What can we say about Las Vegas that hasn’t been said already?
It’s tough to hype a city like Las Vegas, which itself is a hype machine for Las Vegas. It’s a city that invites—actually demands—superlatives, strong reactions, love and loathing.
The Vegas brand is to go to extremes—and then kick it up a few notches. Brightest place on earth? Check. World’s largest hotel? Check. Tallest observation wheel? Largest chocolate fountain (at 27 feet)? Check and check. Even the climate is extreme: this sunbaked desert gets just 4 inches of rain per year (yet you’ll find a thriving flamingo habitat right downtown).
Vegas consumes 30 tons of shrimp cocktail per day — more than the rest of the country eats in a year. Oh, and the gambling? In 2022, the city brought in $8.2 billion in revenue from gaming. Again, extremes are the norm here.
The words that resonate, for fans and detractors alike, are “spectacle” and “indulgence.”
But those terms also flatten what is a complex, multifaceted place. It’s a big city, after all. Nearly 3 million people live in the greater metro area. There’s the cartoon version of Vegas: The Strip, the Rat Pack, Elvis, drive-through weddings, Wayne Newton, ersatz wonders of the world, etc. And there’s the version that doesn’t blink in neon.
Turns out, these quieter elements are remarkable too. The food, for example, is really good in Vegas. Like, world class. Whether it’s a white tablecloth situation or a gem of a food truck. The city is surrounded by stunning natural beauty. There is whimsy in this town: the charmingly odd Office of Collecting and Design, for example. Off the strip, the Pinball Hall of Fame boasts a huge collection of vintage machines that you can actually play.
For the Vegas skeptics out there, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get off the beaten path and discover what this diverse city has to offer. With very little effort, you can have an extremely good time in this city of extremes.
P.P.S. The craft beer scene is great too.