Monday, August 29, 2016

Hiking Grand Canyon's Backcountry

Hiking the backcountry in and around the Grand Canyon affords the intrepid some of the most intimate canyon experiences. It’s not easy. It requires much preparation. Even “Grizzly” Adams would have taken extra precautions at the onset of a Grand Canyon hike. While nothing will substitute for doing your own research, we’ve put together a good starting place when preparing to hike the Grand Canyon backcountry.

Unless you plan to stay overnight at one of the area’s developed campgrounds, you’ll need to fill out a backcountry permit request form. The permit costs $10 plus $8 per person camping below the rim per night. You can request a permit as early as four months prior to your visit.

It’s also a good idea to plan out your itinerary beforehand. Knowing the trails you will be hiking and the days you’ll be hiking them is critical to ensuring everyone involved is on the same page should you encounter any problems. Map out exactly how far the hike will go into the canyon and how long it will take. You’ll be safer and better prepared both mentally and physically if you meticulously plan for the excursion. The itinerary will have to be shared with the park’s Backcountry Information Center, so go ahead and also share it with a friend or relative not coming along.

While you’re not preparing for the Olympics, it’s pretty darn close. The more physical conditioning you do in the run up to your trip, the better off you’ll be. Carry a full backpack up staircases, stadium bleachers or a Stairmaster at your gym. Exercises that help to strengthen your core are also vital. The National Parks Service recommends beginning conditioning months in advance.

Any extended stay in the Grand Canyon will require special gear and equipment. It’s important to pack for your specific trip. Know what resources are available along the trails you’ve chosen and what you’ll need to bring. In some instances, water stations can be found intermittently along the trail. Other trails will have no water available. You’ll want to drink around 32 ounces of water per hour of hiking. Carrying around that much water can be draining, so consider using a water filter. Tents can be another burdensome item to bring along. Considering the heat, you might be better off using a bivy sack or hammock and tarp. Download the Grand Canyon Association equipment list and hiker notes for more information on what to pack.

Fires are prohibited in some portions of the canyon, so you should pack a stove and a pot for meal preparation. Salty foods are critical while hiking, helping you to maintain a healthy sodium level. It is easy to overlook the weight of food when packing for a backcountry hike. The average backpacker will need nearly 2 pounds of food per day for two- to five-day, shorter mileage hikes.

Be sure that each step you take along the hike is a deliberate one. Should you encounter any problems, contact the Backcountry Information Center and 911. Pacing oneself is key to having an enjoyable hike. The Grand Canyon can feel like a reverse mountain; the most strenuous portions of the hike come at the end. Finally, please pack up and carry out every piece of trash you generate along the way, including toilet paper. Many a forest fire has been started by burning toilet paper.

Hopefully, this article has you considering some of the less frequently considered aspects of hiking the Grand Canyon backcountry. Read other blogs, consult NPS literature on the subject and talk with experts should you have more questions. If there’s one thing park rangers love to do, it’s answering emails. Share some of your best Grand Canyon hiking advice in the comments section! For more Grand Canyon travel tips, recommendations and fun facts, check in on our blog regularly and follow VegasDaze on Twitter.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Mama Knows Best

To most teenagers, the idea of spending more time with mom than is required is a fate worse than homework. But for Tess, Grayden, Mickenzie and Skyler, they couldn’t have imagined doing anything else growing up.

For the past 15 years, the siblings have performed with their mother, Toni, as Mama’s Wranglers. The gang is currently delighting audiences with their charming brand of country, pop and folk music at downtown Henderson’s Firelight Barn Dinner Theater on historic Water Street.

“It all started when the first Wrangler came along,” said Toni, who taught piano in Sandy, Utah, for nearly two decades as a way of making ends meet. “They would sit at my feet during lessons, absorbing the music.”

She taught her children to play music at young ages. Her son Grayden for example learned to tickle the ivories at 4. By 6, he could play the violin. By 10, he was strumming a guitar. When the kids outgrew her musical expertise, Toni took them to a more experienced instructor who also taught the children to sing in three-part harmonies.

“They came home from their lesson one day excited to show me what they had learned,” she said. “I didn’t even know they could sing.”

Her children’s overwhelming talent was becoming more apparent by the week, and it wasn’t long before Toni hatched the idea of Mama’s Wranglers. “I quickly realized we had something we could share with the world,” she said.

The family band performed around the Salt Lake City area for a few years before setting out on the road. The gang sang and danced their way across 49 states (Hawaii has yet to be crossed off the list, but it’s in the works), Canada and parts of Europe. They eventually signed a deal to perform regularly at resorts in Arizona and Southern California, prompting them to pack up and move to Las Vegas.

21-year-old Mickinzie, who sings, dances and plays the fiddle, mandolin and drums in the band, said the experience has truly shaped her as a person for the better. “My favorite part about performing with my family is traveling and meeting new people,” she said. “It’s what we love to do.”

Looking for a more permanent gig in their new home of Las Vegas, Toni grew frustrated at the lack of family friendly venues. Because of their young ages, the children were not allowed to perform in casino lounges. That’s when Mama had her next big idea.

Firelight Barn Dinner Theater opened in May. The calendar of events is already filled with family oriented festivities such as hoedowns, line dancing lessons and seasonal holiday celebrations. Contributing to the fabric of their adopted community and providing wholesome entertainment options have been priorities for the family from the get-go.

“We want the audience to come out and have a good time,” Grayden said. “We want them to feel like they’re part of the family.”

