I know what you're thinking: the Las Vegas Strip is not an actual destination for "real travelers." That's a fair argument, considering this place should not exist in its current form. It's clearly out-of-place in the middle of the Nevada desert. This fact is painfully obvious during the day when the sun beats down on you mercilessly, searing a hole through the top of your dome. The only reasonable course of action is to put on your finest jewelry, your least functional bikini and head to one of the many hotel pools to soak your lower half and drink $50 buckets of beer. But nighttime in Vegas is a different story.
The surrounding desert disappears under a veil of darkness and the lights - millions upon millions of sparkling, shimmering, glowing lights - mesmerize and dazzle you into temporary insanity. Just walking up and down the strip is an experience. There's so much to take in: the buildings, the people, the street performers. It will make you think paying $80 a head to get into a nightclub is a reasonable expectation. Vegas has the unique ability to shake you down, suck you in and spit you out in the span of a weekend.
Spend three nights max and then get the hell out while you still have some money in your checking account and some life in your body. Vegas is unabashedly Vegas and worth checking out once in a lifetime.
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Eat Your Way Around Vegas
Lets be honest, when you think “foodie destination” Las Vegas isn’t the first place that springs to mind but the food scene is rapidly developing here. While buffets are still a great lower cost option – I’m thinking of the huge array of choice at the Bellagio buffet or the Cosmopolitan’s Wicked Spoon – the ultra-high-end dining scene is certainly making changes for the better.
Along with Julian Serrano’s Picasso, the Bellagio’s restaurant with artwork by the famed artist, there is Joël Robuchon‘s three-Michelin-star French restaurant at the MGM Grand, miX by Alain Ducasse at Mandalay Bay and Twist at the Mandarin Oriental by Pierre Gagnaire. Lets not forget other notable chefs who have set up residency in Vegas such as Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu), Gordon Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay Steak), Michel Richard (Central) and Guy Savoy‘s self titled restaurant at Caesars.
One restaurant that has been receiving rave reviews from my friends is celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis’ restaurant ‘Giada‘ at the newly renovated hotel the Cromwell. I haven’t dined there but with a corner view on the Strip, the views from the restaurant over the road shows the Strip in a completely different way.
Moments, or My Epiphany at the Denny's on the Strip
Right now, I’m at a Denny’s on the Las Vegas strip drinking my fourth cup of burnt coffee. It’s moments like this that I want to remember, the realization that I’m doing cool things and I’ll have ample opportunity for more but I won’t take any of it for granted because what if I don’t.
Life isn’t my cubicle. It isn’t my salary. It isn’t the exasperated thoughts I have in the elevator or my 9am cup of coffee. Life is deciding to leave my server a massive tip for taking up one of his tables for several hours and only ordering coffee because that’s just rude. It’s traveling across America to support friends who are doing something they’re passionate about. Buying a 20 oz cup of coffee and filling most of it with cream so that it’ll get me through the day without being hungry. Being genuinely nice to hotel staff in hopes that it will make their lives slightly less awful and maybe mine too, the realization that I’m not a customer and they’re not a customer service representative: we’re human beings with internal organs and stories to tell. Wishing I’d brought band-aids because my feet are starting to blister but these hotels take up a zip code each so I’ll just have to deal. Life is gratitude for moments like these, writing and people-watching, broke and away from home. It’s being wise enough to know when you’re having these moments so that hopefully the next time you find yourself in a rut, you can pull them out of your back pocket and realize that things will be okay again.