Through some strange fluke, I'd never been to Las Vegas since this past weekend. The occasion: A bachelor/bachelorette party for my SO's brother and his future bride.
As I expected, I was fascinated just by walking around all the various resort hotels on the Strip. My first and strongest impression was just how huge the $1B+ hotels are. We stayed at the MGM grand where the hallways could double as landing strips. I was also a bit surprised that within the hotels, the casinos were centralized in one spot. I was expecting little islands of slot machines & tables throughout the hotels. It makes sense from an administrative point of view, however.
Walking around, I felt a slight similarity to New Orleans. It's perfectly acceptable to walk around with your “Margaritas By The Yard” frozen drinks. While I like frozen drinks as a concept, I'd prefer mine not be dispensed from a wall.
While I'd heard and read that there was lot of shopping throughout Vegas, I expected it to be blended in with the main hotel's architecture. Instead, it seems like every hotel had a separate mall area tacked onto it. My own take: The shopping's not that much better than you'd get in any big city.
Fun shopping moment: Walking through Caesars Palace, and coming across what appeared to be copy of the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Having been to Rome last Thanksgiving, we both knew the real Trevi Fountain is on the side of a building, while the Vegas replica was in the middle of a mall intersection. Yes, a small detail, but both made the same observation immediately upon seeing it.
Coolest attraction: The fountain at the Bellagio is monstrously huge, with 1200 nozzles shooting water to seemingly impossible heights. Being the curious type, I spent a bit of time trying to figure out if they raised the nozzle's above the water during the show, or just lowered the water level. For the best view, pay the $9 and watch from the top of the Eiffel Tower, which at 540 feet is still only 1/2 the height of the real one in Paris.
Best entertainment moment: The Zumanity show at New York, New York was pretty cool. I just wasn't expecting a completely buff midget., yet somehow it worked!
As Joel Stein noted it in his recent Time Magazine article, the days of cheap hotel rooms and food to lure you there are gone. Vegas draws enough young people that there's more demand than supply, and the prices certainly reflect that. All in all, I was glad I went, but I won't be rushing back there at the earliest opportunity.