For those under 21 in the EDM culture scene, you can understand when I say the anticipation of finally turning the age of freedom, fun, and legal booze drinking is almost unbearable. Although age is nothing but a number, it really does open up a lot of doors and new opportunities. At 21, you no longer need to worry about the age to get into venues or being forced to stand outside drinking areas while your friends pound a beer. You now get to join in the festivities and make epic memories.
Since I live in Los Angeles and only a five hour drive to Las Vegas, I decided to take my landmark birthday to the infamous city that never sleeps, always drinks, and is filled with endless options. The only problem I came across when planning my trip was where to begin. After talking to my friends and doing some digging online, I found myself overwhelmed with the amount of day clubs, night clubs, and conflict of so many great DJs playing at the same time.
This is my journey to Las Vegas and how I celebrated my 21st birthday, along with some tips and future to do lists- I hope it helps with your next visit/first experience in the City of Sin.
For Day Clubs, on the top of my to do list was Daylight, Marquee, and Encore Beach Club. While there are so many other options that I heard about, unfortunately I couldn't do them all and these were the three that by choice of DJ or venue caught my eye.
TIP: Make friends with promoters. You can find them in just about any hotel by a day pool or club. While for guest list there will still be a line, ladies will get in for free before a certain time and guys for a discounted price. This will help and you and your bank account will thank me for this introduction.
Daylight at Mandalay Bay- While the lines are packed upon arrival and usually a sign of waiting, they moved pretty quickly. After waiting about 5-10 minutes or so, my friends and I were in. When we first walked in the energy was overwhelming and so alive. You could just feel the happiness from everyone there. The people were dancing from the cabanas, to the dance floor, to even moving while soaking up some sun in the pool. It almost felt like a normal show, with the exception of the comfort of knowing you could dive in to some water if you got too hot. The first plan of action upon our entry was to get some alcohol and sip on some Long Island Ice Teas. The lines for the bar, weren't really lines but more of a stampede to try and get your drink first. Since it was a hot day, I couldn't really blame everyone for wanting to be first, but some people were downright rude. The bartenders did their best working their butts off and with a smile. My bartender although being bombarded by shouting orders, took mine with a smile. While the price of a Long Island in a souvenir cup was a little shocking ($35/ $25 for refill), it was well worth it when we realized we wanted to be inside the water instead of dancing in the sunlight (the cup prevented spilling and pool water from getting in.)
TiP:If you want your stuff safe, put it in a locker. It might be pricy, but will be cheaper to replace any stolen items!
Now to the good stuff: the music! Hook N' Sling was playing when we first arrived and getting everyone hyped. At every drop people were splashing in the pool, dancing on every surface available, and screaming with excitement. There's something both so relaxing and refreshing about getting to dance in a pool while hearing some great tunes, and the opportunity to meet new people- that made this Day Club the amazing experience that it was. Clockwork came on after Hook N' Sling, throwing down an amazing set where I not only splashed into some pretty awesome people, but created some new dance moves for water friendly fun. Overall, I had an amazing time. Hopping in the pool and getting wet, not only made it better, but with the help of great beats and cool water, my energy was kept alive!
Encore Beach Club at Encore- With the help of a promoter, I was able to wait through the guest list and get in fast. As soon as I walked in, I was stunned by how big and welcoming this place was. The pool itself is huge! While some pools are smaller and a little harder to navigate, there was no worry at this one about finding a good spot or pushing your way into one. The energy was very laid back and welcoming. The music was loud, but not too loud ( just the right level to still hear your friend while dancing to some tunes.) I first headed to the bar, which had no line and ordered myself a drink. The bartender was really outgoing and friendly, making ordering my drink that much more effortless and enjoyable.
TIP: Be patient and be nice to your bartender. This will make getting your drink more enjoyable and the person serving you more inclined to help.
I then went and found a nice place to sit and relax, and soak up some sun, while I awaited for Diplo's set. After a little snag with some thunder in the surrounding area, the party was back on and everyone returned to their feet to dance the day away. I headed to the bar a couple times ( my drink was an affordable $15,) and worked on my tan until the familiar voice of Diplo came on and the real dancing came to life. For hours, Diplo worked the crowd into a twerk frenzy and set the tone for a booty bumping' afternoon.
