Whether for a bachelorette party or just an excuse to get away for a reality ditch, a vacay with female friends can get you back in touch with life's good times. Las Vegas is a great place to do it. If you're headed to Sin City with your favorite band of broads, here's a down and dirty list of musts for a quick jaunt.
What to See
Thunder from Down Under. The ultimate girls' night out needs to include this all-out spectacle during which scantily clad Australian hunks (who look like they spend 9 to 5 at the gym) dance -- half-seductively, half-boyishly -- in a series of hip-thrusting renditions designed to make women scream. At once hilarious and bawdy, the world's most popular male revue (move over, Chippendales), relies heavily on audience participation; if you're an obvious bachelorette-party honoree, be ready to get pulled onstage by the blokes.
Shows nightly at Excalibur; $40. www.thunderfromdownunder.com.
Love. If you're in search of a more (ahem) civilized evening but would still love to gaze upon lovely bodies in motion, take your ladies to see this exhilarating Cirque du Soleil production, set to an all-Beatles soundtrack. It's amazing to hear such familiar music in such intensity and clarity; it's even more amazing to watch as the world's best acrobats execute feats of heart-stopping derring-do while highly skilled dancers perform achingly beautiful pieces rife with ambiguity. What plot there is loosely dangles from the stories of the Beatles' lives, but cling to any attempt to make perfect sense of this dazzlingly vivid creation and you'll miss the point.
Shows Thurs-Mon nights at the Mirage; $93.50-$150. www.cirquedusoleil.com.
Where to Eat
Enoteca San Marco. Grab a large, circular table and order family-style from Mario Batali's noticeably inventive menu. This isn't your typical spaghetti-and-meatballs Italian food -- here's betting you've never tried stuffed zucchini flowers, risotto balls, or rigatoni spiced with chili and rosemary and topped with cauliflower puree. Or if you have tried these, here's betting yours weren't nearly this good. Even the pizza here (try the margherita) is unlike anywhere else. Order a shared bottle of wine from the comprehensive list to round out this impeccable meal. Bellissimo!
At the Venetian. Entrees range from $16-$28.
Sushi Roku. Catch a window seat overlooking the strip in these dramatically decorated dining digs; the food comes with a flair for the dramatic as well. Start with edamame hummus or seaweed salad, then get into the main course with a full selection of creatively presented sushi, substantial entrees, and satisfying noodle soups. Pair the food with one of the restaurant's refreshing mixed cocktails and end the meal with a chocolaty dessert; you can't go wrong.
At Caesar's Palace. Entrees range from $24-$42.
Where to Stay
Mandalay Bay. Book your overnight stay here and no matter how wild your night's been, you'll have an incredibly comfy bed to come "home" to and luxurious amenities to boot. Added plusses are a slew of upscale restaurants, the 135,000-square-foot casino, a sandy beach, and Moorea, a trendy pool at which to see and be seen.
Rates from $110. www.mandalaybay.com.
Where to Play in the Day
Tao Beach. If your group is looking for an exclusive hotspot at which to bask, head to this dayclub, which looks like a photo shoot crowded with oil-slathered, swimsuit-clad, sunglass-donning models of both genders. When your tanned tummies start grumbling, throw on a cute dress and head inside for a meal at Tao's heavily Buddhist-themed restaurant, where you'll Zen out to notable service and food.
At the Venetian. For information regarding Tao Beach pricing, call tel. 702/388-8338. Restaurant entrees range from $20 to $38.
Bare. This pool is clothing-optional and serves up a laid-back vibe with a side of eye candy. An upper dipping pool is sided with see-through glass (to better view whoever's in it) and the bar doles out cold drinks while DJs spin hot tunes.
At the Mirage. Admission $10-$20 for women, $20-$40 for men.
Where to Play After Dark
Tryst. If you want to have one (a tryst, that is), come here -- this trendiest of nightspots is filled with beautiful people who flaunt designer duds and dance moves.
At Wynn. Cover charge varies.
LAX. This multilevel club of the moment embodies sheer Vegasness. A wall-to-wall crowd moves to the grooves, drinks more than its share, and checks itself out.
At Luxor. Cover charge varies.
Fair Warning: Don't believe everything promoters tell you. It's common practice for them to approach a group of women during the day (perhaps poolside) and tell them that they'll get free bottle service if they show up at a certain nightclub that night; they'll even wristband all of you in advance and tell you who to look for. Once you get there, however, any promise of VIP service falls by the wayside and you become just another paying customer. One club known for pulling this scam is Planet Hollywood's Privé. Moral of the story: Go where you want to go, not where you're told you'll get free stuff or star treatment -- unless you personally know someone who works at the venue.
What are your favorite spots in Vegas? Let us know on our Nevada Message Boards today.