We spent Christmas in Las Vegas this year. My parents went to Hawaii for Christmas, but neglected to invite us along. So rather than sitting at home by ourselves, we decided to go to Vegas instead. I only had one vacation day left, so we just went for a 4-day weekend, taking full advantage of the statutory holidays.
I hadn't realized how long it takes to get there! It was nearly 7 hours to get there (including a stopover in Chicago) and over 7 hours to get home (including a stopover in Dallas). The flights were fairly pain-free aside from the total trip length. Oh, and American doesn't serve food on their flights at all any more, it seems. You could buy a "snack box" if you were starving, but other than that you were out of luck. I was surprised you couldn't buy a meal.
It was my first time in Vegas and I have to say, it wasn't as tacky as I thought it would be. I thought it would be like Niagara Falls, only bigger. It was definitely bigger, but not as tacky. OK, parts of it were definitely tacky, but in an upscale sort of way. In Niagara Falls you kind of feel like you're at a carnival.
The highlight of the trip was the Star Trek Experience. It was more than just a ride. Of course, it also cost an arm and a leg ($38US per person, for a one hour experience!). But it was way cool. They had a museum (or so they called it - it was more of a hallway with displays along the side) with Star Trek memorabilia and props. Some of them were really neat to see. They had them arranged chronologically by when the shows were set - so Zephram Cochrane's outfit was first, followed by stuff from Enterprise, etc. Once you're through the museum, there are 2 different rides you can go on. They're both good. One was obviously a little older than the other, but both were fun and cool. My only complaint was on the one ride they REALLY throw you around in those hard plastic chairs. You weren't allowed to go on that one if you were pregnant, and I could see why!
The Stratosphere tower was also fun. We went up to the top and looked at the views of the city, then went on the "High Roller" which is the highest roller coaster in the world. It is built around the top of the tower. It was fun, even though I was really nervous at first. Kenneth then went on the "X-Scream" which is a ride that dips over the edge of the tower and looks like it's going to let you fall off. I refused to go on that one. I did document his ride with pictures, though. None of them turned out great so I won't bother posting.
We had fun in the casinos. We both lost a little money, but not too much. I was actually ahead at one point, but of course I lost it all back. One morning I was chatting with a bored dealer at the craps table (I was just walking past and he struck up a conversation), and he told me he had one guy who had come in with $500 and parlayed it up to $26,000! I can't imagine. Of course, I would never bet $500 in the first place. Anyways, he then proceeded to lose the entire $26,000. Isn't that awful??
The most freaky thing about Vegas is there are slot machines *everywhere*. In the grocery store. In the gas station stores. At the airport. It's bizarre.