Recently Rooftop Cinema Club invited me for a night out at their San Diego rooftop location at the Manchester Grand Hyatt to watch Raya and the Last Dragon. To sum up the evening in one word, it was PHENOMENAL. But before we get too far in to this blog, I do want to note that this experience isn’t just for San Diegans – Rooftop Cinema Club has locations all over including Los Angeles, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, New York, Tampa, and London!
With the San Diego location being in the heart of Downtown San Diego, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for a girl’s night out with my friend, Saralyn. Not to mention with it being our first time seeing Raya and the Last Dragon, we also decided to dress for the occasion! A Disney Bound was an absolute must. How did we do?
We parked in the Self-Parking for Grand Hyatt and, with RCC validation, was only $11! So much cheaper than trying to park in Seaport Village and walking over.
Rooftop Cinema Club (RCC) opened their doors an hour before this screening, so in that hour we were able to take part in their “Social Cinema”. They had some games to play like large stacked Jenga, ping pong, and cornhole. We soaked in the views of San Diego, took some cute pictures with the views and their nice photo op they had! Pre-COVID, they normally provide pillows and blankets, but since they are still in their transitional period into being back in full swing, they didn’t have them this time. But they encourage viewers to bring their own!
Tickets are sold exclusively online. For 18-and-over moviegoers and 13-and-over moviegoers on “Teen Tuesday,” tickets start at $17.50 (Sun-Thurs) and $18.50 (Fri & Sat) for a single adjustable lounge seat. For $20.50 (Sun-Thurs) and $21.50 (Fri & Sat), guests 18-and-over can purchase a single lounge seat that comes with a 46 oz. bucket of popcorn. And for couples, RCC offers a special double-sized love-seat that also comes with a 46 oz. bucket of popcorn for each guest, and those tickets are $24 (Sun-Thurs) and $25 a piece (Fri & Sat) and must be booked in pairs. They also offer a 15% military discount and a 10% student discount for guests 18-and-over (valid ID required at check-in). Lastly for family-friendly screenings, tickets are $13.50 for a “Kids” lounge seat (ages 12-and-under). Booking fees apply. All information above is provided by RCC and may only be the ticket prices for San Diego moviegoers! Be sure to check online to see the location prices for the viewing you want to go to!
Based on the day, RCC shows one or two movies a night and they have themed nights as well for kiddos, teens, and adults! For the first screening (if applicable to the day), you can enter in an hour before, and for the second viewing (if there is one, but there wasn’t for the night we went), you can enter in thirty minutes before. They have all of their upcoming shows on their website through August 1st currently. Keep in mind, they sell out pretty far in advance so if you see a show that you want to see, act quickly so you can have a night out in this amazing place too. I am especially excited for their Christmas in July themed nights when Elf will be playing! It’s my favorite Christmas movie!
All seats are provided with a sanitized pair of headphones so that you can hear everything in the movie and block out any possible distractions or other conversations going on. And if you need any help at all, the staff there is so friendly and happy to help.
Before we went to our Love Seat, we grabbed our snacks and some drinks. RCC is completely cashless so make sure you bring a debit or credit card. I thought this event would be the perfect place to do a bridesmaid proposal to Saralyn. The staff was able to write “Will you be my bridesmaid?” on her popcorn and oh my gosh it was adorable! She was so happy that she almost forgot to answer the question. But after all of that, we grabbed our seats and we got the perfect view! We had people in front of us but they did not block our view at all.
After that, all there was really left to do was enjoy the show. It was so amazing being able to watch a new movie somewhere other than my couch. I can’t even remember the last movie I saw in a theater but this experience was so magical and the perfect reintroduction to watching new movies at a movie theater again. And why wouldn’t I want a great view to go with my movie and popcorn?
Lastly, and this is HUGE, The Manchester Grand Hyatt is offering a 30% room discount for guests who would like to stay at the hotel following a night at Rooftop Cinema Club Embarcadero. The discount code is available on the cinema email ticket confirmations for online bookings. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. This is an INSANE deal because this hotel is absolutely STUNNING.
Check out my 2 minute YouTube video of this amazing place and views of the hotel as well to get the full scoop on everything there was to see and just the general atmosphere of it all.
Last year I wrote the Perfect 4 Day Itinerary to Las Vegas during COVID times. And now a year later as things continue to open up and restrictions are not as severe, Las Vegas is getting back to being the top of the summer getaway list! There is so much to do an experience, and it’s not just about being 21 years old and going clubbing.
Now, it might have been a little chaotic going on the July 4th weekend, but my friends and I wanted to go to the Illenium concert and that just so happened to fall on one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year. But we had a great time obviously, and here is everything we did to give you some ideas for your next trip.
