When I tell people I live in Las Vegas, the response is usually one of the following:
I love Las Vegas!
I hate Las Vegas!
I can’t wait to visit Las Vegas!
I never want to visit Las Vegas!
There’s just something about this Southwestern city that turns heads, turns stomachs and turns people’s opinions into blanket statements.
People who haven’t visited Las Vegas for themselves seem to assume that the streets are paved with slot machines, beer comes out of the water faucets and that money is torn up and thrown into the wind.
When I ask people why they don’t like Las Vegas, the answer is usually some variation on the many stereotypes that rise from the commercialization and publicity of Sin City. People who haven’t visited Las Vegas for themselves seem to assume that the streets are paved with slot machines, beer comes out of the water faucets and that money is torn up and thrown into the wind.
I can appreciate where this stereotypical image is coming from; after all, Las Vegas isn’t exactly known for being quaint, cute and quiet. And having flown into the city dozens of times and driven up and down the infamous Strip more times than I can count, I acknowledge that Las Vegas is a bit out of control. After all, where else can you pass a pyramid, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty in under a mile? Is there any other city where people drop thousands of dollars they don’t have on a few smoky hands of poker, then wake up with a hangover that doesn’t even allow them to remember their dismal loss on the casino floor?
All of those stereotypes in Las Vegas … well, let’s just say that I can appreciate where the dislike of my current home comes from.
But for just a moment, open your mind. Give me the opportunity to share with you just a few reasons why you should fight the urge to avoid Las Vegas.
1. There are some really strange and fascinating things to see and do in Las Vegas (beyond people watching). If you’re not into gambling (I’m not) but you don’t mind spending a few quarters, consider visiting the Pinball Hall of Fame. Yes, it is as geeky and fantastic as it sounds. Rows upon rows of old school as well as brand new pinball machines fill a warehouse-esque building, and visitors are welcome to play them all for just a quarter (for the old games) or two (for the new games). I’m also a big fan of the Neon Boneyard , which is where old neon signs go to die. If you think Las Vegas has no history, take a tour through the Boneyard, and I’m pretty sure you’ll change your mind.
2. We love our local stuff. What people outside of the city hear about most are the nightclubs and restaurants that are owned by people who use Las Vegas as a marketing tool. While those clubs and dining establishments have their place (and are definitely worth checking out), there’s a little part of my heart that is hopelessly devoted to the local Las Vegans giving it a go. Artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and other creative types are foraging their own paths in Sin City. You don’t hear about them or see them in mainstream media, but dig below the surface and you’ll find a sub-culture just steps off the Strip.
3. It’s weird, over-the-top and slightly unbelievable. I’m not denying the bizarre nature that has defined Las Vegas over the years, but it really is something that you have to see to believe. Traveling to Las Vegas is on a lot of bucket lists for various reasons, but even if it’s not on yours, it’s the type of place worth visiting at least once just to say you’ve been there. It also gives you a sound reason for passing it up next time around.
The love-hate relationship prevalent among so many people when it comes to Las Vegas is a sound one, but I think that if you give it a chance, you just might find a thing or two to fall in love with in Sin City. Whether you fancy food, fun or fame, Las Vegas serves it up in buffet-sized doses … but don’t forget to grab a hangover cure for the morning!
Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas Tour – YouTube
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