TravelAround: Sin city – Las Vegas, USA

Las Vegas, also known as the Sin City or the adult’s playground is located on the Nevada State, USA. The city was created in the middle of the Mojave Desert and there isn’t any change you forget about that fact when you get here in July: temperatures above 45ºC tend to constantly remember you.

We all have heard, read and seen lots of it on the web, books and magazines or movies, but all of that doesn’t give it justice. Las Vegas was founded  in 1905 and grew up to this day with the same objective: gaming. The #1 income of the city, followed by the matrimonial business.

 

The Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas Strip is part of the Las Vegas Boulevard, with approximately 7 km in length, where most of the hotel, resources and casinos are placed. Las Vegas Boulevard is about 87 km in total. On the Strip, you will find the Bellagio, with its giant lake and water show, the Venitian with replicas of the Italian city with the same name, the Mirage and its Volcano, MGM Grand with its concert hall, Ceaser’s palace, amongst others.

How big are these places? A couple of examples:

  • The Venitian gondolas and gondoliers, cruising tourists through the canals that are carved inside of the shopping area
  • The Paris with its shorter version of the Eiffel tower,
  • The Mirage, has a volcano just as go in and dolphin parks.

They all compete for extravagant features, although most of them belong the MGM group.

A bit further away to the north, you can find the Stratosphere, with its huge tower, observation point and mini radical theme park.

Stravaganza

Las Vegas is clearly a stravagant destination. Huge hotels, dozens of casinos, shopping malls, discos, pubs, fun and anything your pockets can afford. When shows come into play, the city provides several theatres and performance areas that go from David Copperfield magic shows, to Cirque du Soleil, concerts and performances by the top DJs of the world.

Hint: hold on to your credit card, or better yet, leave it in the hotel safe. Money is very volatile here!

 

One must see location is the Peter Lik‘s gallery at the Venitian. Popular for his expensive, intense and high-detail, giant prints, you will find several of his master pieces in exibition. They are totally worth seeing/buying. Close by you can find the Ceaser’s gallery, which I didn’t have the chance to visit.

 

Freemont

The Freemont area is the oldest part of the city, where it all started. This is a very touristic area where you can find the oldest casinos. The Freemont street is kind of an open shopping area with several casinos, restaurants and gift shops. During daytime it’s not that busy and has an easy going feeling. The street has a high ceiling that is no less than a huge LED screen. Something you only realize when the day starts to set and the screen comes alive into a multimedia show. By then the street is packed with dazzled people, street artists and performers, including several ladies with very little clothes on, inviting people walking by to take pictures with them.

All and all, I felt secure and everybody was having fun, just as I did while having a cold drink with friends. If you are into street photography, you are in for a treat. This was my favorite part of the town.

 

What I missed

Being a landscape photography enthusiast, the city means (very) little to me, but there are some close by locations that I want to explore on a future visit:

  • Death Valley Natural park: about 3 hours away by car, you will find yourself in plain desert. This is an open park that you can visit 24 hours a day. Just keep an eye on the park alerts. During my visit, some of the areas were under alert due to the high temperatures. Remember to always pack plenty of water and let people where you are and what time you are expected to be back.
  • Red Rock Natural Park: about 30 minutes away from the city center, this park has a visiting schedule which may limit your plans, especially if you’re thinking about night photography. Nice red rocks and canyons will certainly make great photo opportunities.

 

Classification

From the classification point of view, the city is worthwhile to visit, but for my particular taste, one time is enough. That said, returning to the city as a tourist is not in my plans. I would however love to come back to Nevada and visit places like Death Valley or Red Rock National Parks just to state a few.

 

 

Experience technicalities
Global [C] – Want to be back: interesting place with lots to explore, but with moderate photo highlights or some risk for family.

I’m not so much of a fan for extravaganza, so I would say that one time is enough for the city itself. Nevertheless, there are very interesting locations close by that I would love to go to (i.e. Death Valley, Red Rock, just to say a few).

Safety (see GPI) 3 (out of 5)
(Lower is safer)HOT WEATHER WARNING: During hot months watch out for snakes, spiders and scorpions, specially on deserted areas! Also pack plenty of water if you are planning to go for a hike, and let people know your location.
Photographic potential  

Architecture, Street, People, Landscape (interesting national parks on the area – 30 to 250 kms away)

Weather  Sunshine, hot and dry( July, Summer )
Travel  

13 hours, ESTA needed.

 

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