Las Vegas 2021Las Vegas, Nevada is a long-standing natural oasis. While it might be difficult to imagine now with its desert surroundings, it used to be a marsh until the rivers went underground as they have a tendency to do in very sandy and porous soil. A lot of animal life and Native traffic in the stone age were evident.
The modern era began in 1905 when a rail stop for servicing and filling steam engines was built here which attracted farmers and sales people to sell to the people stopping. The economy then began to diversify to support the needs of the town. It continued to grow until the Great Depression which almost wiped it out.
The Hoover Dam project and the legalization of gambling were the turning points for the city and it began to climb up. The late 1940s and 50s were such a boom time that you still feel the effects today.
While well known for its gambling and other vices, there is a lot more to Las Vegas than I even knew before this trip, and I found it a good place to get away from things for a while.
The ArrivalI flew in via Seattle on Alaska Airlines (yes, I prefer the most indirect route possible...) There so many people behind me on the plane who would just not shut up, amped up on what I call "Vegas Energy", or that pre-arrival excitement (trust me it's totally gone on the return flight), I landed at McCarron airport. I had a rental car reserved, and the rental facility is a ways from the terminal; it's a bit of a bus ride but just a mile from the Strip.
A Desert CityA parched landscape with high daytime temps and cool evenings. Almost every water feature is man-made and the entire city is made of cement.
ParksThere are a few parks, but the big main park of note in Vegas is Sunset Park near the airport. A lot of facilities, amphitheater, lake; it's a nice park.
ShoppingShopping is geared to high-end establishments in the tourist areas, but there are regular shopping malls and a great antique area in the Arts District (you should go) by Charleston Blvd and Las Vegas Blvd.
Of course, there is high end shopping in almost every major property on the strip.
Skylines - The StripVegas is defined by Downtown and The Strip. Not limited by land constraints, the Strip has definitely taken advantage of the space.
NightlifeOk, so this a primary reason many people come to Vegas, and it's got a helluva night life scene. Neon and lights are a huge part of it (cheap electricity from Hoover dam doesn't hurt).
Non-gamblingVarious other things around Vegas that interested me that were not related to gambling.
ResortsBesides the main resorts in the center of Vegas, I stayed at a couple outside of the core. There are tons of resorts around here.
SummaryA great place to get into trouble if you want to. Drink, smoke pot, hookup, this is your town. If you're not into that, there are still plenty of things to do around the city. Even just a drive to the desert (not to dispose of a body...) is a visually stunning sight.
Many activities, cheap cheap rooms available at the Casinos, cheap flights from everywhere in the world (be warned, the airport is a hot mess of trying to get around as the terminals are in the middle of the tarmacs). If you have money to burn, you can acquire anything you want.