I have been to Vegas about every year since I was 25, until the pandemic unfortunately hit in 2020 when we had to cancel a girls trip for my best friend Dori’s birthday (October 2021 – here I come!). This trip happened back in 2019, about 4 months after our honeymoon. I actually booked the whole trip on a whim a month before we got married! Probably not the best decision for a couple about to have to pay off a wedding!
But one night I was zoned out on my phone, trying to fall asleep as I scrolled through Instagram. And suddenly there was an ad advertising Celine Dion’s residency at Caesars Palace. After 16 years, it was ending. This would be our last shot to see her in Vegas. It has always been a dream of mine to see Celine Dion perform live. While I was almost sure that she would tour after her residency (and it has since been confirmed and I have, of course, purchased tickets to her Denver concert), I didn’t want to take the risk that I could miss out on a bucket list item.
As I booked the tickets, Adam swore he was going to put an ad-blocker on my phone (spoiler alert: he hasn’t yet). This was his first trip to Vegas since he was a teenager and he was excited to go too.
We arrived in Vegas early on Friday, May 24, 2019 – around 10:40 AM. Our hotel, the Desert Rose Resort, was very accommodating to us and prepared our room early. The Desert Rose Resort is a block off the strip and somewhere I have stayed before. It is primarily a time share, though I book it as a normal hotel. This means the rooms are quite large and include a little living room and full kitchen. Most of the time, I prefer to stay right on the strip, but this is a great hotel for a quieter trip.
Getting to Vegas so early meant that we had plenty of time for an activity before the Celine concert. We decided to check out The Hunger Game: The Exhibition at the MGM Grand. I wrote a whole other blog post about that experience, because there is so much to say and it was an absolute blast!
We walked over to Caesars Palace afterward. It is always a little shocking how much walking you do in Vegas. You can look at Google Maps and see that Caesars Palace is about 3 blocks away from the MGM Grand. However, these hotels are massive and these are city blocks – about a 30 minute walk away. Still, it was so nice out and it was fun showing Adam around as walked past all of these awesome hotels.
We got to Caesars Palace with plenty of time to spare. I was even able to show Adam The Atlantis Show buried deep in the heart of Caesar Palace Forum Shops. I have always loved Caesars Palace – the way the ceiling in the shops is painted like the sky and all of the effort they put into decorating it to look like Rome.
We ate dinner there and then… it was time.
I don’t think I could ever do justice to how excited I was to see Celine Dion perform live and how she BEYOND lived up to my expectations! The concert was phenomenal! We had great seats and Celine is just such a charismatic performer! I cried at least four times during the concert.
A Word From Adam:
The Celine Dion show was the primary reason for our trip to Vegas. The marketing department made it sound like she was retiring, never to sing again, and it was one of Mandi’s goals to see her in person at some point. (Spoilers: Celine Dion went on tour as soon as her residency in Vegas ended, but we didn’t know it at the time.) So, we made a vacation out of it! Everything was a ton of fun, but the highlight of the trip had to have been that show for Mandi.
I will say that it was an extremely well-produced show and it was great getting to hear some of these classic tunes for sure, but the zenith of the show was definitely My Heart Will Go On. This song brought out the water works, both on stage and off. There was a water curtain that worked with Celine as she moved around the stage during her most popular song. Off stage, Mandi was brought to tears with excitement, as well as every other woman surrounding us. It was an extremely emotional, maybe religious experience it seemed for all the women for at least 10 ft around me to hear that song in person with all the trappings of a top quality Vegas show.
I am happy to have been there for that with Mandi.
Back to Mandi:
I can’t wait to see her live again in a few months! Her 2020 Courageous tour got postponed, so she will actually be coming to Denver for my birthday weekend in September 2021. This time I get to share it with my mom and sisters, and Adam too. It’s going to be just as amazing – I know it!
After the concert, with our minds completely blown, we weren’t quite ready to head back to the hotel yet, so we strolled over next door to the Bellagio (again, next door is like a 15 minute walk in Vegas) to see the glass umbrella ceiling and the GORGEOUS botanical garden. Touring these hotels are free experiences and part of why I love Vegas so much. You can just walk from one to the next and constantly have your mind blown with how elaborate they are.
Saturday morning, we took it a little easy and lounged around the hotel room. We had plans to see Penn & Teller later that evening, but were planning on just touring a little around the strip during the day.
Here are some miscellaneous pictures of us being your typical tourists throughout the trip. Adam had a goal to get a $1 chip from each the hotels we visited. I think he ended up with something like 17 by the end of trip! It was an impressive haul!
One of my absolute stops when I go to Vegas is Illy Caffè in the Grand Canal Shops. It is right across from the giant LOVE sign in the Venetian. My girlfriends and I accidentally discovered this delightful little cafe on our last stay and ended up eating there 2 or 3 times. The gelato is DIVINE and there crepes are to die for! If you ever find yourself in this area, definitely make a stop there. You won’t be disappointed!
Another favorite restaurant is Diablo’s Cantina, now located in the Luxor. This was my third time eating there. It is DELICIOUS Mexican food with large margaritas and daiquiris. Plus, that view! We enjoyed the air conditioning and how good our meal was, before setting out to play some slots and do more touring!
Adam wrote a post about Penn & Teller, so I will leave it to him to talk about that show. All I will say here is that it did not disappoint! We are so glad we had the opportunity to see them and we would absolutely go again!
We had one more day in Vegas where we did a little more touring then went over to the famous Fremont Street to see old Vegas. It was absolutely packed! There was live entertainment all down the street – just so much to look at! The lights were spectacular! It was a good time all around! I would love to go back some day and maybe even try the zip-line experience!
The next morning we finished the trip the best possible way – a trip to Bad Owl Coffee. It is an Uber drive away as it is not located directly on the strip, but I definitely recommend it if you have the time! I wrote a separate blog post talking about this delightful little coffee shop.
Overall, this little trip was super fun! I love Vegas because it is the perfect place to take a quick trip, have a great adventure, then head home for work the next day. I am definitely looking forward to my next trip in October. I have missed this special place!
LOVED! EVERY! MOMENT!