15 Reasons Las Vegas Sucks

And yet more people are going there than ever.

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Here’s a sad fact: Las Vegas had more visitors in March than in any other month in its history. Sure, it’s the go-to place for conferences, events and conventions, which is why I have to go there about a dozen times a year. And each time I go I’m reminded of why I hate the place. I’m an experienced visitor to Las Vegas and you should know: Las Vegas sucks. And here are 15 reasons why.


The taxi cab drivers. Welcome to Vegas! After waiting in line for an hour in 95 degree heat at the airport you can then answer this question from your taxi driver: “Highway or local route to your hotel, sir?” As if you even know the difference. You’re the visitor, he’s the local guy — so why is he asking you this question? It’s so he can persuade you to take the highway because “it’s much, much faster” and, by the way (surprise!) much, much more expensive. You’re there for an hour and already the house won.

The “What stays in Vegas” morons. Those are the guys that start “woo-wooing” the minute they get on the plane, walk around with those stupid big red cups that they overpaid for and think they’re going to be cast in the next Hangover movie. They’re acting like the “party’s nonstop” even as they’re waiting to check in at the hotel. So here’s the truth: You’re not going to be in The Hangover 4. You will not be hanging out with Mike Tyson. You will be sitting next to a guy named Earl from Tupelo at the blackjack table and losing your shirt in a matter of hours. Oh, and you’ll be passed out by 10 p.m., Mr. party-man.

Those Hispanic card guys. They’re everywhere, on every corner, with creepy looks in their eyes and flipping these baseball cards that have big-breasted girls on them instead of baseball players advertising strip joints where you can meet those big-breasted girls. You feel sad for them. You feel sad for the girls on the cards. You pretend it’s not your problem. Ah … Vegas!

The aimless. These are the tourists from Alabama and Wisconsin, forever American in their colored shirts and blue jeans. Or the lost-looking couple who came all the way from China. Or the bewildered looking British family who want to get a “real sense” of America. They all walk aimlessly down the strip, oohing and ahhing. They think the fountain at the Bellagio is “wonderful” and the fake Eiffel Tower is “so realistic.” They’re senior citizens who are trying to be young. They’re 22-year-old girls trying to be old. They’re a group of guys trying to re-live their college days. In reality, they’re just a bunch of dollar signs to the casino-lords.

The Eiffel Tower and the indoor gondolas. You’re not in Paris. You’re not in Venice. Please stop taking pictures of these idiotic places like you are.

The $4 bottles of water. A cup of coffee in any Vegas casino is $3.50 and a bottle of water is $4.00. That’s the price you pay for being one of the coolest, hippest, trendiest people on earth at the Bellagio instead of just a guy stopping at the Street Road Wawa on the way to work.

The long lines.  Everywhere, anytime there is a line. You wait in line for a cab. You wait in line to check in. You wait for an elevator. You wait for a $4 bottle of water. You wait for a table. The only place where there’s no waiting is the casinos – you can gamble anywhere you like, any time of the day, and there’s no waiting whatsoever.

The hot, sexy models on billboards all over town. Take a look in the mirror, chief: You are not “sizzling.” You are not “sensual.” You don’t “come out to play.” You are, like me, overweight, pasty, out of shape, and tired. So stop believing their advertising. You don’t look like any of the models promoting those hot clubs. They won’t be there once you arrive. And even if they were there they wouldn’t pay attention to you for a minute. But the bartender charging you $15 for a margarita will!

The 5 a.m. gamblers. I usually get up at 5 a.m. and go down for a $3.50 coffee and without exception there are always still people gambling then. And believe me: These people did not just wake up like me. They’re chasing the dream, hoping that this last pull of the slot machine arm will solve all of their financial problems forever. It’s as sad as those card-flippers.

Elton John. There was a time when Elton John wasn’t fat, old and tired, when he had a voice that could actually go an octave or two above a foghorn. But people still pay through the nose to see him waddle on stage and regurgitate his 40-year-old songs before he jumps back on his jet to count the money on his way back to his home in Atlanta. He’s also as sad as those card flippers … although much richer. Here’s a better idea: Download Honky Chateau from iTunes and sit back and enjoy.

Gordon Ramsay. He’s opening up restaurants everywhere in town. There are huge posters of him glaring down at you from billboards, daring you to say something bad about his food. OK, here goes: overpriced, not enough, and clearly an exploitative way to make money off your name without actually doing anything but checking in a few times a year.

The locals. These are the employees of casinos and restaurants and anyone else who supports the tourist trade. They’re grateful for their jobs. They appreciate the significance of the tourist industry. But you know they think we’re idiots. How can then they not?

The guy on South Las Vegas Boulevard impersonating Zach Galifianakis. Yeah, I saw you wearing nothing but a diaper and sunglasses just like in the movie. Not bad. Not bad at all. Much better than those Fake Elvis guys who occupy every other corner.

The families on vacation. So there’s Yellowstone, the Rockies, beautiful rivers, majestic mountains, and a rich history. There’s New York, DC, Boston, Philly, San Fran, Chicago. There are Florida beaches, the Grand Canyon, the Caribbean. There’s even Disney. And that’s just in the U.S. So you take the one week out of the year for your family vacation and you bring the kids to … Vegas? WTF? Far from me to judge … well … I’m judging. Bad choice.

