If this is your first time in Las Vegas you are probably very excited about your visit. I’m sure you must have heard a lot about this glitzy oasis in the dry desert of southern Nevada.
Las Vegas is the epitome of luxury, decadence and extremes. Depending on how you look at it, Las Vegas may be this glitzy, glamorous and mesmerizing town blazed by light, or a charmless place full of strippers, gamblers and drunks.
It comes to no surprise that first time visitors either love it or hate Las Vegas. And the opinionated crowds have their own valid reasons for liking or disliking it. But if you’ve never been in Las Vegas, it’s hard to decide who’s side to be on.
- What to Expect in Las Vegas
- The Strip
- Las Vegas Sanitation
- What May Shock You in Las Vegas
- What to Do in Las Vegas (Besides Gambling!)
- What to Visit Beyond the Las Vegas Strip
- Is Las Vegas Worth Visiting?
What to Expect in Las Vegas
There are a lot of myths about Las Vegas and at the same time a lot of things that are true, but are hard to believe. Therefore, I will be analyzing the assumptions and contradictions of Las Vegas in order to give you a more accurate picture of this unique city. So get ready for a few surprises!
Some people come to Las Vegas for gambling. Others, with the only purpose of partying and getting drunk. Many just stroll through the casinos, enjoying the glitter and opulence of the play rooms. But most Las Vegas visitors are actually families who come to enjoy the city’s many attractions, free or cheap things to do, or simply linger around the pool.
And don’t think Las Vegas pools are simple swimming holes! Some of these pools will leave wondering if you didn’t step into a Roman bath (like the Caesar Palace pool, for instance.)
The first thing you’ll notice in Las Vegas is its non-stop activity. Day and night, the casinos buzz with people trying to win a fortune at the slot machines.
But as tempting as it may sound, gambling is one of the things NOT to do in Las Vegas, if you don’t want to leave broke! The bars, the restaurants and the clubs compete with the casinos to entertain the sleepless crowds.
Las Vegas is busy all year round and there is no down time for visitors. Walking the strip during the day time is quite fun, although not always uneventful. Lots of great places to eat and drink, lots of fun activities and sights to enjoy.
At nigh however, the strip may be an awkward experience. You may expect to see quite a mixture of sightseers! From drunk spring-break kids on the prowl, to fat topless women, or weird bystanders disguised as performance artists, you can see just about anything!
While some people may thrive on this kind of energy, others will be overwhelmed by it.
Las Vegas Sanitation
Few first time visitors to Las Vegas expect the city to be so clean. Especially when you consider that an average of 18,000 people walk its strip at any given hour, eating, drinking and smoking!
There is no trace of trash, cigarette butts, or empty bottles. No smell of urine or feces, and no sign of vomit. Las Vegas is sparkling clean, even in the most remote corners where nobody would look.
An army of genitors patrol the city day and night, sweeping, moping, and washing. They wipe clean even the rails of the escalators and the trash containers lids. That’s quite impressive!
What May Shock You in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is a thick-skinned city by nature. Here nobody seems to care if you flaunt some scandalous outfit, or if you are stoned, or inebriated. In fact, being drunk in public seems to be a way of life in Las Vegas!
The 24-hour liquor town has very few restrictions regarding alcohol consumption in public areas. After all, this is the place where everyone comes to lose their inhibitions and go crazy. A distorted adult Disneyland that looks more like a human zoo. They nicknamed it the Sin City for a reason!
What to Do in Las Vegas (Besides Gambling!)
Since our first visit in 1990, the Gambling Capital of the World has come a long way. Today’s Las Vegas offers a great array of entertainment besides gambling. From shows, upscale dining, shopping, art galleries and museums there are countless fun things to do in Las Vegas, not only for first time visitors, but also for locals.
Watch a Show
One of the biggest attractions in Las Vegas are its famous shows. From the acrobatic feats of Cirque du Soleil to magicians, jokesters, showgirls and puppets, there are so many shows in Las Vegas that you can’t possibly see them all. There’s not a doubt you will find something that will blow you away.
Ride the Rollercoasters
If you travel to Las Vegas with kids, there are some incredibly thrilling rollercoasters, indoor skydiving, zip-lining and many other fun things to do.
