CELEBRATING My 30th Birthday in Vegas
I love celebrating birthdays, and most of the time I put a lot of energy into planning other people’s birthday celebrations and not a lot of time into mine. Since my son has been born, I’ve been going all out when it comes to his birthday parties. For the first year, I did a basketball bash first birthday party and for his second birthday we did a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday theme. Even for his third, I am already planning a family trip so that we can celebrate his birthday at Disney World.
Even before I was throwing birthday parties for my son, I was typically the one planning out how we are going to celebrate other’s people birthdays and when it came around to celebrating mine, I would just plan a simple dinner or a small gathering at my home for drinks and cake like I did for my 29th birthday. But as it started drawing closer to my 30th birthday, I knew that I needed to do something much more extravagant than a dinner at my favorite restaurant or a small gathering at my home.
I’ve always wanted to go to Vegas. Between the nightclubs, shows, restaurants, and fun adventures around every corner, it has been a destination that has been on the bucket list. So as I began thinking of what to do for my 30th birthday, I figured, why not plan a trip to Vegas. I shared my ideas with my family and the Babes That Wander, and the plans were set that we were going to Vegas to celebrate not only my 30th birthday, but the 30th birthday of my fellow Babe – Lauryn of Lauryncakes.
Planning to celebrate a birthday in Vegas is actually quite easy – especially because there are so many options of places you can go, things you can do, places to eat and drink, and, of course, locations to get those Instagrammable shots. And now that I am back from celebrating my epic 30th birthday, I want to provide you all with this guide of how you can celebrate your birthday in Vegas with insight into where to stay, eat, play, and get those epic photos for Instagram.
Where to Stay IN LAS VEGAS
When visiting Vegas there are so many places to stay. Whether you’re staying on the Strip or want to go off the beaten path a little, there are plenty of places that you can search and find a place that fits you and your comfort. Initially, when we started planning this trip to Vegas, we looked at Airbnbs. There were houses, condos and even hotel rentals – which we ended up landing on – so make sure that you look at all options to see what fits your budget. Additionally, one major tip if you are planning early enough, is to sign up for newsletters and connect with the hotel you are looking to stay with. I learned that if you begin booking and somewhere end up putting your email in as a contact, you’ll end up starting to receive emails for great discounts. One email that I got right after we had booked the places we ended up staying for another hotel offered a two nights free when you book one night in one of their larger suites with complimentary meals at two of their restaurants during the stay. It was a great deal, and it honestly sounds too good to be true, but remember that hotels in Vegas give rooms at great rates to get people in the building because the majority of them house casinos. So if they can get people in the rooms and in the building, then they are getting people on the casino floor where the majority of their money is made.
The Palazzo AT THE VENETIAN
On the strip is the Venetian, a hotel filled with shops, restaurants, casino, gondolas, and so much more. A part of the Venetian is the Palazzo which is a hotel filled with suites that will give you the most luxurious vibe and leave you feeling as if you were doing things wrong accepting any other type of room besides rooms that they provide at this hotel.
The Venetian is a resort modeled after the spirit and excitement of Venice. With indoor and outdoor gondolas, the Grand Colonnade Lobby, a shopping area that literally makes you feel as if you are in the city of Venice, Italy, and restaurants and bars that provide the tastes of Italy, you’re not going to be disappointed when staying at either of the two towers.
For the second part of my stay in Vegas to celebrate my 30th birthday, we stayed at the Palazzo which is one of the towers at the Venetian. With all the rooms in the hotel being a suite, the layout of the room is dependent on how many you are booking the room for and how much space you are looking to have. We stayed in a luxury two queen suite for two people which gave us plenty of room. The beds were super comfortable the sitting area was so handy – especially if you’re like me and don’t often like to sit down back in the bed after you’ve gotten dressed and you’re ready to go or if you have people coming to the room to hang out late at night – and the bathroom was so immaculate – the bathroom included a TV so that you could relax in the huge bathtub and watch your favorite show and not feel pressed to move for some time.
Comfort and luxury is at the Venetian and with it’s location very central on the Strip it is a place that you won’t regret booking and, when you think about returning back to Vegas for another trip or birthday celebration, the Venetian will be at the top of your list.