The gamblers at the airport. Really? You haven’t taken enough of a beating in the casinos? You really think you’re going to hit the jackpot while waiting for that redeye back to Philly?

The people I know who live in Las Vegas say it’s a great place to raise a family and the heat is bearable. That may be true. But I don’t see that Vegas. I see the strip. A dozen times a year. And it sucks.

Follow @GeneMarks on Twitter.

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  • Ohmyohmy

    Bitter much? And a little racist maybe too? “Creepy eyes”? Weirdly I never thought they had creepy eyes.

    This got to be the most stick-in-the-mud, no fun, holier-than-thou, judgmental Vegas bashing piece I have ever read.

    You know who I feel sorry for? You.

    • virginia662

      my Aunty Amelia got a new blue Land Rover LR4
      only from working part time off a home computer… helpful hints C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

    • Tom Pryor

      Do you read a lot of those?

  • Mikey

    You know what trumps everything you have said? They have the most beautiful dancers in the world there!

  • turd

    Vegas is whatever you want it to be. Sorry you don’t bother getting off the Strip because you are too afraid you might like it.

    • Tom Pryor

      I want it to be Weimar Berlin. Is that possible?

  • LeSigh

    Horrible article. I see that you only went to the airport and the Strip. That’s not all of Las Vegas! It’s like judging all of New York City only based on Times Square. Why don’t you get out and explore a city before you decide you hate it? And the all over town stuff? You meant to say on the highway between the airport and the Strip. Sure the Strip sucks, but there’s a ton of other cool things to do!

  • Bill

    Best restaraunts. Best pools. Best clubs. Great entertainment. Something for everyone. You are just miserable.

  • Jeff Asay

    One vote here for the writer. Vegas sucks!

  • Ernest

    Gene Woods,

    You are correct. Speaking on behalf of the Las Vegas locals you are an idiot!

    Ernest,

    • matthew brandley

      your housing market is imploding and your casino intake is collapsing .
      regards,
      educted person

      • Not John

        Educted person? Do you mean educated? Best part, this comment section even has a spell check. Just bashing you for bashing some one else. Now some one can bash me and keep this party going

      • Rick Gleason

        You first need to learn to spell and secondly “educted” person, lol. Check your sources on that housing market comment. Laughable!

  • Ernest

    Make that Gene Marks!

  • uniquename72

    Most locals have jobs that have nothing to do with the casino industry. But it’s true: We appreciate you tourists, but we don’t like you very much. Why? Because you complain too much. It’s too hot; the lines are too long; my cab driver was mean to me; my water’s too expensive; that brown man just tried to hand me something! Whiny little girls.

    But hey, thanks for paying my taxes!

    (Here’s a tip: Don’t stay on the Strip, and don’t bother visiting the Strip unless you really have to. There’s nothing on the Strip you can’t find in 2 dozen other cities. When family and friends come visit me from out of town, do you really think I take them to the Paris or to see Elton John? Ha!)

  • kelly

    ugh philadelphia magazine come on with this “article”

  • slotsoffun777

    I’ve visited Vegas as a good old Jersey tourist for the first time in 2013 and then in 2014 and love the town.. You need to learn to get a car rental and use it to get to other area’s of the town.. I never had any problems in Vegas with expensive food-beer etc.. this is the town you can make what you want of it IMO… Nobody forces you to eat over priced food, alcohol, gamble you can easily visit a non strip Casino and get a nice cheaper buffet, hell the best steak with some sides I ever had for $10 was at Santa Fe Station in North Las Vegas this steak would easily contend with a hyped Philadelphia steak house any day… Try next time getting off the strip grabbing dinner at a known local’s restaurants, maybe catch a movie in the plenty of casino theaters, hit up some of the museums or take a drive to one of the national parks if you got to get some fresh air.. The options are out there and then see how you feel toward Las Vegas..

  • vegas local

    I live in vegas but drive a truck and am all over the country. I hate to say it but philadelphia is a sespool vegas locals have way more clas then those philly people who are rude and uneducated. This article is crap.

    • Tom Pryor

      sespool?

      • Rick Gleason

        It’s short for cesspool. Give the poster a break… he’s right-on! I lived in Philly. Yuck!!

        • Tom Pryor

          Nah. I think it’s a misspelling… but I don’t disagree…

    • gfys1117

      You are moron

  • Bobo65

    I live in Vegas, and I totally get this article, this is the way I figure it, Vegas is for that segment that can’ t go to Europe to get the real deal, they live in dead cities, working day and night, and they want to get away, somewhere exciting, party, kick up their heels, have fun 24 hours, get the dead life out of their system, then go back home refreshed, yeah they pay out the kazoo for it, and as far as natural wonders, they are everywhere and can be visited just about anywhere, but there is only one Vegas, and you have to get it. And it takes practice living here, but once you get it, there is no going back to the regular life.

  • miquon

    Is there more to Las Vegas than the strip? Yes.
    Is the author’s take on the strip accurate? Yes.

