Category Archives: Nevada

48 Hours in Las Vegas

My brand new Fitbit stayed in Vegas.

Somewhere between Pink’s Hot Dogs at Planet Hollywood and our room in the MGM Grand, the Fitbit that I got for Mother’s Day slipped off. I noticed that it wasn’t with me when we came back from the pool. I don’t think it even made it to the pool. I don’t remember having it when I was slathering on sunscreen.

What I can say is Monday’s 13,000 steps recorded was by far the most during the short time on my wrist. And it might have even surpassed my steps during the next two days in the Grand Canyon.

The family in Vegas
The family in Vegas

The Las Vegas strip is spread out and it takes a lot of steps to make it from the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” on the south end to the Stratosphere on the north. Heck, it takes an afternoon just to make it out of the MGM Grand, which I learned is the second-largest hotel resort complex in the United States.

The sites, indeed, are further away than the map shows. The monorails help, but they don’t cover the entire strip. The main fee-based one that runs from MGM Grand to SLS Las Vegas (still a hike to the Stratosphere) only has seven stops and only runs on the east side. You’ll still have to find a bridge to the other side, then the stairs (or elevators if you are lucky) and trek to your location. There are a few free monorails on the west side, but each one only runs to a few properties.

We were in Vegas less than 48 hours, flying in before renting a car and heading to the Grand Canyon. We are not gamblers (even so we had to make some long hikes through the casinos to get where we were going).

My advice for seeing the city in a short period of time is choosing a hotel in the center of the action. Paris is a moderately-priced option.

Or you could stay at MGM Grand on the southern part of the strip and spend all of your time there. Even without gambling at the casino, I’m convinced you could stay busy for a week with these entertainment options and more:

The massive MGM Grand
The massive MGM Grand

Grand Pool Complex: With 6.6 acres of pools, including waterfalls and lazy river, it was a nice free amenity with our modest nightly rate (we paid $135 before resort fees) Drawbacks: the pool complex isn’t open at night and food and drink prices are outrageous.

David Copperfield: the popular illusionist show

Cirque du Soliel: The active show at MGM Grand is Ká, the first Cirque production with a distinct storyline in addition to the lavish martial arts and acrobatics.

Grand Garden Arena: Lots of big-time concerts and sporting events throughout the year

Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club: Everybody loves it when Brad is actually there. The other comedians get mixed reviews.

Restaurants: There are about a dozen really nice ones, including two featuring “French Chef of the Century” Joel Robuchon; about that many modestly-priced options; and a 24-hour food court.

CSI: The Experience: Guests get in on the crime solving

CBS Television City: We could have sat in on free TV show screenings or even earned some money being part of a focus group in CBS’s MGM Grand setup. Just not enough time.

Before you go to Vegas, be prepared to maximize your time and budget by checking out: Don’t buy a show ticket before checking to see what discounted same-day tickets are usually available. You probably won’t get half-priced tickets but 40% off is common. We enjoyed the Frank Sinatra tribute show, which still features many of Frank’s orchestra members.