Three Reasons Why I Love Las Vegas
Leah Walker August 27, 2012

Want to know my dirty little secret?

I’m a Vegas junkie. If you know me outside of this site then this is no surprise. I took my first trip to the city of Las Vegas in spring of 1998 and haven’t looked back. If Sin City was a foreign country my passport would be filled with slot machine stamps. Conservatively estimating, I would say that I’ve landed at McCarran Airport thirty times, but it’s probably closer to thirty-five. The only thing keeping my visits from being in triple digits is money and time off. I love Vegas that much.

Paris, Las VegasCredit 

I realize that Vegas isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, and I’m just fine with that. The city is crowded enough as is. My love profession for Sin City is often met with bewilderment and shock. Known for its raucous night life and debauchery, Vegas doesn’t seem like my kind of place. After all, I’m not the dance-on-tables and drink-until-dawn kind of girl {anymore, at least}. With that being said, what is it about Vegas that I love so much?

Driving the Strip

Las Vegas StripCredit 

Given that I’m on Texas time and by nature an early riser, I always awake super early while in Las Vegas. After breakfast and much needed coffee, I like to hop in my rental car and cruise Las Vegas Boulevard. In the last five or so years, I’ve taken to staying downtown at the Golden Nugget, so I’ll start at the north end of the strip by the Stratosphere and work my way all the way down to Mandalay Bay. Only taxi cabs and locals heading to and from work after shift changes are on the road. The occasional group of girls carrying their high heels and wearing clothes from the night before stagger along the sidewalk, while a few runners get their exercise in for the day.

Mostly I get to see Las Vegas in her natural state, at least as natural she gets. I’m able to look beyond the dancing fountains, flashing lights, and gaudy look-at-me-now attractions. By getting up with the sun, I see Vegas without her thick, black eyeliner, false eyelashes, red lipstick, and teased bouffant hair. Gone are the rhinestone earrings, platform heels, and hoochie-mamma stripper clothes. I notice things like the Precious Slut Tattoo Parlor and a sign advertising the “Loosest Sluts in Town”. Though still not a natural beauty by any stretch of the imagination, early morning offers me a varied glimpse of this temptress that is rarely seen.

Seeing the World

Venetian Hotel ShopsCredit 

Before I started traveling the world, I saw it through the imaginations of Vegas architects. I saw the New York skyline, ate atop the Eiffel Tower, and stepped foot inside the pyramids of Luxor. I stepped back in time and saw ancient Rome and King Arthur’s court. I’ve been whisked away to the South Pacific, Rio, and Southeast Asia.

I was never foolish enough to think that what I saw in Vegas was a substitute for the real thing. But as I’ve traveled to some of the locales depicted in the desert, I can appreciate the attention to detail. Instead of seeing prefab, imitation marble statues, I see a nod to some of the world’s greatest works of art. A glimpse of a gondola at the Venetian sends me searching on my iPhone for flights on United. Yes, by getting out and actually seeing the world, I look at Vegas in an entirely different way. The city feeds my wanderlust like no other.

Pressing My Luck

table rulesCredit

Let’s get real. What I love most about Las Vegas is the gambling, and more specifically, the blackjack tables. My passion for the game is so strong that I’ve even written a blackjack guide.  I’ve laid my money down in many different cities and even other countries, but nothing beats classic Vegas. The smell of the felt, the crispness of the cards, and the clink of the chips makes my heart race like few other things. It’s intoxicating. The ding-ding of slot machines in the distance, the squeals delight, and the all-to-familiar sound of “cocktails” by the circling waitresses just adds to the atmosphere. Even the cigarette smell is tolerable in Las Vegas.

With so many places in the world that I’ve yet to see, I rarely visit a place twice. But there’s just something about Las Vegas that draws me in like a moth to a flame. She’s a temptress, and I fall into her glitter-covered arms every chance I get.

Featured Photo

Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.


