Not exactly, not really. I stayed on the Strip at the Wynn Encore. I walked up and down the Strip numerous times. It's excellent exercise - two miles from the Encore to the MGM Grand if you stick to the sidewalk (2.6 miles to the Mandalay Bay), somewhere between 2-1/2 to 3 miles to the MGM if you detour in and out of casinos and shopping malls, etc.
And, even if you don't gamble, go to shows or get driven by touts to strip clubs - none of which I bothered with - there is still a lot to see along the Las Vegas Strip.
Foremost is, of course, the people. It is very fun people watching. It's also international. I gave up counting at overhearing 16 different languages - at least the ones I recognized.
There is also some amusing, and now even some truly great, architecture. Parts of the new City Center development - some five years and $8.5 billion in the making - opened this week, and I gotta admit I loved it. Here's some photographic arguments (click on the photo if you want to see it bigger) for why:The two, yellow-checkered buildings really do look like they tilt away from each other and at an angle to everything else. It's disconcerting and fun. The multi-angled building in front is the shopping center. (Interior pictures below.)
A Henry Moore sculpture just outside one of the entrances to the shopping mall.
Bird chairs just outside the shopping mall.
Interiors and fountain/sculptures.The ice melts and refreezes, the water swirls and gurgles.
There is, of course, the more traditional, bizarre architecture to be found along the Strip, both inside the hotels and out:
There's art, too. In the Paris Hotel and Casino I saw a very fun exhibit of cover art from Harlequin Romance Novels. And Paris is also home to the world's largest equine mural - painted by my uncle, Fred Stone:
And in Mandalay Bay, right across from Michael Mina's Stripsteak - order the off-the-menu Angus Ribeye Cap, it is one of the best steaks in the world - is more art (not, however, by my Uncle Fred):
There does seem to be something about the Las Vegas Strip that brings out the religious side of commerce:
But all is not lost. Bettie Page apparently has her own store right next door to True Religion:
Some of the greatest art in Las Vegas is neon. The Neon Museum is one of the great things to see in the city. (The museum itself is being built. At the moment you have to take a tour of the "boneyard" - a dumping ground for old neon signs. It is well worth it, a true highlight of any visit to Las Vegas. Click anywhere on these sentences to link to their website.
They are very strict about publishing pictures taken in the boneyard - even on blogs. But here's some pictures of neon signs in downtown Las Vegas, where some of the best are to be found:
Okay, so it is the Holiday Season. I suppose I'll sign off with some Christmas Cheer - Las Vegas style:
Well, maybe not. I don't want to upset those of you who know me to be the grinch that I am. On Christmas Day my tradition is Chinese food and a movie matinee. Here's a picture taken from Las Vegas' surprisingly large and interesting Chinatown, followed by the sort of thing that most people who know me well associate with me and Christmas:
Happy New Year. I can get behind that.