Although, I have been to Las Vegas a couple times in the past, I have waited for this trip for about 20 years.
I am glad and fortunate to have grown up during the 90’s pop music era, especially when it comes to music. My high school years were filled with Hanson, NSync, Britney Spears, and the Backstreet Boys. Maybe some Nelly and Eminem thrown in there too. I was definitely into the boy band phenomena, Team Backstreet (and Team Britney) if you were wondering. However, the only 90’s pop star I was fortunate enough to see in their prime was Britney Spears. I have seen her a few times since. I never was fortunate enough to see the Backstreet Boys and honestly after they had stepped away from the music scene for a bit I never thought I would be able to live out my dream to see them live. That was until they announced their Las Vegas residency and that is when the planning began!
There is always so much to see and do in Las Vegas and I wanted to get more out of a weekend in sin city than just seeing the show, because…well, why not? I found a few other little adventures to go on during the weekend and made the most of the three days I was there. Here is just a small bit of my Las Vegas weekend.
Viva Las Vegas
Friday was a travel day, getting up at 3a in order to make it to the airport and get through security without any rush or stress. After arriving in Las Vegas, and being greeted by slot machines in true Vegas fashion, bags were dropped off in the hotel room (paying a early check in fee that was well-worth the cost) and walked the Las Vegas strip. Over 10 miles total were logged for the day! I had a very happy Apple Watch that’s for sure.
Walking the strip for the day basically consisted of just that, walking. I had been to Vegas before and wasn’t there for the first time and had to see everything. Walking will definitely take a lot out of you so I stopped in to Shake Shack for lunch. Yes, we now have one in Nashville but it is always so busy when I try to go so I stopped in. Normally when I travel I try my best to not eat at restaurants that I have back home. Shake Shack was practically across the street from T-Mobile arena where I would be attending a Golden Knights game later in the evening.
After eating more than I should’ve of, I stopped over at the venue to look around the Knights gift shop before continuing to walk the strip some more.
The day was fairly relaxed but the evening festivities were packed and very much on a tighter schedule. An escape game was booked for 5 and a hockey game that started at 7p – which these two events were on opposite sides of the strip. Luckily, everything worked itself out…but it did have a few stressful moments of traffic getting from point A to point B. I hate being late.
Anyway, first official business of the night…to beat Jigsaw.
I want to play a game
I have been a fan of the Saw movie series since the beginning. I just love horror movies in general. Even before I had seriously planned my trip I had heard about the limited engagement of the Saw themed escape room that was coming to Vegas and knew it had to be a part of my itinerary. Honestly, it was my favorite escape room I had ever done. Also, really tough. Maybe because the random people in the room along with me weren’t very helpful. From the time you show up to the venue to the time you leave, all the staff are in character. We were greeted and checked in by “Shady” the security guard who was spot on with his puns. After all of the attendees had shown up we were escorted in to the lobby of “Egan Meats” for our tour of the “meat packing plant”. I told you it was completely themed! If you’ve seen the movies you will know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t, in the movies a few scenes take place in an old meat packing plant. We had about 5-6 rooms to go through and you were given about 10 minutes in each room. If you didn’t complete a room you were still able to move on. The attention to detail was insane! This was not your typical escape room, especially since they incorporate live actors in the room with you. The actor will appear in the first room, but I don’t know how or when ours showed up because I was so into figuring out puzzles and looked up and there was a new person in there. They are there to help you, not to hurt you or scare you. Our actress, “Bailey” was phenomenal! I don’t want to give too much away about the room but it won’t matter if you are a fan of the movies or not for you to be able to succeed or understand all of the puzzles. You will just appreciate it even more if you are a fan of the movies. I would definitely recommend stopping by if you are in Vegas, just keep in mind that they are only doing this through the remainder of 2018 and the first 2-3 days of January 2019.
A couple things to note are most rooms give you one hour to complete them. You will want to plan on about 90 minutes for this one. You will definitely get your money’s worth! Also, when you show up, there won’t be any signs saying Saw Escape Room, you will need to look for Egan Meats. It is completely in character from start to finish on this experience. The location is not walkable from the strip and is actually located off of the strip just a bit. So keep in mind when traveling and be sure to get an Uber/Lyft or use a taxi service instead of the bus system on the strip.
