I said for years that I didn’t like Las Vegas, but that was before I actually visited the place.
What I didn’t like was the idea in my head of Las Vegas….a hedonistic city full of fakery, casinos, and drunken silliness.
Now that I’ve been there a few times, my attitude has shifted. Once I decided to accept Vegas for the oddity that it is, I came to appreciate this endlessly optimistic playground in the desert that is built for escapism and guiltless fun.
Want to play at being a different sort of person for a few days, or try things that you know are kinda out there? It’s fine. In fact, for many it’s the whole point of going to Las Vegas.
Want to try things that are way out of character for you, like ziplining down the middle of a street full of people, during an hourly mini-concert projected overhead? Have at it – no one cares what you are “really” like.
Considering pandering to your preteen Tiger Beat crushes by going to see Donny & Marie Osmond at the Flamingo, even though you probably wouldn’t buy a ticket if they came to your hometown? Go right ahead.
If that doesn’t have appeal, you can go instead to see the little nature preserve at the Flamingo that has real flamingos – it’s free and open every day.
That’s a tip I picked up from this list of free things to do in Vegas.
Another place I learned about from that list of freebies is the Bellagio conservatory, shown in the photo above. It is located just off of the hotel’s spectacular lobby.
Five times a year (Chinese New Year, spring, summer, “harvest,” and holiday time) the hotel’s gardening staff sets up an eye-watering botanical display. You can wander the conservatory and then enjoy the famous Bellagio musical fountain show without spending a cent.
I got a great perspective on the fake Vegas places like New York, New York from Gary Arndt, the writer and photographer from Everything Everywhere. He said to look at them like a Beatles tribute band – not the real thing, but a nice version of it.
If you’re not into gambling, that’s fine (neither am I.)
Try one of the megastar restaurants, take in a show or two, or relax in casino-free hotels like the smoke-free Vdara, or the newish Delano.
If you suspend disbelief and go along with the joke, Las Vegas makes for some excellent escapist fun.
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