The Day Las Vegas Died

April 24, 2023

My first trip to Vegas was in 1997. The Packers beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I was 21-years-old. My father flew me in for the game, but it wasn’t long after our weekend that my father switched from Vegas to Reno. He would later talk about the day Las Vegas Died. I didn’t understand it at the time, being too infatuated with the spectacle of Vegas to grasp his wisdom.

Monica and I have visited Vegas five times during our 17-year marriage. We even brought our teenage children the last time. Vegas has always been an easy place to relax by the pool, catch a show, and eat good food. We’ve enjoyed hiking in the nearby parks, and the features of the hotels have entertained us over the years.

But those days are over and we are never going back.

Oh, I can’t remember if I sighed when I stepped over the meth-head fried, but something smelled like Dan McBride, the day… Las Vegas… died.

Most of the time we write positive things about where we’ve been. We want to share what we’ve enjoyed in hopes others will have a similar experience. In fact, here’s an article about Las Vegas!

Sometimes a place will disappoint or disgust us and I’m not gonna lie… It is more fun to write when you’re disgusted. Here’s our take on visiting Detroit, and an honest look at Deadwood, South Dakota. Oh, here’s Myrtle Beach, too. There’s something refreshing about being irritated enough to say exactly how you feel.

In the immortal words of Don Henley, “Call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye.” No one has ever called Las Vegas paradise, but it used to be pretty great. Unfortunately, time changes just about everything. Different people show up and assert themselves, and before you know it the place is unrecognizable.

Just ask anyone born and raised in Seattle.

The reality is things change, and there’s no need to be sad about it. We just learn to cope and make adjustments. Sometimes we cope by accepting the change and other times we cut our losses.

This is one of those times we cut our losses, because Las Vegas is dead and it isn’t coming back — so neither are we! The following are five legitimate reasons why we will never visit Las Vegas again. We hope you enjoy.

1. Weed, Profanity, and Psychotic Bums

Las Vegas Sucks

A somewhat recent development in Las Vegas is the accretion of psychotic junkies and weed-drenched beggars to the boulevard ambiance. As if wanna-be-showgirls and frat boys weren’t obnoxious enough — spoken as a former frat boy — this newfound spectacle of wasteoids responding to auditory hallucinations really degrades the Vegas experience.

We once opined the porn peddlers popping their hooker-cards and stuffing them into our hands. It was ugly and upsetting, but it made sense why it was happening — selling sex requires advertising.

The homeless junkies aren’t serving any purpose. For some reason we get to observe these suffering souls, listen to their awful conversations, and inhale their dank weed fumes every 100 yards.

We’re sorry, but this completely destroys the illusion that Vegas is a desirable place. And heaven only knows why ANYONE would bring their children!

By the way, we brought our children last November. Here’s a fun article about the experience. We think it was worthwhile, actually, and encourage y’all to read it if you’re considering the unthinkable.

The sidewalks of Las Vegas are hell. They stink, they’re weird, they’re profane, and they showcase the end game for mentally ill drug abusers. We have sympathy for those that wallow with mental illness, but we will no longer subject ourselves to the spectacle of it while on vacation.

2. Las Vegas is No Longer a Good Value

The Day Las Vegas Died
The Day Las Vegas Died…

Vegas used to be cheap. It was one of the great things about it. For under a grand two people could fly into town, sit by a nice pool, and eat all of their meals out.

Yeah, that’s pretty much over. If you shop for deals on the hotel websites you can find rooms for $50-100/night at places like Excalibur, Luxor, and The Flamingo. Nothing really wrong with those places, but they aren’t very nice.

On top of the nightly rate, there is a $40 resort fee per room. Now that great deal of $60/night is actually $100 night before taxes.

If you’re renting a car, parking that car will cost you $17-25 per night. And if you drive that car to another casino it will cost you $17-25 to park it there.

Those cheap meals that were once everywhere — $10 Prime Rib; the $6 club sandwich w/ fries — they are nowhere to be found. There was one place in the Miracle Mile shops that had $5 lunch plates, but it was low quality food. Every meal around town is overpriced. A tasty plate of nachos is $30 plus tax. If you want to buy snacks on the strip, you’re paying airport prices.

Cheap vacations disappeared the day Las Vegas died. A Las Vegas vacation won’t necessarily break the bank (sans the gambling losses), but it doesn’t feel like money well spent.

3. Getting Around Town is Obnoxious

The Day Las Vegas Died

Once upon a time the strip was easy to get around. Casinos like the Cosmopolitan and Planet Hollywood didn’t exist. Walking from place to place was pretty straightforward.

Flash forward to today: The strip is an absolute mess.

Some of the newest casinos and malls run right up to the sidewalk, causing pinch-points that never existed before.

There is also a problem with never-ending construction creating unsightly, scaffolded corridors that funnel tourists for entire blocks.

And to relieve street traffic the city built overhead sky-bridges that create the perfect gauntlet for dope head beggars to rhyme things with the f-word for tips.

Walking around Vegas is an unwanted adventure. Let’s say you’re not in the mood to cut through Planet Hollywood. Ok then, enjoy the sidewalk-urinal weed cloud that everyone else avoids.

Let’s say you don’t want to be funneled through an outdoor mall brimming with excursion salespeople. No problem! Just backtrack a quarter mile and cross the boulevard in a brimming horde.

Perhaps you don’t want to walk in the road just because 200 people are passing each other on a 4-foot-wide sidewalk. We’ve got you covered. You can cut through Caesar’s Palace instead. Maybe drop $100 on the slots while you’re in there.

