Sometimes I forget just how much fun we can have right here in northern Nevada, so when a recent opportunity came up to stay in a newly renovated room at Circus Circus, I jumped on it. It was just what my family needed – a break from the chaos of everyday life and a quick getaway to Downtown Reno. Remember the “stay-cation”? We need to revive that trend. People travel from all over the world to visit Reno, and everything it has to offer is right at our fingertips. Spring Break is coming up… just sayin’!
Circus Circus, with its sister properties Silver Legacy and the Eldorado, is undergoing a $50 million renovation, so if you haven’t been there in a while, it’s worth another look. The rooms are being done floor-by-floor, so be sure to ask for the 21st floor, which is the first to be completed. My daughters opened the door to our abode-for-the-night and squealed, “It’s so big!” Yes, two queen beds, a huge bathroom (with a tub! Wheee!), and plenty of room to play with their newly acquired Midway prizes was a recipe for success.
The Midway was packed on this particular Saturday night, and was just buzzing with the energy of the young and young-at-heart. The area has received a makeover to align with the room renovations, and the whole place is more European whimsical than Barnum & Bailey Circus. Don’t worry, they still have the circus acts at regular intervals!
Most of the Midway games are $1/play, some are $2, so it was pretty easy to feel like we got our money’s worth and spend some time without completely blowing through our cash. The arcade games are generous with the redemption tickets, so both my daughters left with an armload of new stuffies and toys. ONE of those stuffies may have been mine as I completely smoked them at the camel-race game, but I decided I’d reward myself with a margarita and leave the plush toys to the kids.
Now here’s the best part: Since we stayed at the hotel, we were able to go back to our room for a quick rest, let the kids play with their toys, and regroup (read: finish my margarita) before heading back down for dinner. You can’t do that just anywhere, and for moms like me who hate to deal with driving and parking everywhere you go, it was such a relief to valet the car when we arrived and not think about it again until check-out.
Circus Circus has been putting some serious work into its restaurants, and the new menu at El Jefe’s Cantina is de-lish! It’s an Asian-Mexican fusion menu, so I tried the Korean Beef Tacos with a cabbage slaw and soy-lime dressing while my daughters stuck to the kid-friendly quesadilla and enchiladas. If you can’t quite imagine what Asian-Mexican fusion is, just think of Szechwan Won Ton Nachos or Mexican Pho. Yep, it’s a thing, and it’s delicious! Pro tip: The wait-list for Kanpai Sushi, which shares the same dining space as El Jefe’s, was about 10-deep while there was no wait for El Jefe’s, so if you’re just hungry and don’t care what type of cuisine you eat, check out the wait-lists before deciding.
Our little getaway was close to home and required no real effort or planning. We didn’t have to drive far but we got to enjoy the novelty of sleeping in a hotel room, the fun of Midway and arcade games, dinner out, and even adult drinks. And as tempted as I was to plan every second we were there, I found I didn’t need to. Kids like new things, even if it’s as simple as new bed to sleep in with a window looking out onto a new scene. We actually spent some time just walking through the property, taking photos with the elephant statues and looking at the Walk of Fame stars.
Spring Break is right around the corner, and if you’re looking for a fun getaway without all the stress of planning a getaway, consider a staycation. Even just one night away can be enough to feel like you’ve done something special and memorable.