Palms Place LAS VEGAS
For the first part of our trip, my family and I stayed at the Palms Place. Now, don’t get this confused with the Palms Hotel – though it is connected. The Palms Place are suites that are seemingly built for longer stays. with the suites being equipped with kitchens / kitchenettes, these are definitely rooms that you’ll feel comfortable bringing food back to to reheat or making your own food and drinks right in your suite throughout the stay.
We ended up booking the Palms Place through Airbnb as our double suite is privately owned. It was super easy to book and it provided us plenty of space. Our 2 bedroom suite at the Palms Place that we booked through Airbnb put us on the 33rd floor and gave us two access entries so that our rooms were connected without all of us being in one suite. How it worked is that at the end of the hallway, there was the main entry door and once you access that main entry, you enter into a small area where there are two doors. With this type of access, it allowed us to prop doors open so we could walk back and forth and visit each other without worrying about others accessing our rooms. One of the suites in the double suite, which I would deem the master suite, has a kitchen, large living room, lots of closet space, a large king size bed, a whirlpool tub, and extravagance to the max. The other room was just as a great and super large. Though in the suite is titled as two bedrooms, you can actually sleep quite a collection of people – about 8-10 max. In both of the rooms there are pull out couches to give you about 4 beds total so if you are traveling to Vegas to celebrate your birthday with a larger group and you want to stay together, this would be the way to go.
Where to Celebrate IN LAS VEGAS
If you’re heading to Vegas to celebrate your birthday, you’re definitely going to want to find places to celebrate and have fun. There are quite a few options and it, honestly, all depends on what you are looking to do and how you are planning on celebrating. For my 30th Vegas birthday celebration, I wanted a more luxury experience so I decided to spend time at a few bars, experiencing some of the more famous locations to visit, and do a night at a nightclub to celebrate the ending of my 20s. Though there are so many great options of things to do to celebrate your birthday in Vegas, I have rounded up some that I highly recommend putting on your Vegas birthday itinerary.
BEAUTY AND ESSEX
Where to Eat IN LAS VEGAS
Just like all the many places to celebrate, there are so, so many places to eat in Vegas. You can’t take more than one step before you see another option to eat at any place on or off the Strip. When searching for specific flavors, definitely start with the theme of the hotel resort. For example, if you’re looking for French cuisine, head over to Paris in Vegas and if you’re looking for Italian then your best bet will probably be to head over to the Venetian. For your Vegas birthday, is it up to you as to what your favorite flavors are and they super easy to find. One tip when planning your trip to Vegas is that if you are looking to visit specific locations at a certain time, especially the ones that are very popular such as Beauty & Essex, make a reservation ahead of time. Even the week before our trip, we looked at the reservation list and many of the places we also had as options were fully booked. We ended up squeezing into the restaurants we ended up going to, which of course did not disappoint, but I wouldn’t recommend just trying to do a walk-ins and you may find yourself walking to three or four before you find one that you can get in.
BRERAIn the Venetian, you’ll find BRERA. The restaurant, though in the indoors of the Venetian, gives you the feel as if you are outdoors in Venice. Located in the shopping area of the Venetian under the painted ceiling of the resort in St. Mark’s Square, you’ll find BRERA with it’s amazing menu of Italian cuisine. BRERA is open for lunch and dinner and provides a great menu of cocktails and food. The pizza is a popular item to order and, depending your group size, I recommend getting a appetizer and pizza to share and then each person getting their own plate such as seafood or pasta. I ended up ordering the Amatriciana which was a fabulous pasta that you just must try and our group shared the Coppia pizza which was super flavorful.
MON AMI GABIFound in Paris in Las Vegas, you’ll find a very popular brunch location – Mon Ami Gabi. Open for brunch on the weekends and for all meals during the week, the menu is compiled of authentic French cuisine and has cocktails that compliment the flavors. If you’re in Vegas over the weekend, I recommend the weekend brunch. Their brunch specials are super delicious and very filling to get you up and moving during the day so that you can take on walking around the strip. For our brunch, I order the St. Germain Spritz and the Corned Beef Hash and it was not only filling, but flavorful and had me thinking about getting more later in the day.
