Scott, Skyler and I flew to Las Vegas for a long weekend family getaway last weekend!
Vegas isn’t typically the first destination you think of for family-friendly fun, but it proved to be a fantastic choice and well worth the investment. Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of things you can do with kids included, so hopefully this post helps if you’re looking to visit one day with your who family along for the ride.
To be fair, Scott had a previous work commitment to fly in for, so we decided to tag along at the last minute because he was *just* coming home from a three-week trip overseas the week before. We missed him.
Regardless of the reason that brought us over, our time in Nevada was really great. We stayed on the south side of the Strip, saw a few shows, spent a lot of time playing at the pools, and dined out and explored the area by foot and taxi. It was the perfect blend of action and relaxing, and unlike the past adults-only trips to Las Vegas I’ve experienced before.
Here are the highlights!
Hotel & Resort
We booked our hotel soon after we booked our flights. We didn’t research for too long, but spent enough time looking through options on the strip to see what fit our needs the best.
For this trip specifically, we wanted a resort feel that had plenty of amenities for Skyler to see and do on the hotel property. We wanted to take our time waking up, although adjusting to Pacific Standard Time didn’t quite allow for that on Skyler’s internal time clock, ha. We also wanted to have options to casually dine in-house and lounge around at the pool before setting out each day. And that’s exactly what we did!
Mandalay Bay Resort checked all of our boxes and was rated one of the top family-friendly hotels right on the Strip that wasn’t overly expensive. It’s part of MGM Resorts, and we were able to accumulate MGM rewards for every purchase made in the hotel, too. It was a great bonus.
The hotel is enormous and included all of the standard things you’d think of with any large hotel on the Strip. There were casinos, restaurants, cafes, shops, and HUGE pool area. Two things that stood out to me, and a big reason we chose this one for our stay, were the additional beaches and multiple pool areas as well as the Shark Reef Aquarium.
Because of time, we didn’t actually make it into the aquarium, but it’s something we all wanted to do. Maybe next time.
Skyler was a big fan of the lazy river and kiddie pool by the wave pool, so we spent a considerable amount of time in those two areas. And you better believe we took the inflatable tube home with us after spending over $30 on it at the gift shop!
Exploring the Strip
As you can imagine, it was hot during our time in Las Vegas with temperatures in the 80s and 90s and zero clouds in the sky. I am well aware that we were in the desert and that temperatures get a lot higher, but this is worth mentioning because it felt insanely aggressive on our mid-day treks up and down the streets. Woof.
We didn’t walk for more than a mile at a time with Skyler (carrying him most of the way), and we walked through the shops and air conditioned hotels on our way as much as we could. We slathered on the sunscreen (<- my fave clean option) and carried bottles of water with us. You have to with that type of heat index!
Scott and I had both been on the Strip many times, and I just visited the city with a group of girlfriends last summer. It’s always neat to experience it all again during the day and at night times.
Many stops reminded us of home in New York City, as we passed some of our favorite restaurants in Manhattan like Beauty & Essex, Catch, Eataly, Grimaldi’s, Nobu, Black Tap and more. There were also scenes from Times Square (and suburbia) like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, Ross, etc.
Something that took me back to our Orlando days was the Rainforest Cafe! We didn’t actually dine here, but we walked through the levels to show Skyler all of the animals and jungle scenes. He was all about it.
We also visited the M&M Store and Hershey’s Chocolate World, both of which we have here but rarely go through.
There are SO MANY upscale shops, boutiques, and malls, too. You’ve got a variety of big names in all of the hotels and then large shopping malls like The Shops at Crystals, Miracle Mile Shops, Fashion Show Las Vegas, Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian, Via Bellagio and much more.
We did a lot of window shopping and walking by.
Skyler kept asking about the roller coaster at the New York, New York Hotel. He was, of course, to small to ride. But we found plenty to do elsewhere! I felt like we walked that strip forever, ha.
We didn’t make it into all of the hotels (does anyone?!), but we hit a lot of the main ones and tried to take in as much as we could.
Our show itinerary changed a bit on this trip, as we aimed for things that would excite and entertain our five-year-old. There were many contenders to pick from, but we chose the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur as our main event.