That attitude is made very clear upon entering the venue. Guests are greeted with welcoming smiles, a “Howdy!” or two, and the mouth-watering smells of barbeque. Guests enjoy the catered meals for about a half hour before the show begins.

The family breezes through fun renditions of country standards, folk tunes and
even an AC/DC number. There’s plenty of fun costume changes, dancing and joking around with the audience. By the end of each show, there’s not a person in the building who isn’t singing along.

Grayden said they owe the tightly knit performance style to more than a decade of working together.

“We all get along so well. This wouldn’t work if we didn’t,” he said. “Even if an error happens on stage, we’re able to play off it, and it actually makes for a more interesting show.”

While it is clear they all love to perform, Toni said it all comes back to the community. “For us, it’s not about the applause,” she said. “It’s about seeing the smiles on the audience’s faces.”

For more information on Mama’s Wranglers, to see a calendar of upcoming events and to reserve your show tickets, visit the Firelight Barn Dinner Theater website.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

10 Vegas Eats for Under $10

It’s 2 o’clock in the morning. You’re wandering the Vegas Strip heading back to your hotel room from the nightclub. Suddenly, hunger strikes, but you spent the majority of your allotted cash for the night on drinks. Check out these 10 meals for $10 or less that are sure to beat back the late night hunger pangs.

The Park – 3782 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
The fine folks at Bruxie have imagined a future in which sandwiches are made with waffles instead of bread, and we dig it. Try the roasted mushroom and goat cheese waffle sandwich filled to the brim with crimini mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, herb goat cheese, arugula, lemon vinaigrette and a balsamic reduction. There are plenty of meaty options to be had at Bruxie, but sometimes you just want some herb goat cheese on a waffle. At $9, this vegetarian delight is as easy on the wallet as it is on the digestive system.

The Goodwich
900 S. Las Vegas Blvd. #120
Sometimes, you just need some greasy pork belly in your life, especially after a night of imbibing at the club. Enter the Cuban-esque from The Goodwich. This Key West import stacks pork “butt n belly” with Swiss cheese. The pickle “maystard” serves as the perfect topping to this simple classic. A crisp Alexander Hamilton (that’s $10, kids) is all you’ll need to be transported to porky paradise.

Desi Burrito
670 E. Flamingo Rd.
The subcontinent meets south of the border at Desi Burrito. These favorite Indian dishes are wrapped in a tortilla and served up with cold, frothy lassis. The chicken chili burrito borrows bold flavors from both Indian and Mexican cuisine. This satisfying meal will only set you back $8.

Flock & Fowl
380 W. Sahara Ave.
Flock & Fowl specializes in Hainan chicken rice, which is delicious. But where the free-range chicken really shines is when it’s served up as Thai Caramel Chicken Wings with crispy garlic. The sheer volume of flavors melding together will keep you coming back. You can never have enough, but eight wings for $10 is a good start.

Haute Doggery 
The Linq – 3535 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
The Longhorn from Haute Doggery is a mountain of a frankfurter. This char grilled wiener is topped with smoked beef brisket, coleslaw, onion rings and pickles. For only $8, it’s enough food to feed a real cowboy without the ridiculous Strip prices. Belly full, you’ll ride off into the sunset … er … sunrise.

Flippin’ Good Burgers
505 E. Fremont St.

A good cheeseburger at the end of a long night out goes down faster than that first pint did. The Flame from Flippin’ Good Burgers in Downtown Las Vegas is no different. Topped with the usual cheeseburger fixings, grilled jalapenos, Flippin' sauce and melted pepper jack cheese, this beefy masterpiece is sandwiched between freshly baked buns from local bakers. It’s only $6, so you’ll have enough left over to Uber back to the hotel.

Makers & Finders
1120 S. Main St. #110
If you’ve never tried the Venezuelan food known as arepas, you’re in for a treat. It’s like a corn flour griddle cake of sorts, and it makes for a splendid canvas on which to pile savory shredded beef. Case in point, La Paisa Arepas is one of Makers & Finders’ most popular menu items. The dish is served with carne desmechada, sweet plantains, crispy chicken skins, avocado, black beans and a farm-raised egg for just $10. A side of honorary Venezuelan citizenship is optional.

Tacos El Gordo
3049 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Perhaps the ultimate Vegas cheap eat, the tacos al pastor at Tacos El Gordo, a Tijuana transplant, have the club goers lined up around the block every Saturday night. The idea is simple. Expertly marinated pork is cooked on a trompo, placed on a corn tortilla and topped with avocado crema. Order a handful for $2 a pop.

505 E. Oakey Blvd.
Since 1973, Luv-it’s frozen custard has delighted overheated tourists and locals alike. Stop by the same location that it’s operated out of for nearly 50 years and sample flavors such as Sin-A-Buns, chocolate pretzel, cherry pie and gingerbread cookie. Snag a double scoop on a waffle cone for less than $5, take a bite as you walk away, and immediately turn back to buy an $8 quart for the hotel room.

The Linq – 3535 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
It’s late. You’re somewhat in the bag. You want a cupcake. We totally understand and so does Sprinkles, the cupcake bakery from Beverly Hills. The company has installed one of its Cupcake ATMs outside its LINQ Promenade location. Anytime day or night you can stroll up to the ATM, swipe your plastic, select a flavor and be delivered a delicious cupcake. You don’t even have to talk to other humans. A variety of cupcake flavors rotate regularly and go for around $5.

