Let me just say I love Hunter S Thompson, and besides his books have been quoting and reenacting Fear and Loathing for a few years now. So in the back of my mind this was the only kind of experience I saw myself having in Las Vegas. But sadly this was not the case, I do not carry a bottle of ether around in my trunk, eat grapefruit, and did not have the funds to go crazy downtown.

So when we asked our couchsurfing host what we should check out without going crazy she mentioned the Fremont area, what used to be old Las Vegas. Now it’s a four block open mall where you can drink in public, walk around, check out casinos or the many street performers. What interested me was their huge canopy covering the area where after sunset they use thousands of LED’s to create intricate and tantalizing light shows. We only have photos but you can check out this youtube video for a better idea of just how impressive it is:
Fremont Street Experience

The whole celing is made up of an LED moving light show. I don't know if the scene changes, but the night we were there it was an underwater theme - so fish, sharks and seaweed swimming or moving around.
The whole celing is made up of an LED moving light show. I don’t know if the scene changes, but the night we were there it was an underwater theme – so fish, sharks and seaweed swimming or moving around.

We spent around an hour strolling the area, checking out live music like metal cello heads, and street performers, people dressed up in the most outrageous costumes, and even trying our hand at some slot machines. It is a really cool area but we didn’t plan on staying long. After that we were really hoping to walk around the Las Vegas strip area and see some famous sites, however not only did we not want to wake up our host too late, it was also extraordinarily packed, so we made the more economical choice time and money wise. We drove slowly (extremely slowly due to the traffic) down the strip. It was actually pretty amazing, creative light displays, architecturally interesting, and there seemed to be so much to do. My favorite part was seeing the Bellagio fountain display. Overall it took probably thirty minutes to get through the strip before we headed for the suburbs and got ready to leave Nevada.

-K

Las Vegas

I think our road trip has a very good balance between cities (which are often busy, heavily populated and the more popular places) and the outdoors (hiking, camping and general at-peace-with-nature kind of stuff). By which I mean we’ve spent roughly 20% in various cities and 80% in the fresh air. We don’t dislike the concrete jungles, but no matter what the city, there are repeating themes and when you’ve seen one novelty knick knack shop in New York, you’ve pretty much seen them in Johannesburg, Paris and Kaohsiung and things to clutter the fireplace is just that… fireplace clutter. That sounds really cynical and negative, but it’s genuinely not – getting past spending money in a city means you can focus on the truly interesting bits, like getting to know people from there or who live there, and that puts me much more in the spirit of a city than just riding the metaphorical tourism bus. So we stayed with an awesome, fun & enthusiastic Las Vegan 🙂 It was on her suggestion that we went to Red Rocks Canyon, and had a walk around Fremont street. There were all kinds of people on Fremont street! Street artists, musicians, cosplay and all the lights and glitter absolutely lived up to my expectations of Vegas.

-M

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