I will admit, I am not the biggest fan of Las Vegas. In the past I have found it fake, bloated, and overpriced. After 1 day I can’t wait to leave – usually due to my overindulgence at the buffet and blackjack tables. So when the opportunity came up to attend the Life is Beautiful Festival on a press pass I had my reservations – not because of the free concert tickets, that was awesome. No, because it was in Las Vegas, a city I have a love/hate relationship with. A funny thing happened this time around though. As I boarded my plane to leave I was actually sad to go. In three short days I had learned to love Las Vegas.
Off the Strip
In the past my Vegas adventures have all been centered around Las Vegas boulevard and the mega resorts found there. I have little patience for crowds so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I enjoy my time more when spent away from other tourists. Instead of staying on the Strip we stayed at the Palms which was much quieter from the casino floor to the sports books. We did go to the Strip one day for a fountain show at the Bellagio, which will never get old.
We also explored downtown Las Vegas which is surprisingly hip. The amount of character found there far outweighs the bright lights of the strip. The festival didn’t hurt either as it is is best music festival you’ve never heard of. Great music, food, and art in a laid-back and chill setting.
Surprisingly Awesome Food
In the past my dining experiences in Vegas was a combination of all you can eat buffets and In-n-Out Burger. Although I would eat the latter every day if I could, I always felt that Vegas food was about quantity and not quality. This is until going to the Life is Beautiful Festival where I got to try the various offerings this surprisingly tasty city has to offer.
To top the trip off we dined at Alize on top of the Palms. Sweeping views of the city was ours to enjoy over a crazy good five course meal. Although costly, it was well worth it and truly changed my mind about the quality of food found in Vegas.
Appreciating the Past
Finally, the last reason that made me love Las Vegas is the appreciation I gained for the cities past. As we spent most of our time in downtown Vegas my eyes were open to the unique hotels and casinos not named Caesars or MGM. Places with character and soul surrounding Fremont street made for a new (to me) side of Vegas. Walking through the Life is Beautiful grounds we got to see these places up close. Many have received facelifts yet still have charm that you can only find an old Vegas. There’s also an impressive collection of street murals and street art throughout downtown that are much more authentic than a fake Eiffel Tower will ever be.
A visit to the Neon Boneyard solidified these thoughts. Learning about the historic signs and the city and properties they once represented on our guided tour was a great way to appreciate how Vegas became the crazy place it is today.
Why I Love Las Vegas Now?
Maybe I am just getting old and would rather experience something than drink my face off. Correction. I want both. Maybe it was because this was my first trip out since having back surgery and taking it easy allowed me to appreciate and love Las Vegas a little more. Maybe it was the guy next to me who hit suited aces and won $900. I don’t know. What I do know is I learned to love Las Vegas and look forward to seeing more of it beyond the strip in the future.