What Happens in Vegas Gets Written About on My Travel Blog
You probably know the old line “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” — the catchphrase on many a debauched weekend in the city of sin. Does it still apply? Vegas has a reputation as a town where anything goes, but is it still that edgy, seedy and scandalous? I guess it depends what circles you run in, and who you go to Vegas with, but there is certainly a family friendly atmosphere running through the veins of the formally wild Las Vegas Strip. As I was there with my girlfriend, I decided to check out some of Las Vegas’ more mainstream attractions. We embraced the cheesiness of the fake European cities and marvelled at the scale of the grand casinos. People seem to either love or hate Vegas; I kinda loved it, but 2 days exploring the strip was definitely enough. Here are some of the highlights.
The Small Apple (New York New York)
What do you get when you try and condense the grandeur of New York into a dark shopping mall / casino in Las Vegas? A weird collection of fake streets, apartment blocks and delis on the outskirts of a mass of slot machines. I’ve never been to New York so it was a fun simulation, but I’m sure the real thing is a lot more impressive. It does look pretty cool from the outside though – knock-off skyscrapers dominate the skyline and there’s even a roller-coaster which provides some non-gambling entertainment.
Petite Paris (Paris Las Vegas)
The petite version of Paris is one of the better “fake cities” in Las Vegas. There’s a replica of the Eiffel Tower (which is actually pretty big) and lots of quaint streets full of typical Parisian buildings. We’d visited Paris a few months before Vegas and it was nice to reminisce about this iconic city. There isn’t much to do on the fake streets of Paris except shop, eat and take photos – we were on a budget so our activities were restricted to taking photos and being surprised how cool this place actually is.
FURTHER READING: Extreme Sightseeing in Paris
Runty Rome (Caesers Palace)
I was looking for synonyms for small that started with “R” and runty was the best one I could find. Much like the runt of any litter of puppies, the fake version of Rome is smaller, weaker and way less likely to get adopted by a loving family than the real version. It’s pretty impressive in its own right though – they’ve done a great job of portraying some of the grandeur of Rome. There are lots of big statues and columns and again the streets are great simulations of the real thing (and as an added bonus, there were no annoying selfie-stick salesmen!).
FURTHER READING: Two Days in Rome: The Real Italian Stallion
Olive-sized Venice (The Venetian)
Apparently olive-sized is a synonym for small, and olives are often grown in Italy so it kind of works. This miniature version of Venice is surprisingly spread out – it’s quite easy to get lost in the myriad lanes lined with shops. Again, it’s just a big shopping mall, but there are enough points of interest to make it worthwhile to even the most unenthusiastic of shoppers (which is me). There’s a knock-off of Plaza San Marco and you can even go for a gondola ride down the canal. I’m pretty sure the gondola drivers aren’t Italian, but they’ll probably put on an act for you anyway. These little replica cities are a lot of fun to explore — if you’re in Las Vegas with kids it’s a good chance to teach them a bit about the world (or I guess you could just make them watch you gamble).
FURTHER READING: Cheap Romance in Venice
An erupting volcano
At certain times of the evening the fake volcano outside the Mirage Casino blows its top, revealing scorching hot (fake) lava. It is interesting though and you’re probably never likely to get this close to a real erupting volcano, so it is worth seeing.
Bubba Gump Shrimp
The one thing that actually has small in its name (shrimp sometimes means small) is anything but. I’d been excited to try Bubba Gump Shrimp for ages and it didn’t disappoint. We had a huge serving of shrimp cooked using different techniques, and the whole Forest Gump theme makes it an entertaining place to eat. Unfortunately they didn’t pay me anything (or give me any free food) for mentioning them here, but maybe they’ll see this and decide the next meal is on them.
FURTHER READING: For a more in-depth guide to Las Vegas check out this post from Backstreet Nomad.
We also explored a few other casinos but they weren’t quite as interesting as the miniature cities. The Las Vegas Strip is a strange place but it’s definitely unique and is somewhere that I’d recommend checking out. It’s nowhere near authentic and I know a lot of people think it’s Hell on Earth, but for better or worse it’s one of the world’s most iconic cities and is well worth a (short) visit.
Have you been to Las Vegas? Did you have a more debauched experience than I did? Let me know in the comments below!