Kristi Amundson moved to Las Vegas on a whim. "The first time we came to Vegas for a vacation," the concierge at The Cromwell says. "The second time we were looking for an apartment to move." Here she shares some of her favorite places to suggest to Las Vegas tourists when they want to explore Sin City.
Tell me about one of your favorite places to send first-time Vegas visitors.
One of my favorite places to send first-time visitors is to The Mob Museum downtown. If you really love Vegas history, you can easily spend a good two to three hours just going through the different artifacts and memorabilia from the mobsters, gangsters and how Las Vegas really came into its own and became the entertainment capital of the world.
I want to update my Facebook photo. What should I have in the background of my selfie?
For the perfect selfie, I would suggest going over to Caesars Palace. You can take a picture in front of the fountains, or if you’re lucky you can catch the centurions hanging around inside the casino.
Tell me about your favorite hidden gem in Las Vegas.
My favorite hidden gem would be the Golden Steer. The steakhouse is tucked away behind the giant Bonanza Gift Shop. It is known for amazing meals and also for their famous clientele. The Rat Pack used to dine there after their shows. Frank Sinatra was there so often they eventually named his booth after him. Ask the staff nicely if his booth is available.
Another favorite hidden gem would be the Pinball Hall of Fame. This classic pinball hall has various old-school pinball machines varying throughout the years. All you need is a free afternoon and a pocket full of quarters.
Where should I eat if I want to celebrate a special occasion? How hard is it to get a reservation while I’m in Las Vegas?
To celebrate a special occasion, I would recommend Oscar's Steakhouse at the Plaza Hotel. The steak is always cooked to perfection and the view of Fremont Street is uncanny. Reservations do become difficult on a busy weekend, or even on holidays—they tend to fill up quickly. Make sure to plan ahead. Also, request a table by the window if it’s available. The window seats are the best for people watching. Once in a while, former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman does pop into the restaurant. Make sure to keep an eye out for him. He always has a martini in hand and a showgirl on his arm.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had as a concierge? What about the craziest request?
The most unusual request I’ve had was a guest who always wanted a framed picture of a chicken on fire placed into his room before he arrived. The craziest request I’ve had was that a guest wanted to have a group of scooters dropped off for him and have balloons tied to the back of each scooter because they were dressing up as Mario Kart for Halloween.
Who is your favorite Las Vegas celebrity chef? Why?
My favorite celebrity chef is always Guy Fieri. I have met him a few times and he is always down to earth and is a really fun guy to talk to. His food is always delicious and he always comes up with a creative menu. Make sure to check out his trash can nachos. You won’t regret it.
Where do you like to send guests to brunch?
For brunch, I like to send guests to Mon Ami Gabi over at Paris Las Vegas. They have a beautiful patio that overlooks the Bellagio Fountains and their chicken apple brie crepe is to die for.
I want to experience classic Las Vegas. Where do you recommend that I go?
To experience classic Las Vegas, I would recommend taking a Big Bus Tour. The Big Bus Tours are hop on/hop off tour and you really get your money’s worth. They take you to multiple stops up and down the Strip and they even go into Downtown Las Vegas. Your tour guide also provides you with tips and tricks for the Strip and they are extremely informative and will point out fun things to do and fun facts about the city. Make sure to take the tour with tour guide Ken.
Where do you like to do some people-watching in Las Vegas?
For people watching, I love going to Fremont Street at night. You can watch the huge LED Fremont Street Experience screen. There are lots of street performers and there are lots of fun casinos like the Golden Nugget you can check out.
What’s the must-see show in Las Vegas right now?
My favorite must-see show in Las Vegas is always "Le Rêve—The Dream" over at Wynn. The show has everything from pyrotechnics to synchronized swimming to acrobatics and dancing. How about nightlife? I want to hang out with friends but avoid the nightclubs. Where should I go?
If you want to avoid the clubs, I would suggest Napoleon's Dueling Pianos over at Paris Las Vegas. It’s a really fun bar where you can watch two musicians go head to head in a dueling piano battle.
What tips do you give first-timers?
For tips for first timers, I would suggest taking in at least one show, one museum and one really nice dinner. There are so many things to do in Las Vegas, you don’t have to gamble the entire trip. If you have the time take a day trip to one of the national parks or take a helicopter tour above the Las Vegas Strip to get a bird's eye view.
Describe your perfect evening out in Las Vegas.
My perfect evening in Las Vegas would be taking a staycation at the Cosmopolitan and then followed by a nice dinner at Momofuku for some tasty ramen. After, it would be fun to go ice skating at their ice skating rink located next to the Boulevard Pool and then relaxing and drinking hot chocolate next to one of their fire pits.