there wasn’t an adult area pool. There were a lot of kids splashing around. We obviously understand because we are Moms, but it would have been nice to hang out without the kids and have some adult chats.
Tea Lounge at Waldorf Astoria
We had the fanciest tea party with my sister and her friends at the Tea Lounge at the Waldorf Astoria. Dressed in our floral dresses and fascinators, we enjoyed a classic English afternoon tea. We were served with the finest tea infusions and fancy pastries. We had matcha, organic lychee green, floral jasmine tea, and mango oolong. The tea smelled very lovely and rich in taste. I really liked this experience. It is a great reason to get dressed, have tea, and chat with the ladies. I would love to have this kind of experience with my girls in Austin.
The Waldorf Astoria is beautiful. The Tea Lounge is on the 23rd floor which has a great view of Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s another place to a great shot of Las Vegas. The bathroom on the other side of the hotel even has a great view. The waiting area by the elevator has this gold artistic backdrop. It’s a perfect place for a photo op.
Zipline at Rio
My sister recommended we do a zipline. There was a Groupon for this adventure in Rio. When we walked through Rio, it was a little grim. Half of the building was closed with the lights off. The casino was still open and some of the restaurants, but it felt like the hotel was drastically affected by the pandemic. We were a little anxious about this experience. I think if I stopped to dwell on my fears, I might have backed out. My sister-in-law and I did the zipline together. We sat on a hanging seat with a seat belt around the waist. We ziplined to the next building at a 33 miles per hour speed. Towards the end of the line, we posed for the camera like we were asleep. The seat ziplined backward but it wasn’t as scary this time. I’m going to say this was a one-time experience.
Facts About Las Vegas
Las Vegas is the largest city in the state of Nevada. It’s not the capital of Nevada, but it does feel like it should. It’s a very popular destination because of the Las Vegas Strip. Las Vegas is known around the world for its resorts, gambling, shopping, and dining, and it calls itself the Entertainment Capital of the World. Las Vegas has several things to do that are not on the strip like the Valley of Fire and the Seven Magic Mountains. It is also very family-friendly. We have taken our kids here not too long ago. Las Vegas is a destination worth visiting.