Monday, August 22, 2016

NFL Bars in Vegas: NFC Edition

So you're visiting Las Vegas for opening week of the NFL season. While you'll certainly want to make a pit stop at one of the sports books, it's the local team bars that offer the best viewing experience, especially if you are only concerned with your team. We've listed some of the city's best team-centric bars to help you avoid the crowds and, more importantly, rival fans. Check out our round up of NFC team bars below. If we missed your favorite NFC team bar, please add it in the comments sections! For more Vegas excitement, browse our listings.

  • 1. Arizona Cardinals
    Timbers Bar & Grill
    8540 S. Maryland Parkway
  • 2. Atlanta Falcons
    Cactus Jack’s
    10648 S. Maryland Parkway
  • 3. Chicago Bears
    Lucky's Tavern
    8025 Dean Martin Dr.
  • 4. Dallas Cowboys
    Pounder's Sports Lounge
    332 W. Sahara Ave.
  • 5. Carolina Panthers
    Blondie’s Sports Bar
    3663 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
  • 6. Detroit Lions
    Crow Bar
    6851 W. Flamingo Rd.
  • 7. Green Bay Packers
    HB's Bar & Retsaurant
    6820 W. Flamingo Rd.
  • 8. Los Angeles Rams
    Fast Break Lounge
    2245 N. Decatur Blvd.
  • 9. Minnesota Vikings
    Sports Page Pub
    4821 Spring Mountain Rd.
  • 10. New Orleans Saints
    7-11 Bar
    2520 Arville St.
  • 11. New York Giants
    McFadden's inside Rio
    3700 W. Flamingo Rd.
  • 12. Philadelphia Eagles
    Jersey's Bar & Grill
    4760 W. Sahara Ave.
  • 13. San Francisco 49ers
    Barbeque Masters Tavern
    2650 S. Decatur Blvd.
  • 14. Seattle Seahawks
    Torino's Sports Bar & Pub
    5570 W. Flamingo Rd.
  • 15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Oceans 11 Lounge
    3720 W. Tropicana Ave.
  • 16. Washington Redskins
    Jackson's Bar and Grill
    6020 W. Flamingo Rd.

NFL Bars in Vegas: AFC Edition

So you're visiting Las Vegas for opening week of the NFL season. While you'll certainly want to make a pit stop at one of the sports books, it's the local team bars that offer the best viewing experience, especially if you are only concerned with your team. We've listed some of the city's best team-centric bars to help you avoid the crowds and, more importantly, rival fans. Check out our round up of AFC team bars below and stay tuned for a list of NFC team bars. If we missed your favorite AFC team bar, please add it in the comments sections! For more Vegas excitement, browse our listings.

  • 1. Baltimore Ravens
    Crab Corner Maryland Seafood House
    6485 S. Rainbow Blvd.
  • 2. Buffalo Bills
    Stake Out Bar and Grill
    4800 Maryland Parkway
  • 3. Denver Broncos
    Four Mile Bar
    3650 Boulder Highway
  • 4. Houston Texans
    Cactus Jack’s
    10648 S. Maryland Parkway
  • 5. Cincinnati Bengals
    Kopper Keg North
    8725 Deer Springs Way
  • 6. Cleveland Browns
    Boulevard Bar & Grille
    9860 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
  • 7. Indianapolis Colts
    Buffalo Wild Wings
    7430 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
  • 8. Jacksonville Jaguars
    Blondie’s Sports Bar
    3663 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
  • 9. Kansas City Chiefs
    Blue Diamond Saloon
    6935 Blue Diamond Rd.
  • 10. Miami Dolphins
    Tommy Rocker's Cantina and Grill
    4275 Industrial Road
  • 11. New England Patriots
    Twin Peaks
    3717 Las Vegas Blvd.
  • 12. New York Jets
    Villa Pizza
    2211 S. Maryland Parkway
  • 13. Oakland Raiders
    Lucie’s Lounge
    3935 E. Charleston Blvd.
  • 14. Pittsburgh Steelers
    J.C. Wooloughan Irish Pub
    221 N. Rampart Blvd.
  • 15. San Diego Chargers
    The Sand Dollar Blues Room
    3355 Spring Mountain Rd.
  • 16. Tennessee Titans
    Blondie’s Sports Bar
    3663 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Get Your Fill at Vegas' Best Buffets

Nothing says “America!” like shelling out $25 to strap on the feed bag and plow through multiple plates at a Las Vegas casino buffet. But if you’re looking for the best Vegas buffet bargain, this is not the blog post for you. You’ve found a list of the most decadent, gluttonous and cardiac arrest-inducing buffets on the Las Vegas Strip.

Bacchanal Buffet
Since 2012, this Caesars Palace mainstay has ascended to the gold standard of Vegas buffets. About $100 million was invested into the establishment, resulting in more than 500 daily offerings and numerous accolades. Within its first year of operation, more than a million customers dined on delicious dishes, such as the oak-grilled lamb chops, hand-made dim sum, fried chicken and waffles and red velvet pancakes. Expect to pay more than $50, but once you bite into the smoked pork belly, you’ll know where the money went.

Carnival World & Seafood Buffet
A seafood lover’s dream, the Rio’s buffet plates up more than 70 fresh seafood items, including endless oysters, snow crab legs and shrimp. You can also add a little turf to your surf with carved-to-order barbecue ribs and steaks. The more than 300 selections from across the globe ensure that you’ll be heading back to the hotel room for a short food coma. The seafood dinner buffet will set you back around $48. The standard dinner buffet goes for approximately $30.

