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Laura's 25th

Laura's 25th

By Darcey84
Trip Plan Tags: 
adventure
Destinations: 
Las Vegas,
Nevada,
North America,
Overton,
United States

This October Laura, Mandy, Lacey, and Darcey are going to Las Vegas. The special occasion is Laura is turning into an old woman (25). We have talked about doing this trip for years but we are finally making it a reality. We hope to accomplish many memories that will last a lifetime with great friends.

ITEMS

Nightlife

Tryst, Nevada

Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 702 770 3375
Website: www.wynnlasvegas.com/nightlife/tryst

Tryst's entire back wall is open to a small lake fed by a 90-foot waterfall, so clean air wafts in and cigarette smoke goes out. This alone makes it a winner, but the 20- and 30-somethings in their finest threads meandering through spaces like the red library room (compete with a stripper pole for flirty female guests) don't hurt either. If you order bottle service, reserve a table outside for better people-watching. The best are in the far corner just to the left of the waterfall—you'll be able to hear your date talk but still feel connected to the club's energy.

Nightlife

Playboy Club + Moon, Nevada

Palms Fantasy Tower, 4321 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 702 942 7777
Website: www.n9negroup.com/#/playboy/main/

The Playboy Club and Moon nightclub occupy the top two floors of the Palms' Fantasy Tower. The Playboy Club marks the rebirth of Hef's old brand, and you'll have to pay a cover and wait in line up to 45 minutes after 10 p.m. to access the gambling/lounge area (the only gambling space in town to demand an entry)—where you'll find, yes, hot women in bunny suits dealing cards and delivering drinks. The decor is sexy-cheesy: neon Playboy signs, fireplaces. Those looking for a something more 21st-century head up the escalator to Moon, where the dance floor is framed by massive windows looking over the Strip and live projections on the ceiling. The demographic skews younger in Moon and older in Playboy, but there is a free flow of people between the two.

Playboy club open daily from 8 pm; Moon open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:30 pm.

Nightlife

Krave, Nevada

Miracle Mile Shops (at Planet Hollywood), 3663 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 702 836 0830
Website: www.kravelasvegas.com

Frequently voted Best Gay Bar in Vegas, Krave is more accurately two venues: On weekdays it's a midsize lounge with a neighborhood-bar vibe; on Fridays and Saturdays the massive concert and nightclub space next door opens up, creating a megaclub that fits more than a thousand. Aerial acrobats take to the ropes while shirtless boys dance to club anthems and house music. Cirque du Soleil performers frequent Krave after their second show on weekends, as do groups of straight girls looking to dance without being groped. On Saturday nights the lounge area is converted to "Candy Bar," making it the prime place on the Strip where lesbians can go to drink, dance, and meet other girls.

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Nightlife

Haze, Nevada

Aria Casino, 3730 Las Vegas Boulevard S.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Tel: 702 693 8300
Website: lightgroup.com/las-vegas-nightclub-haze/

A very smart design trick makes Haze nightclub at the Aria Casino feel like a hot spot every night of the week: The upstairs level, which surrounds the main dance floor, can be closed so the space still swirls with good energy on slower nights. There's also a semiprivate bar where you can meet friends before heading into the dance floor madness. The night we stopped by, girls on stilts dressed in exaggerated Victorian costumes passed through the crowd of twentysomething Red Bull– and vodka-fueled revelers, and Estelle, who had reserved the upstairs for her birthday celebration, popped down for a surprise performance of "American Boy." As at most Vegas clubs, be ready to spend—two shots of Patrón Silver and two waters ran us $56—and long lines form outside early, so you might find springing for the $300 bottle service to be worthwhile. Surprisingly, for an establishment run by Light Group vets (The Bank at Bellagio, Jet at Mirage), there have been complaints of disorganization among the door staff and table hostesses. We'll be watching to see if Haze can nip these problems in the bud before they escalate.—David Tyda

Open Thursdays through Saturdays 10:30 pm to 4 am.

Cherry

Body English

Blush

Shop

Forum Shops, Nevada

Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino, 3500 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 702 893 4800
Website: www.caesarspalace.com/casinos/caesars-palace/casino-misc/the-forum-shops-detail.html

Since a 2004 expansion, the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace are no longer a quick stop. Fashion addicts can spend a full day touring the 160 stores, including Valentino, Escada, Etro, Roberto Cavalli, Marc Jacobs, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Pucci, Tod's, and Christian Lacroix. The downside is the confusing layout, with curving escalators weaving through the three-story atrium. Despite the high volume of shoppers, employees are pretty attentive. And the best place to eat at the Shops: Spago.

Shops open Sundays through Thursdays 10 am to 11 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to midnight.

