On my way from the airport to downtown Las Vegas, I asked my driver how hot it can get here. “I went to pick up my wife after work at 1 am, and it was 101 degrees!” he said.
We are staying at the Downtown Grand Las Vegas, right near Fremont Street where all the action is. In the Fremont Street Experience Entertainment District a highlight is a domed roof that projects video, called the largest screen in the world, that plays music videos and other clips as the crowds stroll by holding gigantic margaritas and beers, some towing kids in the other hand.
Our hotel has a fabulous pool where we relaxed today in a cabana, enjoying the poolside drinks and getting to know the other writers on the trip, who are from Mexico, Scotland, Canada, Toronto and Miami. It’s an interesting group, a few of the journos are classic Fleet Street veterans, they told me about how they have bidding wars between their two newspapers when they want to buy photos of celebrities to publish in their papers.
Las Vegas is a great place to live if you’re a young person, since you can rent a small apartment here for $600. One of the women we met tonight said she just rented an entire new house, three bedrooms, for $1000. That’s a far cry from the punishing rents that people struggle with in Boston, New York and San Francisco.
Even though we’re not on the strip, Downtown Las Vegas has a noisy, frenetic energy. The din that I heard when I first walked into this hotel, the clattering of slot machines and the noise of the video screens in the airport, is all a cacophony that takes getting used to. On Fremont Street, the noise is a combination of music blaring and people laughing, it’s all a place of high excitement and it’s fun being here right in the middle of it all.
People I’ve met who live here in Las Vegas are excited about their prospects in this young city, happy to be here and proud to show it off to us. It’s inspiring coming from a place like Massachusetts–old, cold and steeped in Colonial history, but lacking the influx of young people and the energy they bring. Find out more here.