Any time someone is travelling to Vegas, especially someone who has not been here before, they are always talking about the Strip and visiting all the famous attractions in town. But what many people don't realize is that the Strip is not actually Las Vegas at all.In fact, it's not even named The Strip at all. That's just the name people call the part of Las Vegas Blvd that runs in the midst of the big casinos. But what about the rest of it?
It's called Paradise. That's where those huge casinos are. The Mandalay Bay. The MGM, City Center, Caesars Palace and The Bellagio. They are all in a the town of Paradise.Beginning on the south end near the Mandalay Bay and Four Seasons Hotel and continuing all the way north to Sahara Blvd is all the town of Paradise.In order to actually visit the city of Las Vegas, you will have to continue driving a little farther north on Las Vegas Blvd to Fremont Street.
The part of Las Vegas people know about that is actually Las Vegas is on Fremont Street, a couple miles north of Paradise, This is where you will find the older casinos in town, such as The Mint and The Golden Nugget, as well as the infamous neon cowboy. This is the real Las Vegas. Or as we like to call it here, downtown. This is where everything started so long ago, before Bugsy decided to develop a new resort style casino out in the desert just west of here in what is now Paradise.
Fremont Street is not only home to Las Vegas history, it is also where you can enjoy some old style Las Vegas gambling and the old style slots. Fremont Street is a place with its own unique character. It's a more laid back unrushed pace here, instead of the face paced activities over on the Strip. And yet both of these places compliment each other, like two sides of the same coin. Or chip, if you will.
Now you might be asking that question from a completely different place. You might be asking, where can one find a real Las Vegas experience? And if so then that's an easy one to answer. A real experience of Las Vegas is available to anyone who comes here. It is possible to have that experience on Fremont Street and on Las Vegas Blvd too. All it really takes is you and your willingness to cooperate in the game.
What game? The game of play! This is a town where expectations should be put aside, to some extent, long enough to see what's actually going on and become a part of it. The game here is people paying to have a good time and little more. Be prepared to spend money in Las Vegas. This is not a place to come looking for freebies unless you are going to drop some money on the tables or into the machines. Las Vegas is a business. Play is that business and nobody does it better than we do. The entire valley exists because of it and almost every single business in the valley is supported by it directly or indirectly.
As far as making it real, keep this in mind. Though the casinos may be owned by faceless corporations for the most part, the people down on the casino floor are human beings like you and me. Their job is interacting with the public all day long. Whether they are dealers, pit bosses, cocktail waitresses, bartenders, keno runners or money changes, they are all there to make a living like you and I. If you want a real Las Vegas experience, be kind to these folks. Be generous as well. You will find that Las Vegas locals are not only among the friendliest people anywhere, they are also one hell of a lot of fun and love their town very much.
Of course there is much more to this place than just the Strip and Fremont Street. Las Vegas is a growing community with almost two million residents. The vast majority of people who live here don't actually live in Las Vegas. We live in places like Summerlin and Henderson. We live in communities known as Southern Highlands and Green Valley and North Las Vegas too. Locals tend to see the whole valley as Las Vegas, even though the is clearly not the case. It is much the same as someone saying they live in L.A. when in fact they are from South El Monte. Nobody knows where South El Monte is, so they're from L.A.
So where is the real Las Vegas? I think that the real Las Vegas is more a moment in time rather than a location on the earth. It is the moment when you realize that you are having a really good time and not worried about anything. It happens when you have let go of all the heavy things in life long enough to see people smiling and laughing and enjoying life.
Las Vegas is much like life itself. It is not as much about winning and losing as it is loving to play the game. So when you come here, bring your game! Then you will find the real Las Vegas is a state of mind. A state where you can see life happening and enjoy it without reservations. Except maybe for dinner and a show.