BLACK TAPAlso located at the Venetian is a very popular burger and milkshake spot – Black Tap. This restaurant is know for it’s large and over the top milkshakes. It’s a sports bar that offers seating inside around the casino area, but also outside where you can enjoy your meal and/or milkshake just above the Venetian outdoor canal. We ended up heading to Black Top for dinner in order to get a big meal before going out and ordered burgers and shakes and found ourselves literally taking on more than we could chew. The burgers are pretty large and the milkshakes are larger. If you’re not a burger person, still stop by to Black Tap to enjoy a themed milkshake.
Instagrammable Places IN LAS VEGAS
Las Vegas is filled with so many iconic locations that make it look as if you are visiting another country while only walking a few blocks. I mean, you can literally go from being in Venice to being in Paris just by walking about five blocks down the strip. Each hotel / resort maintains it’s own theme and with the history of the hotels and the city itself, you’ll find so many great backdrops to get those amazing photos that you’ll want to share on Instagram. During the day on this Vegas birthday trip, we headed around the strip – walking a lot of it but also taking an Uber – to get those Instagrammable photos between going to shows, bars, and restaurants. I’ve rounded up a collection of top Instagrammable places in Las Vegas with ‘Pro Tips’ on the best time to visit to get the photos, how to get there, and how to get the best shots.
THE VENETIAN GONDOLA
THE TREVI FOUNTAIN
Near Ceasar’s Palace located at the Forum Shops, you’ll find the Trevi Fountain – well, at least the Vegas replica of it. It’s a great place to get another iconic Vegas shot and it is a place where you don’t have to worry too much about the time of day when you go and get the photo. We ended up at the Trevi Fountain the middle of the day and it wasn’t too busy, so I was able to get a shot without people in my background and without having to wait for anyone to move.
The area itself is actually quite calm because most of the people are actually on the other side of the street on the Strip. It is a place people mostly stumble upon are are specifically looking for.
While in the area, I also suggest checking out the Atlantis Aquarium and the shops inside. We did a walkthrough right after we go this shot and it is definitely worth visiting especially if you love to shop.
Pro Tip: Though you can get a photo at this location any time of the day, if you’re looking to get a photo that is wider than mine and includes the entire fountain, I would suggest going earlier in the morning where there are less people. It wasn’t super busy when we took this picture, but it did have people sitting down that would have been in my shot if we had tried to get the entire fountain.
SPINX AT THE LUXOR
ARC DE TRIOMPHE
Next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris in Las Vegas, you’ll find the Arc De Triomphe. This replica is a smaller version of the one that you’ll find in Vegas but it is still just as immaculate and gorgeous. You’ll find it at the main drop of area of the hotel and, even during the middle of the day, it is quite easy to get a photo in front of the Arc without worrying about too many people being there are many cars being in the way.
You can access the location just by walking around on the strip. We stopped by this location right after having brunch at Mon Ami Gabi and also stopped by and got a photo for Instagram Stories at the flower wall in the casino area that says “From Paris, with love”.
Pro Tip: A little note about taking photos here is that the walkway you would stand on is also the driveway to the hotel, so make sure to keep an eye on your photographer and warn him or her about oncoming cars.
THE HIGH ROLLER
While in Vegas, many people like to stop by the Linq Promenade and ride the High Roller. With the purchase of a ticket (starting at $25), you can take a 30 minute ride and see the view from above. We ended up taking a ride on the High Roller at night as a part of a larger tour of the Strip that we were on, but I am glad that we did go at night instead of during the day because it was amazing to see all of the lights from above.
The High Roller, when accessing, gives you the option to purchase snacks and drinks that you can carry onto your ride and if you’re looking for a little more fun, you can purchase an upgraded ticket in order to get on the cocktail car where it is all-you-can-drink for the entire 30 minute ride. Additionally, if you are someone that is not very patient, I wouldn’t suggest this for you. The ride, though epic to see views from the top, is super slow and you can get board very easily. But the shot from above was definitely amazing.
Pro Tip: If you are taking a photo at night on the High Roller, wait to take your photo until you are closer to the top on the way up and when the lights on the High Roller are going off. It’ll give you more lighting in the car to get the photo.
MAYFAIR SUPPER CLUB
Inside the Bellagio Hotel, on the outskirts of the casino floor, you’ll find Mayfair Supper Club. The entrance to the Mayfair is an epic spot to get a great Vegas photo because of the rose-covered archway that stands out to every passerby.