The Buffet at Wynn
What is normally considered a casual dining experience has been infused with fine dining sensibility at Wynn. The buffet at this premier Las Vegas resort boasts lavish décor and more than 120 expertly prepared meals, ranging from rotisserie-grilled steakhouse cuts to coast-to-coast seafood. The coup de grâce here is truly the chocolate fountain. Wynn offers dinner and show pairings as well. Indulge in one of Vegas’ best buffets and take in Le Rêve – The Dream from premium seats for $180 per person.

Wicked Spoon
Like The Cosmopolitan itself, this buffet gives off a distinct flair. The warm colors and stylish design set the tone for a chic dining experience. Be prepared for out-of-the-ordinary twists on modern classics. The salad bar is bolstered with add-ons such as Italian bread salad and hummus. Prime rib and steaks take a back seat to unique creations like the roasted bone marrow with lamb. What really shines though is the immense number of dessert options. Expect to pay more than $40 for dinner on the weekends.

Le Village Buffet
A departure from the traditional expectations, the Paris Las Vegas buffet brings together the dynamic cuisine of five French provinces. Set in a quaint, village-like dining hall, you can choose an “outdoor” table that mimics the atmosphere of a French town square or gather around a fireplace in one of the province-specific cottage rooms, decorated for the region. Highlights here include the truffle macaroni and cheese and the buffet’s acclaimed vanilla bean crème brulee. Additionally, it’s the only buffet in town to offer reservations through OpenTable, which Vegas buffet veterans know to be a big bonus. Dinner prices on the weekends run about $34 per person.

Whichever you choose, be sure to save room for some of Las Vegas’ hottest shows, tours and attractions. Browse VegasDaze for discount tickets to memorable vacation add-ons. Did we forget to include your favorite Vegas buffet? Let us know in the comments section below. Follow VegasDaze on social media for more great vacation tips and recommendations.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Your Vegas Fantasy Football Draft

You and your fellow Midwesterners have done the same old fantasy football draft at the local Hooters for five years now. It was great for a while. Then the hazing of last year’s last place team resulted in a lifetime ban from Hooters. It’s time to do it up big. We can help you plan the ultimate destination draft in Vegas, baby!

One of the biggest selling points of a Vegas draft party is the fact that late August through early September is a slower time as far as tourism is concerned. The summer vacation rush is subsiding, and hotels are dropping room rates like Ted Ginn Jr. drops touchdowns passes. Secure a handful of rooms for the league at MGM Grand for around $75 per room, per night. Forget about fancy. As long as there’s a bed and a bathroom, you should be fine. If last year’s champion complains, tell him to book his own room next time. The group will not be spending much time in their rooms anyway.

There are plenty of relatively inexpensive lodging options up and down the Strip, especially if you can swing a midweek visit, but MGM Grand boasts a killer sports book that features private, luxury sky boxes and some of the best buffalo wings in town. You’ll also have easy access to the Las Vegas Monorail, attractions such as Topgolf and the High Roller, and some of the Strip’s best pool parties and nightclubs.

Yes, the majority of the Vegas vacation will be spent at the sports book and casino, but consider taking a tour while in town. You’d be surprised at the affordability of helicopter tours of nearby Grand Canyon. Driving to the geological wonder is about an 8-hour roundtrip. Flying to the South Rim is a 4-hour trip hotel to hotel. The scenic vistas will help you clear your head, get your mind right and decide who to spend that first round draft pick on.

A group outing is also a nice addition to any Vegas getaway. If you’ve yet to determine a draft order, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Grab the league and head to one of the many Vegas shooting ranges. The majority of the Strip’s gun ranges offer complimentary shuttle transportation to guests of the major resorts. Here’s what you do: sharpest shooter is awarded the first pick and the rest of the draft positions are doled out based on accuracy.

The draft itself is the most important part, and there’s no shortage of draft hosting options in Sin City. If your league is going with the DIY option, don’t forget to bring along a draft board. Set up shop poolside. Reserving a private cabana means you’ll have a cool, comfortable place to draft your immaculate squad and receive bottle service Jerry Jones would approve of. As an added bonus, the high-profile accommodations will more than likely result in an abundance of bikini-clad volunteers for the position of sticker “assistant.”

Should your league be in the market for more of an all-inclusive experience, some Las Vegas hotels will actually host a draft for you. Places like The D Las Vegas in Downtown cater to fantasy football leagues. This time of year, the property sells pre-planned draft packages starting at $25 per person that include the use of its Detroit Ballroom for up to 4 hours, catering from some of Downtown Las Vegas’ favorite restaurants, cocktail service, gambling vouchers and a complimentary draft kit.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been planning this since December or lunch; there are plenty of options readily available in Las Vegas for fantasy football leagues looking to shake it up. Fill out your trip with discount tickets to Vegas shows, tours and attractions from VegasDaze. Join the conversation and share your Vegas fantasy football tales in the comments section. Follow us on social media for more fun travel ideas and recommendations.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Maui's Best Beach Bars

It’s not difficult to enjoy the beach bars of Maui. Throw on some flip flops and a tank top, find an open patio table and order a Dark ‘N Stormy. Done. What? You need a little more assistance? OK. Here’s the shortlist of Maui’s beach bars.

Milagros Food Company
You gotta love a good mashup. Milagros Food Company serves up delectable plates of Hawaii-inspired Southwestern cuisine, like fresh fish quesadillas. In addition to its prime location in the bohemian chic town of Paia, Milagros also boasts the largest selection of tequila on the island. Margaritas, anyone?

