Just because I’m Vietnamese doesn’t mean I have an intrinsic love for gambling. Who am I kidding? Of course I love it! I thrive on the excitement, the adrenaline, the competition, and the dream that the next hand or pull of the handle would land me the BIG ONE. It’s no surprise that I’ve been to Las Vegas more times than I can count.
I remember grinding it out with my college roommates in online gambling tournaments – we were practicing to become pros. But the dream would soon be shelved, we weren’t very good.
After a while we found solace in the simplicity of online blackjack and various other games available online for us to practice our craft and even play with real money. And though I’ve always loved the excitement of the tables, I’ve never spent more than $100 on these games.
I might love card games, but I hate losing money. So, I’d spend the $100 each time I’m in Vegas to satisfy that itch or online if I want to play from the comfort of my home, but the adventure has always been the sights and sounds of the city and natural landscapes surrounding it.
So, if you’re in Vegas, here are some things you can do away from the tables – unless the tables are your thing, then I totally understand:
1. Catch a show. There’s Broadway in New York, the West End in London, and the king of them all: the Strip in Vegas. There are too many shows to even list, but here’s a good one from TripAdvisor. Some shows are even free like the Bellagio Fountains. Whatever your flavor, you’ll find something there to amaze and dazzle you and your whole family.
2. Fill your face with food. Vegas casinos want seats filled, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get you to come and perhaps stay for a few rounds at their slot machines. This means incredible savings on some of the finest foods in the world. There are close to 4,000 restaurants to satisfy every taste buds. And remember, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” – including calories, right?
3. Just walk around. Want to visit Paris? How about the famed canals of Venice? You can visit these sites in Vegas! No, they’re not the real deal, but they’re close enough. Billions of dollars go into each of these casinos, so why not enough them? And oftentimes for free!
4. Get your mind blown at the Grand Canyon. You can jump on an all day tour or rent a car to get out there. It’s only a 2 hrs drive and is one of those places that makes you question your puny existence and significance in the world. If you’re afraid of heights, face it by walking around the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
5. Stand in two states at the Hoover Dam. Only a 40 minutes’ drive from the Strip, Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel that has captivated people for years. Arrive early and take the tour of the power plant to understand how this monstrosity generates power for the surrounding areas. Oh, you can also stand on the line between Nevada and Arizona.
6. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Zion National Park. Only 2.5 hrs north of Vegas, this stunning park is one of the most beautiful in the world. Hiking trails are plentiful. Along the way, feast your eyes on colorful sandstones and cliffs that reach to the sky.
7. Catch some rays at Lake Mead. Due to climate changes, Lake Mead isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still a beautiful lake to visit. You can swim, kayak, or rent a boat in one of the largest man-made lakes in the world.
This is just a small list of things to do inside and outside of the sinful Vegas Strip. It’s no wonder I keep coming back. Maybe next time I’ll hit the jackpot! Have you been to Vegas before? How did it go?