Every cliché about America is blown up in Las Vegas, blared from the neon horizon. Rightly so, as the city delivers more glitz and activity than can rightly fit in one average day. But reinvention is in its DNA, from the Gold Rush to the mafia era and ties to Cuba. Now the downtown area, under development by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, is an attempt to develop a new normal with hipster bars, a burgeoning gallery scene and recreation park made of storage containers. Like the buffets, there’s something for everyone.
When to Go
Spring and fall are the ideal times to go to Sin City. Summer is really, really hot, but with all the pools and air-conditioning, the desert heat isn’t really a deterrent.
The Life is Beautiful Festival is worth planning around if you like more than 120,000 people for three days of music, art, talks, and culinary delights. If electronic music is more your speed, Electric Daisy Carnival is godmother of EDM festivals. If you’re looking for a more rustic experience, check out the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for cowboys and country music in December.
What to Eat
Buffets! If there’s one food form Sin City has perfected, it’s the all-you-can-eat mountains of food in queues. It’s everything you want, when you want it, from fried food to haute cuisine and let’s never forget desserts. Remember, more is more, and it’s always available.
The "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign says it all. For the best lighting, take your photos at sunset.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Sustainable Travel Tip
Take the Monorail or buses or walk the Strip. It’s also possible to travel on foot almost entirely indoors, because of the connections between the buildings to beat the heat.
Souvenir to Take Home
Should you cash in your casino chips, you can buy some real estate, or at least Monopoly: The Las Vegas Edition. For something tastier, what about an Elvis PEZ candy roll dispenser or other such candy? There’s also the Ethel M (M as in Mars, of the candy empire) chocolate factory and cactus botanical garden (largest in the southwest!) in Henderson. After watching chocolate getting made, take some home. If all else fails, there’s always fuzzy dice. After all, not everyone leaves with a marriage license.