Fleetwood’s on Front Street
Owner and certified rock ‘n’ roll god Mick Fleetwood opened his Maui restaurant in 2012. It’s since been awarded “best bar” and “best cocktails” on Maui by numerous local publications. The elegant patio and nightly live music create a charming atmosphere. You might not leave. Definitely order a Mick’s Manhattan or Fleetwood Smash to wash down those crab and corn fritters.

Leilani’s Beachside Grill
A sunset stroll along Ka’anapali Beachwalk will deliver you to Leilani’s on the Beach. This swanky oceanfront restaurant is widely considered the gold standard for beach bars on the Valley Isle. Stop by between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. for daily Aloha Hour, offering patrons $5 drafts, $7 tropical cocktails and $6 featured wines by the glass.

Koa’s Seaside Grill
This restaurant will do just fine. Its seaside, rooftop dining is alright. The stunning panoramic views of neighboring islands Molokai and Lanai are acceptable. The Koa’s Pie, made with a macadamia nut graham cracker crust, Roselani’s banana and vanilla ice cream, bananas, caramel, and chocolate, is decent. Just kidding. A stop at Koa’s Seaside Grill, just outside of the West Maui Forest Reserve, is a must!

Alaloa Lounge
If you’re looking for a place to flaunt your lust for the high life, drive the Benz to The Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua. Named “Best Lobby Lounge” on the island by the readers of Maui No Ka Oi Magazine, Alaloa Lounge is the place to see and be seen. This high-class establishment serves up an extensive menu of specialty cocktails, domestic and imported beers. The only thing that can pull your attention away from the live entertainment every Thursday through Monday is the awe-inspiring views of the Pacific. A visit to this posh watering hole is a memorable addition to any Maui vacation.

Kahale’s Beach Club
We’ve included some fairly upscale resort bars and beachfront restaurants up to this point. For those individuals who prefer a good dive bar, Kahale’s Beach Club should be your first stop. Separated from the ocean by only Kalama Beach Park, you’ll still see some beautiful sunsets. Since the proprietors couldn’t care less about Michelin Stars, the beer and cocktails are much more affordably priced than say the lobby bar at the local Hyatt. Come for the laid back local scene, stay for the live blues bands.

Duke’s Beach House
Raise a glass to the legend himself. Duke Kahanamoku is surfing royalty who introduced Hawaiian surf culture to the world. Fittingly, there’s a beach bar named after the man. The Aloha Hour blackened fish sliders are a worthy option, but just about anything pairs well with a lava flow, blended pineapple juice, coconut syrup, strawberries and rum.

Cow Pig Bun
Not exactly a beach bar but still worth a visit, Cow Pig Bun in Kihei plates some of the island’s best burgers and sandwiches piled with chefy add-ons such as bacon garlic aioli, chicken liver
butter and bourbon bacon jam. Slide up to the bar for atypical house cocktails like the Butchertown, a blend of Maker’s Mark, pineapple, rosemary, angostura bitters and Fernet-Branca, or the Cannibalistic, a unique concoction of Espolon blanco tequila, pho syrup, lime, Thai basil and paprika.

Mala Ocean Tavern
Although Lahaina is often crowded with upwards of 30,000 tourists, you can still get a taste of quaint Hawaiian antiquity at Mala Ocean Tavern. Dine on Pacific Rim fare paired with a fairly standard bar menu. It’s intimate setting (the restaurant can only seat about 80 people) and its location on the water’s edge make this a memorable dining experience.

There are more beach bars on Maui than you can shake a coconut at. Our list of favorite Maui beach bars is by no means all-inclusive. You could go out of your way to visit one or more of these establishments, but the best way to imbibe by the beach is to do some explorations of your own. Did we leave your favorite off the list? Add it in the comments section! Follow VegasDaze on social media for more great Maui-centric content.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Your Vegas FAQ

Sin City is shrouded in mystique. The tales are taller than the Stratosphere, legends never die and some things just might be too good to be true. We sifted through your burning Vegas questions and compiled a list of answers to demystify the mysteries, shed the shroud and separate fact from fiction.

Can I walk around Las Vegas with an open alcoholic beverage?
Yes and no. There are really only two areas of the city that do not enforce an open container law. Feel free to frolic about with that yard-long daiquiri within the 4-mile stretch of Las Vegas
Boulevard that constitutes the Strip, between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road. Also, you can walk around under the Fremont Street Experience canopy with open adult beverages. Straying from these areas while drinking will land you a hefty fine. There is one notable exception to this. Even though you spent $12 on that bottle of beer, you can’t take it with you as glass containers are strictly prohibited on Strip sidewalks. Other than that, you are free to shamelessly flaunt your binge drinking in front of the world.

What’s the best way to get around Las Vegas?
There are a number of useful transportation options readily available to Vegas tourists. The Strip is lousy with taxi cabs and ride share companies, so these might be your first choice. However, be sure to keep an eye on the map to avoid the long hauling Vegas cabbies are notorious for.  When traveling between the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas, the city-run, double-decker bus line known as the Deuce offers simple transit. With stops in front of nearly all the major Strip resorts and a direct route to Fremont Street, the bus is a fine option. Most riders on that line are other tourists, but it’s still important to keep your belongings close and be aware of your surroundings. For intra-Strip travel, consider the Las Vegas Monorail. Passes are cheap and the service is highly underutilized.

