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Loosest slots in Vegas! Okay, at least in terms of craps. Always the lowest craps bets outside of Fremont, and a great place to go if you want the Fremont budget with the convenience of the Strip. Plus, the $2 foot long hot dogs by the video craps (and the Cinnabon!!) are a wonderful thing when you're rolling them bones late at night.
I absolutely love the Aria! Every Vegas hotel has its own claim to fame by way of amenities and decor, but the Aria takes it above and beyond in terms of trendy and modern. Instead of the marble, chandeliers, and glamorous nightclubs many other hotels offer, this one is more like walking through an amazing art museum. From tubes with whirlpools to the twinkly garden lights in the fake trees to the self-watering/recycling tree garden, you can walk through the ground floor for like an hour and just look. It's awesome.
The Vdara is top notch, from its gorgeous decor to its even more gorgeous views. The 1-bedroom suite is larger than expected, with an ample sized kitchen/dining area and a plush, uber comfy king bed. There are two TVs back to back on the entertainment center, so you can watch from the bed or the couch, and the floor to ceiling windows offer a panoramic view of the Vegas Strip no matter where you are in the suite. my favorite part, though, was the enormous bathroom (as big as some hotel rooms I've seen), with a deep soak tub, glass shower with rain head spigot, long marble counters (and drawers!), and vanity lights - perfect for prettying up before the bachelorette party.
Rooftop clubs are always cool (especially when you get VIP passes for free), and this 60- story lounge is no exception. Drink prices are premium, the music is cranked so high you can't think, and the dance floor is a bit small...but I definitely liked the availability of tables and couches, especially out on the view deck where the music is muffled a bit.
An ice bar is such a cool concept (no pun intended), and the effort that goes into one of these things is amazing. Everything, from the carved out benches to the photo prop frame to the drink glasses are made of ice. When you check in, you'll don parkas, boots, and gloves, and store your things in a locker (the Vegas location doesn't allow electronics inside because they will "melt the ice". Read: they're going to take their own photos of you and charge you $30.) Still, the staff was friendly and super helpful, and the experience is definitely not a daily occurrence. The downside: for a minimum $30 cover charge (granted, this includes the parks, boots, and cocktails), you're only going to be inside for 20-30 minutes before you freeze your boots off, no matter how much you're drinking.
There are literally over a hundred exhibits that offer hands-on experience for everyone from ages 2 to 99: the Eco Challenge will make you a "green superhero," the rocket engine launch simulation is fascinating and awe-inspiring, and stepping into a two-story tall dinosaur model is both weird and awesome. A great place for families and geeks of all ages.
The 7th mission in California, Mission San Juan Capistrano is an iconic and historical landmark. I remember visiting on a field trip when I was in 4th or 5th grade, but the experience stood out: from candle-making to feeding the koi in the ponds to touring the authentic adobe buildings and ruins, it's a great adventure for kids and adults alike. Plus, admission is only $5 in the summer.
I've been to an archery lesson before, but this one was way better. Our instructor Tara was friendly, informative, and very helpful, and she led us through basic lessons before initiating a great competitive game with cute prizes. My only complaint is the venue wasn't the greatest in the summer sun...too much direct sunlight, not enough shade or breeze. Still, a great time was had by all!
Morley Field is a great place to learn archery and perfect your skill. It's in a barren dirt lot with hay bales and several targets, perfect for beginners and experts alike. A trained instructor will teach you technique and style, and if you have a group you can play in teams. A great idea for a weekend event, although there is little shade so be prepared for sunshine and lots of it.
This place is just flat out amazing. Whether you're a beginner or a zip lining pro, they deliver: choose from the speed run, standard course, or extreme course (300 feet above the ground and speeds of up to 40 mph). The staff is professional, friendly, and funny - they make you feel safe and entertained at the same time. We came with a group of four and had an absolute blast - Mike and Howie were just incredible. They kept us laughing, encouraged us to whoop and holler, and made sure we stuck with the "themes" of each run (yell "Bonzai!! near the Japanese theme, do the hula at the Hawaii run). In between runs, they taught us about the landscape and animals, and chatted about bucket lists and travel. We ended two solid hours laughing, smiling, and wanting more. We will be back soon for the extreme run, and requesting Mike and Howie again for sure. It's a great place for kids, adults, families, parties, any excuse you can find to strap yourself into a harness and go flying over canyons!
Classy meets trendy. Budget meets luxury. This place was the perfect blend of design, comfort, and convenience. I loved their newly redesigned look, with sleek black and red furniture that seemed straight out of an Amsterdam art gallery. Business travelers will love their own "media pods" where they can plug in, get connected, and not be bothered; free WiFi, plenty of ports, and even USB cable/charger rentals will satisfy any electronics need. The giant HD GoBoard in the lobby offered everything from the day's weather, stocks, and traffic to their cafe/restaurant menus, while a little 24-hour snack stand made snacking, rehydration, or headache relief readily available. And I haven't even started on the rooms. Let me just say this: free HBO, streaming Disney movies, the plushest pillows I've ever felt in my life, and complimentary Starbucks coffee. Plus, the kids' suites (separated from the adults, by the way!) feature bunk beds and Mickey and Friends toys. Courtyard for the win.