Attend a Water Show at the Bellagio Fountains
The one thing you shouldn’t miss if you are in Las Vegas are the Bellagio Fountains. Located in front of the iconic Bellagio hotel and casino, these fountains provide a spectacular show which is famous around the world.
This artificial lake is programed to choreograph 1,200 “dancing” water cannons to music, shooting up to 240 feet high.
Visit an Art Gallery
Las Vegas is home to a thriving arts community with a growing number of museums and art galleries showcasing a wide range of styles. The luxury hotels are packed with dramatic murals, paintings and glass sculptures, all breathtakingly beautiful. Some of these newer, ritzy hotels, like Venetian, Bellagio, Wynn, or Palazzo are really worth walking through.
The unprecedented public art collection sprinkled throughout these properties is amazing. The quality of craftsmanship and materials used are of the best quality, blending perfectly with the style in which they are built.
Besides gambling, shows and luxury hotels, Las Vegas also brags about the best shopping in the world! That’s of course, outside Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong! Many travelers come here for the high-end designers stores and boutiques.
In 1992 Caesars Palace changed the face of shopping in Las Vegas, creating the first destination mall, The Forum Shops. If you’re looking for couture, this is your place. You’ll find BVLGARI, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Valentino at this mall.
The Shops at the Palazzo also hold high the banner of fashion with names like Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Chloé and Prada.
Where to Make Good Deals in Las Vegas
But unless money doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket, you may check out The Fashion Show Mall. Here you’ll find more affordable stores like, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, or Abercrombie & Fitch.
And if you are looking to stretch your dollar without compromising on quality, there are some great bargains at the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas. The outlet is just a short 15-minute drive from the strip.
What to Visit Beyond the Las Vegas Strip
In the last several years, Las Vegas began extending its power and profits beyond the strip. Just 25 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Boulevard you’ll find the Tivoli Village. You can spend a few good hours browsing the one-of-a-kind boutiques and enticing restaurants at Tivoli Village.
The new shopping enclave on Rampart Boulevard, north of Boca Park, is much more quite but equally enticing. Here you can enjoy a delicious meal at a much lower price at the famous restaurants like Brio Tuscan Grille, Kabuki or Cantina Laredo. It’s a nice alternative to the expensive strip restaurants.
Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area
Just 17 miles west of the Strip lies the beautiful Red Rock Canyon, one of the most beautiful State Parks near Las Vegas. The park, which was Nevada’s first National Conservation Area, offers temptations of a very different nature than the glamorous strip.
In spring, winter, or fall, the scenic Red Rock Canyon is an excellent place for hiking, biking, rock climbing, or horseback riding. If you are visiting Las Vegas in summer, you may choose to see the canyon from the shelter of your air-conditioned car and just drive 13-mile scenic drive that passes by beautiful vista points.
The Hoover Dam
Another popular destination not to miss if you are in Las Vegas is the Hoover Dam (originally known as the Boulder Dam). The dam holds back the mighty Colorado River forming Lake Mead.
If this is your first time in Las Vegas, you may not think visiting the Hoover Dam is a priority, but let me tell you: this is one of the most amazing constructions of its kind. Back in the 1930s when it was built, this was the highest dam ever built and it was home to the largest power plant of its time.
Is Las Vegas Worth Visiting?
Whether this is your first time in Las Vegas or your hundredth time, you’ll find the city equally exciting and impressive. There are not many places in the world where you can feel like royalty without having to spend a fortune.
When you step into the cool and luxurious hotels with their impressive line up of upscale restaurants, swanky shops and flamboyant casinos, you tend to forget that Las Vegas is an oasis carved out of unforgiving desert.
While most of the visitors come to indulge in gambling or get hitched, Vegas has so much more to offer than just that. This fabulous city can keep you entertained for weeks and there are numerous things you shouldn’t miss if you are heading there.
So is Las Vegas worth a trip if you don’t drink, gamble, or have a lot of money to spend? Absolutely! There are a ton of things that you can do in Las Vegas that don’t fall into these categories. You don’t have to have go for the wickedness to enjoy the Sin City, though many will argue that’s definitely a bonus!