Las Vegas: the Best City Right Now


Hey Native: You sure seem to think Las Vegas is the best city ever. Prove it!

OK, cowboy, here you go. Just keep this in mind: Whenever I use “we,” I mean the Royal We—that is, Las Vegas and Las Vegans, as one.

• If you view Las Vegas as crass and materialistic, you may be right, but you’re missing the larger point. Much like Caesars Palace deliberately lacks an apostrophe because it was intended to be the palace of all Caesars and not just the one, we are an egalitarian lot. Money is an equalizer here, not a divider. Hence, weekend high-rollers and splurging bachelorette parties and nightclub ballers living large, 48 hours at a time.

• Vegas is more an ephemeral attitude than a place. How could it not be? Sure, Parisians can lean on 5,000 years of history, but the flip side is they can be stifled by it as well. No such pressures here. We’re a whisker over 100 years old, and have been a metropolis for barely 20. Reinvention and adaptation are our hallmarks, and we aren’t trapped by convention, our past or our future. And when we tear something down and don’t replace it, the desert quickly reclaims the space. Paris isn’t going anywhere, whereas Vegas could be dust in a decade. That makes every day a fresh adventure.

• We’re honest. I know that’s a hard concept to swallow in a city built on bad math, but that isn’t our fault. All we do is openly accommodate, celebrate and enable human nature in its good and bad forms. We generally don’t try to legislate or regulate what Ivory Tower East Coasters see as “bad behavior” (I’ll take a Triple Big Gulp Dr Pepper, thank you!). Frankly, we should have been the first U.S. city to decriminalize weed.

• As the only major U.S. metropolis founded in the 20th century, we have emerged as the 21st-Century American City. And while it may not be something people in Portlandia want to celebrate over a microbrew, Las Vegas is a microcosm of this great country. Why else would product developers and chain restaurants use us as a test subject?

• Las Vegas offers something for almost everyone. Want to live an urban lifestyle or a suburban one? Perhaps you want a horse property, a ranch or a farm? Want to enjoy easy access to multiple national parks, or just get in your car and drive 40 minutes into absolute nothing? You can. It may not seem as “authentic” to some because much of our tourist infrastructure feels bought and paid for seemingly overnight, but I can attest that the Dogfish Head IPA tastes the same here as anywhere.

Whether Las Vegas is “the best city ever” remains to be seen. But it is the best city right now, particularly for those who have the desire to carve their own path, to create something from whole cloth, to pursue an idea to its end with very few of the institutional and social roadblocks that plague other more established cities. Nobody here needs permission. We just do.