Why I Hate Las Vegas

A few weeks ago, I attended a work conference in Las Vegas. It was my first time there, and with any luck, I’ll never go back.  Unlike most of the people who go to Las Vegas, at least I can say I went for my job.  But….ugh. I’m just going to cop out right now, and simply list my reasons Why I Hate Las Vegas:

Giant mega-hotels, stretching for miles. What is the fun in this? PLEASE TELL ME.

Disneyland prices and “entertainment.” We accidentally caught the “Siren Show” at Treasure Island and I thought my eyes and ears were going to start bleeding. Do people really like this shit?

Girls all glammed up like they have somewhere important to go. Wait, let’s be more honest, they were slutted out. But they’re in Las Vegas on vacation. Isn’t the point of vacation to not wear clothing that restricts your breathing? To not wear shoes that could send your ankles to the emergency room? Why not be cute and comfy and entirely not silly looking? Even the cocktail waitress at the Mirage pool played the part, wearing next to nothing to try and earn an easy tip from drunks (this doesn’t work so well when you’re waiting on me, and I only order one drink while I wonder to myself what you’re going to do with your life after you lose your looks and no one wants to give you big tips anymore. I hope you have plans, cocktail ladies.)

It’s not a walkable city. I had to attend a cocktail party at the Planet Hollywood Hotel. I thought this would be a quick walk from the Mirage, because looking at the map, it was four hotels away. But because these hotels must each comprise numerous restaurants, theaters, a casino and possibly some sort of egregious display of man’s triumph over nature (in my hotel’s case, a white tiger display and a dolphin area, as if tigers aren’t enough) these hotels streeeeeeeeeetch for blocks and blocks. So, I showed up late and…

I was so, so thirsty, I ran to the bar and demanded a club soda. And the rest of the trip, no matter how much water I drank, I felt like I had just eaten hot sand. I don’t mind the desert, I didn’t mind being thirsty, but I did mind my constant obsessive thought that an area so arid was and is not meant to support this ridiculous fake city.

The “you-are-going-to-have-fun-or-else” attitude. One day when Brendan went and visited an old high school friend who lives in Las Vegas, I decided to spend the day by the giant Mirage pool. Everything started out OK as I sat around with other solo adults, reading a New Yorker and listening to music on my iPod. Then, as the day wore on, the piped-in crappy 80s music got louder, and by the time I decided to take a dip, the pool was full of “Spring Breakers” — waxed, tanned men and women wearing plastic bead necklaces and wading around with drinks. Yuck, I thought, realizing they were all peeing in the pool. I had only one escape: my hotel room. It took 14 (crowded) minutes to get there, since the Mirage hotel rooms are hidden away and I had to walk past an indoor shopping mall before I could find the elevator, as if I might want to stop, shop and ultimately spend $20 on a snowglobe of the Mirage, to remind me of the urine-soaked pool.

The lines of tourists everywhere. Lord, save me, the lines. One morning, in search of breakfast and caffeine, we discovered we were at the mercy of the hotel and all the touristy traps outside on the Strip. First we tried one of the coffee places in the Mirage. The line was at least 50 people deep. No way (and who are these fools who pay to get in a long line for coffee?). So we went across the street to Denny’s – a 20-minute wait (to eat bad food and drink bad coffee!!). No way. So we went to McDonald’s, and yes, waited in line, finally ordered coffee and then went downstairs to Chipotle and ordered burritos for breakfast (I simply do not eat McDonald’s breakfast food, unless there’s a nuclear holocaust, and I’m running for cover, and the closest cover is McDonald’s). This was how the rest of the trip went: waiting in line for bad food and bad service.

– We got home to Mexico City to discover the Mirage charged us $75 for drinks ordered in the high-roller bar. AHEM. Not only did I not step foot in a high-roller area, I sure as hell didn’t order any damn drinks. But if I were to, I’d order more than $75 of alcohol. Dios mio.

THE TINY BITS I DID LIKE

– We rented a car (great idea if you didn’t really want to go to Vegas but have to) and drove very far north on the Strip, where it gets gritty, grimy and even somewhat cultural. We had a delicious cheap Cuban meal (and cafe con leche) at a tiny dive restaurant. And yes, no wait. Then we headed to a gigantic swap meet (even in late October, the heat was killer, so we didn’t last long).

-We also drove to Valley of Fire State Park. Nature, ah, nature. Always a good thing.

-I got to hang out with my work team, and they’re a great bunch.

-Speaking of, I went with a few of them to the Double Down Saloon (way off strip) which serves ice-cold Shiner Beer, the best damn Texas beer. Finally away from slot machines, I almost lost the ringing in my ears. It was sort of like stepping into a bar in New York City, except it had video poker at the bar. I felt relaxed.

18 thoughts on “Why I Hate Las Vegas

  1. Lesley says:

    Sorry you had such a crappy time. I adore Vegas, mostly because when I go I very rarely venture onto the Strip. I spend most of the time shopping and hanging out by the pool and getting spa treatments. (Last two times I’ve gone, I’ve stayed near Green Valley Ranch, which is in Henderson.) I’m going back in a few weeks to visit a friend who lives there, and we will hopefully visit as many non-touristy dive bars as possible. Staying away from tourists is the key, I think.

  2. DKN says:

    I’m pretty sure I would hate Vegas, too. (Not into gambling or high-priced call girls). But I kind of – KIND of – get why people dig it. There is a lot to do, even if it’s crappy. I think the drinking and pool side activities would appeal to me more – but I can do that anywhere.

  3. Joy says:

    Yeah, there is a lot to do, but so much of it involves spending a lot of money. The Beatles Love Show, for example, cost something like $200 for cheap seats.