Can my pet come to Vegas with me?
Surprisingly, many of the major Strip resorts offer pet-friendly rooms, including Caesars Palace, The Cosmopolitan and Planet Hollywood. Some, like Bally’s, even have dog parks on the property. A simple Google search will net you a host of pet-friendly accommodations on and around the Strip.

Do I have to pay taxes on my gambling winnings?
Are you going to report that $20 you walked away from the slot machine with to the IRS? Probably not but the IRS and some states do require you to declare all your winnings as income on your tax return. Conversely, you can write off your gambling losses as itemized deductions. If you win more than $1,200 at once, be it from one hand of blackjack, one spin of the slots or one roll of the dice, you will be required to fill out a W-2G tax form on the spot.

Which game offers the best odds?
The “house edge” occurs because the promised payout and the inherent odds of the game are not the same. The casino does not incur the extra risk. The gambler does. For example, if you bet $20 on the Miami Dolphins to cover the spread at -110 odds, you win $18 should the Fins cover but lose $20 should they not cover. So the important thing is to understand that the odds will never be in your favor. You need to find the game in which you incur the least amount of extra risk. So head over to the craps table. Betting the pass line offers essentially 50-50 odds and pays out accordingly. Try backing up the pass line. This is called an odds bet, which pays off true odds, not casino odds. By playing only the pass line, the casino’s “edge” drops from say 24 percent in a game like the big wheel of fortune to only 1.4 percent.

We hope this helped answer some of your Vegas questions! Ask more questions in the comment section or on our social media pages, and we’ll answer them in the next Vegas FAQ. Until then, you can browse our site for discounted tickets to Vegas’ hottest entertainment!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Vegas' Top Tributes

Las Vegas is a magical place where Elvis still gyrates his hips, Prince is still with Apollonia and glam rock never went out of fashion. Vegas tribute bands are a fun, affordable way to spend a night out. You can see the Bee Gees (almost) without paying Bee Gees prices. Check out some of our favorite tribute bands in Las Vegas!

Purple Reign
Fill that void in your heart left after the passing of Prince with Purple Reign at Westgate. This award-winning show instantly transports you to the steamy clubs of Minneapolis with the kind of blistering performances that made Prince a superstar. The show’s star, Jason Tenner, has the look, demeanor and most importantly the guitar licks of the late legend down pat.

Yellow Brick Road
Since 1997, Yellow Brick Road has kept the sounds of classic rock alive and well in Sin City. While Elton John standards were what got the group gigs at casino showrooms in the first place, it was the covers of other classics, such as Kansas, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, that earned them a loyal fan base. The group is playing free concerts at Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas every Thursday night this summer.

MJ Live
It’s near impossible to replicate the moves, the soul and the sound of Michael Jackson, but MJ Live comes pretty darn close. This high-energy show packs in all the King of Pop’s hits set to raucous dance routines and spectacular stage effects. Don’t forget to pack your sequin glove! MJ Live shows nightly at Stratosphere.

Hitzville: The Show
Who doesn’t love the soulful sounds of Motown? Hitzville at Planet Hollywood is a nod to Vegas' music revues of old. The show's live band backs an incredible troupe of dancers all centered around the voice of Miss Jennifer "Jin-Jin" Reeves, who brings out her dynamic talents every night. Throughout the show, Reeves evokes the sound and character of Motown's most famous divas, going from Diana Ross to Gladys Knight to Tina Turner without missing a beat.

All Shook Up
You didn’t think you’d get through this list without seeing an Elvis impersonator, did you? Forget the hackneyed stereotype of Las Vegas Elvis impersonators. This tribute show recreates the power of The King in all his glory with a full backing band, dancers and modern stage effects. Catch All Shook Up nightly inside the V Theater at Planet Hollywood.

Country Superstars
If you weren’t one of the thousands who shelled out more than $250 for a ticket to see Garth Brooks during his residency at Wynn, we’ve got the next best thing. Country Superstars celebrates music from the past, present and future with spot-on performances of hits from musicians such as Brooks & Dunn, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Charlie Daniels and of course Garth Brooks. C’mon! Who doesn’t want to drink a beer with almost Willie Nelson.

There's plenty of entertainment options available on the Las Vegas Strip. For more exciting shows, tours and attractions, visit browse the listings on VegasDaze. Be sure to share this with those quirky friends who love tribute bands!

Monday, August 8, 2016

His and Hers: The Ultimate 24 Hours in Vegas

When it comes to spending 24 hours in Las Vegas with friends, guys and gals can have some differences of opinion in everything from the packing to the drinking. We brought in two of our Vegas gurus, one a man and the other a woman, to get their takes on what constitutes the Ultimate 24 Hours in Vegas!


She says: It doesn’t matter if you want to pack light or bring two extra-large bags; there are people who are paid to help you lug them around Vegas. Bring the essentials though: sun protection, lip balm, pepper spray, a portable phone charger, collapsible flats and snacks! Don’t forget a swim suit and some outdoor excursion clothes. Jeans and clothes-toed shoes will prevail. Pack a cute cocktail dress and remember to leave some space to bring keepsakes back with you. With the shopping in Las Vegas, you’re almost guaranteed to find a thing or two you can’t live without.

He says: The only things you need to bring with you are a driver’s license, cash and a smile… oh, and definitely a pair of swim trunks.


