I recently returned from a business trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. I was in the city for four full days, although for most of that time I was attending a convention. I only had a little time to be a tourist – some of which I spent visiting yarn shops.
Even though I wasn’t there long, I was able to see a few highlights. I learned enough to know what I’d like to do on a return trip, if I visit again. I talked to a few locals who absolutely love living in the city, so I’d really like to give it another look sometime.
Las Vegas is known by many as “Vegas” – a simple shortening of the name. Vegas is known for lavish hotels and restaurants, casinos, musical shows, casinos, shopping, and casinos. The downtown area, centered around Fremont Street, is home to the oldest continuing hotel and casino, The Golden Nugget. Fremont Street itself is covered by a canopy and entertains with light and sound shows every evening.
Competing for tourists is the popular Las Vegas “Strip.” Located on Las Vegas Boulevard, the Strip is home to numerous casino hotel convention centers. I stayed in the Mandalay Bay – stunning from the outside and just as beautiful inside. While most of the convention meetings were held in the Mandalay Bay, one evening get-together was in the adjacent Luxor Hotel.
Surrounding the downtown and Strip areas are acres and acres of suburban sprawl. Over 2 million people live in the Las Vegas area. As I ventured out of downtown, I saw neighborhoods full of homes filling what was once a dessert. Palm trees dotted the landscape, but most homes were in full sun – an interesting sight for someone from the midwest.
Exploring the Strip
The convention I attended filled most of my time. I had a few free hours on Thursday afternoon so I used it to explore the Strip. I wanted to see all the famous hotels, but my main goal was to get to the Bellagio Hotel, where my daughter had stayed a few years ago.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to walk the entire way, so I decided to take advantage of some of the free trams. The first tram left from the Mandalay Bay, stopped at the Luxor Hotel, and then ended at the Excelsior. From there, I walked across the bridge to the New York, New York Hotel. I walked outside along the boardwalk next to Las Vegas Boulevard to the Monte Carlo Casino.
From inside the casino, I was able to take another free tram directly to the Bellagio. I walked through the Bellagio until I got to the lobby, and later made my way outside to the famous fountains.
My first stop in the Bellagio was the lobby. You may not think that the lobby of a hotel is that exciting, but this one features an art installation by master glass blower, Dale Chihuly. A huge array of glass flowers filled the center of the lobby’s ceiling, allowing colored light to filter through. I’ve been a Chihuly fan for several years and was excited to see this large work.
As I exited the hotel, I waited on the hotel side of the fountain along with several other people. I was told the fountain and music played every fifteen minutes and that it was almost time for it to play again. Within a minute or two, it started. I love watching musical fountains, so naturally, I enjoyed the presentation.
When the show was finished, I moved to the street side of the fountain. Here there was a nicer view – a better angle – for watching and videoing the fountain. The second show was even better than the first! (If you want to see the entire song, message me on Facebook).
I wanted to stay for more, but I had to get back to the Mandalay Bay for the convention’s closing ceremonies.
The convention I was attending ended on Thursday evening, but my flight didn’t leave until early Friday evening. I would have to leave for the airport around 4 pm, so I had a little more time to look around. After finishing up some computer work and checking out of the hotel, I scheduled a Lyft to take me to my first destination of the day.
Although I didn’t have a lot of time in the city, one of my priorities was to check out the local yarn shops (of course). I had researched Las Vegas shops before I left home and it seemed there were a couple. When I got to the city, though, I found some had closed. An additional one, Mad Knitter’s Yarn, had recently opened. This shop was not listed as being in Las Vegas, because it is actually located in the suburb of Henderson, Nevada.
The young owner was pleasant and inviting. Her shop was bright and neat. She carried yarn from Cascade, Debbie Bliss and Malabrigo. When I asked if she had any locally dyed yarn, I was disappointed to learn that she did not. She did, however, have yarn from dyers from California and Arizona. I liked the cotton and bamboo yarn from Mary Gavan (Arizona), so I purchased a skein in a nice summery peach color.
I visited the bead store, Bead Jungle, that was next door. I always love visiting bead stores, but only purchase beads if I have a special purpose for them. No beads for me this time.
After a break for lunch, I scheduled another Lyft ride to the second yarn shop, Sin City Knit Shop. Although the shop felt a little disorganized to me, it was home to lots of nice yarn. There were common brands, like Berroco, but I was more interested in local ones. Sin City has their own line of hand dyed yarns. They also carry yarns by Tink yarns and a small selection from Pink Adobe Dyeworks.
I was impressed by the Tink yarn based on the colors of the new Golden Knights Hockey Team (see picture), but since I’d rather support the Chicago Black Hawks or Nashville Predators, I refused to buy any of the yarn. I also loved the Mothers Day Yarn by Pink Adobe Dyeworks (also in the picture), so one skein came home with me. As an added bonus, Tanya, the dyer from Pink Adobe was in the shop and I was able to meet her.
I took another Lyft back to the hotel. Although both shops were nice, I probably would not visit them again unless I had a car and could drive myself. The shops were not close to the Strip or downtown, so the cost of the Lyft rides came to more than the price of a skein of premium yarn. I would recommend them, though, to visitors in the area.
I got back to the hotel with about an hour and a half until I had to leave for the airport. My first thought was to visit the hotel’s casino. I hadn’t played any games the entire time I was at the convention, although I walked through the casino several times. In fact, I walked through several casinos getting from place to place along the Strip. Everywhere I went in Vegas, the shortest distance between two points was always through a casino!
Welcome to Las Vegas
Instead of depositing my money into the machines, though, I decided to get some exercise. The iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign was about a twenty minute walk from the Mandalay Bay hotel. The weather was warm and sunny, so it was a perfect day for a walk.
I walked down Las Vegas Boulevard to the sign, took a couple of pictures and then walked back. It was good to get some exercise before sitting in an airplane seat for four hours.
Going Back to Vegas
Yes, I’d like to go back to Vegas sometime, although I wouldn’t say it’s on my short list. On this trip I was not able to see the downtown area. The Neon Museum also sounds interesting to me. I didn’t spend any time by the beautiful Mandalay Bay pools. Maybe next time…
Have you been to Vegas? What was your favorite part?