  1. Great pics! Everyone I know has been to Vegas, can’t believe I haven’t been there. I’d also be up super early checking out the strip I’m sure.

  2. I haven’t been either and I feel like I’ve been missing out by the looks of it! I have friends that basically live there they go so much… must get there some day!

    1. Well, I say go at least once. You know yourself as a traveler better than anyone else. Think about what you like to do for fun, and I promise you there are opportunities to do it in Vegas and the surrounding areas…unless you like to snow ski. That’s not happening…yet.

  3. You have me beat. I have “only” been to Vegas 14 times. I am a little burned out on it but I know that they will create something new that will get me interested again.

    1. Only 14? You poor thing, Jeff. How mistreated you must feel. :-) Vegas is always evolving, but as long as they have a blackjack table, I couldn’t care less if they implode the entire city and start over. LOL

  4. I have been to Vegas 3 times but no gambler. I won’t rush back, but think that it is a place that people have to see and go to, at least once in a lifetime. The attention to detail of architects is outstanding and worth a visit just for that. And the mad nights. And the shows. And shopping. OMG, Vegas does have its selling points for non gamblers.. but 2-3 days max is my limit!

    1. Well, you saw me in Palm Springs at the blackjack table. I was just getting warmed up. I could have stayed all night. After all, I was winning and that makes everything better.

      1. Hey Leah I don’t see any recent posts so hope your still live;-) on web but love your blog and iamb to you can tell that my email to Vegas addict I don’t goes much is that like once maybe twice a year but I’m going in June to the skincare show with three girls from work I do last extensions and would love any tips on which is a good but inexpensive limo/club tour for the chicks!

        I have to say the only thing it really bugs me about Vegas is those stupid guys on the street parking cards it every inch of the strip it’s aggravating and so tacky! When are they going to shovel those guys up and put them in the dumpster? Lol

  5. I love Vegas too, but I’ve only been there once. I was actually shocked at how much I loved it. At the time, I thought it was the perfect time to go, fresh from a breakup and in my early 20’s, I figured it had to happen, but I wound up liking it a lot more than I expected. As soon as I recover from my Africa trip, maybe I’ll plan a trip to Vegas. 😉 Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who loves it. And you’re right, you picked the perfect time to go. I bet you had a blast. Just be prepared to fall deeper down the Vegas rabbit hole.

  6. I’m headed to Vegas for work in a few weeks…that’ll be an entirely different side of the city. I wonder if I’ll be able to focus and stay away from the allure of the bright lights…

  7. I too love Vegas. I’ve been about 8 times and going again this Friday.
    I love Black Jack too but I’ve found myself drawn to the interactive slots like Hangover, Godfather and Deal or No Deal. Black Jack switch is another game that is intriguing to me where you get two hands and have the option to switch either top cards. Typical rules are out the window but it can be a lot of fun.
    I too get those looks, mostly from people who haven’t been to Vegas who say how Kitsch and tacky Vegas is but that’s the whole point! It is indulgent, excess, and overload of everything for the senses. It is too much fun which keeps me coming back.

    1. I like to play the different blackjack games, too. Super Fun 21 is, well, super fun. It just takes a minute to get your mind wrapped around the rule changes. I’ve made a good bit of money off of Super Fun. I’ve played the Blackjack Switch as well, but didn’t have as much luck. Have a safe trip. I was supposed to go on Friday, too. Alas, I had to cancel. Another day…

  8. YES! I love Vegas, too! I’m one of the dance-on-the-tables-until-dawn girls, though. I think I made a similar comment on your earlier blackjack post, but I am so NOT a gambler. I like to go there to shop and to party. But I also love Vegas because it is such an escape, it’s so far removed from real life. Good point about Vegas fueling wanderlust – I hadn’t thought that before but now I can completely agree!

    1. Yes, I remember your not being a gambler. There’s something for everyone in Vegas. I even love the tacky Vegas. And you’re right, it is VERY far removed from real life, which is probably why I love it so.

