The following day, I discovered what the Fremont Street Experience is truly like. I was reminded of walking a boardwalk with shops that have an informal, laid back aura. Though Fremont has shops on either side and engulfed in a giant canopy, which is a 90-foot barrel vault style tent. The venue has become a major tourist attraction for downtown Las Vegas, and is also the location of the Neon Museum and the city’s annual New Year’s Eve party, complete with fireworks on the display screen.
Also downtown, is the underrated, Mob Museum where I learned all about the organized crime that plagued the country during the first half of the 20th century. Armed with primitive knowledge of the mob history bestowed upon me by the HBO show, Boardwalk Empire, I attempted to understand exactly how prohibition law was serialized during this time. What I didn’t know, was that the mob helped give rise to the gambling industry in Las Vegas.
The mob’s leaders did used to commit heinous crimes such as skimming money, racketeering and ordering hits. The museum has excellent, visually-driven, interactive exhibits; most notably the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre exhibit. The wall is reconstructed as it stood, brick-by-brick, in 1929. Another interesting exhibit is the Kefauver Committee trial room. One of 13 rooms that saw more than 600 witnesses testify against illegal mob activity. Did I mention the hearings were televised? Continue reading
Just a few days later, I was back on the Strip walking from one end of the strip to the other. Starting at Mandalay Bay, I passed Luxor and New York-New York, stopping only for a roller-coaster ride to cool off under the desert sun.
Really though, I felt like I just finished a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather due to the roller-coaster’s debilitating padding. After the roller-coaster death match, I walked through Aria, the Cosmopolitan, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, Planet Hollywood, the Bellagio, the Venetian, Paris Las Vegas and MGM Grand. I loved New York-New York, Caesars Palace, the Venetian, Luxor and Paris Las Vegas the most because each casino featured themed interiors as it relates to its name. Continue reading
I couldn’t wait for work to be over on Thursday before I began my weeklong expedition to Vegas. I actually stayed in Henderson, which is not far outside of Las Vegas. I wish my vacation could have been as long as a fortnight, but life seems to get in the way of our true priorities such as travel.
Anyway, after the endurance training that was nine-hour flights to and from Italy, a six-hour flight wasn’t so bad. I landed at McCarran International Airport and began to soak it all in. Of course, the first thing I see is a sign advertising “The D” as the best casino in Las Vegas. That made my night.
My friend Mike met me at baggage claim. The first time I saw him since I left Viterbo, Italy last year. We walk to the car and what’s waiting for me in the glove box is a Smirnoff Ice, part of a prank we used to play on each other in Viterbo. Just like I was “Iced.” Not even an hour in Vegas and I was already drinking. I was “Iced” two more times that night. I loved sitting by the pool and around the bright orange fire at 11pm at night. If I was home, I would have been eaten alive by mosquitoes. Mike and I chewed the fat for hours before hitting the sack.
DISCLAIMER: I probably won’t write anymore about the details of my evenings in Las Vegas; it’s better that way. Continue reading
Nevada is a scorching desert with lots of history. The casinos are the big attraction. But don’t underestimate the canyon, Hoover Dam, the Mob Museum, the Fremont Experience, and the Atomic Testing Museum!