And if you were wondering, we did not escape…the other “victims” if you will….weren’t exactly helpful. Even though it was a disappointing loss, we had to move on because it was “Knight Time”!
Go Knights Go
“Knight time” was upon us. The Las Vegas Golden Knights were set and ready to take on their opponent, the St. Louis Blues, in a fairly even match up. Even though I didn’t really have a dog in the fight on this game (Go Preds!), I was hoping for the home team to win. Unfortunately, the Knights fell to the Blues but a good time was still had. The experience seemed a lot like that of Bridgestone Arena, Bridgestone still has the best arena in my opinion and I’ve been to a few NHL venues. You also have to keep in mind this is only the second season in franchise history for the Knights. The Castle and drumline offer a great entertainment value to the experience and if you get there early enough you can see the drumline march from New York New York hotel into T-Mobile arena. Once inside, they will claim their home up in the castle. The opening intro is nothing short of typical Vegas, a grand show and the players will take to the ice skating through a giant Knights head logo.
The crowd in Vegas really gets into the games and there really isn’t an issue with “newbie” fans that don’t know what they are coming to a game for. Which for me, as a hockey fan, made the experience very pleasant.
Vegas definitely is a hockey town, I will give them that. They have a great program going, but I wasn’t able to be converted from Preds gold to Knights gold.
Saturday was the big day. It was Backstreet Boys day! After spending Friday walking all day, I decided to let myself stay in bed and rest for a while before getting ready. After getting ready I went down to the casino level of the Planet Hollywood hotel and ate lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Burger restaurant. I absolutely LOVE me some GR and Hell’s Kitchen. After eating lunch, I headed over to the venue that was still inside the hotel and got checked in for the show.
Never in my life did I ever think that I would be able to see the Backstreet Boys live. Ever. Let me tell you it was worth the 20+ year wait. I had purchased pit tickets and a VIP meet-and-greet upgrade. They hadn’t announced their new world tour at the time of me purchasing, booking and planning what I thought was going to be my only shot to see them.
The night started off in a VIP area where there was a photo booth as well as a candy bar. We were given two drink tickets as well for the bar that was available in the lounge area. During check in we were also provided with group cards to designate when we would be able to take our photo with the boys. Pit ticket holders had group A, seats had group B. The line moved fairly quickly. When it was my turn for a photo, everything seems like such a blur. It almost felt rushed but maybe that was also because I was so in shock by the moment. Each of the boys gave hugs and thanked each attendee for coming. Nick somewhat directed the guests telling them where to stand and how to exit.
After the meet and greet everyone pretty much just sat around and waited until we could line up to go into the venue. Early entry ticket holders got to go first, once they were in VIP attendees were able to enter. After securing a great spot in the pit, the waiting game began for the big show. After the hour wait from doors to showtime the lights went out and a ten minute video montage of all the greatest Backstreet Boys highlights played on the numerous screens along both sides of the stage. Before I knew it the moment I had waited for had begun.
I must say after all these years, those boys still got it! They did a great job moving around the stage and taking turns at covering various spots so no matter where you sat you were able to have a great view of your favorite band member. At one moment in the show the boys do go out into the audience so the people in the back get an up-close-and-personal experience as well. They covered all of their major hits, included the infamous “As Long As You Love Me” chair dance and of course, rounded out the night with their smash hit, “Everybody”.
The show was really like its namesake, Larger Than Life.
A weekend in Vegas was long enough just as much as it was not enough. Sunday was spent still recovering from the concert excitement from the night before. After laying in bed for as long as time would allow, bags were packed and I headed down to the main lobby area to grab a nice brunch before heading to the airport. I was ready to be home and see my dog, Checotah, and get ready to take on the week. Although, I wish I could have brought the beautiful weather back home with me to Nashville.
Las Vegas you treated me well. We had a great time and I look forward to returning again soon. What happened in Vegas ended up on this blog.