I hate to beat this into the ground, but the AVERAGE age of a Las Vegas visitor is 49 years old. That fell a few years during the boom, but it came right back and settled at 49. 49 year olds that make upwards of 6 figures per year.
Downtown’s outrageous gaming gains in April (25% over the previous year) were no surprise to me. For the most part, downtown is going after the 40+ crowd and starting to do a damn good job of it. Even before their 80’s Rock themed summer for 2012, they’ve had Arena Tribute Band and other 80’s rock/metal cover bands playing for a couple of years now.
I’m 46 and downtown is starting to be my preferred place to hang out. OK, it isn’t as spiffy at The Strip, but it isn’t as expensive either. Even the best restaurants are relatively affordable. Getting bored of the casino you’re at (or simply losing too badly)? A 30 second walk will put you in an entirely new property. You simply can’t do that on The Strip.
Don’t get me wrong: The Strip has awesome shows and great attractions that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. But with the Fremont Street East bar district, the resurgence of Neonopolis, great free entertainment nightly and no thump-thump nightclubs, downtown might be calling your name if pimple cream and prom are a very distant memory.
To those of you who took our advice last Sunday and went to the Stratosphere Las Vegas for the fireworks, we apologize. What a disaster, with a capital D. The Strat teamed with local radio station KOMP and Coors Beer to offer $1 beer all day as well as free admission to the tower. Then starting at 9:00 PM they had live music in the north parking lot until the fireworks at 11:00 PM. While this was the first 4’th of July fireworks on the Strip in recent memory, it was not the first display for the Stratosphere. Between the grand opening, anniversaries, and other occasions, they have done fireworks a number of times.
In the past, the fireworks have shot off from tower in a beautiful 360 degree cascade of fury and color. Not this time. The fireworks were shot off from behind the hotel, and shot so low that you couldn’t see half of them from the parking lot party viewing area! Neither were they visible from anywhere in front of the casino.
As much as we love promoting Las Vegas, do yourself a favor and don’t come here to see the fireworks on the Strip next year if it’s at the Stratosphere. Even if you saw a small-town display, you saw more than we did at the Stratosphere. I have heard great reports about the fireworks in the Summerlin area that were combined with a symphony concert featuring Robert Goulet, and next year we’ll give you as much advance warning as possible if a similar program is scheduled.
SUNSET IN THE HILLS – Getting your behind kicked in the casino while your rental car goes to waste? When is the last time you saw a spectacular sunset? Because it sits in a valley, Las Vegas has some spectacular views 20 minutes from the Strip. A personal fave of locals is the view from the far east end of Bonanza Rd. in the eastern foothills. Imagine seeing the entire panorama of the Las Vegas Valley at sunset, watching both the Strip and downtown simultaneously go from daylight to neon glow.
Directions are simple. Go north on the Strip to downtown. Just after you go beneath the freeway, make a right-hand turn (east) on Bonanza Road. Drive 7 miles (it’s all paved suburban road — and the farther you go, the better the neighborhoods get). When you reach the end of Bonanza, just make a U-turn.
If that is too complicated, simply program 7051 East Bonanza Road (Las Vegas) into your GPS.
BOOM. Spectacular. I’ve never had anyone take this short detour whom didn’t rave about it. Grab a little take-out on your way — if you time your visit with sunset, you’ll want to relax and enjoy the show.