Is Las Vegas Better Enjoyed With Others or Alone?

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Do you need to have your posse with you at all times?  I’ve noticed that people who are resistant to going to Las Vegas alone often use the argument that “it just wouldn’t be the same without someone to share it with.”  For the record, I have visited Las Vegas with my uncle, I have traveled to Las Vegas with a friend, and I have been to Las Vegas alone a number of times.  Which is best?  Truth is, they’ve all been fun trips, but in different ways.

Bar at the Rio

My uncle used to live in Nevada, so he knew Vegas like the back of his hand.  During my first trip, he showed me around and taught me a lot of what he knew of the city.  It was fun to be able to turn to him and comment on the size of the Hoover Dam or laugh about how the horseradish that came with our prime rib dinner was so strong it made us cry.  We had each other to talk to  while we waited for the Blue Man Group show to start, and then got to chat about what we liked about it afterwards. 

When I visited with my friend Colleen, I took on the role of the “Vegas veteran” introducing her to “my” favorite city.  That, too, was fun. She wanted to see a “classic showgirl show,” so we got tickets to Jubilee! at Ballys–a show I never would have gone to see on my own.  We saved money–and our waistlines!–by splitting oversized meals in restaurants.  She dragged me down to the pool and introduced me to the joys of relaxing away from the constant sensory bombardment of the casinos.  So I understand what people mean when they say they enjoy having someone there to share experiences with.  Yes, it can be great if you have a good travel companion.

But it can also be great on your own.  Many of my favorite memories of Las Vegas are solo memories.  First, there was the singing cabbie.  I was on my way from the airport to the Mirage when I got this friendly, talkative cabbie who told me he also was the lead singer in a band at one of the hotels on the Strip.  To prove it, he sang Tom Jones’s “She’s a Lady” to me all the way to the Mirage.  He sounded just like Tom Jones.  It’s not every day a guy sings to me, and I loved it! (He got a good tip.)

There have been the times when I’ve bonded with strangers sitting next to me at the slot machines.  People get genuinely excited for each other when someone is winning.  They’re probably hoping that luck will rub off on them, but still. . .it’s a feeling of cameraderie.  I’ve met folks in Las Vegas that I had interacted with on Las Vegas message forums (or Twitter) and found some genuine friends among them.

The Star Trek Experience

The Star Trek Experience

My favorite place in Las Vegas used to be the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton (RIP).  Yes, I’m a big ol’ geek, and I don’t care who knows it.  I’ve been a Trekkie my whole life.  My uncle and my friend didn’t share my passion for it. So it was better to go alone to be around others like me who did.  I could usually count on meeting another Trekkie at Quark’s Bar with whom to chat about which was our favorite Star Trek series and characters.  But even if I didn’t, I was content just to be in that space, to be sitting beneath ceiling-sized ship models of Voyager and Enterprise, surrounded by sets and props and Ferengi, Borg, and Klingons, where it felt almost as if the 24th Century were real.

I attended the Decommissioning Ceremony in 2008, before the Experience was closed forever, when the place was packed and emotions were running high.  I had dinner with a fan I had met on the airplane on the way to Las Vegas and two others we met while waiting in line. Later, dozens of us fans gathered around the bar to savor one last warp core breach, liquid latinum, or mind meld and share our favorite memories of the Experience.  That evening will always remain a special memory for me.  If I’d had to drag along a reluctant traveling companion who didn’t share my enthusiasm for it, it wouldn’t have been the same.

Waterfalls at the Flamingo

Waterfalls at the Flamingo

But I also enjoy my “alone time” in Las Vegas. I can practice my photography uninterrupted for as long as I want. Or sit and play video poker at a bar in the casino for a couple of hours.  I can wander at will, people-watching, taking in the details without having to shoulder one half of a conversation.  If I want to stop and watch an attraction or some performers, I don’t have to worry about a companion getting bored.

I remember sitting in St. Mark’s Square at the Venetian first thing in the morning, listening to the piped-in Italian music before the crowds of tourists streamed in. I practically had the whole place to myself.  No one needed anything from me, and I had nowhere I needed to be.  I could just sit and think and soak it all in.  It was one of the most peaceful experiences of my life.  Being alone in Las Vegas is my treat to myself, like a long, hot bubble bath or an exquisite piece of chocolate. . .only it lasts longer.

So just because you may have traveled there with others in the past and had a great time, doesn’t mean you can’t also have a great time on your own.  It’s a different experience, to be sure, but can be just as rewarding in its own way.

Have you visited Las Vegas alone and also with others?  Which do you prefer?

23 thoughts on “Is Las Vegas Better Enjoyed With Others or Alone?

  1. Vegas Solo

    Thanks for the response, zablon. How many friends do you travel with? Do you ever have trouble coordinating everyone’s schedules, or are you all pretty much single and free to travel whenever you want? Do you share a room to save money?

  2. Bobby Smith

    Being an only child, traveling alone is not a problem. I have been to Vegas several times alone for my birthday, De la Hoya vs Mosley 2 and to just get away from from it all. I have also lived in Vegas, made some friends and had an ex visit for a few days. I have enjoyed either way. Good article!!!