We took this photo in the early afternoon before the restaurant was open so we didn’t get the shot with the doors open, but we also didn’t have to worry about standing in anyone’s way as they tried to access the restaurant. The Mayfair opens around 5pm each day, so if you want to get a photo with the doors open, I would suggest going an hour or two after opening, but the photo looks just as immaculate with the doors closed.
We didn’t end up going to the Mayfair for any of our meals while in Vegas because not only were reservations books, but the restaurant is a little pricey.
Pro Tip: If you are interested in getting this shot and also visiting the Mayfair for dinner, I would suggest a reservation that is not right at opening since many people will be trying to get in right at the start of their opening time. Try a reservation for around 6pm and take your photo prior to entering.
WELCOME TO VEGAS SIGN
The ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign is an iconic and must go-to spot to get the photo for Insta. But, depending on what time that you go, you may end up standing in a line that is a little longer than your preference. There is parking right at the sign, so if you are driving, you do have a place to park.
So if you are looking to get a photo in front of this sign during the day time, you should aim to get to the location around 7am if you want to take it at the angle that is right front and center. But, like many of us, we don’t let to get up early, so here is a tip on taking it during the day and avoiding the long line – take it off to the side at this angle. If you take the photo off to this side at this angle, you can jump the line and just stand on the edge of the area and you’ll be able to avoid anyone in your background. If you’re not a fan of this angle, you can also go off to the side on the other side and still skip the line.
Going at night is another option, but make sure that you have a good flash and be prepared to do some editing, which is exactly what I had to do here. We ended up going at night as a part of one of the tours we were on and the line was still long. But, as you can see in this picture, we went off to the side and got the photo without having to wait in line and worrying about people being in the background of our shots.
Pro Tip: There are usually people there who are looking to take your photo right at the beginning of the line. These people don’t actually work there but are looking for tips, so just keep that in mind.
CONSERVATORY IN THE BELLAGIO
In the Bellagio, you’ll find the Conservatory. It is located right near the check in area of the hotel, so if you enter the Bellagio from another part of the hotel, just aim to go through the casino and towards the main entrance of the hotel to get to the Conservatory.
The Conservatory and the Botanical Garden is an open area that is free to access and there are often tons and tons of people there. So this is definitely one of those locations that you want to take up and go to very early if you are looking to get photos without many people in the background and without having to stand around for some time waiting for others to take photos or walk through.
The Conservatory often changes the décor depending on the season. When we went it was during the holidays so there was a lot of Christmas décor around.
Pro Tip: Best time to go and get photos around the Conservatory is before 8am before check-out and way before check-in. You will still find some people walking around as there are early risers that are there, but you’ll avoid the huge drove of people walking around and taking their own photos and videos.
AROUND THE VENETIAN
Around the Venetian, you’ll also find some amazing places to take Instagram photos. There is the Venetian Lobby where the Venetian Colonnade is absolutely stunning. And then there are various places around the outside of the Venetian where you can get photos with amazing backgrounds. Whether you are on the stairs near Madame Tussauds, sitting on the patio area outside of Black Tap, on one of the bridges at the Venetian, or in the archways of the Venetian, you are guaranteed to get an Instagram worthy Vegas photo with a stunning background.
Pro Tip: Don’t worry too much about the timing of taking photos at the Venetian unless you are looking to get a photo on the main bridge the crosses over the outdoor canal as that bridge gets very busy during the day and you may run into having people in the background walking across the bridge as well as people standing in the archways up in the walkway area of the Venetian.
If you’re ready to venture off the Strip and take a little ride to get some epic photos, head over to the Neon Museum. It is about a short 10-15 minute drive, but the drive off the Strip to the Neon Boneyard is well worth it.
The Neon Museum is filled with a collection of iconic and historic neon signs that were once used at some of the locations in Vegas that are still standing. When you visit, keep in mind that you are not allowed to bring cameras inside of the museum, but you can use your phone or tablet to take photos. The only way to access the Neon Museum and to be allowed to use a physical camera is to book a private photography session or to take advantage of their photo walk and portrait hour sessions. You are also not permitted to take any videos while you’re there to use unless you have prior written consent.
Pro Tip: When taking photos on your phone, make sure that you set it wide angle and have the person taking your photo flip your phone upside down. This will allow you to get more of the sign in your photo especially if you are trying to fit in a tall sign such as the Hard Rock Café sign.