4. Vegas is Having an Identity Crisis

The Day Las Vegas Died
The Day Las Vegas Died

Vegas works hard to maintain the illusion of elegance with their magnificent casinos and celebrity chef restaurants. Meanwhile, contradicting all of it is this new generation of holiday people: The blunt-smoking, ill-dressed, blustering foulmouth. Some call them Raiders fans. With the proliferation of this new breed of patron the Vegas atmosphere has abased itself, going from bougie to boorish despite the luxury hotels and 5-star restaurants. This is the identity crisis.

For years we would mock the prevailing Vegas clientele — our parents, essentially — that they arrived at Sin City dressed for yard work. Clueless to fashion without compunction, they ooh’d and aah’d at the Mirage Volcano then sat at a video poker machine for the evening. They’re probably still there in the background, but maybe not. Perhaps they are in Reno with my dad? Who knows? All we see nowadays are those that boast of baseborn living.

Is Las Vegas happy with this exchange? Do they recognize their highfalutin facade is besmirched with zig-zags and holler? Most everyone we see looks broke, so this cannot be sustainable. Or maybe it is? But how long until Las Vegas becomes a has-been dump; a place no self-respecting citizen would lower themselves to visit? Perhaps we’re already there.

It didn’t used to be this way. Las Vegas used to have a better class of loser.

While we look nothing like the models on the billboards, we resemble the new clientele even less. They deserve somewhere to have fun like everyone else, but we needn’t subject ourselves to their swagger and vulgarities.

So we are caught in the middle — not rich enough to hide in the penthouse, and unwilling to endure the act on the streets. So this is where we show ourselves out.

5. We’ve Done Everything Worth Doing

The Day Las Vegas Died
The Day Las Vegas Died

You name it, we’ve done it. We’ve visited each major hotel more than once. Walked the strip forty times. Rode the NY-NY rollercoaster. Hiked Red Rocks and Valley of Fire. Walked across Hoover Dam. Watched the Mirage Volcano and Bellagio fountain fifteen times.

Saw Brad Garrett live at the MGM — do that, he’s hilarious. Took a ride on the inclinator at the Luxor. Saw the Tournament of Kings at Excalibur. Saw Cirque du Soleil at The Wynn. Played games at the Pinball Museum. Spent time under the Circus Circus bigtop. Walked Fremont Street. Shopped the Caesar’s Forum Shops, the Venetian Shops, the Miracle Mile shops, the Mandalay Bay shops, and the Aria Shops. Visited the Neon Museum, the Mob Museum, Seven Magic Mountains, the Fabulous Las Vegas sign, the MGM Pools, the LDS Temple, and the Bellagio Conservatory in every season.

We swam in the Hard Rock pools before they closed. Visited the Aladdin, the Frontier, the Stardust, Bally’s, Fitzgeralds, The Riviera, and the old Sahara before they all closed. Watched the pirate show at Treasure Island before they stopped doing it. Hung with the white tigers at The Secret Garden, which is now unfortunately closed.

We’ve eaten at the Wynn, Bellagio, Mirage, and Caesar’s buffets, plus Sushi Ichiban on Fremont Street (recommended!). We’ve enjoyed breakfast at the Trump Hotel after an early morning run, as well as Lotus of Siam, Nacho Daddy, Hash House A-Go-Go, Oscars Steakhouse, Olive’s, and Mon-Ami-Gabi, as well as many, many other restaurants.

Are you getting tired of this? That’s the point. So are we.

An Honest Conclusion

The Day Las Vegas Died

Las Vegas was once our favorite getaway from the kids (other than Hawaii). We would eat French food and wander the beautiful hotels, lounge by the pool, or spend the day hiking. While we never loved being in a city centered on debauchery — because we don’t drink — we tolerated it for all the easy perks. But the day Las Vegas died has long since passed.

Now that Vegas is expensive and reeks of marijuana, and they’ve allowed the homeless problem to establish camp in the middle of everything, the pros no longer outweigh the cons. Bringing our children to town was the final straw. We strongly encourage anyone who would consider bringing their kids to Las Vegas to read our article, Las Vegas With Kids?

The food is still incredible. The Wynn casino will always be amazing. A hike around Valley of Fire or Red Rocks State Park will always be a highlight in the region.

But there are so many better places to vacation than Las Vegas! Why settle for somewhere that doesn’t respect their customers; a place that herds you through construction zones and filthy sidewalks adorned with the walking dead?

Over the past couple of years we’ve visited 40+ states, including 20 national parks, myriad state parks, mountains, lakes, beaches, and beautiful towns. Perhaps we’ve just outgrown Las Vegas like my father did years ago? It could be as simple as that.

So bye-bye Miss Loud, Dumb, and High. Drove our RV to the LV but told LV goodbye. The lowlife hoodlum feels like such a cool guy, singing, “Check me out, $@#!, ain’t we so fly. Check us out, $@#!, ain’t we so fly.”

Thank you for stopping by our website! We are the Hoffmann family, a full-time RV family that has split residence in Seattle, Washington and San Antonio, Texas. We have special needs children that we homeschool, and work travel assignments for the Veteran Affairs Hospital. If you would like to learn more about us, check out our Start Here and Biography pages. In the meantime, God bless and travel happy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Free E-Book!

Learn our skills for traveling as a family. Get our free e-book PDF and jumpstart your family's journey.