And before I get started on this guide, a lot of what I am going to talk about were rewards I got FOR FREE by playing the myVEGAS apps, which you can read about HERE.
Day 0 – July 2nd
The reason I say Day 0 is because we actually decided to leave the night before we had originally planned to get there. We left San Diego around 9:30pm, bought a room at the OYO for about $141, and arrived at the hotel around 1:50am. When we checked in, they said they had run out of the standard rooms that we had booked and gave us an upgrade! Although that was really nice of them to do, none of us were impressed by the OYO.
The garage was cramped, the elevators were dirty, the hallways smelled of cigarette smoke, and the rooms were extremely outdated. My friends that I was staying with said their sheets made them itchy and that there was hair left over in the shower. Also as we were checking out (on Day 1 of our trip), the fire alarm went out three seconds after we had gotten off of the elevator and none of the staff reacted to it. So, overall not a fan.
Day 1 – July 3rd
PHEW! Made it out of the OYO in one piece and time to check in to our room at the Excalibur! Our room for our two night stay was $410 – now keep in mind this was on a holiday weekend so the prices were more expensive! If you have followed me for a while or read my other Vegas blogs, then you know that usually I stay at the Bellagio for free because of those fun rewards that I get from the myVEGAS apps. But we weren’t able to redeem free rooms because of the holiday weekend.
After checking in, we decided to use our free drink rewards that we got through those apps and started our casino bar hopping to redeem the rewards! We went to New York New York, MGM Grand, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay to redeem these free drinks. So if you want some cheap or free alcohol, be sure to the download those apps to start playing. It’s also a great way to explore the casinos! One of my most favorite activities is just wandering around the casinos since they are so big and there’s always something new to do or experience.
Once we had redeemed all the rewards and explored the casinos, it was time for us to get ready for the Illenium concert! Since it was at the Allegiant Stadium, we were able to just walk right on across the street to it! And that activity led us from Day 1 into Day 2. My body was not prepared for a second night in a row staying up until 2am.
Day 2 – July 4th
Because we are not as spry as we used to be, we slept until noon on Day 2 – no regrets! But we had to get up at some point and it was time to explore some new things! My friends decided to go to the Zak Bagans Haunted Museum while I took the time to relax by the pool, which cost them $47 a person. They said it was interesting but also really creepy. But I actually really enjoyed poolside at the Excalibur! It was very relaxing and just the perfect day off. After my friends finished up at the museum, we went to Omega Mart at Area 15, and honestly it was AMAZING! So cool! It’s a Meow Wolf exhibit that mimics a supermarket, but deeper inside is something completely else! Complete with slides, secret tunnels, and amazing graphics, effects, and interactive rooms. We spent about an hour and a half in here and cost us $55 a person. If you want a closer look at what you can see in here, check out my IGTV HERE!
After that, we had worked up quite an appetite and we had been craving sushi all day! So we decided to got to Revolving Sushi which was only about a ten minute drive from Area 15. Now, my friends had been there on a previous trip so this was my first time but oh my gosh!! It was so cool! As soon as we were seated, we could start eating immediately. How? Because the sushi revolves around on a conveyor belt between the booths and you can pick and choose what you want! They put all the fan favorites of sushi on the conveyor belt, each plate has 3 pieces on it, and you pay by the plate which is $2.75 a plate. I got STUFFED on sushi with 5 whole plates for $13.75!!! Not including tip and tax obviously. That’s 15 pieces of sushi, literally almost two full rolls, for the price of ONE whole roll at literally any other sushi place. And don’t worry, if you want to order something a little more personalized, you can order on the tablet and once it’s done, it get’s delivered by a little Roomba-type cart above of the conveyor belt. If you want to see what this looks like, check out my Tik Tok HERE!
Finally to end the day, we walked down to the Strip to watch the fireworks light up the sky. Although it was really busy, we still got a great view of the fireworks that stretched from the Aria all the way down to the Stratosphere.
Day 3 – July 5th
I know this sounds like we did a lot, but honestly I feel like we did barely anything. So to end the trip, we woke up around 9am to get our things together, put them in the car, and head to the pool one last time. Now we had to use our room key to get in so the trick for that is to enter the pool before your check out time, and then once you’re inside, do Mobile Check-Out via the MGM Resorts app! Using their app is also a great way to check-in and skip the line at the beginning of your trip. Once we had our fill at the pool, my friend went in to the casino to redeem his $50 FREEPLAY reward that he got through the app. He was able to win some money, and we left without having lost any money to gambling!
