Every year I meet more and more young adults who squirm whenever the topic of Las Vegas comes up. “It’s too trashy,” they judge. Or, “it’s just not my thing,” is another popular excuse. But the thing about Vegas is that there is something for everyone. Sexy, outrageous, family-friendly, you can make your Vegas vacation whatever you want it to be. And if you find yourself in Vegas swimming in a pool full of spilt cocktails limes… well, congrats on finding the trashy side of Sin City. Here are other options worth exploring:
1. Stay at a Non-Themed Hotel: Sure, spending a couple of nights in a castle might be fun… for a four-year-old who’s never been to Disneyland. There are so many hotel options that, of course, so why not choose one that won’t attract fanny packing-touting tourists with their decor?
In addition to being home to the Four Seasons in Vegas, Mandalay Bay has its own branded swanky luxury tower THEhotel. The Wynn is another safe bet for a sophisticated stay in Sin City. Both of these hotels also have great dining options and entertainment onsite, with the Mandalay Bay premiering the new Michael Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil show this Summer.
On the dining note, perhaps the only thing worse than a themed hotel is a themed restaurant. So don’t get jungle fever (or food poisoning) at the Rainforest Cafe. Instead try to nab a reservation at the uber-exclusive e by Jose Andres at the Cosmopolitan. With just 8 seats and 3 chefs at your service, this boasts by far one of the best ratio in fine dining.
2. Learn to Play Poker: There is a reason gambling is illegal in most place, so when visiting Vegas why not indulge? If it’s good enough for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, it’s good enough for you. Most casinos provide complimentary drinks to players, and considering that most times you’ll end up breaking even, what better way to spend a couple of hours than meeting interesting characters from all over the world, practicing your poker face and sipping on some free drinks? Just remember, quit while you’re ahead and go from table to table to better your odds.
If you are not an expert at the game, researching some poker tips ahead of time would be good. Although most dealers are willing to bring you up to speed if you are unfamiliar with the house rules.
3. Venture Beyond the Strip: The Vegas that lured Hunter S. Thompson into now-iconic shenanigans is still there, but you’re going to have to work a little harder to find it. Take a cab outside the comforts of the Strip to experience the authentic Fear and Loathing experience: dive bars, cheap drinks, anything-goes attitude.
Champagne Cafe is one of the best karaoke bars in town. Money Plays has an open mic night with local bands on Saturdays. Snick’s Place is the oldest gay bar in Vegas that attracts a more genuine crowd than the eye candy mega-market gay clubs on the Strip.
These ideas getting you eager for an oasis getaway? GayCities is giving away a free luxury vacation to Vegas, complete with airfare for 2, a 2-night stay at The Mandalay Bay, dining credits and tickets to a Cirque du Soleil show. Enter now to win.