Though I’ve been a couple of times, I really truly don’t like Las Vegas. I don’t really gamble. I certainly don’t fuck prostitutes. And after one good night of drinking, I’m down for the count for the rest of the weekend. So how can you enjoy Las Vegas if you kind of hate Las Vegas? Don’t want to stand in line, pay $50 cover, and see some DJ in a space that’s so crowded it’s dangerously close to being a fire hazard? Don’t want to blow $500 on slot machines? Don’t want to reenact The Hangover? Here are a few ways to spend a trip in Vegas that’s actually enjoyable and not too exhausting.
One good thing about Vegas is that their brunch buffets are lit. And who doesn’t like brunch? My suggestion is to go all out at the Bellagio. Their brunch has all the traditional breakfast favorites like waffles and eggs, along with prime rib, sushi, lobster, etc. It sounds like a lot, but you’ll need it when you’re sucking down those bottomless mimosas. Getting good and drunk early on will help you let loose and enjoy the endless parade of bachelor parties and hooker flyers littering the sidewalks.
Watch the Bellagio fountain show
After you’re good and hammered, take a walk out into the harsh light of day. You’ll already be by the Bellagio fountain, which starts going off every half hour in the afternoon and every 15 minutes in the evening until midnight. Like any fountain show, it’s okay if you’re sober. But if you’ve had a dozen mimosas, it’s pretty incredible. Other nearby shows like the volcano eruption outside the Mirage are also free. Sadly, the Treasure Island pirate show has been permanently closed.
Take a nap by the pool
Vegas pool parties are legendary. If you’ve never been, it’s like a full-on club party in the confines of a hotel pool. This is complete with the pricy cover charge, the massive crowds, and the music that’s way too loud unless you’re a spring breaker. There’s no luxurious relaxation time at these events. You might not even have somewhere to plant your towel. It’s definitely not an ideal place to go if you’re full and drunk and getting sleepy. As an alternative, you should pick one of the less rowdy pools, like the one at the Bellagio, the Wynn, or Caesars Palace. They may still be crowded, but at least they won’t be having a rave.
Watch a show
A good way to pass the time in Sin City is to enjoy their entertainment. Artists like Aerosmith, Britney Spears, and Celine Dion can often be found doing residencies in Vegas. Even Lady Gaga will lend her talents to the Vegas strip this year, so if you haven’t caught your favorite band on the road (10-20 years ago when they were at the height of their popularity), seeing them in Vegas is a legitimately fun thing to do. An even better option is to see a Cirque du Soleil show. Though some of their biggest shows have traveled around the country, Vegas is where these magical productions call home. Though it’ll cost you a pretty penny, any one of the popular Cirque productions like O, Mystere, or Beatles LOVE will be a productive use of your time in Vegas.
If you’re on a budget, at least you can check out the free Circus Circus show, which runs every half hour to 45 minutes.
One of the things that makes me hate Las Vegas is that I find gambling to be a very depressing vice. Beneath the glitz and glamour of the casino at the Aria or the MGM Grand is the stench of mindless addiction. It may be bright and full of loud fun sounds, but from the high rollers table to the penny slots, all you see is the hope of becoming instantly rich evaporating into thin air.
But I suppose you can’t really go to Vegas and not gamble. So I suggest gambling with $20. The tables are more fun than the slot machines, though they can be more intimidating. Don’t be intimidated. They’ll take your money whether you know what you’re doing or not. If you lose the $20, simply get out. And if you win anything with your $20, you should definitely get out because that’s the only way to beat the house.
Going to Vegas is a lot like drinking around the world at Epcot. Everything is a cheap knock off of something else and there’s a fake Eiffel Tower. So you can treat it as such and bask in the glow of it all. It does have its share of iconic sights like the Vegas sign and Vegas Vic on Fremont Street. The opulent interiors of the resorts and casinos on the strip have plenty to see. Go to to the Venetian and take a gondola ride so you can feel like you’re in Italy. Maybe you’ll get drunk enough that you won’t be able to tell the difference.You can even zipline through downtown Las Vegas if you’re looking for a thrill.
Visit the Neon Museum
Speaking of basking in the glow of it all, the Neon Museum just outside of downtown features a neon boneyard filled with decommissioned neon signs from the casinos around Vegas. It’s kitschy and ridiculous but so is all of Las Vegas. There’s a very bittersweet energy to something once having lit up the strip only to end up lying somewhere as scrap metal with other old neon shit.
Take a day trip out of Vegas
Las Vegas puts you in close proximity of a lot of wonderful natural sights to see and outdoor activities to try. The closest trip out of civilization is less than 30-minutes by car to Red Rock Canyon. There’s a scenic 13-mile drive (or bike ride) through the area along with opportunities for hiking. Less than hour away, you can go kayaking or swimming at Lake Mead. An hour out of the city, you can spend an afternoon with the red sandstone formations at the Valley of Fire.
If you’re feeling a little more ambitious about leaving Las Vegas, you can take a drive to Death Valley. Or even to the Grand Canyon. You can use my guide for how to see the Grand Canyon from Vegas with a stop at the Hoover Dam.
Maybe when all that is said and done, you won’t hate Las Vegas so much.
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