Having never seen a Cirque du Soleil show before, I wasn't sure which of the eight shows that are available in Las Vegas would be the best. So I did some searching and found a USA Today article from 2014 that was very helpful. It listed summaries of all eight shows, ranked them, and even advised first-time-Cirque-goers about which show to choose. We took their advice and went to Mystere at Treasure Island. There were some amazing performers, but this girl had a hard time staying awake during some parts. Having to lean my head back against my comfy seat to see the trapeze artists coupled with a starting time of 9:30 pm didn't help. 9:30 PM??!! Haven't these people heard of matinees? We did get a buy-one-get-one-for-$15 discount deal about a month ahead of time from www.travelzoo.com , so at least I didn't pay full price to take a nap. Don't judge.
For more tips, I also read this not-very-pretty-but-very-informative post about 25 things women should know before visiting Vegas. It gave some good tips, though many of them weren't just for women. The best advice I received about what to pack, however, came from my colleague, Kelly, who told me I'd need comfortable shoes. I didn't realize that walking from hotel to hotel exploring the different themes would be such a "thing," so I'm glad she warned me about footwear. This post gave some good tips, too, though I DID still wear some sequins and DID NOT take any athletic shoes, in spite of their advice. (Puh-lease. No sequins? In Vegas? Why have sequins if you don't wear them in Vegas?)
Fodor's is my go-to travel guide publisher, and their Las Vegas one didn't disappoint. We bought it for a buck at the library book sale, and it didn't matter that it was from 2014 since little has changed since then. It even had a whole chapter on gambling including a cheat sheet for blackjack. Had I decided that $10 a hand was something I was willing to lose, I totally would have sat there at the blackjack table, unembarrassed, with my cheat sheet open. Fodor's assured me that this was perfectly acceptable, and that, in fact, the dealer would even be willing to tell you what your best odds are as you play if you tell them you're a newbie. Aren't they thoughtful?!
Another valuable tip came from my colleague, Holly, who had been to Las Vegas just a couple of weeks before our trip. She encouraged me to get tickets to see Showstoppers at the Wynn. And oh. My. Goodness. Not only was it just my style (a string of awesome Broadway numbers with amazing dancers and fabulous costumes), but it was at one of the most beautifully decorated hotels in Vegas. The chandeliers made of glass bubbles made me swoon, and the theater perfectly channeled the glamour of the Art Deco period. That my in-laws sprung for 3rd row seats was the icing on the cake.
Even though I had seen live stagings of several of the shows represented before (Chicago, A Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls), I hadn't seen them from the 3rd row! I had serious leg envy, people. I'm not gonna lie. I mean, check out this chick in the picture below doing the splits while in a handstand. that alone should motivate me to get my rear end to the gym.
And the clever staging of "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" from Guys and Dolls with vintage Vegas signs had me slack-jawed. Loved it.
In spite of my best efforts at preparing myself for what to expect during my first trip to Las Vegas, nothing can really prepare you for the spectacle that is Sin City. So read the blogs, pore over the travel guides, and poll your friends for their best tips. But in the end, just go and see it for yourself. And maybe write a comment or two here about your best advice!