Marquee Day Club at The Cosmopolitan- I don't know if you have ever walked in to The Cosmopolitan Hotel, but this place makes you feel like Royalty. From the decorations to the clean air in the lobby, you felt like this hotel was made to cater to your needs. This only upped my anticipation to get to the roof as soon as possible. The entrance was quick and speedy, and the ride up the elevator made it more exciting. While there was no DJ playing at Marquee on the Monday I went (Kaskade is one of their resident DJs), this was one of the most relaxing, calming spots I had been to all weekend. After my crazy days and nights, I needed a day to relax by the pool and just take in some sun and release all my exhaustion. For this day we were able to get a Cabana, which I would highly recommend. With a view of the strip in front of you, a couch to escape in to some shade, and a fridge with some hydrating beverages, the mood was set for a day of all about taking caring of yourself. Our waitress was very friendly, and funny and helpful with choosing drinks. The cost wasn't bad,( about $14) and were extremely tasty. I had tried a frozen pink lemonade and frozen blueberry red bull.
TIP: If you like flavored drinks, go for it! It's worth the taste and price.
With the cabana came a personal small pool, that made sipping on my drink and sitting in the cool water all the more enjoyable. I didn't have to worry about being splashed or bumped into, but just sit in the pool with my friends and get refreshed for the rest of the day ahead of us. I'd also like to add they had one of the best Caesar Salads I've ever tasted and I'm not the biggest fan of salads. This was just what I needed to pamper myself.
Future Day Club To Do List-
Wet Republic at MGM Grand- I've heard nothing but good things about this venue, but due to the short time wasn't able to make it. They have resident DJ's like DeadMau5, Steve Aoki, Tiesto, Tommy Trash, and Calvin Harris.
In Las Vegas, night time is when everything really comes alive. The night clubs were a little harder to choose from as it felt like there were at least 2 clubs for all the big hotels. Over the span of the weekend you could have about 6 DJs you'd really like to see, but only 2 nights to do it. These are what I chose, what I want to do in the future, and my opinion on future tips and night club to do lists.
Light at Mandalay Bay- This club was one of the most visually stunning venues I have ever been to. From the lights on the wall at the bar to the actual visuals on the screen to the gogo dancers in light covered bikinis, everything was about working with Light. What I really liked about this club was the amount of space. There were about three floors to work with if you weren't VIP: one was the main dance floor, another more dance space, and then the third was upstairs balcony viewing. There are no words to exactly put what I saw other than my eyes were happily entertained, not to mention my ears. On this night resident DJ Clockwork was playing and even though he had just played Daylight earlier, he came at the crowd in full swinging dropping massive beats and greats vibes. It also didn't hurt that behind him was a wall of screens that led all the way up and on to the ceiling, creating an atmosphere that made you feel like you were in a different world. The really unique thing about Light though, is the shows performed by Cirque De Soleil performers. Throughout the whole night, acrobats were either dangling from the ceiling, running up the LED screens, or actually performing behind them. Everything about this club screamed at me to let loose and just dance. For those of you who are curious about the bar situation: there are plenty of them both downstairs and upstairs. Everyone was friendly and just looking for a good time. I highly suggest going to Light for a first time Vegas goer.
TIP: Ladies if you are wearing high heels, you will be dancing your feet off (literally.) My feet were killing me and I learned the hard way that if you can fit sandals in your purse… do it! I saw plenty of people walking with their socks across lobbies, and myself included the first night.
Hakkasan at MGM Grand- Although I had gotten on a promoters' list, I unfortunately arrived a little late and had to pay $10 to get in. So if you aren't a very punctual person, I suggest saving your $10 and arriving on time and putting that towards some booze. Hakkasan like Light is fairly new to the strip. It felt very elite and classy, almost like a VIP club. When we first got in the place was decked out with VIP tables and one very large dance floor with a back room centering a dancer. My friends and I headed over to the bar in a single file as space was a little tight, but eventually made our way to get our first drinks at the bar no problem. We wondered around a little bit checking out the club, while semi dancing to the massive tunes of TJR. His music really got the crowd jumping and encouraged everyone to get up and dance. By the end of the night, we found ourselves up stairs enjoying the view from above. Lucky for us, some gentlemen offered to share their table with us so we could really get a good look. It also felt amazing to sit down and watch everyone from below to dance together and wave around their light sticks. I even got to take my personal Hakkasan light stick home for a little souvenir.