  4. jemrey says:

    You are so right. I had a similar experience, but didn’t have an opportunity to rent a car and get off the strip… horrible plastic city…
    And, oh my gosh, the PIRATE show! I stayed at the TI and couldn’t believe this… a little bit of honey and whole lot of sugar and you shake it up? are you kidding? People were taking this seriously??
    Also, walking through the casino in my pajamas at 6am just to stand in line at the starbucks for a little overpriced caffeine was not a good start to the day.
    By the way, the chipoltle was a godsend. I ate a veggie burrito bowl for breakfast. Good stuff.
    I was so horrified by the whole experience that when I got home, I googled “I hate las vegas” and found quite a few hits…

  5. Madeleine says:

    This is entirely how I felt about Vegas too. BUT: I will say that I got a discounted ticket to the Beatles’ Love (for the low, low price of 100 bucks) and it was amazing. A little exhausting, and definite sensory overload, but amazing.

  6. Tom says:

    The Strip is for tourists. If you are not into kitsch, posers, crowds, and relatively high prices, stay off Strip, especially those sidewalks. It also makes having a car easier, as you are not immediately into gridlock upon driving off. There are some great off Strip properties, including the Orleans, Silverton and Boulder Station which are lower in cost and, if you must get to the Strip, not that far away. I’m glad to hear you did get to see and partake of some of the local gems, including a good Latino eatery (try Doña Maria Tamales next time), the Valley of Fire, and the Double Down Saloon. Beyond the facade of the Strip, the Las Vegas Valley, and Nevada can be a great, and ‘real’ place to visit. And it can be a true bargain compared to some other destinations. For the most part, with a little planning, good hotel rooms and car rentals won’t be found cheaper anywhere in the US.

  7. .... says:

    I disagree with you on all of this. Vegas is a adult party city. They call it playground for adults. Many ppl come to have fun and get crazy. Vegas is the best vacation you could take, and as far as being charged 75$ dollars at a high rollers bar its normal. Thats why its a high roller bar. Gamble on casino floors and you get free drinks. Only thing is you could tip the waitress, but its tottaly up to you. Vegas is the best and everything that vegas had to offer is awesome. I live here and I enjoy every min of it on my free time. The show at TI is about sirens if you dont know what a siren is do some research. Sirens are beautiful sexy girls that dress and look sexy. Im really sorry you had a bad experience in vegas. Dont take me wrong in anyway, just next time you visiting hire a tour guide. Cheap one not a high rollers tour guide.

  8. Amanda says:

    I went to Vegas last year. I LOVE this post. Everything you said is right on. If you don’t make a lot of money, aren’t a gambler, or aren’t looking to catch herpes or ogle half-naked women, Vegas is not for you.

    I was so bored there I wanted to hang myself from the shower rod in my resort bathroom.

    I thought as a city that it was absolutely ridiculous. A scaled-down version of the Eiffel Tower?? Seriously??? I am supposed to go up in it, pretend I am in Paris, and look at all the flashy blinky lights? Sorry, lots of pretty sparkly lights might be entertaining if you are five years old. As an adult I couldn’t care less.

    There is nothing in Vegas that passes for intelligence or culture. It’s not even anywhere near as fun as a real amusement park.

    Plus it smells like shit.

    Survey says: Skip it.

  9. Rachel says:

    My husband attends AU conference each year in Vegas and loves the place. I visited for the first time two years ago. In about two weeks I am reluctantly returning as a guest for the same conference at Mandalay Bay.

    Top 3 Reasons I hated the great city of Las Vegas, NV.

    Reason #1 : I got food poisoning so badly (from the Venetian hotel) that I was admitted to a nearby hospital clinic for treatment.

    Reason #2: The TV stations in the hotel were very limited.

    Reason #3: The scent pumped through the Casino to diffuse the profuse amount of cigar/cigarette smoke is simply disgusting. At least AC has a boardwalk and the beach with fresh air.

  10. whodey8509 says:

    $200 for a ticket to Love? You spoke to the wrong scalper. I paid less than $150 for two great seats. And yes, Vegas is dirty, crowded, and filled with men and women who dress like whores, but unless you’ve never heard of Las Vegas before how is this shocking? Sounds like going to the Super Bowl and then complaining that a football game broke out.

  11. Heidi says:

    Oh, I hate Las Vegas. I have sadly HAD to live here as hubby is stationed at Nellis AFB. So already 4 long years here, and hubby gets out of military in a little over a year. Still, even then we will NOT be able to leave this wasteland, as we bought a house here in 2008 and now it is worth about half of what we owe on it. We can’t afford to sell it for a loss and get a house somewhere else and we don’t wnat to ruin our creditby having it foreclose. So yes, we are STUCK here. I have 2 kids and one more on the way, and actually feel sick at the thought of being here any longer than we have to. Zero family things to do here, high crime, unbearably hot, windy, dusty, rude people, everywhere I look there is fenced in dirt. Hate it here so much!

  12. Kay says:

    thanks to this article it has put all my thoughts of going to vegas at a standstill. some trashier people in my lilfe were trying to convince me its heaven, and I saw the neon 7-11 and thought “no way seriously?”
    I hate pasties, feathers, call girls, and herpes, so Im never stepping foot there. EVER. The pee i the pool got me too… thanks for the laugh and making me think Im not looney. Ill stay on the east coast alittle while longer.

  13. A.J. says:

    One of the biggest problems in Vegas is the social culture (the people) or lack there of. Far too many rude, hateful, mean, heartless, angry, non caring, uninformed, ignorant people living here!!

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