Overall, this was a pretty tame trip to Vegas and was more about doing a few big things that we really wanted to do instead of jam packing our stay with lots of small things. I hope you found something fun to do in this blog that can help shape your next trip to Las Vegas this summer!
I have lived in San Diego my entire life, and it wasn’t until about a month ago that I learned… Carlsbad is kind of cool! It’s got some small town, beach vibes and there is beautiful architecture everywhere you turn. My friends, Ashley, and I visited the Shorehouse Kitchen as our first stop on our spring day adventures. It featured a great menu selection, multiple options for coffee and mimosas (so of course I got both), and great areas just outside of the restaurant for impromptu pictures! I would definitely go back here for breakfast because they had some of the best Eggs Benedict that I have ever had!
It’s every spring fairy’s dream to dance around the flowers so our next stop was the Flower Fields! Many areas for photos and the flowers there were unbelievable! They offered multiple stops more “in” the fields where you could get pictures, but just be mindful that there are lines to wait in to get pictures. For every line we waited in, it was about a 20-30 minute wait. You can only spend 10 minutes max in each spot but some people were not following that rule. So just be mindful of your time and make sure that when it’s your turn that you already know what you want to do! These spots are amongst different colored flowers so if there is only a certain color you want pictures with, then you only have to wait in the line for the flowers you want! Entry is $20 a person.
Just a short five minute drive from the Flower Fields was our last stop of the day! And after having so much fun amongst the flowers, I needed a little snack – the Carlsbad Strawberry Company! This place offers you the opportunity to go out into the strawberry fields to pick your own strawberries (or just eat them like I was). You will have to pay for your entry as well as any little bucket you buy to pick the berries. They also had a free sunflower maze which we didn’t have time to do but I would recommend getting there with enough time to do it!
Overall, bring your camera for all the cute pictures or just enjoy all the sites and the smells of spring!
Vegas! A place of fun, excitement, parties, and lots of drinks! Well, if you have ever visited Las Vegas during the off-season (i.e. during the winter months) there isn’t as much excitement. Now add on COVID regulations and there is probably a little less to do than normal. But I am going to give you a practical guide to going to Las Vegas during a COVID, off-season vacation!
First of all, let me preface this by saying that this guide will not be for everyone – I completely understand that everyone has their own comfort level with traveling or even just going out for a night so what me and my group did for our four day trip might not be your cup of tea. And that’s ok!
Moving along, my friends and I went to Las Vegas from February 1st to the 4th to celebrate a late birthday for me and an early birthday for one of the friends I was going with. But we actually got so excited to take our five hour drive from San Diego to Vegas to we ended up leaving San Diego around 8pm on January 31st and arrived at 2am in Vegas! Because that part was kind of a last minute plan, we bought a very cheap room at the Excalibur – with room fees and taxes it came out to around $38. We spent the first official night and the second night at New York New York, and our final night was spent at the Bellagio.
Now I know what you are thinking – that’s a lot of jumping around for a short trip and it must have cost you a grip to do that. Well here’s a secret – our rooms at New York New York and the Bellagio were FREE!!! I mean, minus the room fees and taxes. Those rooms were comped, but all comped rooms are still subject to the fees and taxes. How did we get free rooms? Check out my other blog that dives in to all the ways we saved in Vegas and got countless opportunities for free rooms, discounted experiences, free drinks, and many more rewards! What’s even better is that to obtain there rewards is 100% free!! You don’t have to spend something to get these rewards, you don’t have to open a fancy credit card – nope none of that. So check out that blog HERE!
So you need some ideas? Here are my favorites!
Hotel hop! If you plan on staying for a few days, maybe try staying at a different hotel each night just for the change of scenery. You can experience a different hotel room and a different view of the Strip!
Casino explore! Now even if you don’t hotel hop, that doesn’t mean you can’t check out all there is to offer at those different hotels. I mean the casinos are where all the action and shopping is! But remember to check what is open because some hotels/casinos during COVID times are shut down for half of the week. Our favorites were wandering around Caesar’s (it’s HUGE) and getting lost at in the shopping center at the Venetian. Both places are beautifully themed, as are most of the hotels on the Strip!
Find some cool bars! We found a few like the 1923 Prohibition Bar at Mandalay Bay, the SkyBar at the Waldorf Astoria, and the Vanderpump at Caesar’s. But remember to CALL AHEAD! Many bars either have different operating hours than what is listed on Google (they might even be closed even though Google says they are open and we ran into this problem for a few bars we wanted to check out) OR they require reservations. Either way, just call ahead to see what’s up so you aren’t left without plans.
