My friends Little and Joanne were visiting from Singapore and for the most part of their trip, they were in LA with our other lovely friends Noel and Stella. I did manage to catch up with them when they drove from California across the border to visit me in Nevada! So what do indie music loving, hip, creative types who operate their own design agency do in Las Vegas? One would think that it’d have nothing much to offer and a cursory trip to The Strip would just bring about a big yawn to their faces when they’ve spent about 2 weeks skateboarding and nomming in quirky little bistros in the more vibrant and innovative big city of Los Angelas but I’m glad they had fun! So here’s what we did in a little over 1 day in Las Vegas!
The first day they arrived, we only had the evening to hang out and we didn’t want to do much after Little’s first time doing long-distance driving. T and I took them both on a tour of the night lights of the Las Vegas Strip. We have a Jeep Wrangler with a soft top, so we rolled down the top and they got a photo-tastic view of all the crazy neon going on. In one of the pictures above, you can see Little hanging on to the top of the Jeep while standing up to take pictures and videos! After the slow car ride up and down the entire stretch from Mandalay Bay to The Stratosphere, we turned back and went down the other side of the road, heading towards the Town Square (our favourite off The Strip shopping, entertainment and dining area) for dinner at Claim Jumper. Then it’s back home for some much needed Zzzzzs…
The next and only full day they have here, we headed for the abridged version of the Las Vegas Strip tour on foot. I know my friends and they’re not the type who’d enjoy the shopping offered at most of the malls within the crazy hotels but you also need to see and experience the over-the-top ostentatious layouts and designs of each themed hotel/casino to get a feel of what people come to Vegas for. We went in and out of a few select different ones which I picked because of their contrasting concepts
At the end of the day though, they house mostly the same kinds of shops, restaurants and machines…
We originally headed for New York New York because of the Big Apple Roller Coaster but it was so hot that Joanne decided we shouldn’t ride it – I wouldn’t to begin with. HAH! We did however have lunch there and ended checking out Hershey’s Chocolate World. We all bought some treats there! YUM! I liked that they not only had pre-packed Hershey’s chocolates and syrup that you see at most grocery and candy stores but also offered cookies, smores, cupcakes, fudge and so many other chocolate-smothered yummy things! There are only 2 storeys here compared to the 4-storeyed M&M’s World right across the road and M&M’s world has this fun 3-D movie that shows regularly in their 4th story theatre. If you have time, you should visit both just for the look-see.
I think the part that my friends enjoyed most would probably be old Las Vegas aka Downtown Fremont Street. While the vintage neon signs and facades of the original casinos captured their nostalgia for the old Vegas experience when Elvis ruled the silver screens, it was the more creative and arty part of Fremont East that really spoke to them. We had coffee at this quirky coffee place called The Beat which has a really cool vibe and also serves as the entrance to a catacomb of independent art studios and gallery spaces.
We also went to the Container Park. Lots of new and fun things to see and buy – unconventional and unusual stores, surrounding sculptures and a huge play area for kids! Still far from being a hip and creative Abbot Kinney, I do think it has potential and hope with the Downtown Project initiative‘s aim to revitalise the Las Vegas economy by encouraging a different kind of entrepreneurship, that more original enterprises sprout and most importantly, the tech start-ups start relocating here to make use of the VegasTech Fund and their bring along their culture.
Lastly to end off the night, we headed for an authentic Mexican dinner because beyond tacos, they haven’t had any other experiences (like me when I first moved to the US). My favourite Mexican place (not because I like Mexican food) but for their speedy service, friendly waiters and also a great ambience brought about by the decor – Dona Maria Tamales Restaurant! My friends shared a mixed platter of tamales, burrito and enchiladas with sides of Mexican rice and refried beans. T had cheese enchiladas and I had my usual cheese quesadillas which I smother in sour cream and guacamole!
And that’s how you cram Vegas in a less than 1 1/2 days! (The next time they come back, I insist on taking them beyond the city and see the rest of the desert! Mount Charleston and Red Rock Canyon at the very least… And if we have time, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. But that’s it for another time…
2 thoughts on “Las Vegas Tour – the abridged version for quirky designer-types”
The Beat! I’d forgotten the name, but it was a spot I went by myself early 2012. Embarrassingly, I googled “hipster Las Vegas.”
Hahahahahaha Noel!!! Hipster Las Vegas! That’s a good tip though heehee