Archive for May 24th, 2006

North, South, East, West? What are they talking about?

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Las Vegas CompassWhere I come from, directions might be given like this: “Turn right on Main St, keep going for about a mile then take a left at the light on Town Rd. At the second stop sign take a right, and the building is the third one on the left.” The residents of Las Vegas have a slightly different way of giving directions!

In Las Vegas, it’s more likely to go like this:
“Head south on Las Vegas Blvd for 5.27836 miles past the Mandalay Bay, then turn east on Silverado Ranch. Keep heading east, until you reach Maryland Parkway. Then turn south. The store is on the west side of Maryland Blvd.” I’m not exaggerating!

The first time someone gave me directions this way, I was like, what the #$%^ are you talking about? North where? South on what? What is the matter with you people!

If you’re new to Las Vegas, get used to it. This is the way EVERYONE gives directions. Everything is by the compass! It really starts getting confusing when they start throwing in terms like “south-east corner of Rainbow”. But don’t worry, after you have been CONDITIONED to think like this (yes it’s definitely conditioning / brainwashing / mind alteration however you want to think of it) it doesn’t take long to get into the “Las Vegas” way of giving directions.

Maybe I can help speed up the learning curve a little bit. When I first came to Las Vegas a friend gave me a quick primer on how to start thinking like a compass.

Let’s start with Las Vegas Blvd, parts of which are also known as “The Strip”. This is basically the center of the universe in Las Vegas. Las Vegas Blvd runs North and South. Basically, everything on the east side of Las Vegas Blvd is known as “the east side of town” and everything to the west of Las Vegas Blvd is known as “the west side of town”. Easy right?

OK, lets add in some of the major arteries which cross The Strip. Let’s start at the south end of The Strip (subliminal conditioning taking place). The first major road which bisects The Strip is Tropicanna Ave, heading east and west. The MGM Grand, New York New York, Excalibur, and Tropicanna casinos all lie at the four corners of Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicanna Ave. The next major road to cross the strip is Flamingo Ave, also heading east and west. Caesars Palace, Barbary Coast, Bellagio, and Ballys all lie on the corners of Las Vegas Blvd and Flamingo Ave. We have a great map which shows the strip and it’s main arteries here.

That’s it! What you just learned are the building blocks for getting ANYWHERE in the entire Las Vegas Valley. Within a few months you’ll be giving directions that would make any cab driver in Vegas envious.

So, the next time someone asks you how to get from the Thomas and Mack Arena to the Bellagio, your answer might go something like this: “Head west on Tropicanna Ave, then turn North on Las Vegas Blvd. The Bellagio is on the west side of Las Vegas Blvd. Turn west into the driveway of the Bellagio. Valet parking is right at the front of the hotel.”

Just remember to tip the valet $20 for a good spot! ;)