He says: Staying in Downtown Las Vegas means more singles in your pocket for later. So consider Golden Nugget, which sits in the middle of Fremont Street Experience and boasts one of the best pools in town complete with blackjack tables and bikini-clad dealers. A Saturday afternoon arrival means you have just enough time to check in, drop off the bags and slug a handful of Mai Tais poolside before dinner.

She says: The M offers 4.5-star amenities with no resort fees in a secluded location with beautiful views of The Strip. What more could you ask for? If you’re driving in from California, The M Resort is one of the first places you will see driving into the Vegas valley. It’s more cost effective than most of the other resorts in Vegas. The rooms are equipped with high-speed Internet, a 42-inch LCD television, double sinks, a TV in the bathroom and more.

Dinner and a Show

She says: You can never go wrong with dinner at The Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes. AquaKnox screams sophistication and vibrancy. Enjoy fresh seafood (flown in daily) or the perfect cut of steak. From caviar and crab stuffed Maine lobster to Fillet mignon and Tuscan potatoes, they’ll have exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t you dare forget to indulge in the pumpkin cheesecake or Belgian chocolate s’mores either.

It’s almost a requirement to see a Cirque du Soleil show when you’re in Las Vegas. KÀ is wild and dynamic. They have a stage that rotates 360 degrees and a wheel of death! This acrobatic act is matchless and has tremendous ratings for a reason. Don’t miss the chance to see an incredible cast put on a jaw-dropping performance.

He says: Dinner with the guys is simple. Forget about Michelin Stars. Forget about celebrity chefs. Just walk across the street to Pizza Rock and order the Mob Boss, a massive pie on focaccia bread piled high with salami, pepperoni, bacon, Italian sausage and all the fixings. If you manage to stumble over before 6 p.m., you can snag some $4 PBR tall boys and an order of meatballs for the same price.

In order to avoid the looks of disgust from the significant other, you’ll need to return with some nugget of a normal vacation tale. Trade in a couple hours of roulette for a Cirque du Soleil show. Ká at MGM Grand is like a Bruce Lee kung fu flick meets Mary Lou Retton.

After Party

He says: The show will let out around 9 p.m. The night is young! Since you’re already at MGM Grand, you might as well stick around for the nightly rager at Hakkasan. With five floors of DJ’s and party goers, every member of the crew can find something of interest. Spring for the bottle service as the private booth doubles as base camp when launching expeditions into the scantily clad wilderness. Be sure to leave a little in the tank for the next day.

She says: End the night lounging in a beautiful scene at The Chandelier Lounge inside The Cosmopolitan. Don’t leave without sampling a glass of Forbidden Fruit, a signature drink that you’ll “trade your place in the Garden of Eden for.” Bask in the splendor of being inside a tri-level chandelier. It’s perfect for taking pictures with your friends and mingling until the sun comes up. Another perk to this distinguishing venue is that it is a 24/7 operation. There’s no last call here.

Daytime Outings

She says: The drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon is about eight hours roundtrip. You know what takes only four hours and is way more thrilling? A helicopter sightseeing tour that lands in the Grand Canyon, serves you champagne and snacks, shows you Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, an extinct volcano and the Strip.

He says: Hope you didn’t party too hard last night and have enough left in the tank for a round of golf in the morning. Golfing in Las Vegas is a memorable experience thanks to the numerous courses, many of which land on “Top Courses” lists every year. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and sweat out last night’s debauchery. If you schedule a tee time early in the day, you’ll have enough time to shower and change clothes before check out.

However you spend your time in Las Vegas, spend it with VegasDaze. Browse our site for tickets to the hottest shows, tours and attractions Las Vegas has to offer, and follow us on Facebook for more Vegas travel tips, guides and recommendations.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Vegas Brings the Funny

Las Vegas comedy shows are a Strip staple. Since the days of Redd Foxx and Phyllis Diller, Vegas tourists have flocked to comedy clubs for a night of laughs. Laughter is the best medicine for coping with loss after all. With such a rich comedic tradition, it can be difficult to decide on which club to patronize. To help you find the funny, we round up our favorite comedy clubs, acts and shows.

Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand boasts a rotating cast of established stars and hilarious up-and-comers. Candle-lit leather booths and the obligatory brick walls create a swanky New York lounge atmosphere. Hang out by the bar or grab a table up close. Garrett himself performs here regularly. Catch his stand-up routine August 5 through 7 and 15 through 21. Local publication Las Vegas Weekly has named Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club the best in the city.

Legendary magician and comedian Mac King is just that … the king. For more than 15 years, King has dominated the afternoon time slot with The Mac King Comedy Magic Show, truly a perfect entertainment solution for families in Vegas. The Man in Plaid performs some of his beloved illusions involving goldfish and Fig Newtons as well as new tricks Tuesdays through Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Harrah’s.

Billed as “a culmination of George Carlin, Steven Wright and Gallagher,” Carrot Top is anything but ordinary. The fiery, red-headed comedian has entertained Vegas crowds at Luxor with zany props and raunchy knee-slappers since 2005. You can see this pop icon perform near nightly (the show is dark Tuesdays) at 8 p.m.

The first all-female comedy series to premier on the Las Vegas Strip, Lipshtick at The Venetian is the perfect shade of stand-up. The posh showroom has been graced by the presence of comediennes such as Whitney Cummings, Lisa Lampanelli and comedy folk duo Garfunkel and Oates. Don’t miss out on these limited run shows. It’ll be a memorable one-night stand, but don’t expect a phone call anytime soon!

