Calling Las Vegas "touristy" is like calling Krispy Kreme donuts "unhealthy." That's sort of the point. Nearly 40 million people from around the world visited Las Vegas in 2011, and we venture to guess that not a single one of them chose this desert outpost of depravity for its authentic culture, historical significance or natural beauty [source: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority]. The hordes come to Vegas for the spectacle, the cheap buffets and hotel deals, and the long-shot prospect of not losing their children's college savings at the craps table.
The 590,000 full-time residents of Las Vegas might disagree, but this is a city whose sole purpose and function is to suck the money out of the wallets of wide-eyed tourists. Exhibit A: gambling revenue in Clark County, Nevada -- home to greater Las Vegas -- was more than $9.2 billion in 2011 [source: LVCVA]. Exhibit B: Nosebleed seats to see Donny and Marie Osmond -- who haven't had a hit song together since the Carter Administration -- run more than $100. Exhibit C: Several travel articles about Las Vegas warn visitors to explicitly tell their airport cab driver not to take the I-15 connector tunnel to get to a hotel on the Strip in an effort to run up the fare [source: Benson]. What a town!
Be careful about trying to play Vegas on the cheap, though. How, you may wonder, can an all-you-can-eat buffet with more than 50 items cost only $11 per person? Do you really want to know?