The Top 10 Things I Miss Most About Las Vegas

For the past 15 years or so I have visited Vegas at least once every year, and some years I have been fortunate enough to visit 2 or 3 times. However, due to recent financial difficulties I have had to forego my annual trip. I am going on my second year of no Vegas and I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms. So to alleviate my heartache and revisit happier times, here are, in no particular order, the top 10 things I miss about Las Vegas:

10. The Plane Ride – oh, the anticipation. I’ve been on planes where even the flight crew gets excited. Gaining two extra hours because of the time zone difference on the way there is just the cherry on top. But the absolute best thing about the plane ride is seeing the Strip right before the plane lands. It’s like every passenger turns into a little kid who is sees Cinderella’s castle at Disneyworld.

9. The Bellagio Fountains – the dancing waters are a great way to take a break from the heat and the walk. As popular as it is to view the fountains from the front sidewalk, my favorite spot is on the side close to the entrance to the hotel (what is now the side closest to the Cosmopolitan I believe). It is usually pretty quiet with fewer tourists, and when viewed at night it is more romantic. Watching the fountains is even sweeter at Christmas time!

8. The Roller Coaster at New York New York – formally known as the Manhattan Express, this overpriced ($14 a ride!) attraction is the only way I can get my coaster fix since the amusement park in my city closed six years ago. I always looked forward to going to Vegas and getting it out of my system.

7. The people that hand out ‘cards’ on the Strip – a dark side of Vegas; seeing both men and women making a living handing out questionable flyers to anyone walking by, only to see them littering the sidewalks where they stand. But hearing the loud clapping sound (seriously, how do they do that?) only reinforces that I am there and ready to go!

6. The Fremont Street Experience – my first trip to Vegas was in 1994 but I didn’t actually visit Fremont Street until a few years later after the canopy had already been built. The most annoying aspect of that darn canopy is when the lights go off and the show begins. I’ve never been a fan of that show and wish I could have experienced downtown Vegas much earlier, say the 1970s or 1980s. Having said that, I would trade actually being on Fremont Street for writing about any day of the week and twice on Sunday!

5. The Bus Ride from The Strip to Fremont Street – I do Vegas as cheaply as possible even when I stay in one of the nicer hotels, and I am not above taking the Deuce over a taxi down to Fremont. I have had some interesting rides and some scary rides, but never a boring ride. I’ve had plenty of slow rides as well, but I know this and plan for it.

4. The Weather – I know this is a weird thing to miss about Vegas, but living in south Texas where it is 150 degrees and 200% humidity most of the year, I appreciate Vegas’ dry climate, even in August. Plus it does wonders for my hair! However it does dry out my skin something awful, but plenty of water and moisturizer usually does the trick.

3. Catching a Glimpse of Pete Rose – my mother is a HUGE fan of Pete Rose, so the first time I spotted him at Field of Dreams in the Forum Shops at Cesar’s Palace, I couldn’t believe my luck. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world! I was beside myself and shelled out about $100 for his book, his autograph, and a few pictures. It wasn’t until after that trip did one of my coworkers (a fellow frequent Vegas visitor) inform me that signing autographs is his full time gig. It became like a drinking game after that; spot Pete Rose in the mall and take a shot.

2. The People – from the retired tourists to the kids celebrating their 21st birthday, the people are the catalyst for the sheer energy that Vegas possesses. Nowhere else in the world can you find so many different cultures, personalities, languages and accents in one city. Walk into any hotel lobby on the Strip and see one valet park a beat up Honda Civic from the 1980s while another valet parks the latest Mercedes C Class. Everyone is represented here.

1. The View from the Eiffel Tower at Sunset – I have only had the pleasure of experiencing the view a couple of times, as it tends to get uncomfortably crowded that time of day, but it is glorious. Nothing compares to viewing the Strip from high above, and watching it turn from dusty daylight to glittering nighttime is magical.

There are many things I’m leaving out…the hotel pools, the nightclubs, food, casinos…all of these things combine together to make Vegas truly unique. I miss it, and I look forward to the day I can plan my next trip!