Larry's Guide to Las Vegas (and vicinity)
I first went to Las Vegas more years ago than I care to admit. What followed was a hiatus of more years than I care to admit. In 2001, for no particular good reason, I decided to return. It was love at first second sight. Since then I've been to Sin City more than a dozen times, for a combined stay of over 6 months.
What's so great about an arid, dusty, flat desertscape with a series of tacky buildings in the middle of nowhere? The variety! While most people associate Las Vegas with gambling, that's only a sideshow to me. What are the other possibilities? Well, I'm glad you asked. Each time I go to Vegas, I create an on-line trip report, which describes all the interesting (?) things I did. It's as much for myself as anyone else, but I share it with like minded Vegas nuts, who are generally more appreciative than judgmental. If you're interested in the reports, there's a link at the bottom of this page.
As the number of reports grew, I decided to summarize the information into specific areas. I've done a lot of things that are easily found in guide books or on the web. However, I've also done a lot of things that are either hard to find out about, or for which there is little detailed information. So far, here's what I have. Clink on the link to get to the specific page:
- The Great Outdoors. Within less than a day's drive, you could spend days, weeks or months just getting a taste of what's available. Like to rock climb? One of the premier rock climbing areas in the United States is only 30 minutes away. Hiking is available all over the place. There's also rock scrambling, kayaking, ATV riding, dune buggy riding, jet skiing, skydiving, bodyflight (aka indoor skydiving), horseback riding, skiing, land sailing and all sorts of other good stuff. I forgot to mention: guides are available, so you can do any of the things I've mentioned without any prior experience.
- Restaurants. In the last few years, Las Vegas has changed from the home of cheap but mediocre food to the home of not so cheap but very good or even excellent food. Some is truly world class, if you can afford the truly world class prices. I've eaten at over 90 restaurants, including many of the top places in town. Some of my early reviews are pretty brief, but most go into a lot of detail. And for those of you who miss the past, don't worry - there's still plenty of mediocre food.
- Other Amusements. This category is a lot of fun. There are an awful lot of things to do that might not make the top ten, but are nonetheless very entertaining, or at least very strange. Typical guide books will list some of these items very briefly, and some not at all. A pinball museum? That's here. So is information on the Neanderdolls, a museum dedicated to the atomic bomb, and porn slappers.
- My Favorites. A list of the best of the above.
- Miscellany. Whenever the mood strikes me, I'll write something on a miscellaneous top. Here's what I have so far:
- Oh yeah - Gambling! Over the last few trips, I've unfortunately developed an interest in gambling, but it still isn't a huge part of my trip. I'm not the best person to ask for advice in this area - so I'm not giving any...except that craps players rule!
So is this the web equivalent of a guide book? Hell, no! Since I don't get paid to do this, I get to go only to those places I feel like going. I also am too lazy to bother describing some of the obvious choices. Want to know about Bellagio's fountains? Hoover Dam? Fuhgeddaboudit. The advantage of this guide is that there's a lot of detail in specific areas - much more detail than you'd get in a guide book. The disadvantage is that there's loads of good stuff I don't even mention.
If you want more information and can't find it anywhere else, try one or more of the Las Vegas forums. There are a number of 'em, and they vary in quality and in areas covered. The forums also change over time: today's top quality site could be next month's flame war special; today's diligent but polite moderator could be tomorrow's Attila the Hun.
If I mention a paid section, only paid members can views those messages; otherwise, anyone can read them. Typically, free registration is required in order to post messages. Here are a few I check from time to time:
Las Vegas Advisor Forums. Has a free section and a paid section. The free section caters to people having a good, rowdy time, but with limited tourist information. However, if you ask a specific question, you'll usually get a good answer (along with a lot of wise ass answers, so be prepared). The paid section tends to be a bit more focussed on tourist information.
Chowhound. This is a specialty forum, for people who like good food. A lot. There's may only be a few messages per day for Las Vegas, but they tend to be really good messages. The link I've provided should get you to the Southwest forum. If this ever stops working, go to the main page at www.chowhound.com and find the forum for "Southwest".
eGullet. Another specialty food forum. People on this board take their food very seriously indeed. There's very little traffic, but if you want detailed information on the very best places to eat, check here.
Questions? Comments? You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To get past my spam filters, include "ORCHID" anywhere in the subject line.
My Main Web Page My Las Vegas Trip Report Page