We opted for the dinner tickets to include the traditional mid-evil fare of cornish hen, potatoes and corn dinner (that you eat with your hands) for the full experience. You can choose to go without dinner, however, for a discounted ticket rate. Looking back, we should have purchased two dinners for the three of us, as it was a lot of food.
The show was entertaining and interactive, and Skyler was clapping and shouting “Huzzah” the whole time! It was so cute.
We spent some time outside of the theater inside the hotel at the kid-friendly casino downstairs, too. It was bigger than expected, and we could have spent hours if we had the time. Sky was definitely in his element.
We were going to purchase tickets to the Immersive Disney Animation experience, but we ended up spending more time at the pool instead. I don’t think Skyler minded. 😉
Scott had the Cirque du Soleil LOVE show on his list for this trip, and he went solo to a 9:30 p.m. showing the night before we left. I saw the performance the summer before, and we both know a few of the dancers in the cast. It’s a great show and very dance-forward, all to Beatles classics.
Just like activities, there are endless dining options on and near the Strip. We kept things on more of the casual side with Skyler, but one of my biggest dinner recommendations if you’re in a group of adults is Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio. I went last summer and had the best time with live entertainment and views of the fountain shows in the background.
One thing Skyler requested to do on our trip was go to a hibachi restaurant, so we chose Benihana and it was fantastic. The location at Fashion Show was closest, but we were able to get reservations at the one located in the Westgate and took a quick cab ride over. It was beautifully decorated with a “Japan Village” area upon entry and Skyler loved seeing the koi fish and strolling around.
Another favorite of mine was conveniently right in our hotel, the House of Blues. While we’d typically visit during night time hours if it was just Scott and I, we sat for breakfast instead, twice, and enjoyed the music and vibes with great breakfast options. (The omelet was tasty, but the cajun home fries are a must!)
There are dozens of other dining options in the hotel, too. We chose Noodle Shop for our last easy dinner in, and it was also a wonderful atmosphere with great food. Skyler actually slept through it, but I think he would have liked it too.
We spent a lot of time outside at the pools, so we also grabbed snacks and drinks from the Mandalay Bay Beach grills and cafes. They have a good variety of options.
And finally, I was able to find a wonderful Power Bowl at The Crack Shack. It’s known for the Southern fried chicken, which Scott and Skyler ordered plenty of. We also shared a side of fries. Honestly, the bowl was perfect and so was the Scramble beverage, a Vodka Blackberry Mule. We loved our break from the heat on their patio, along with the people watching.
I briefly mentioned that Scott had a work commitment that initially brought us out to Vegas, and that turned into a meet-up instead. We then spent several hours at a nearby arcade called Round 1 in Meadows Mall. Skyler was in heaven.
We could have spent a lot more time just walking the Strip, but it got tricky with the heat and also holding Skyler. I guess a travel stroller would have been helpful, even though he’s outgrown that stage for our everyday activities.
We made sure to hit the big must-see destinations, like the Bellagio Fountain show, along with a loop inside to see the famous art blossoms (glass ceiling) along with the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. It’s absolutely stunning!
We caught the tail end of The Volcano in front of The Mirage, which Skyler was obsessed with.
Due to a wrong turn on dinner plans, we ended up at the Flamingo Hotel. I remembered from my previous trip that they have a live exhibit of flamingos outside, so we made sure to briefly stop by and say hello.
Last time I visited, we also walked over to The High Roller and enjoyed spectacular views of the city on the wheel. You can do the family-friendly version and take your kids or opt for the adult-only cars and partake in the Happy Hour tickets, which includes a bartender serving you the entire time. Each ride takes about thirty minutes to make a full rotation and it was a really fun time! The Linq Promenade has several other attractions and things to do as well.
And, of course, lots of time casually strolling around our hotel and entertaining ourselves.
As predicted, our time in Las Vegas flew by! Just like visiting any other city packed with things to do, there’s never enough time to hit all of the things you want to do. Scott and I are already talking about making a return in the future, this time maybe on our own for a totally different experience after 7 p.m. every night, lol.
For now, we’re in New York until Skyler finishes his school year at the end of the month and then heading down to Florida to spend some quality time with my family and friends near the beach in July.
Thanks for stopping by the blog to read all about our trip, and I hope you have a great summer full of fun adventures ahead.
Any plans to travel?
Have you been to Vegas with kids before?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!