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See + Do

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Exit 75 off Interstate 15 (55 miles northeast of Las Vegas)
Overton, Nevada
Tel: 702 397 2088
Website: www.parks.nv.gov/vf.htm

One of the great surprises of what seems like a barren, tumbleweed-strewn desert is this incredible region of beet-colored rock formations that offers some of Nevada's prettiest hiking. About an hour northeast of Las Vegas, the blank terrain suddenly gives way to a basin of looming red-and-white sandstone hills spreading out over more than 34,000 acres. Some of the 150-million-year-old formations look like beehives, another resembles an elephant. Plus, there are Native American petroglyphs from approximately a millennium ago.

Liberace Museum

ALT HERE

See + Do

Hoover Dam

30 miles southeast of Las Vegas on U.S. 93
Nevada/Arizona Border
Tel: 866 730 9097
Website: www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam

The only Nevada image as iconic as the Strip is the mighty Hoover Dam in Black Canyon, an architectural marvel that is awesome to contemplate, even after seven decades. The dam, about 30 miles southeast of the Strip, blocks the Colorado River with a wall of 4.36 million cubic yards of concrete that stands 726 feet high and is 1,244 feet long and 660 feet thick at the base. Those not fascinated by the science of electricity may find the Discovery tour a yawn (though one has to suffer through it to get inside the dam); just walking around the area is enough for most. Bring water—it's hot out here.

Visitor center open daily 9 am to 6 pm. Last tour of the day is at 5:15 pm in summer, 4:15 pm in winter.

ALT HERE

See + Do

Cirque du Soleil, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 702 792 7777
Website: www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/home.aspx#/en/home/shows/americas/usa/nevada/las-vegas.aspx

The phenomenally successful Montreal circus troupe has come a long way since its early days here with Mystère and O. Those shows—with their strange costumes, otherworldly music, and astonishing acrobatics—are still running strong (at Treasure Island and Bellagio, respectively), but the group broke new ground in 2003 with Zumanity at New York–New York (702-740-6815). Sexy performers with perfect physiques flirt their way through contortion, acrobatic, musical, and comedy acts. It's an erotic show, and not recommended for the easily offended. (On the contrary, couples can request seats on somewhat private red-velvet sofas.) For death-defying theatrics, , at MGM Grand, utilizes a stage that rises 70 feet into the air and rotates almost perpendicular to the floor, leaving the performers to struggle (well, it looks like a struggle) to stay on. With its pyrotechnics, heart-pounding music, and adrenaline rush, it attracts the widest audience (800-929-1111). Love, at the Mirage, sets imaginary scenes to Beatles tracks recorded during the legendary Abbey Road sessions. Beatles fans will go mad, but even younger nonfans may find themselves jumping around in their seats (702-792-7777). Magician Criss Angel's Believe, at the Luxor, which calls to mind a sort of Alice in Wonderland, has been a smashing success (702-262-4400). But Cirque's Viva Elvis, at Aria Resort, has yet to work out the kinks. The set design itself is vastly under par compared with other Cirque productions, and the performers seemed ho-hum about the unimaginative acrobatics. But a live band performs to remastered Elvis recordings during the show, making it feel like Elvis, indeed, has not left the building (877-253-5847).—updated by David Tyda

See + Do

Animal Habitats, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

See Vegas's wild creatures—the nonclubbing kind—at one of the animal habitats designed to get you up close (but not Siegfried and Roy–mauling close). The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is a series of underwater caverns that culminate in a transparent tube where sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles glide past (702-632-4555; www.mandalaybay.com). Prefer to actually get wet? The Mirage's Trainer for a Day Program puts guests in a wetsuit and pairs them with a dolphin trainer to learn how to make a bottlenose jump—one of the most exhilarating things you can do in Vegas outside of hitting a Megabucks (702-792-7889; www.themirage.com). MGM Grand's Lion Habitat is less exhilarating, but it's free and has a glass tunnel underneath the lions, who tend to lie around and doze all day—just what you'd expect from the rich heirs of MGM's original roaring Leo (702-891-7777; www.mgmgrand.com).

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Hotel

Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino, Nevada

3570 Las Vegas Boulevard S.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 800 634 6661 (toll-free), Tel: 877 427 7243 (toll-free)
Website: www.caesarspalace.com

Like Cher, who performs regularly in the hotel's major concert venue, Caesars Palace has been around forever—and seems forever new. The resort casino turned 40 in 2006 but has never stood still. Over the past few years, it has expanded the Forum Shops, opened the Roman bath–inspired Qua Spa, launched the celeb-studded Pure nightclub, and in 2008, debuted the Augustus Tower guest rooms—designed in a soothing mustard and white palette with clean lines, granite countertops, and modern amenities such as 42-inch flat-screen TVs. The new stuff makes nary a reference to Caesar, which is refreshing, because the rest of the hotel is covered in columns, toga-clad cocktail waitresses, and other Roman kitsch. The resort is huge, so pack your walking shoes. And be specific when booking: It has almost 3,400 rooms in all, so your options on style, location, and size are virtually endless. If you book in the warmer months, ask to be near the complex of pools, which is laid out like an aquamarine village and includes a pool with swim-up poker tables.—updated by David Tyda

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.