USA series: Las Vegas casinos including New York-New York, MGM Grand and Paris

 

Excalibur is gloriously lit

Excalibur is gloriously lit

Alex and I are venturing out on our second day exploring the various hotels and casinos along the Las Vegas Boulevard “Strip”.

Today’s focus is on the eastern side of the Las Vegas Boulevard, working our way north from our first stop at New York-New York Hotel and Casino. New York- New York… a city so fantastic, they name it twice.

Other casinos on our list today include the MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood and Paris.

The forecast is for a warm day, which is not unusual for Las Vegas.  Relief from the heat will, of course, will be sought in the comfort of the numerous casinos.

Las Vegas climate according to Wikitravel:

“Las Vegas has an arid climate with sunny, dry, and extremely hot summers. For summer, daytime highs are typically in the 100s (F) and up to or > 110 (F), with low humidity. This helps temperatures feel not as hot as they otherwise would at these levels, but never-the-less, it is still hot! Nighttime lows are usually in the high 80s.

Winter is much cooler with daytime highs generally in the 50s (F), and nighttime lows in the 40s or 30s (F). Snow is rare in Las Vegas, although every few years apart the metro area may see some snowfall. The mountains surrounding Las Vegas are capped with snowfall in the winter season.

Some of the best months to visit Las Vegas are March, April, May, October, and November. Temperatures are not too hot or too chilly at those times, although a good time can really be had at any time in Las Vegas.”

12:30pm
Alex and I begin our day at New York – New York Hotel and Casino.  This casino, although a tad cheesy, doesn’t leave us disappointed.  We love this casino because it has plenty of reminders (both inside and out) of our recent stay in Manhattan, New York including the wonderful Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. 

New York-New York Manhattan skyline

New York-New York Manhattan skyline

New York-New York complete with Lady Liberty

New York-New York pool and roller coaster

New York-New York pool and roller coaster

Inside we stop at the Greenwich Village Coffee Co. for a caffeine fix.

New York-New York - spot the real coffee

New York-New York – spot the real coffee

I don’t think there will be a casino called Washington-Washington any time soon.

We cross over Las Vegas Boulevard on a stinking hot day to next visit MGM Grand.

MGM Grand according to Wikitravel:

“Opened in 1993, this Hollywood themed resort has 5,044 guest rooms. The theme “Maximum Vegas” refers to the point that almost anyone can find something to do. With 6.6 acres of swimming area, 2 wedding chapels, 3 theaters, multitudes of restaurants, a spa and salon, a 380,000 square foot conference centre, shops galore, and 165,000 square feet of casino floor.”

Alex and I are not looking to see anything in particular here at the MGM Grand, just visiting because it is the MGM Grand.

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

MGM Grand interior

MGM Grand interior

The casino floor is jumping because of the pending middleweight fight between Mayweather and Canelo which is apparently a big deal.  Today is the weigh-in which seems to have just finished and there are swarms of fight fanatics everywhere.  Unfortunately this makes it hard to get a feel for the casino when you are constantly just trying to make your way through crowds.  From ground level, behind bobbing heads on the casino floor the casino looks like any other so we decide to take our leave.

4:30pm
Having finally found an exit out of the MGM Grand and back onto Las Vegas Boulevard, we pass by the not so exclusive precinct of Hawaiian Marketplace and decide not to stop until we seek the refuge of the big (or little in this case) “ph” (aka Planet Hollywood).

Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino

Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino

Outside Planet Hollywood is a half price ticket booth.  We take the chance to buy some discounted tickets for tomorrow night’s “Vegas Show”, which happens to be showing at Planet Hollywood.  Our tickets cost USD$52 (each).

We go inside Planet Hollywood’s entrance for the Miracle Mile Shops. 

While the shops look ok and I am sure Alex could look at a mile of shops, I couldn’t, and after a brief look we resort to the comfort of a bar instead.

6:30pm
Conveniently for us, positioned next door to Planet Hollywood is Paris Hotel and Casino.

Paris Hotel and Casino

Paris Hotel and Casino

Paris complete with Arc de Triomphe

Paris complete with Arc de Triomphe

Located at Paris is Mon Ami Gabi, a “casual French” restaurant well positioned on Las Vegas Boulevard with its al fresco dining balcony across the road from the famous Bellagio fountains.

View of the Bellagio and its magnificent fountains from Paris

View of the Bellagio and its magnificent fountains from Paris

Mon Ami Gabi according to Paris Las Vegas:

“It’s easy to become a Francophile at Mon Ami Gabi, this charming Las Vegas restaurant that offers
al fresco dining on the Strip outside Paris Las Vegas in a casual dining environment.

Although offering a terrific spot for people watching, you’d better get your looks in early. Once your deliciously simple French food is served you may soon forget your surroundings. Highlighted by classic steak frites and a variety of fruits de mer, the Mon Ami Gabi menu also boasts an extensive wine list. It’s the closest thing to dining on the Champs Elyseé on this side of the Atlantic, making for a memorable Paris Las Vegas restaurant experience.”

Despite having to wait 30 minutes for a table, the great things about this restaurant are that the prices are very reasonable, the meals fantastic and the front row view of the Bellagio fountains is amazing and definitely a highlight of our trip.

If you have a bigger budget, the next step up would be to try the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.

7:30pm
After dinner we wander back down to Planet Hollywood for tonight’s Cirque du Soleil’s performance of Zarkana.

Cirque du Soleil presents Zarkana

Cirque du Soleil presents Zarkana

Planet Hollywood - Zarkana stage is set

Planet Hollywood – Zarkana stage is set

Zarkana according to Cirque du Soleil:

“Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil is an acrobatic rock experience that blends circus arts with the surreal to create a world where physical virtuosity rubs shoulders with the strange.

Zark, the ringmaster of an extraordinary circus coming back to life, guides us in an abandoned theatre populated by a motley collection of off-the-wall characters and incomparable acrobats. Among other attractions, he introduces the Mutants, four sirens as sinister as they are fabulous.

Zarkana is a visual vortex set in a twisted musical and acrobatic fantasy universe where, little by little, chaos and craziness give way to a true celebration.”

I admit I have no idea what the above blurb about Zarkana actually means and/or how it relates to the show that Alex and I experienced tonight.  I thought I saw a series of different acrobatic acts… most of which were impressive and one slightly unfortunate where the acrobat fell from the apparatus.

I asked Alex afterwards how he liked the show given it was his choice: “Well it wasn’t too bad… so a guy fell down…”. Hmmm… sorry but this show was not a highlight for me either.

10:00pm
We wander back along the length of Las Vegas Boulevard to our hotel, the Luxor.  The walk back takes us about an hour.  The illumination of the hotels along the strip is sensory overload. 

MGM Grand

MGM Grand

New York New York against a black sky

New York New York against a black sky

Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino

Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino

Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe

Las Vegas Boulevard is buzzing with people and traffic and it is hard to sometimes take it all in… the people… the heat… the lights… this place is so fantastic![showmyads]

For previous USA series post see Las Vegas hotels and casinos from Caesars Palace to Wynn
For next USA series post see The Vegas Show and Bellagio Fountains