TIP: If you can afford it, chip in with some friends for a table or arrive early. The dance floor gets packed and the table is worth not only the service and the ability to have space and sit, but for the view! Try and get the balcony if you can. It's quite the vantage point!
Marquee Night Club at The Cosmopolitan- As you read previously, walking in to The Cosmopolitan just makes you feel good- something like royalty. At night the hardware for the lights really come alive and the crystal chandeliers just make you feel like a million bucks. Marquee Night Club like the Day Club is also upstairs. It's actually half Night Club, half the Marquee Day Club pool area minus the people swimming. For me it was really nice to get to sit on the roof again, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the Las Vegas warmth. For this night, we got a VIP table and got bottle service.
Our waitress' name was Destiny and one of the most kind people I had met in Vegas. She gave suggestions, always made sure my drink was full and also just all around made us feel like it was our own little home. The bouncer who also was walking around was very kind and made sure we were having a good time and even checked how things were going as the night progressed. Unfortunately, even though I love 3LAU I had missed his performance on Saturday and was what led me to attend on Monday. I'm not quite sure who was playing this night, but the crowd inside was definitely having a good time. All around Marquee was fun and friendly, and mostly enjoyable. Again, this is definitely one you'll want to check out when you're in Las Vegas.
1- Oak at Mirage- Tuesday was my last night in Vegas and if you're around on this day, I highly suggest going to 1-Oak. I decided I had wanted to switch it up a bit and go check out one of the Hip Hop Clubs. 1-Oak was more than what I had expected. I had showed up around 10:30 before most people had arrived and grabbed a drink. At first, I was confused at the lack of people, but then after 11:30 it was like a totally different world. TIP: Arrive after 11 or 11:30. At this time it's when most people begin to show up and the tunes really start going and the dance floor becomes hopping. DJ Que was the DJ on this night and he was really mixing it up with the hip hop flow. From tunes like Dr. Dre to Mickey Avalon, there was a little something in there for everyone. When I looked around at one point, even the servers were shaking their butts and singing along. The overall vibe was a summer night to dance away until you couldn't anymore. It was also really encouraging to keep moving when I looked and saw that the gogo dancers had wind blowing on them and getting down. Overall this was a really fun club for hip hop lovers like me. I'd suggest it to anyone/any age for a good time.
Future Night Club To Do List
XS Night Swim- From the pictures this place looks epic. There are floating pool lounges and you are actually encouraged to swim while the DJ sets the mood for your night. On one of the days I was in Vegas, I know Diplo played and really had the ladies twerkin'.
Haze- I had heard from a friend this place was really fun and one of her favorite clubs to go to. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time, but have on the top of my list for next time.
Surrender- With resident DJ's like Bassnectar, this place has been making noise from all my friends. The weekend I went there wasn't a particular DJ in mind that I was dying to see, but I know for next time to check the calendar and make sure I go when there is. I've heard nothing, but good times and good music about this place.
Body English at Hard Rock Hotel- this club looks really looks like a club dedicated to people dancing. 12th planet is one of the resident's there and I'm a huge 12th planet fan and hope to make it out there for one of his shows!
I'd have to say for my first time in Las Vegas I did pretty well. I fit in a full schedule of fun and made great memories while doing it. My biggest advice to anyone headed to Las Vegas is to check out the places and your bank account before you go- see who is playing, where you want to head to, and give yourself a hefty budget. Between buying food, drinks, and more unforeseen drinks and meals in your trip, you'll want to have the money to do everything you want. I also say it's really important to make friends with a promoter or two to help reduce the costs and help with suggestions or guest lists. I worked with my buddy Samson who not only helped suggest/get me into some clubs, but also refer me to others who could help as well.
I hope all these tips and reviews have been helpful and will guide you to your next trip to Las Vegas. I know I'll be back soon!
All Photos Credit/Property Of Respective Venues.