One of my biggest pet peeves is people who claim to "hate Las Vegas" and vow to "never return to the city" after what is most likely a very limited experience in the 131.3 square mile town of 2 million . Yes there's the strip, the location of many of the largest hotel and resort properties in the world, home to lavish casino resorts, the unrestricted availability of alcohol (as is true throughout Nevada), and adult entertainment, officially referred to throughout the world as Sin City. But let's face it people, the strip is only 4 miles long, and while it is often the site of 24/7 partying filled with drunken debauchery and lewd behavior, it's hardly representative of the entire town.
What do I love about Las Vegas? Among other things, I love the great outdoors. In fact, even according to a recent Forbes Magazine article, Las Vegas is one of the nation's best cities for the outdoors.
Perhaps it's the mild winters and low rainfall that encourages the population to head outdoors. Maybe it's the fact that spending per resident on the outdoors is almost the highest in the nation. Could it be that the high percentage of land devoted to city parks is enough to move people to the hills? I have to say, I've had many a houseguest from out-of-state remark on the high number of people they see hiking, biking, running, or just overall enjoying the outdoors. With popular sites like Lake Mead National Park and renowned hiking spots like Red Rock, just to name a few, this city is an outdoor heaven.
I recently read a post on one of my favorite websites from a girl who, after traveling to all 50 states and many parts of the world, determined that Las Vegas was her least favorite place and the city to which she was least likely to return. Meanwhile, she admitted that she just visited the town while driving across country and though she claimed to have "driven through the entire city," her post made it sound more like she had simply viewed the strip and seen the rest of Las Vegas from the freeway. This lead to a post of naysayers claiming they too never wanted to go back as Vegas is "dirty" and "disgusting" and "gross." Admittedly, most of those complimentary folk never left the strip except to go to the airport. Had they done so, they may have found that the city is actually extremely clean. Heck, it's even ranked one of the "cleanest cities in the nation!"
My point-- don't judge an entire town on the 4 miles that is the Las Vegas strip. If you are in Vegas and you really want to see what the city has to offer, get out of the hotel corridor and head to the hills. You will be glad you did! And do me a favor, if you are resigned to spend your entire vacation traveling up and down one street, please don't perpetuate Las Vegas' stereotype by proceeding to judge the whole city on your minimal experience. Thanks and have a lovely trip! :)