Check out the cute Flamingos at the Flamingo Hotel, the Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay, or the mini zoo at Mirage! Since my friends and I all work at a zoo, looking at cute animals is always a must. However, the Shark Reef is a ticketed entry and I honestly don’t think it’s worth paying the $25 to see it. So if you want to go, get a comped ticket through the myVEGAS apps. Also, when we went, the Mirage wasn’t open during the week due to low guest activity, so again, just remember to look up what their operating hours are.
Download the myVEGAS apps and let the free rewards lead you around to new locations! There are so many rewards and it really let’s you get creative in how you explore this awesome place. Most of our plans were lead by these free rewards. We were able to get a lot of Loyalty Points very easily so we were all able to participate in these free activities together!
Whatever you decide to do, do it safely! More things will start to open up in no time!
Well it’s only been a few months since my trip, but I am now getting around to writing this blog! With Cody and I living in San Diego, a trip to Vegas is close enough for us to drive to but also far enough away to feel like we are stepping out of our norm. Now I know some things look different now due to the ‘rona, but we still had a great time there and were able to do so many things while we were there. So let’s take a look! (If you want to watch the total adventure of this trip on my Instagram Story instead, click here!)
We decided to drive there rather early in the morning, mostly because we both woke up around 3am and we couldn’t back to sleep so we just got up and left. Our first unofficial stop was the Seven Magic Mountains which is right outside of Vegas! Because this is such a tourist hotspot, I am glad we got there before the crowds. We arrived around 7am, took a few pictures, and then we kept on driving – there was one other group taking pictures at the same time as us.
We booked our stay with the Bellagio which is a MGM Grand Resort. Our room rate per night was around $140, but with each day we received a $75 food and beverage credit that we could use at any MGM Grand Resort on the Strip! I feel like I don’t have to tell you how insane of a deal that is. Online said check in wasn’t until 3pm, but we took a chance that it being kind of slow in Vegas with travel that we could check in early, and by 8:30am we were in our room!
Most of what we did during our stay was driven by the rewards we received by playing the various myVEGAS apps. If you want a full detailed blog about all of those apps and how it works, click here to read that blog! By playing the games on these apps, we were able to save a total of $200 on our trip!
That being said, once we got changed, we went out to redeem our first reward! To redeem your rewards from the app, you have to first stop by a M-Life Reward Desk (located in MOST MGM Grand Resorts) to pick up your membership card (don’t worry, it’s free) and then depending on the resort, you then have to redeem your rewards for that specific location at each desk in the resort. I think the only resort that didn’t have a desk was Vdara. So we stopped by the Aria to redeem our free cocktail from Aria and our free breakfast at Vdara! However, it being as early as it was, we did have to wait like 30 minutes before the bar opened, but in that time we were able to walk across the courtyard to Vdara and have our breakfast. It was a super easy process, we picked up our vouchers from the M-Like desk and took it to the little restaurant in Vdara and then back to the bar at Aria that we could redeem the reward from. The only downside, and it was kind of the running theme with redeeming all of our alcoholic rewards, was that you HAVE to buy some sort of food with it. But because a lot of places know that people just want alcohol, they have very small, cheap options to choose from – like fries, or a bag of nuts. So overall, that investment is like $3 but then you get your drink.
After that, we came back to the Bellagio to explore a little bit more! It was our first time at a fancy-schmancy hotel anyway. They have a beautiful indoor garden with some of the most incredible flower arrangements. It’s free to walk through, but it can get crowded from other visitors wanting to take a look. Most of our Day 1 was just walking around to the casinos closest to us like Caesar’s Palace, which neither of us was impressed with – they were kind of old style and dirty..
To begin our Day 2, we stopped by New York New York because, surprise surprise, we had a reward to redeem for a free beer. We bought a basket of fries for the both of us and then we were both able to grab a beer. Me being a responsible human being in Vegas, I realized that if I started my morning without food first then it wouldn’t be a pleasant day, so I decided to get a Starbucks breakfast sandwich beforehand. And because New York New York is a MGM Grand Resort, we were able to use part of our food and beverage credit at the Starbucks inside of the casino and they just charged it to our room at the Bellagio!
After downing our ginormous beers, we walked to Mandalay Bay, which I don’t recommend in the heat of Vegas. It looked closer than it was. But we were heading there to redeem our reward for the Shark Reef Aquarium they had! But unlucky for us, we didn’t know we had to make a reservation for a specific time slot. So we just made the reservation for the next day. Since we were already in that neck of the woods, we stopped by Luxor to redeem our free shot. I cannot take shots but hey it’s Vegas – so I sipped it out of a cocktail straw. On our walk back to the Bellagio, we just decided to casino hop our way there. I really recommend casino hopping just because it’s something to do and it’s fun to see the different themes of all of these hotels and casinos! Plus the rewards really helped motivate us to see them all.
