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Mike and I have visited Las Vegas several times in the past on a couples getaway date weekend, sans kids.
We’ve always told our kids that children aren’t allowed in Las Vegas, because I truly believe that it’s not really a great place for kids or family vacations. So don’t get me wrong, I’m writing this post because we did end up taking the kids to Las Vegas, but not in the way that you think.
You see, we recently took a family roadtrip to California for two weeks. As we drove through the heavy traffic South on the I-5 through Los Angeles, towards my sister’s place in San Diego, our ultimate destination, Mike turned to me in the car and said: “Maybe we should take a different route home, maybe go through Las Vegas?”
That changed everything about our planned route home. I agreed, I thought it would be fun to show the girls Las Vegas, even for just one night. The beauty of road trips, is that you don’t have to stick to a specific plan or route, it can be changed on a whim. So I cancelled our return hotels and worked on a new plan. One night in Vegas and one night in Boise after we’d leave San Diego the following week.
WHERE TO STAY
We chose the Mandalay Bay because we’d heard it had a great beach club, pool area and lazy river we thought the kids would enjoy, plus it’s on The Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard), which we wanted to drive down with the kids.
If you’re going as a couple, I highly recommend the Palazzo or the Bellagio hotels. We have loved these properties during past visits.
I will say, if you’re going to take the kids on an actual vacation to Las Vegas, I would recommend staying off the strip. There are some resorts off the strip that may be more suited to a family getaway.
Even at a Las Vegas Boulevard “Strip hotel” with a great pool area and great dining options, you’re always going to have loud, annoying drunk people around the pool and hotel. We enjoyed the lazy river WITH my daughters and there were still out-of-control young people drunk and too careless to be swimming around my kids.
According to The Oyster, these are some of the best family-friendly resorts in Vegas:
The Mirage, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and The Excalibur. These are all on Las Vegas Boulevard, ‘The Strip’. I would choose something off-strip like the Wyndham Grand Desert.
I love dining in Las Vegas, in fact, it’s one of my favourite things about this city. We have dined at so many beautiful, delicious, over-the-top restaurants in Las Vegas over the years.
Jasmine in The Bellagio
We chose The Bellagio for dinner, even though we were staying at Mandalay Bay, for a view of the Fountain show. This was the one thing we really wanted the girls to see on our one evening in Las Vegas with them.
So we walked through the hotel looking for a dinner spot, and the casual place they used to have in the lobby was closed, so we took them through the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and marveled at the beauty of it all, I think it’s a must-see with kids in addition to the Fountains (more here).
We’ve eaten at SALT multiple times in the past and we would have been satisfied with this pricey but Cactus-Club-esque eatery but we’d never eaten at Jasmine before and it overlooks the fountains. It’s a Cantonese restaurant so you can go all out for the full Peking duck experience or just choose a few favourite staples off the menu and make it work, family style. That was the beauty for us, we only ordered a handful of items and shared everything. The priciest thing on our bill was two $20 glasses of wine.
As we sat at a large round table back from the windows but had an amazing view of two shows of the fountains (they run every 15-30 minutes).
As for other favourite restaurants you can take the kids to,
Fancy: Javiers (Aria)
Casual: T&T (Tacos & Tequila at the Luxor)
Fancy: BURGR (Cosmopolitan)
Casual: (the one we’ve been to)
Ceasar’s Palace (or so I’ve heard, I’m not a buffet person)
Ruth’s Chris or CUT
We have enjoyed plenty of shows in Las Vegas and as you know, this city has no shortage of evening entertainment, but according to my research, these are the best ones that the whole family will enjoy:
My 9-year-old daughter is obsessed with the Food Network Show, VEGAS CAKES, so our first stop in the city was Freed’s Bakery. If you or your kids love this show, take a drive and buy a slice of heaven in the form of cake + buttercream at this suburban bakery known for it’s giant beautiful cake creations.
All-in-all, it was a fun visit for the girls and for us! It was worth the detour!