Smackdown: Las Vegas vs. Dubai
Each week, Yahoo Travel pits rival destinations against each other to determine once and for all which one is the best. Up this week are two desert playgrounds: Las Vegas and Dubai.
The Case for Las Vegas by Bill Fink
If you want it, Vegas has it. Twenty-four hours a day, a place where you can leave a nightclub at sunrise and go straight to a poolside cabana to plot out the next day’s agenda of gambling, entertainment, fine dining, exotic cocktails, and perhaps a leap off a tower or firing some automatic weapons.
But this isn’t some antiseptic shopping mall and prefab theme park like Dubai. This is Sin City, baby. Just about anything goes, as long as you tip right. In Dubai, it’s tough to even get a drink, while in Vegas, you look naked walking the streets without one. Built by schemers and swindlers, visited by dreamers and performers, Vegas has been the setting for dozens of movies for a reason: It has soul.
Population: About 600,000.
Elvis Presley (Photo: Getty Images)
Famous faces: Andre Agassi, rock band The Killers, porn icon Jenna Jameson, and baseball über-bro Bryce Harper were all born here. But it’s the famous faces of visiting celebrities that have made Vegas what it is. Performances on and off the stage by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack; Elvis and his jeweled capes; multiyear “residence” concert series by Elton John, Celine Dion, and Britney Spears; and all the celebrities offstage at the high-roller tables, ringside at a prize fight, behind the velvet ropes at the top clubs — Las Vegas is the ultimate spot to see and be seen. In Dubai, you just get a sheik who thinks he’s a rock star. I’ll wager he can’t tap-dance anything like Sammy Davis Jr. could.
Party limo (Photo: Thinkstock)