Best Reason to Roadtrip

Nocturnal Wonderland in San Bernardino

There’s something about the vibe in Southern California that can never be duplicated. While 2011 saw Insomniac Events’ Electric Daisy Carnival make the move to Las Vegas, the company’s longest-running event, Nocturnal Wonderland, continues to wow at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, Calif. Expanding to two days in September, the energy and fan base is incomparable, friendlier and full of hard-core fans who know—and worship—everyone in the lineup. (No offense, Vegas, but all the newbies to the scene who barely know who’s who can be frustrating for the super-fans). Attendees spend weeks making kandi bracelets to trade with new friends, they know every bass line and create homemade signs for their favorite artists (who aren’t just the obvious headliners). And even the DJs do it up right: From openers Glenn Morrison and Trent Cantrelle all the way up to headliners Fedde le Grand, Gabriel & Dresden and Kaskade, they take more risks with their sets for the receptive audience clamoring to soak in every moment with more enthusiasm and passion we can only hope to one day see here.

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Crown Prince of the City

Crown Prince of the City


The Downtown Cocktail Room’s doors are impossibly un-door-ish. You walk up from the intersection of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard, happy to join the buzzing downtown camaraderie—the urban revolution taking hold of Las Vegas—and you’re faced with walls of one-way glass and no apparent door handle. For the uninitiated, it makes for an awkward moment. Had this happened to me, and I’m not confirming that it did, the larger metaphor wouldn’t have been lost: Maybe everyone doesn’t fit in here.