After a year and a half of living across the country from each other and countless dates and road trips in different cities and states, it was time for him to say goodbye to Las Vegas and make the big move back to the Twin Cities. For me, it meant no more frequent jaunts to what has become one of my favorite cities, but in retrospect, it also meant a real start to a lifelong companionship with my best friend. Before starting the long journey back home, we decided to live up this last weekend in Las Vegas by reliving some of our old memories and spots while adding some new experiences along the way.
The three day decadence started with a visit to one of many healthy/green juice and food bars in Vegas and a stroll down the always busy and eclectic Las Vegas Strip. The night ended with some jaw dropping stunts and risqué performance at the Cirque Du Soleil Zumanity show at the New York, New York Hotel. On Sunday, we ventured outside the city limits and explored small town Nevada (more details to come in upcoming blog). After a day of exploring and walking, we refueled with a 4 course dinner at a whole in the wall Moroccan restaurant adorned with decorative lighting, carpets, and even a personal pot to wash your hands in at the table. The night concluded with a stroll down the always happening Fremont street and the walkable downtown area, where I got a glimpse into the Zappos fortified Gold Spike boutique hotel and playground fit for millennials equipped with games, beds, and fun toys sure to make any 20-something jump for joy.
No Vegas trip would be fulfilled without a pool day, so we decided to skip the strip crowds and head to the M resort, spa and casino where locals get a special deal. The sleek and clean architecture of this hotel oozes relaxation. Pool day was continued back on the Strip with a poolside drink at the Linq hotel and an overnight stay. The Linq is a newly remodeled hotel, which still resembles a 70s concrete block and brutalist architecture (but hey, no other hotel could beat the $35/night room price tag) and the location was superb. The front door leads directly on to the pedestrian promenade and the rest of the Strip. I can only say that our final night in Las Vegas ended on a high note (literally, as we were on the 22nd floor of the Mandarin Oriental, the Mandarin Bar). This sleek style lounge with sophisticated and superb ambiance offers creative cocktail concoctions and floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of the glitzy Strip. It’s the perfect place to look over the busy strip and daydream of living in one of the tall condo buildings nearby, watching high over the Strip and falling asleep to city lights.
On our last day, before driving off into the sunset to Midwest America, we finally (after about 5 trips to LV) got to visit and take a photo with the infamous “welcome to Las Vegas” sign. No matter what time of day, you can always find a line of tourists waiting to get their jumping photo with the background of the strip. Interestingly enough, Clark County of Nevada just recently installed the new traffic signals for the pedestrian crosswalk at this location since it is a major conflict point for pedestrians and cars.
So, what have I learned in my recent visits to Vegas and what are the takeaways? First, as the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. I hope that my few blog posts on the city’s new development can inform and provide a different glimpse into a flourishing world around Vegas (the city is so much more than just a party city and a place where what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas). The city, especially the downtown is currently going through a fascinating transition with the Downtown Project and the new tech forward vision. Regardless of your personal taste, the city offers something for everyone and no matter how different you think you are or feel, this city will always make you feel right at home.
So Long, Las Vegas!