Las Vegas offers attractions beyond stereotypes


By Derrick Lytle

LAS VEGAS — Sin City, the home of the West Coast Championships and soon the temporary home of BYU sports’ loyal fan following.

For Vegas, this means a lot of new visitors, although these travelers are definitely out of the norm in the city that never sleeps. Consequently, Cougar fans must get creative to enjoy themselves while in Vegas.

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The Bellagio fountains are a landmark in Las Vegas where the West Coast Championship began this week.
While known as a tourist destination and a place to gamble and drink,  Las Vegas also offers more than this stereotypical experience.

Patrick Weber, a Gonzaga fan from Washington, flew to Las Vegas primarily for the tournament to support his team but also to enjoy the diversity in the city.

“It’s a great place to people watch,” Weber said while standing in the Bellagio’s Botanical Garden, which is currently themed around Chinese New Year. “They come from all corners of the earth to visit Las Vegas.”

Known all over the world as “The Strip,” Las Vegas Boulevard is tourist central and is a draw for Weber because of the variety of people.

The Strip is a literal maze of casinos, restaurants and entertainers who seek to capture the eye of the flood of foreigners who flock the area daily.

With a small black card table set up next to a row of trees, in front of the famous Bellagio fountains, is street magician Krystal Lawrence, a 19-year Las Vegas resident. Leaning against a tree and glancing up from her iPhone, she offered advice for those coming to the city.

“I know it’s a touristy thing to say but the sightseeing is great,” Lawrence said. “Going to the Venetian Hotel or just watching the Bellagio fountains. You’re not going to find this kind of thing anywhere else in the world. It’s really beautiful.”

She did offer specific advice for BYU students and fans.

“You can handle the Strip but don’t touch Fremont Street,” she said.” Fremont Street is like the strip’s bad cousin.”

Bridgid Spellman, a 1972 Gonzaga alumna from Sumner, Wash.,  flew to Las Vegas for the tournament but also to meet up with a college roommate and enjoy the good weather.

“It’s really so damp in Western Washington,” Spellman said. “It’s just fun to get away form the damp, cold weather and hopefully get some good sun here and just enjoy it, just relax.”

For BYU fans, here’s some family-friendly attractions and shows:

Donny and Marie are in a long-term run on the Strip and The Osmond Brothers are playing The Orleans, home of the WCC tournament, this weekend.

Bellagio Fountains and Botanical Gardens

Circus, Circus Adventuredome

New York, New York Roller Coaster

Coca-Cola Store

M&M World

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