  • jaun sanchez

    If your here 12 times a year, you live here part time. get over it and quit whining, your a local. Eventually you will over pay for a house in Green valley or Summerland. Soon you will realize no one here likes you. Then you will either A get a job. B. hang out in a casino day in and day out making stupid jokes to the older locals who work there. No, you will not go home, Why ? Once in Vegas you can never go home, because the people where you come from are dumber then the people in Vegas.

  • Meghan

    Was just there last week and I disagree with your negative opinion about Vegas. If it’s that bad, stop going!

  • Tom Pryor

    To be fair, everything west of the Delaware river pretty much sucks.

  • Martin Moore

    I just posted ’15 Reasons Las Vegas Rocks. Eat Your Heart Out Gene.’ on Medium https://medium.com/martin-moore/509adcf8ee4a

  • DSB

    So I refrained from commenting until actually reading the article as I thought that would only be fair. After reading, I can say that my two assumptions going in we’re correct: you achieved your goal in getting people to read the article by flaming LV and you are doing LV wrong. If after this many visits to the city you are still so cynical, I’m not sure it’s worthwhile attempting to explain ways in which it could be done correctly – your attitude suggests that it would be lost on you. While some of the things you pointed out are true, I don’t think they hold up to the hyperbole of how you portrayed them. Next time you go, maybe you should loosen up and have a cocktail on the flight in and try to approach it with a more positive attitude. Maybe don’t go just for your work conventions because it does suck to be working long days in a town where most everyone else is on vacation and enjoying themselves. Anyway, hope you have more fun on your next trip to the strip.

  • Dev

    Congratulations on being able to combine hate, bigotry and failed attempts at humor in a 1500 word diatribe. Must be hard being you.

  • PPABootsquadVinnie

    I love going to Vegas, baby. Remind me to never go with You or any soggy bar rags like you. If we asked your ‘friends’ I’ll bet they’d say you’re no fun. What a whiner! I’ve never experienced anything but fun on the golf courses, fun at the In-N-Out Burger, fun at the Bellagio fountains [and it's atrium], fun at the pools, fun at the bars, fun at the shows, fun gambling at low cost roulette and blackjack, just plain Fun. Ever think it’s You and Your Attitude, looking down on everyone else? Maybe you and Victor Fiorello should write about how Bruce Springsteen in Vegas would suck.
    Man, slow news day articles Suck when we have to read youse guys’ material.

  • Rick Gleason

    This “article” is so full of holes, you could drive a truck through it.

    And you live in filthy crime-ridden, suck weather Philadelphia? Puhleese! (I was born in PA and used to live in Philly)! Laughable, to say the least.

    Move west young man!

  • Toicat

    The truth about Las Vegas is that since the 1980′s corporations and real estate developers have invested heavily and the results are that only a few bargains remain. Themed mega hotels dominate the strip and ostensibly charge a reasonable rate. However, now that substantially all hotels add a non-optional “resort fee” plus (high) room and local taxes, your room rate will be on par with most other cities of similar size. There are timeshare Hawkers everywhere that constantly badger you to sit through one of their presentations in exchange for trivial amount of money or some other “free” item of nominal value. They are everywhere and are relentless. The same $1.00 draft beer is now $6. A good steak dinner that was once a real bargain at $10 is now over $50, and you will pay dearly for every side item. Seeing a variety show was once $20 and included drinks, is now over $100. No tipping the maitre d, because all seats are assigned. Table minimums and blackjack payouts have been changed to the point where only a fool would consider playing them. Las Vegas is a town that ruined itself. When the vibe shifted from “service” to “sales” it changed everything unique about Las Vegas. I could tell story after story about how many truly sharp kids were in the hospitality business back in the 80′s. Need something? Just call, and its on its way up. “No problem, sir, I will see to it personally” was the standard answer. Now, anything that you want is going to have a charge attached to it, you can count on it. My advice, try another area of Nevada. It is a beautiful state and has other towns besides Las Vegas that still understand how to treat a guest.

  • http://batman-news.com PPABootsquadVinnie

    Next you gotta read his crap about riding AMTRAK. Same nonsense.

  • eRob

    The trick to “doing” Vegas is knowing someone who lives there. ;)
    I just went to Vegas for my 53 birthday and had an awesome time.
    My friends picked me up at the airport.
    We went to Red Rocks Canyon, Valley of Fire, took an EXCITING helicopter ride over the strip (in 35mph winds, WOW!), had one of the best meals of my life at the Wynn, and saw Penn and Teller at the Rio… those two guys put on a heck of a show and are very approachable… selfie pics and they signed my book “How to Play With Your Food”. We went to the Mobster Museum, the old Vegas Sign museum and Springs Preserve botanical gardens. We went to a Da Vinci exhibit where you could play with all the machines. I won at the MGM ($600 which funded the rest of my gambling for the trip). We spent St. Patrick’s Day (night) on Fremont Street.
    And, I AM from Wisconsin!!

    The OP is just doing it all wrong. Yeah, Vegas sucks if you only do the sucky things.
    Cheers