It’s difficult to spend time in Las Vegas at a convention with no time to really enjoy the area. It’s like being trapped inside of a bubble with fun taunting you from outside. Imagine my glee, then, as I realized that the convention actually ended a day earlier than I had thought. I now had time to get out and see Las Vegas. All I had to do was find lodging and transportation, and Las Vegas was all mine for a day or so. Is it possible to see what Las Vegas is all about in a day? I wasn’t sure, but I was sure that I was excited to find out. Since lodging is usually more difficult to find at the last minute, I worked on that first. Thankfully, I found HotelTonight, which has several choices for Las Vegas hotels. Within a couple of minutes, I had booked the perfect room in the perfect location. I rented a car at a nearby location and I was off on my adventure.
I pulled into my hotel and left my things in my comfortable and spacious room. I talked to a couple of staff members about what to do. I wanted to spend some time on The Strip and downtown of course, but I also wanted to do what locals tend to do, as that’s really how I most enjoy a new place. The staff at the hotel was very helpful, and after a couple of short conversations and some prioritizing in my head I had a plan of attack. I was off to see Las Vegas.
In some ways, Las Vegas is a tale of two cities. Downtown Las Vegas represents how things used to be, what with its classic casinos and restaurants. This was a picture of Las Vegas in the 1960’s when the boom was really hitting its stride here. There were also some signs of new investment here, as developers have realized that there is a lot of opportunity for work in this part of town. I strolled through a couple of the older places and enjoyed my time here, but it was also time to move from a glimpse of what Las Vegas used to be to what it has become.
It’s amazing what I had missed while working inside of a convention hall all week. The Strip is not only everything you think it is when you see it on television or read about it online, but it’s that much more. It could be its own light show the way it illuminates the desert. Every casino has something special to offer, whether it’s carnival rides, gondolas or deserts that you likely can’t find anywhere else. It’s the ultimate getaway in that you can basically do what you want when you want and no one is going to look twice at the size of the meal you’re ordering or your choices for entertainment.
I love to exercise and wanted to see what sort of contrast the area presented to people. Less than an hour away from The Strip is a place called Valley of Fire State Park. If you love to hike and check out incredible rock formations, this is the place. It’s also an experience that reminds you that at one point in the not-too-distant past, this entire area was a vast desert with barely a human element to be seen. I took in the White Domes, Elephant Rock and the Fire Wave. At that point, I realized that a ravenous hunger was overtaking me, so I decided to head back to the city.
Believe it or not, there actually is a “middle ground” in Las Vegas – not everything is the booming casinos or the quiet of the desert just outside of town. Summerlin is one of the parts of town where locals live, and to see it you’d never know that Las Vegas was nearby. I was starving, and decided to stop at a relatively quiet place to eat rather than go back into the city. I’m glad I did. I had one of the most amazing Italian dinners I had ever eaten, in a place that is not exactly known to tourists. There are a lot of places like that in this part of town. When I was finished, I was ready to call it a day.
Las Vegas – or at least some of it – can be done in a day. I went back to my hotel room and was ready to collapse after all that I had seen and done, inside and out. I was thrilled to have a bit of local flavor in my back pocket for the next time I’m in Las Vegas, as everyone comes back to Las Vegas for one reason or another. One of the best parts of this whole experience was my choice of Las Vegas hotels thanks to HotelTonight. With their help, I found exactly what I was looking for within minutes and was able to focus on what I wanted to do. All hotel bookings should be that easy, but even if they are, I’ll never know, as I’m going to keep working with HotelTonight every time I come to Las Vegas or venture out to see somewhere else.