Few places on Earth epitomize the cigar-smoking lifestyle quite like Las Vegas. With slot machines, cigar lounges and nightclubs everywhere, this is a place where smoking, drinking and the lure of money work together to ensnare pleasure seekers and luxury seekers.
Always oscillating between a city based on vice and a city that serves as a vacation spot for the family, Las Vegas always remains one thing: the mecca of entertainment. From white tigers to a hotel light visible from outer space, Vegas quite simply has it all. It is a destination where everyone wants to stay awake; no wonder the city never sleeps.
Like many great things, Las Vegas grew out of humble beginnings. Translated as “The Meadows” or “The Grasslands”, its name was assigned by the Spanish who entered the area while venturing through Texas along the Old Spanish Trail. It is a city that went from one extreme, owned by Mexico, to another, a missionary-laden area where Native Americans converted to Mormonism. In 1905, Las Vegas was officially established, first as a railroad town and then, in 1911, as an incorporated city.
When Hoover Dam was completed in 1936, Las Vegas began to experience tremendous growth, both residential and commercial. The dam also brought an influx of tourists. This, as well as the legalization of gambling that occurred five years earlier, helped pave the way for the casinos and hotels that occupy Las Vegas today. A city that began as a stopover for pioneers had now become a stopover for the rich, the famous, and the average citizen hoping to become rich and famous; it has evolved from an old-time western trailhead to the epitome of a city that knows exactly how to party.
Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip are the two most well-known streets in Nevada and possibly in the United States. It is in these streets that people roll the dice, play the slot machines, smoke a cigar and order a Jack and Coke, a double if they are losing. It is on these streets that some people get rich, some get poor, and some get married. It is on these streets that everyone begins to wish gambling was tax deductible.
Freemont Street, a street that dates back to the founding days of Vegas, was the “place to be” years ago. The Rat Pack lingered in it, Elvis performed in his hotels, and his lights appeared in hundreds of Hollywood productions. The main street in the city center, Freemont Street, has been home to some of the most famous hotels in history. These include The Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, The Pioneer Club, The Golden Nugget, and The Mint. After all, Freemont Street was more than downtown Las Vegas, it was Las Vegas.
But, in Las Vegas of all places, things don’t last forever. In the 1990s, Freemont Street went into rapid decline as the Las Vegas Strip was born. With mega-resorts on every block, waterslide-filled hotels, amusement parks and shopping malls, the Las Vegas Strip is now home to the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas. Freemont Street remains a popular attraction for those who want cheap food and better gambling odds. While the Strip seems to attract a younger crowd, Freemont Street is home to more experienced players.
Whether you’re staying on Freemont Street or The Strip, Las Vegas is sure to be a good time. Only in Las Vegas can you get rich at the airport. Only in Las Vegas can you see someone withdraw money from an ATM while a prostitute waits. Only in Vegas can you lose so much money that your checkbook refuses to talk to you. Only in Las Vegas can you make so much money that your estranged spouse suddenly wants to reconcile. Only in Las Vegas can you experience, well, Las Vegas.
There are certain things that are required when traveling to Las Vegas: money to spend, thick skin, a camera and, of course, a good cigar. Going without one of these is too risky.