October 9, 2013

New Adventures in Sin-City

2013 was the year of a major life change -- relocating from Los Angeles back to my hometown of Las Vegas. When I lived here last, what was considered the “end of town” is now the middle, the mountains seemed untouchably far away and Downtown was a seedy street littered with empty booze bottles and dismantled dreams. That’s all changed now.  

We now live at the current “end of town” in a beautiful community nestled just below the mountains. What seemed as “so far away” a few years ago is now the breathtaking backdrop from our window. Freeways have been built to quickly take us into town where excitement and energy are mere moments away. In twenty minutes (for LA folks that’s nothing) we can be in my new, favorite nightlife area -- Downtown.

Elvis lives at The El Cortez
Downtown has come a long way over the last decade. It’s undergone (and still going through) a major revamp and is becoming a place for locals and visitors to merge and blend with a variety of attractions both old and new. The casinos are undergoing facelifts, yet still seem to retain remnants of vintage Vegas charm -- a charm that is increasingly harder to find as the mega-casinos dominate the Strip. Bars and nightclubs have opened with a “local” feeling while the Arts District is blossoming with refreshed culture. Downtown Las Vegas is no longer a place to avoid, but rather a place to celebrate. Where else can you see a spot-on Elvis impersonator belting out classics and then stroll a few feet to a bar dedicated to vintage video games? Or enjoy a visit to 1920s style cocktail lounge devoted to the mobsters of Vegas’ past and then take a short walk to see ferocious looking sharks circling a hotel pool? Only in Vegas, my friends.  Only in Downtown.

Vegas has and always will be my home and I’ve been visiting family and friends here regularly over the years, but living here is another story altogether. It’s a story I’m looking forward to telling as I rediscover this exciting city of mine and all of the retro glamour and kitschy culture it has to offer.