I touched down in the one of the worlds most loved cities almost 9 years ago when I was an Irish student living in America for the first time. By touched down I mean I stepped off the Greyhound bus I had taken from southern California. The journey took about 9 hours altogether, which is crazy considering I can fly direct from London for almost the same length of time. But hey we were student’s and wanted to see Las Vegas no matter what, so we did what we had to do.
I loved every minute of it and spent as much time as we could roaming the world famous strip. Being underage at the time though I felt I was missing out on Sin City in all its glory and swore I’d be back again and it didn’t take long until I returned.
I fell in love with Las Vegas that summer of ’09 and I’ve been back too many times to count now.
This time I was in Vegas it was for a mix of both work and pleasure, but mostly pleasure thanks to a great stay at the Downtown Grand LV hotel.
We flew direct from Heathrow and landed at McCarran international airport. The sun was still shining, as we made our way to Downtown Las Vegas by taxi from the airport. My first piece of advice is don’t be lazy like us and not walk to the Uber pick up point. Uber is a much cheaper way to get around and I knew this but didn’t take my own advice. We Opt’d for a taxi that was sat there ready and waiting but cost almost double the price. If you don’t have the Uber app, I strongly recommend you Download it is especially useful while travelling. You can use my Uber code (3qcxtue) to receive 15/20 dollars off your first trip.
It was a first time for me in Downtown LV and I was pleasantly surprised at how close our hotel was to the Famous Freemont Street. Lots of people know Freemont Street for allowing you to zip-line above the bustling crowds below.
We checked in at the Downtown grand in the afternoon and were greeted by the friendliest of staff. Our room wasn’t ready at first but Bianca at the front desk did all she could and within a few minutes we had our keycards.
Our room was big and spacious with a huge bathroom and a great view of both the mountains and the street below. Our favourite thing about the room at a first glance was the huge bed and it was definitely calling my name.
I had a really busy flying schedule the previous weeks so after the 10 hour flight from London I needed a nap. I think we must have slept for about 2 or 3 hours and when we woke we could hear the sound of downtown Las Vegas outside our window. There was a Halloween themed street party at the Downtown Grand so we quickly got dressed and went downstairs. There was people everywhere and so many food trucks to choose from. Lots of people were dressed up so we walked around for a while checked out the food trucks and had a look at the menu for “Triple George Grill” where we ate later on in the trip.
We decided to head back in and explore the hotel a little more and found the “Freedom beat” Diner just off the casino so decided to eat there.
We ordered the Chicken wings and Shrimp caesar salad both with fries. The staff here were my favourite they were so friendly and couldn’t do enough for us each time we ate at Freedom beat
The next morning we were up super early, probably too early but we wanted to get as much into our trip as possible. We got an Uber this time onto Las Vegas BLVD or the strip and it was about 8-12 dollars each way depending on traffic and time of day. We spent the whole day on the strip and this time ate at the world famous Bubba Gump Shrimp Company It’s one of those bucket list must try food places, all the shrimp you could think of.
By lunch time the sun was starting to come out and we decided to walk to the “Welcome to Las Vegas” Sign at the beginning of the strip. We walked the whole way down to Mandalay bay where we stood for a few moments to remember all the victims of the Vegas shootings which had happened 2 weeks prior. It was very surreal and so touching to see how much Las Vegas had come together after such a tragedy. Everywhere had signs of “Vegas Strong” and the biggest one for miles was stretched across Mandalay bay.
We carried on walking and when we reached the Las Vegas sign it was crowded with people more so than usual, there was lines of cars waiting to park and a huge commemoration garden next to the Vegas sign for all the victims. It was really beautiful but also a stark reminder of the many lives and families that were all touched by the tragedy, one thing was evident though, Vegas was stronger and more united than ever.
Exhausted after the walk we made our way back to the strip and uber’d back to our hotel at the Downtown Grand. The sun was still shining so we decided to check out the pool area and sit outside with some drinks. When we got to the pool we were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it was. Rooftop with music and some couch’s if you didn’t fancy sunbathing on a lounger. The bar was closed but only because it was out of season. The pool bar does still open but on the weekends.
We made the most of the pool during the day and had a couch each soaking up the sun.
Once the sun went down we went back to our room and got ready for our last night at the Downtown Grand. We decided to check out some of the fine dining at the Triple George Grill
Seafood is our absolute favourite so thats what we had. Shrimp cocktails, Mussels in White wine sauce, Calamari and some Bruschetta’s.
Triple George Grill was a little more pricey but definitely a great fine dining experience but the quality of food for me was equally as good in Freedom beat.
We loved freedom beat so much that we decided to eat there again the next day before we checked out. They had an all you can eat brunch for 20 dollars which included my favourite eggs Benedict. It had everything a typical American Breakfast was supposed to be with a hint of lunch in there too. You even had the choice of adding some bottomless mimosa’s.
The diner was full and there was live music while you ate, I had a Beef burger for my lunch and it was honestly one of the nicest burgers Ive had on my travels. I was given the choice of how I wanted it cooked and it was the most perfect medium cooked burger I’ve eaten.
All in All we had a great stay at the Downtown Grand couldn’t have asked for nicer friendly staff and we got to explore a side of Vegas we had never seen. I’ll definitely be back again.
If you’re planning a stay in Las Vegas and fancy something a little further out from the hustle and bustle of the strip I would recommend staying downtown.
Book a room Here
Special thanks to The Downtown Grand for a great stay.
All views are my own.