  3. Terrisa Meeks

    I also think it’s easier to take pictures (and I take a lot of ’em) when you’re alone–unless you have a photo-taking pal (which I do). Since I live here in Vegas & write about the city, lots of times I’m out wandering around alone, and I always have a good time. I think it depends on who you’re with.

    1. Vegas Solo

      I agree. Both can be enjoyable, depending on the company. Thanks for your comment, Terrisa. Maybe I’ll see you at a tweetup on my next trip to Vegas.

  4. Thomas

    I too have been to Vegas in different ways, with a group of people, with just one buddy, with a girlfriend and solo. I must agree, Vegas is enjoyable in different ways, just as you describe, for example, how you describe that you dont have to worry about someone getting bored if your by yourself. I was hesitant the first time I went by myself a few years ago, as the person I was going with dropped out at the last minute, 2 days before, but I had my airfare paid for. Not only that, but a tropical storm was headed to Houston for that weekend, so why spend the weekend couped up in my apartment with rain outside… so I got away, had fun, and now I love going to vegas solo.

  5. Gray

    Hi, Thomas – Yes! Vegas is fun no matter how you visit, with people or without. And it’s definitely better than staying home on a rainy weekend. 🙂

  6. Cindy

    Like you, I’ve done both and like them for different reasons. I like traveling with my sweetheart so we can do the romantic things – dancing, holding hands by the Fountain show, etc etc etc. I like traveling with my girlfriend because we laugh so much, have lots of silly fun – and she really appreciates great meals.

    But i LOVE my solo trips – for every single one of the top 10 reasons you listed. Now that I have made friends with folks through some online Vegas boards, there is almost always an opportunity to get together with someone during my trip – but without the obligation. Yay!

  7. Robert

    I have been to Vegas with my guy friends, girlfriends, Mom, nephews, and solo. I have never regretted spending time there. (except for the time when I was sick and somehow lost more money than I should have…won’t do that again!)

    Vegas has something to offer everyone. I love the food and pool options, and who can complain about $30/night hotel rooms?

    My next trip I will be hiking to the summit of Mt. Charleston with a friend, and eating at lots of buffets. I can’t wait!

    Thanks for the great blog!

    Robert

  8. Dee

    I moved to LV two years ago and have new Las Vegans friends. I do a lot of things with my friends, but also do a lot solo. As long as the shows have theater-style sitting, I don’t mind at all going by myself. I enjoy getting lost in the Strip taking pics, exploring the hotels seasonal displays and having a bite here and there. It’s fun and I love the freedom of doing things at my own pace.

  9. Gray

    Exactly, Dee! There’s so much to do in Las Vegas that is perfectly comfortable doing by yourself. Good for you, taking advantage of it.

  10. Paul (VegasNotes)

    Perhaps it is an age-thing, but although I used to enjoy going with a partner, these days I enjoy my favorite city far more traveling solo. The freedom and ability to self-indulge (without feeling guilty about not doing what someone else wants) are actually two of the things that are great selling points about Vegas.

    As Gray noted, the Strip is a wonderful place if you are an early-riser as you get to see a whole other side of it. I’m lucky enough to survive on 4 hours sleep and Vegas is also wonderful at 4am – it has far more character at that time and you don’t have to dodge so many strollers.

    That said, there is a wonderful vicarious pleasure of re-experiencing the wonder of Vegas through chaperoning a first-time visitor to the city. Especially as you can time things to ensure serendipitous accidents happen – “Oh, we must have taken a wrong turn from the airport and just happen to have wasted 45 minutes off to the South so that we drive up the Strip for the first time just as darkness falls”, or walking in front of the Bellagio just as music and fountains start…

  11. Gray

    LOL, sneaky Paul. I’m sure your friends don’t mind, though. I admit, it IS fun to show other people “my” Vegas for the first time. Though there is a bit of pressure, because I want them to love it as much as I do.

  12. Paul (VegasNotes)

    Absolutely! I took my parents and sister in ’98 just before Bellagio opened. They are all “glass half full” people so I knew they would enjoy whatever we ended up doing. It helped that we were driving by the Bellagio very late at night and they started some test runs for the fountain show. We pulled over our car to watch as did the police car in front of us and almost every other car going by.

    That was a moment I was glad I shared with other people.

  13. Jack

    I’ve been to Vegas over the course of 15 years for business and always traveled solo. I have many wonderful memories of Vegas as a solo traveler. I don’t gamble but always have a good time when I visit. I’ve been to Vegas once with my family and they enjoyed it but have no desire to return. When I visited with my family, we were constantly interrupted by timeshare salespeople and the cabbies took full advantage of us bringing us to our destinations the longer route.

    One of the things I enjoy doing in Vegas is walking up and down the strip and checking out the changes that have taken place since my previous visit. I can walk at my own pace, take my time and not have to worry about pleasing anyone else. Solo travel does have its advantages.

    Great article!!

  14. Gray

    Hi, Jack! 15 years, huh? You’ve been going there even longer than me! I agree–it’s always interesting to see what changes have occurred in Vegas since the last trip. I’ve never seen a city that changes as quickly as this one does. Thanks for commenting, Jack.

  15. Melle

    The first time I went to Vegas I was alone I was only 21 years old and had the time of my life! I have since been back with others but I actually prefer to go alone, no one to tell me what to do lol!

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