Las Vegas is one of those places you either love or hate. I am mostly in the love category. Sometimes I like it better than others but I must love it because I have been there 17 times. The thing is though, I really should hate it. It has a lot of qualities that drive me crazy when traveling such as crowds, expensive food, crappy souvenirs and especially tourists behaving badly.
When I see these qualities in other places I want to run the other way. The reason for this is because those places were not created to entertain tourists. They became popular with tourists because of their museums, food, architecture culture and any other reasons that draws visitors there.
On the other hand Las Vegas was created solely as a tourist destination. There really was not much in that part of the Nevada desert before a few enterprising people decided that it would be a good place to open some casinos, which were illegal in the rest of the country at that time.
For a long time Las Vegas was driven by gambling. It is what fueled the businesses. In order to attract gamblers the hotels and casinos offered low priced food, rooms and entertainment. That worked for a while but then some visionaries decided that Las Vegas could be more than that.
In the 1990’s Las Vegas began to diversify into a destination that offered world class dining, shopping and entertainment. It even experimented with being family friendly but that did not last too long. While gambling was still a big draw there was now something available for visitors that did not want to gamble. The hotels and resorts became more of a destination than just a place to sleep and gamble. There are many resorts that have enough entertainment and dining options that you never need to leave them if you do not want to.
For me Las Vegas is the attraction. I have watched it continuously reinvent itself since my first visit over 20 years ago. I keep returning because I am excited to see what changes have taken place. There is always something new and exciting that keeps me interested.
Where else in the world can you find a Paris themed hotel with 1/2 size replica of the Eiffel Tower, A 30 story glass Egyptian-inspired pyramid hotel, A Venitian themed hotel with canals and gondoliers and a hotel with an art collection that most museums would envy. The answer is nowhere! That is what helps make Las Vegas so great. The developers are only restricted by how great their imagination is and how big their bank account is. Judging by the number of multi-billlion dollar resorts their bank accounts are pretty big.
On my last trip I explored the areas north of the Strip and around downtown. It has changed a lot since I was last in the area and the changes have resulted in a big improvement. While downtown used to be run down and seedy it has been transformed into an area that is totally different than the strip but still retains the feel of Las Vegas. There are renovated hotels, a new and improved Freemont Street Experience and the innovative Container Park.
So if you have never been to Las Vegas I recommend that you look beyond your preconceptions of what you think it is. Yes you can still eat, drink, shop, gamble and party to excess, not that there is anything wrong with that, but there are plenty of options outside of the traditional Vegas activities.
If you are interested in learning more about some of the non-traditional Las Vegas activities click on the links below.