Visitors to Las Vegas think the entire City consists of "The Strip". One youngish friend back in Miami asked if all the lights on the Strip are disturbing to us at night (really)! Some other friends also living in South Florida - who have been to Las Vegas a number of times and are sophisticated travelers - were quite surprised to learn that the lives of Vegas residents do not revolve around the Strip.
There are delightful housing communities here as there are in other major cities in the United States. We have large shopping malls like the Meadows Mall containing major department stores like Macy's, Dillard's, J.C. Penney's and Sears. Also the Sharper Image, Regis Hairstylists and of course, Victoria's Secret.
The Galleria Mall which boasts Robinsons-Mays, The Gap, Pearle Vision, Sunglass Hut, Bath and Body Works, etc. Fashion Show Mall features the higher-end stores such as Neiman-Marcus, Saks 5th Avenue, Nordstrom's and a host of other specialty shops.
Like other American communities, we also have grocery chains like Von's, Albertson's and Smith's. For the organic shoppers, there are Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Sunflower Market and Wild Oats.
In addition, we have Target Stores, K-Mart and Wal-Mart. However, our Wal-Mart Stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - closed only on two major holidays - Thanksgiving and Christmas.
However, Las Vegas is different from other major cities in several ways. One of these ways, of course, is legalized gambling which is not confined to hotel casinos. A visitor to our city will be greeted by a bank of slot machines when embarking from his or her plane at McCarran Airport.
In fact, last year a woman tourist was playing the slots while awaiting her flight back home. She was lucky enough to hit a jackpot of over $600,000. When she was informed of the paper work she would have to fill out to claim her prize, her initial reaction was that she would miss her plane and be late getting back to work. Her second and ecstatic reaction was that she no longer had to worry about her job any more. In addition to slots at the airport, we also have them at some restaurants, many supermarkets and convenience stores.
Neighborhood hotels and casinos offer amenities comparable to any major city at lower prices than those on the Strip. These cater mainly to local residents but are routinely visited and enjoyed by tourists who do not mind taking the free shuttle bus to the Strip. Locals join the Players Clubs and insert their Players Cards into the slot machines every time they play, accumulating points which can be redeemed for caps, shirts, jackets or gourmet meals at the hotel in which they are playing. All Clubs, both on the Strip and off, have Players Clubs but it is considerably easier to gain coins in the local casinos.
Another way Las Vegas differs from other major cities is our famous buffets! Each and every hotel has a number of restaurants from which to choose - one of which is open 24 hours and another of which is a buffet that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner - in addition to ethnic and specialty restaurants.
Prices at the neighborhood casino buffets are only $15 or less for dinner per person. This includes all you can eat and it is often hard to make a decision among the many options of roast turkey and trimmings, prime rib, seafood, Italian, Chinese and Mexican specialties. Plus cold shrimp, salads, soups, drinks and desserts. And the casinos send out monthly 2-for-1 buffet coupons to their Players Club members.
Living in Las Vegas as a full-time resident is no different than residing in any city in the United States. However, Las Vegans are fortunate in having a wider variety of dining and entertainment options than any other city worldwide.