One of the few 9 p.m. comedy options on the Strip, Las Vegas Live Comedy Club brings the fire. A revolving door of top-tier comics fresh off appearances on HBO, Comedy Central and NBC, Las Vegas Live never disappoints. It also boasts a prime location inside the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood. The current resident headliner, Edwin San Juan, blends current and classic comedy stylings that add an LA flavor to the Vegas comedy scene.

You can’t go wrong with the vast majority of Las Vegas comedy shows. This handful constitutes some of our current favorites. For tickets to other popular Vegas shows, attractions and tours, browse the VegasDaze website. Share some of your favorite Las Vegas comedy clubs in the comments section!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

First Friday August Highlights

One point of criticism regarding Las Vegas you’ll hear often is that there is no culture. Actual theater has been replaced with highly stylized variety shows. Architecture has taken a backseat to overly themed resorts dripping with neon. While it’s true Las Vegas has no art museum … yet, we do have First Friday. The aptly named art festival has taken place in Las Vegas’ 18b Arts District, about halfway between the Strip and Downtown, on the first Friday of every month for nearly 15 years. The festival is a celebration of local artists and galleries. This coming Friday happens to be First Friday, and whether you show up for the live music and food trucks or the artwork, you’ll have a good time. Here’s a preview of some of August’s highlights.

There are a couple of noteworthy additions to the 18b gallery scene this month. Both located at 1800 S. Industrial Road, Evil Vinyl and Zero to Zen are celebrating grand openings this Friday. Evil Vinyl will offer a smorgasbord of shirts, banners, stickers and “all things printed and artsy!” Pop into Zero to Zen for an art show, reiki demonstrations, meditation lessons and yoga classes. You can find both at Downtown Spaces, a hip mid-century modern complex built in 1964 on the edge of the Arts District.

Also found at Downtown Spaces, Heartbroken Reality will exhibit a new show from local art collective Weft in the Weave member Sam Canales, Bubblegum Gallery will display a Harry Potter themed group show, and Skin City Body Painting is hosting August Abstract, featuring body painting and work from artists Santiago Vasquez, Angela Black, Michelle Hengveld and Robin Slonina.

The Arts Factory, one of the two galleries that started the tradition, is always a happening hangout during the festivities. The Twisted Artist Gallery inside will hang a new showing from artist Matthew Murphy called “After Dark.” Hiptazmic, a locally owned shop selling handmade jewelry, accessories and art made from recycled materials, will host what is being billed as a “Pop-up Pokéstop Shop ‘N’ Play” event. They will be selling Pokémon items and raffling away prizes via Snapchat. With more than two dozen galleries, a yoga studio and a pub, The Arts Factory is worth a visit.

While not officially within the festival footprint, Fremont East District businesses are still honorary First Friday participants. Points of interest such as Emergency Arts, at the northwest corner of Fremont and Sixth streets, will certainly offer up artsy activities for First Friday crowds. Head over to Downtown Container Park for an outdoor performance by singer-songwriter Cameron Dettman at 8 p.m. Also, make it a point to stop by The Beat Coffeehouse & Records, just below Emergency Arts, as this longtime Downtown Las Vegas staple will soon close its doors.

The majority of galleries will be open this Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in conjunction with Preview Thursday, which is intended to give the serious art connoisseurs, critics and collectors first crack at new exhibits. It’s the art festival without the festival. First Friday runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. as well. Follow VegasDaze on social media for more useful vacation advice and recommendations, and browse our website for tickets to the city’s hottest shows, attractions, tours and nightlife!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Up the Ante With These Next-level Vegas Selfies

The standard, run-of-the-web selfie is so blasé. You can’t bring your same tired bathroom/post-workout picture taking techniques to Vegas! Save room in the suitcase by leaving the selfie-stick at home, and up the ante on Vegas selfies with these next-level suggestions.


Short for panoramic self-daguerreotype, this hot technique will take your selfie game to a whole other aspect ratio. Despite the name, you don’t have to inundate Facebook with your mug shot. Maybe throw some scenic panoramas in the mix using your smartphone camera’s "Pano" setting. The Strip boasts one of the most spectacular skylines of any city. I can’t think of a better complement to your millennial indifference-filled smile. Can you?

Selfie GIF

A standard photograph taken in front of a Strip marquee just doesn’t do the scene justice. There are a number of apps available that help you create one-of-a-kind GIFs, which (for people over 40) are ostensibly digital flip books. It’s a perfect way to capture dynamic Glitter Gulch in an easy-to-post format.

Zipline Selfie

You’ve never been one to stand in line. The status quo is your status no. And let’s face it, you’ve always looked good in a harness. Show the world you’re living life in the fast lane by snapping an epic selfie careening down one of Las Vegas’ many zipline attractions. You sprung for the phone insurance, right?

Drone Selfie

If drones can deliver Nicolas Cage pillowcases, surely they can deliver inspiring selfies to your Instagram followers. It’s like having your own paparazzo follow you around Las Vegas sans the hideous multi-pocket vest! Word of caution: Be polite and keep your drone away from the topless pools.

Helicopter Selfie

Nothing says "I’m important" like a flawless selfie taken above the Strip in the cabin of a helicopter. That’s one social media post that’s sure to be liked, hearted, retweeted, pinned and upvoted for weeks to come. Those helicopter tours of the Strip are actually more affordable than you’d think. Book a flight today to tour the stunning Las Vegas Strip, Hoover Dam and even the Grand Canyon from the comfortable luxury of our preferred vendor's state-of-the-art helicopters.


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