  9. Girl, I’m so with you. I fall more in love with Vegas with every visit. I was never big into gambling before, but on our most recent trip (earlier this week) I found the CLUE slot machine. Chris and I could play for hours and even won a fair amount of cash. It also doesn’t hurt that the drinks are free while you play.

    I completely understand your love for Vegas. It’s a place unlike any other.

    1. Yeah, winning makes up for a lot, doesn’t it? When I happen to lose big, I used to swear off Vegas. Now it’s like, “who am I kidding?” I just take my lumps and plan for the next trip. And yes, the “free” drinks help numb the pain of losing. I’ve bought some REALLY expensive drinks in Vegas over the years though.

  10. I’m not big on gambling but do enjoy the Wheel of Fortune quarter machine every now and then. Lol. We’re more of the shows and food kind of Vegas people. :)

    1. I’ve yet to fully learn to appreciate the great restaurants in Vegas. I’m aware of them, but I just never make the time to visit. I should pick a great one to try each trip. You’ve inspired me.

  11. Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing your post about vegas, I love vegas too – I go there about 2-3 a year… and its always fun to be there. My favorite is the Wynn Hotel and shopping at the Fashionshow mall. By the way I’ve added you to my fave blogs links.

  12. Amazing blog! I love the way you personified Vegas. I think I’ve been to LV 7 times and yes, I accept your challenge of having gone 30+ times. *Goes to* :-)

  13. I could not agree more… I discovered Vegas in 2006, I thought I’d go for the ‘once in a lifetime’ visit. To be honest, I was a bit like a rabbit in the proverbial headlights the first time (Vegas Virgin so to speak) but I gathered my thoughts and returned in 2008 and the two years afterwards… I’m in love with it now, friends and work colleagues don’t get it sometimes, although every now and again I find a fellow Vegas convertee , well it’s hard to stop talking when you find a convert. For me, it’s a number of things, yes I love the roulette and blackjack (although Vegas has it’s fair share of newbies who split 10s and stand on soft 5, but you can always walk away with ‘aiya’ and find another table), but It also has some of the best rides in the world, I’ve done them all, Scream at the top of the Stratosphere and Manhattan express ay NYNY (I love that hotel) being favourites. Probably 8 of the top 10 meals I’ve ever eaten have been in Vegas (why oh why did they close Nobhill Tavern!) , Red Square and Vic and Anthony’s (in your G Nugget) are two of my favourites. Oh, and the shows, well, 8 cirque shows last time I counted… It’s where to stop raving about it, it’s just so much fun, and everywhere you go you are treated with so much respect. I’m a Brit and whilst we are not the most inhospitable hosts in Europe, it just pails into embarrassment compared to Vegas hospitality. Every issue (not that there have been many) I’ve ever experienced has always been resolved with a positive response (Upgrade, Freebies, you name it) it’s just so refreshing. So, it will be 2014 when I return, room (TI) and flight booked already, and to be frank 4 years is far too long a gap between Vegas holidays, andmaybe I’ll bump into you over a blackjack or two, keep up the good work Girl…

  14. You stated everything so eloquently… and i could not agree more. I watch movies in vegas just to let out my urge until i get there, oh and read blogs :-).

  15. I occasionally Google “Las Vegas” on a slow afternoon just to be entertained by articles written about the city I love so much. I wholeheartedly agree with you, and reading this was a delight. I have been there only a handful of times, but myself and some friends have made it an annual tradition since about 2009, so that number will continue to increase. I have yet to “get” up as early as you do, but have had a few times where I was winding back to the hotel as the sun was coming up. There is always an excitement and electricity to any activity in the city. It is a destination for fun and entertainment, and will forever hold #1!

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I actually like to watch the faces of people and try to figure out what’s going on. Emotions for Vegas visitors run the spectrum, so that’s entertainment in itself.

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