You can’t avoid the Las Vegas strip when visiting Vegas, mostly because the main reason why you’re there is the strip and it’s hotels and casinos. And let me tell you a walk down the strip is an experience in itself. If you’re visiting Las Vegas, you must have a good stroll down it, yes taxis are easier, quicker and pretty cheap, but you miss all the fun stuff if you don’t take a walk!
Before you start though, make sure you’re wearing a comfortable pair of shoes. On a map those hotels are technically next door to each other and look so close together but once you start walking they are much further apart than you think! Getting from one to the other takes a lot longer than you expect and my feet weren’t happy with me. I did wear an old pair of sandals that I thought would be very comfy, turns out the heat and those sandals don’t mix – cue a huge blister appearing on my foot. Ouch.
We hit the strip as soon as we landed in Vegas, I was desperate to get out there and see what this place was all about! Within 10 minutes my sister-in-law and I already had a frozen margarita in hand to help us on our merry way, as I said before, it’s customary to have an alcoholic drink in your hand when walking down the strip. Drinking on the streets is legal in Vegas, this to me is strange because it’s a definite no go back in the UK, but I was happy to take this new-found freedom to heart and happily strolled along with my frozen cup of goodness!
The strip, and Las Vegas in general, is a weird and wonderful place and I loved it. It’s just surreal that somebody decided to create this party capital in the middle of the desert. Build these massive hotels, all with a different random themes that aren’t just dotted around here and there inside the hotel, the whole hotel is built on the theme, complete with an Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty or pyramid! And just about everybody is there with the same thing on their agenda – to party, gamble and catch some sun! Let’s face it, there aren’t many more things you can get up to whilst vacationing in Vegas!
We started pretty much at the top of the strip – by the Treasure Island and Palazzo hotels and headed down Las Vegas Boulevard towards the Welcome Sign, if we thought we were going to get that far down we were very much mistaken! I think in about 5 or 6 hours we made it to the New York, New York, about half way down. We could still see both hotels where we started and they didn’t look that far away! Admittedly we popped into a lot of the hotels and had a look around (again that takes a lot longer than you think because they are so huge!) and stopped for a quick bite to eat, but I thought we would have made it a little further down!
The atmosphere on the strip is fab! Everyone’s in a good mood, probably because of all the frozen margaritas and beer they’ve been drinking, the sun is shining and I think most people were more than likely thinking the same thing as me – ‘this place is mad!’ Whilst strolling along and checking out the hotels, snapping some pictures and drinking it all in, there are so many characters walking along too, ready for you to have your picture taken with, for a small fee of course. Think Disney characters, Star Wars characters, minions from Despicable Me (my brother’s favourite!), half-dressed women advertising various nightclubs and casinos and not forgetting my all time favourite and the one that I would choose to have a picture with…this legendary guy:
oh yes people, it’s Alan from The Hangover! He comes complete with tiger, giraffe, baby and stand in Alan having a cigarette whilst lurking behind a bush! I think that is my favourite part of this picture, the stand-by waiting around the corner! You couldn’t make it up! They were both pretty convincing Alans though and maybe if I’d had another couple of frozen margaritas (or maybe the German, he was the one stopping me from jumping straight in there!), I’d have been in the exact same spot as that lady, complete with a stupid grin, possibly stroking Alan’s beard…
We also can’t forget the lovely women and men who try to thrust the cards of call girls into your hands, claiming they can get you hot girls, direct to your hotel room in 20 minutes wearing t-shirts with the words ‘orgasim clinic’ on. I think they need to get a dictionary and also realise that the guy down the strip that they’re trying to give the cards to his holding hands with his wife!
Aside from all the fun and laughter on the strip there’s also a serious side. As you walk along the footbridges to cross the road, on just about every footbridge there’s somebody who’s homeless and begging. In a city where money rules it’s literally like one extreme to the other. These people have no money, whilst inside the casinos there are high rollers, betting thousands of dollars on just one game. I know it’s the same every where you go, people are homeless in every city, but I think it stands out a little more in Vegas, purely because of your surroundings.
Now, the strip during the day is completely different to the strip at night. Once sun goes down, those bright neon lights we immediately associate with Vegas are turned on and the city changes yet again! Everything looks completely different. Things are highlighted that weren’t highlighted before. You notice every light and how it changes, flashes and draws you into the casino or hotel that it’s advertising. It’s also pretty picturesque.
I don’t think street lights are needed on the strip, the neon signs do the job on their own! The evening atmosphere is even more electric than the atmosphere during the day. People are now ready to party, and party hard! The shorts and beach dresses have been ditched for party dresses and heels for the girls and smart shirts for the boys. They probably all stopped off in the beer cave in Walgreens (yes, that actually exists) to stock up on some drinks to get ready with, the alcohol intake doesn’t stop in Vegas!
And of course you can’t hit the strip without taking a trip to the Welcome Sign! It’s a huge part of Vegas, and let’s face it, it’s on just about every single bit of tacky memorabilia you can take home with you from your trip. Yes, we did get something – a magnet for our fridge (we’re very American now with random things attached to our fridge!) and yes, it’s in the shape of the Welcome Sign! What else!