Dear Readers of Our Town and far beyond, there is simply no where else on Planet Earth that is its equal for absolute sure!!

Las Vegas, Nevada, aka Sin City; aka The City Without a Clock; aka What Happens in Las Vegas, Stays in Las Vegas; etc., etc., etc.

For those of you that have been fortunate to have previously visited this incredible place, you KNOW I do not talk with a forked tongue. It is the adult version of Disneyland, with a twist. Instead of the "Happiest Place on Earth", it certainly could be called the most "Interesting Place on Earth?"

Where to start explaining this city in the middle of the desolate desert in no-where, U.S.A.? I have said many times over the years, if it weren't for legalized gambling in Nevada, this location is nothing but cactus, rattlesnakes, barren rocks, lizards, and sand. However, legalized gaming has been allowed for years, and, because of that fact, this location is a spectacular array of neon lights, monstrous hotels and casinos, millions of yearly visitors, and the never-ending human dreams to win piles of cash.

Although you can drive (17-plus hours, 1,200 miles) there, your 'Vegas adventure usually starts at McCarran International Airport, just a few minutes southeast of the world-famous Strip. This modern airport is busy 24/7/365, with cheap airplane tickets bringing prospective gamblers in from all over the globe. They have 2 main terminals, one for domestic, and the other for international guests. The terminals themselves are full of slot machines, so if you are so inclined, you may begin to tempt Lady Luck just a few feet from where you deplane your aircraft. Wow!

Transportation is easily obtained outside the baggage claim areas, and you are off to either a Strip (aka Las Vegas Boulevard) location, just off The Strip, in the historic downtown area, or at a more remote housing location. None of your site choices leaves you too far from the ever-present gaming possibilities, eating in one of the plethora of available restaurants, or being entertained by some activity other than gambling. It really just boils down to how much to you want to be pampered, and how far do you want to have to go to get any/all of your Las Vegas needs/wishes satisfied? Remember, the city has a permanent population of almost 600,000 residents, so it is a rather big place in the desert! 

The Strip itself is about 4 miles long, south to north, and has the most dazzling array of structures to easily take one's breath away. Names like Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, Aria, Circus, Circus, Mirage, Excalibur, New York, New York, MGM Grand, Encore, Linq, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Flamingo, Palazzo, Paris Las Vegas, Treasure Island, Planet Hollywood, Tropicana, Venetian, and Wynn are well beyond describable words. Classic downtown properties include the Golden Nugget, Plaza, Golden Gate, Binion's and El Cortez, all on famous Fremont Street, and the Main Street Station is only 2 blocks away. Because of the design of each huge structure, it is extremely easy to spend most of your time just in one location to bet, eat, enjoy live entertainment, and sleep. The hired casino psychologists have spent a great deal of their time figuring out ways to keep you put, so each individual casino will benefit from your excessive spending habits!

My bride, Debbie, and I have been to LV many times over the years. She enjoys the thrill of gaming a little more than I do, but I certainly do enjoy the thrill of constant people-watching. Folks, LV is the absolute people-watching capital of the world, without any exceptions! It is so easy for me to plant myself either along a sidewalk bench on Las Vegas Boulevard, or in a busy casino, and carefully watch the constant parade of people. Some many be dressed like they are headed to the Academy Awards, while others following close behind, may be merely clad in thong swimsuits. It is absolutely a non-stop variety show to fully enjoy! 

For all those non or minimal gamblers out there, there is SO much to do not involving betting money. The live shows are top-notch, and similar to New York City's Broadway talent, along with endless variety. Also, there are incredible shop-'til-you-drop opportunities galore, museums (automobile, art, natural history, wax figures, crime and law enforcement) to see, huge water parks, aquariums, and many guided, sightseeing tours available. In addition, if natural wonders interest you, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Valley of Fire State Park, Mt. Charleston with its occasional snow, and the massive Hoover Dam/Lake Mead areas are only short drives from the vibrant city.

The most important factor, however, is you need to visit this iconic American place. Whether you plan to stay over a long weekend, a week, or even longer (if your money holds out??), it will definitely be someplace you will remember in your mind's eye forever and ever. You can bet on that fact for a sure thing!

Robert Breedlove is an Oklahoma State University news-editorial journalism graduate, and a former newspaper (including News Press) reporter. He resides in Stillwater, and has for most of his life. He has been a contributing writer to various media over the United States for years. He may be reached at dermrefmd@aol.com.

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