After getting back to the Bellagio, we lounged by the pool for a little bit but we got over it really quickly because we had to wear a masks even if we were sitting down in a lounge chair away from everyone else. We just didn’t understand why it was ok to not wear a mask sitting at a restaurant but not while sitting outside. But if we were in the pool with everyone else, then it was ok to not wear a mask. It just didn’t make sense to us, so we soaked in a few rays, got way too hot with dealing with that, and then left. Our rest of the day was spent trying to get lucky on some slots because again I had a reward for $150 in free play on slots, but also Cody wanted to teach me how to play Craps! Later that night we used another reward at the Bellagio restaurant, PRIME Steakhouse, for two free glasses of champagne with a purchase of an appetizer. So we dressed up all fancy to get our appetizer and left – we saw the other prices on the menu and that was way more than we wanted to spend. The two free glasses of champagne alone were regularly priced at $54!! We did however get McDonald’s afterwards.
Day 3 – boy oh boy did Cody have a struggle getting up. You remember how I got food the morning of Day 2 because the day would be spent drinking? Yea well Coy decided that his 28 year old body could still party-hardy. And he suffered the consequences. But moving right along, we used a reward to get a free room at the MGM Grand because I wanted to experience their epic lazy river! Pre-COVID, if you stayed at the Bellagio, you could have free access to the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay pools, and if you weren’t a guests at the Bellagio, you could still buy a guest day pass to use the pool. But since they wanted to limit the number of people entering and leaving their hotels and pools, it was only available to guests. So using that reward to get a free room allowed us to have a nice pool day and experience a new hotel! The other downside was that you couldn’t rent the inner-tubes they had – you had to buy them. So $20 later, I was living my best life and floating down the river. We stayed there for a few hours but we couldn’t stay long because I had purchased tickets for use to go the Minus 5 Ice Bar at the Venetian!
There are multiple locations in Vegas but I bought the tickets the week prior knowing that the Venetian was farther down the strip from what we would normally be doing and I wanted us to be able to see all the hotels. I did call in advance to make sure that they weren’t doing any maintenance for the day I purchased because the site made it clear that they would have days for sanitization and obviously I didn’t want to book for that day. So after the pool, we got dressed in our MGM Grand room and made our way over to the Venetian! Upon arriving, we found out that the Ice Bar was closed… You could say I was a little disappointed because I had called in advance for exactly this reason and the tickets said no refunds. But an hour later, I saw some employees in there setting up, told them the situation and how now we wouldn’t be able to go because we had our Mandalay Bay Shark Reef reservation that day and we were able to get a refund. If you decide to go, make sure you call.
By that time, we had to make our way to Mandalay Bay Shark Reef for our reservation! We were both really excited for the aquarium, but in full honesty, do not pay for this experience. Regularly, tickets would have been $29 a person, but we walked through the whole thing in 20 minutes. This place is TINY. Do not expect a lot. It was cool seeing the shark room, and really there was only one room with sharks, but other than that we got to the end and we both looked at each other like “that was it..?” Knowing that now, I probably won’t spend my reward points to go again either.
Later that day, we walked around the strip some more to do some more exploring, gambled a little bit here and there, but I told Cody that I really wanted to see the fountain show that takes place in front of the Bellagio. We saw it around dusk time and it would go off around every 15-30 minutes but there is a schedule online so you don’t have to guess when the next show is! After that we went and got dinner at the Tilted Kilt because they had a great happy hour deal, but as we were walking back, we saw the Paris Eiffel Tower all aglow so we decided to go check the casino out. Once we arrived, we saw that you could take an elevator up to the top of it and we were sold! I believe tickets were around $30 a person but the view from the top was gorgeous! My favorite part was that you can watch the fountain show from the top too! You can’t really hear the music but you can see the fountains from a different angle and you can see just how high the water gets!
Day 4 was our final day and they only thing we had planned was something that Cody found for us to do a few days before we left for the vacation – going to the Avengers STATION! Me being a Marvel nerd, I was all too quick to say yes to it! This amazing exhibit can be found at Treasure Island and honestly it was pretty freaking badass seeing all the props from the movie and getting to interact with the exhibit itself. We were one of three groups there but we never really saw the other two groups, I only heard them in the other rooms. The website that we bought the tickets from was holding a sale and we got a deal and we were both able to go for $60 (usually tickets are $41 per adult). Also we both got an exclusive pin from the exhibit for free when we checked in! I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend this experience! It was a blast and my little Avengers heart was so full.