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Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports.

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Top 10 Las Vegas trip experiences for next week

25 Apr 2022

By Dan Ippolito
Next week, I will be on a plane to Las Vegas for the third time in the last four years. Last year, it was not the Sin City I experienced during my first trip in 2019 due to COVID-19 still playing a factor, but this year it seems that the city is pretty much back to its normal self and the regular amount of people visiting. There is plenty to do both on and off the Strip and as I near my vacation, here are 10 things I plan to do, some I have done before but enjoyed so much that I have to double down.

10. Aria Resort & Casino
Through my first two trips, I haven’t had a bad experience at either The Mirage or Bellagio. This time around, my friends and I will be staying at the Aria Resort & Casino, which is part of the massive CityCenter, and located center Strip, near Bellagio.

During our previous journeys to Las Vegas, we found ourselves in the Aria several times and loved the look and location, both qualities that Bellagio had. We’d easily stay at Bellagio again but wanted to test the waters of some other hotels to have comparisons for future trips.

Opened back in 2009, the resort has two towers, one stands at 61 stories and the other at 51, combining for more than 4,000 guest rooms.

I will definitely be found at one of the three pools and exploring some of the 10 bars and nightclubs that the Strip resort has to offer its guests.

9. Hitting the tables
I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t also be found at a gaming table during my stay. My game of choice has always been blackjack. I enjoy the pace of the game along with the positive vibes and conversation you can get from a fun table of players.

I follow basic strategy to the best of my ability and cannot emphasize enough the importance of budgeting your gambling money. Know what you are willing to lose each session or each day and stick to that budget. Do not go finding yourself at an ATM when you have lost your bankroll for that day.

I will mosey on over to other games as well, mostly roulette and craps. Craps can be intimidating to newcomers as bets are being made rapidly and chips are flying all over the table to get the bets in before the shooter is ready to fire away. However, once you get your feet wet and know what’s going on, it can be a blast.

Even with a high house edge, roulette, for me, is a much slower, more relaxed game compared to others so it can be a nice change of pace.

We will see the outcome from playing at the tables, but honestly, sometimes a small loss can even be considered a win over several days in Las Vegas.

8. Endless steak
This item is for the steak lovers like myself. Whether it be prime rib, filet, ribeye or what have you, Fogo de Chao is an experience you don’t want to miss out on. It is located off the Strip but not too far, it is only about a 10 minute Uber ride.

I’ve been there before and I will absolutely be going again next week. If you have never been to Fogo or a Brazilian steakhouse before, I would highly recommend it, not only for the food but for the unique experience.

Basically, for $63 per person, you get everything offered at the market table which usually contains salads, antipasto and other assortments of appetizers.

Once you are done with that or are just ready for the meat courses, you flip your individual card from the red side to the green side and waiters will begin to bring all kinds of steaks, chicken and sausages to your table for you to try. You can have as much as you want and have those meats come back to your table as many times as you want.

7. The spa
Up to this point, I have not gotten a massage or treatment from a spa in Las Vegas but I have had a hot stone massage before in the Dominican Republic when I stayed at the Hard Rock resort almost nine years ago.

I am interested in giving The Spa at Aria a go and maybe going for the custom massage where guests can choose the pressure that they want and what areas they want worked on more than others. You can choose this option for 50, 80 or 100 minutes.

Depending on the success, or lack thereof, at the tables and sportsbooks, I may need the rest and relaxation that comes from the massages at the spa.

6. UFC 274/Boxing title fight
On 7 May, Charles Oliveira is set to defend his Lightweight title against Justin Gaethje in Phoenix at UFC 274. While it is not taking place in Las Vegas, there will be plenty of spots to watch the fight and have the event on your sports betting card.

However, there is an event going on at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas when Canelo Alvarez defends his Light Heavyweight Boxing title against Dmitry Bivol.

I do follow both sports and would enjoy being in attendance, but sitting in a different area code for more than $550 a ticket isn’t on my agenda for this trip.

That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if I do have a little something on each of the fights and I will be watching these events in one way or another.

Oliveira is -170 and Alvarez is -450 on bet365 Sportsbook & Racebook.

5. Escape Room
If you are looking for something other than sports betting, gambling or nightclubs, then an Escape Room could be the perfect fit for your group. Trapped! Escape Room is another place that is not on the Strip but not far at all. To give you a point of reference, it will be a seven minute car ride for us to get there from the Aria.

It is an hour of teamwork that has you and your friends coming together to figure out different riddles and puzzles in order to complete an objective.

Last year, my friends and I did complete an escape room with just about six minutes to spare. The objective was to break into a safe and retrieve a formula to prevent the creation of killing machines. Kind of crazy, I know but it was quite fun.

This year we are going to do another room where we must find our way out of an international criminal’s “lair”.

An escape room is a fun way to separate from the Las Vegas Strip and enjoy an activity with your group.

4. Rhumbar
I have to admit, I was devastated when I first heard that Rhumbar was being closed permanently. However, last week, The Mirage reopened my favorite indoor and outdoor cigar bar and it is high on my list for the upcoming vacation.

When I went on my trip in 2019, there was live music outside and several televisions where I got to watch Damian Lillard hit one of the craziest three-point shots at the buzzer to send the Oklahoma City Thunder home from the playoffs.

The atmosphere is great and looks right out to the Strip. I can’t wait to stop in and have a Macallan 12 year paired with a Montecristo #2 cigar.

3. The LINQ High Roller
It was on my agenda for trip two but there were so many things we wanted to do and so little time that it just didn’t fit last trip but I am hoping the spot at The LINQ Hotel + Experience makes the cut this time around.

The attraction goes up to 550 feet high and is $25 a ticket during the day. However, my plan is to spend the extra $12 for a night ticket.

There is also the “Night Happy Half Hour” which is $60 that includes an open bar on your journey filled with views of the Strip. Normally I would consider this option too but not sure how my fear of heights and alcohol would mix so I am going to just avoid that.

2. Pool parties
Staying at the Aria makes going to pool parties a little easier with the Liquid Pool Lounge right downstairs from our rooms.

Filled with daybeds, cabanas and music, the 16,000 square-foot day club area is open from Wednesday to Sunday with DJs.

Now that doesn’t limit us to just attending our hotel’s pool party. There are several others along the Strip. You have Drai’s Beachclub at The Cromwell, Wet Republic at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, and TAO Beach Dayclub at The Venetian Las Vegas to name a few.

There are plenty of options if you are looking to do some outdoor partying during the day but also stay cool in the Las Vegas heat.

1. The Kentucky Derby
I mentioned earlier that 7 May had two major title fights taking place at night and if that wasn’t enough, the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.

I was in Las Vegas for the Kentucky Derby in 2019 and the Preakness last year. Hopefully this outcome will be a little nicer to the horses I bet on.

I think it is safe to say that 7 May has plenty of sporting events to wager on and I know I won’t be the only one watching these top events.

When you hear Kentucky Derby, many minds immediately think of the legendary trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert is currently banned at Churchill Downs for two years after he was guilty of four medication positives in a year.

Baffert has moved several of his horses to other trainers so they can compete in the Derby.

I am eager to see the excitement of everyone watching in the Las Vegas sportsbooks during the race and to see if one of Baffert’s horses, now trained by others, comes out on top.
 
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