What happens in Vegas – gets published online

Jayde Atchison (she/her) // Columns & Opinions Editor

Growing up, Las Vegas was painted as the city of sin — it was the place you flew to when you turned 21 and could legally drink in the States, or where you went to celebrate your last wild weekend before marriage — and I had no desire to partake. I don’t gamble and I figured I could party in Vancouver if I really wanted to. I didn’t need to pay all that money just to get drunk. When I got invited to go on a girls trip to Vegas with some coworkers In February I wanted to say yes to a new adventure, but I was skeptical about spending four days and not getting bored (or alcohol poisoning). 

If there’s one thing to bet on when I travel, it is that I will find the weirdest activity to experience in each city. I listen to a lot of true crime and paranormal podcasts, and the dynamic duo on And That’s Why We Drink brought up the wild time they had at Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum. When I tried to search Tiktok for the content coming from the museum (you know, to see if it was worth the $70 ticket), I could only really find videos of the lobby, the gift shop and people’s experiences once they were home. It seemed like the museum had a strict no phones policy and this museum was just something you had to experience for yourself. 

I had a feeling my coworkers would never be into spending over two hours with demon dolls, haunted rocking chairs or serial killer memorabilia. However,I bought myself a ticket and was ready to explore a piece of Las Vegas on my own — and it turned out to be a highlight of my trip. I was greeted with a two-hour guided tour through a historic mansion that had been repurposed into a museum after being reportedly haunted and used for Satanic rituals in the 1980’s. The guide I had was extremely knowledgeable, engaging and made moments of light in the often dark rooms (both literally and figuratively). 

When I wasn’t hunting for Zak Bagan or his ghosts, I was discovering that this city has an abundance of places to ogle. Every movie and TV show has gotten it right — the lights are just as bright in real life. I was walking with my eyes glued to all the neon lights, and maybe it was the tall boy of White Claw bought from Walgreens, but I couldn’t get enough of the showmanship of it all. Every block feels like Disneyland without the cartoon characters. Each hotel is done up immaculately to its respective theme. Stare at massive columns and statues in Caesars Palace, feel like you’re in the side streets of the big apple in New York-New York, and contemplate taking a gondola through The Venetian. 

What I didn’t know about Vegas was that it is more than just gambling, drinking and pool parties — especially when you get up before noon and the hangover isn’t debilitating. Admittedly, this is not a city meant to absorb culture or do what the locals do – it’s entirely catered to tourists. When you accept this, you have more of a chance to search for the hidden gems before you step on the plane. If you aren’t into the typical bachelor/ette party vibes, head to the Grand Canyon, go to one of the many museums, ride the roller coasters and enjoy the campy side of America. 

If you want to gamble and club, there is no shortage of that every night of the week. Even on a Tuesday night, you can find a club that has no room on the dance floor and full bottle service. I will admit, I did take full advantage of being a woman in Vegas and the only drinks I paid for this trip were the ones I had while walking around the city during daylight hours. Typically, a group of girls will be pulled to a table that’s got primarily men with bottle service — and while I think it’s a rather archaic and icky concept, turning down alcohol in the U.S.? In this economy? I don’t think so. 

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