Las Vegas may be the gambling mecca of the United States, but for those of us who would rather not spend every minute (and dollar) on a casino floor, there are other attractions in town to explore.
My sister Linda and I recently decided to spend two days in Sin City, where we did our best to not constantly feed the slot machines. We chose to stay at the Paris Las Vegas, one of my favorite hotels in town, which is roughly in the middle of the Strip.
In the mornings, I love being able to grab juice and a croissant from JJ’s Boulangerie, or at the end of the day, stop in Cafe Belle Madeleine for a taste of something sweet. Linda, who loves crepes, was disappointed that La Creperie didn’t offer a chicken crepe, but settled for a seafood one instead. All three restaurants offer reasonably priced items that can make the tab under $10 for a quick bite.
On our first day, we spent a couple of hours at one of the city’s outlet malls, Las Vegas Premium Outlets-South. There’s also a Premium Outlet-North, but we only had time to walk through one, so choose the one on the south side of the Strip.
Like most outlet malls, this one is huge, filled with tourists and locals looking for a deal from brand name stores. A merry-go-round in the center draws parents and children looking for a reason to get off their feet. While an indoor outlet makes sense in a desert setting, it’s a shame that the design here creates a dark, dense environment for visitors, rather than a light and airy one.
Of the two of us, Linda is the shopper. She can look endlessly for bargains, find great buys, and return things without hesitation if she’s dissatisfied. Walking through malls is great fun for her. I, on the other hand, only set foot inside a mall if I have something specific I need to buy. Luckily, I did need to pick up some lingerie, and Linda found a great suit jacket on sale.
That evening, we headed to The Palazzo at the northern end of the Strip to catch a performance of “Jersey Boys,” a Broadway musical so popular that the show runs 2 hours, 15 minutes — with only 10 to 15 minutes cut from the Tony-winning original — rather than being the usual 95-minute Broadway-to-Vegas condensed version.
Linda and I weren’t around when Frankie Valli began his professional singing career in 1951, rising from the blue-collar lounge circuit in New Jersey to be the frontman for The Four Seasons with a powerful falsetto voice that propelled him and the group to rock and roll stardom in the 1960s.
But we loved every minute of the musical biography that showed why Valli and his friends are such icons today. From the sweetness of “My Eyes Adored You” to the sassy “Working My Way Back to You,” the cast delivered rousing renditions, song after song, with a style that brought the audience to its feet at the end of the show.
So “Walk Like a Man” (or a woman) to the Jersey Boys Theatre at The Palazzo if you want to know what “Oh, What a Night” really means, and “Let’s Hang On” to some of the best music ever written.
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