Bateau in “O” by Cirque du Soleil Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

Classic Vegas Night Out: The Buffet at ARIA and Cirque du Soleil at Bellagio

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Pools at ARIA Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International
Pools at ARIA
Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International

With a dozen luxurious properties surrounding The Las Vegas Strip, MGM Resorts International offers a little something for everyone.  Boasting a grand selection of dining and entertainment, this is where you’ll find all the components of a classic night out in Vegas.

My evening began at ARIA, a towering resort with a contemporary design and vibrant energy. Inside, there is a massive gaming area for slots lovers and table gamers alike, but there are an equal number of young families enjoying the property for all the amenities ARIA offers, including the exceptional outdoor pool area. The pool deck includes an abundance of lounge chairs and cabanas are available for reservation.

ARIA offers an incredible assortment of dining options from grab-and-go counters to fine dining establishments. Sage offers “Creative American” creations from James Beard Award-winning Chef Shawn McClain, while Herringbone features seafood selections by Chef Brian Malarkey. Late night diners will appreciate Burger Lounge, open until 3am, as well as the 24-hour menu at ARIA Café. From upscale to casual, ARIA ensures guests are satisfied.

For a combination of fine dining selections in a relaxed environment, my spouse and I took a seat at The Buffet at ARIA. We were seated among young couples, small families, and party-goers alike. The atmosphere at The Buffet is warm and inviting with seating options to suit intimate dinners and large celebrations, and every size of gathering in between.  The décor is contemporary, the vibe is casual, and the menu offers everything from upscale to kid-friendly.

Paella at The Buffet at ARIA
Paella at The Buffet at ARIA

The Buffet has an authentic Tandoori Oven with fresh Naan bread, while the Fish Market has an abundance of hot and cold crab, shrimp, and fish entrees to enjoy. From Italian to Latin to Mediterranean and more, every taste can be satisfied with the impressive selections. For seafood, I sampled the steamed crab legs, lobster ravioli, and a beautiful paella dish. Every bite was worth savoring. From the Carvery, I tried slow roasted meats including a lamb chop and an individual short rib dish served with sweet potato. For finicky kids, there are plenty of pasta options, pizzas and calzones, and a variety of selections for gluten or dairy sensitive guests. Dessert options range from cheesecakes to fresh pies, along with moist cakes and frozen treats.

In addition to bottomless non-alcohol beverages, there is also an unlimited drink package available for those who wish to enjoy draft beer, wine, or select cocktails. I sampled the Summer Breeze margarita, which is a mix of lemon juice, agave nectar, orange bitters, cucumber, soda water, and tequila. This was a great choice on a hot holiday weekend.

Cheesecake at The Buffet at ARIA
Cheesecake at The Buffet at ARIA

The Buffet is open 7am-10pm, and menu selections vary according to holidays and special events. ARIA is currently offering a Buffet and Stay package that provides two buffets with a minimum two-night stay at the resort. It’s also worth noting M Life rewards members receive resort discounts and special promotion invitations.

After a satisfying meal at The Buffet, my spouse and I took a stroll along Las Vegas Boulevard where we took a few moments to enjoy the Fountains of Bellagio. The free show is a must-see during any Vegas vacation, and each performance is a powerful display of water choreographed to music. From contemporary hits to classic crooners, the music entertains while fountains are put on display in a mesmerizing dance.

“O” by Cirque du Soleil
Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

Our main attraction of the evening, though, was our tickets to see “O” by Cirque du Soleil, hosted at Bellagio. The performance features an elegant aquatic display of acrobatic mastery with themes of infinity and purity. The range of performers includes synchronized swimmers, high divers, and a breathtaking diving experience from the Bateau, a steel-frame ship floating high above the stage pool. Impressive aerial hoop performers soared above the stage, while trapeze artists displayed incredible control of movement and graceful precision as they soared high above the audience.

There truly is nothing like seeing a Cirque du Soleil show in person. World-class performers paired with a stunning music and stage production ensure every seat in the house has a memorable experience. There is never a moment to turn one’s eyes away and yet I feel like I could watch “O” again and again and notice intricate details I somehow missed, as there’s simply so much to enjoy.

Bellagio offers a number of dinner and show packages for those who wish to dine on-site prior to attending the theatre performance. There are currently seven Cirque du Soleil shows available in Las Vegas and Cirque Club members receive personalized offers and discounts. Sign up for free on the Cirque du Soleil website. Plus, M Life rewards members receive discounts on entertainment, so if you’re already in Vegas you may want to check the on-site box office for the best available seats in the house.

My evening wrapped up by catching a few more minutes at the Fountains of Bellagio, which was a perfect way to transition back to the busy Strip and enjoy a few late hours of Las Vegas magic.

 

FTC Disclaimer: A portion of my itinerary was provided by hosts at MGM Resorts International, though all opinions shared are my own based on my specific experience.

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