Andrew J. Benavidez shares Vegas from a Millennial perspective.
On my first trip to Vegas, I wondered what Hunter S. Thompson would have thought about the incessant pandering towards Millennials that has emerged as a business trend. Would he have seen it as a voyeuristic opportunity to see how far these casinos would twist themselves into knots to please a demographic with fickle and ever changing interests? Or would he have just seen it as trying to draw blood from a stone? I figure he’d get some sort of pleasure from seeing these rich and powerful casinos closing restaurants and rearranging casinos in a frustrated attempt to create Millennial Feng Shui. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, that’s not a real thing. I just made it up, so please don’t go running off with it (I am talking about you, SLS Las Vegas).
Before I go further, I need to come clean with everyone. I am a millennial. I’ll wait a minute for the booing to finish…
Now, I don’t know where these casinos have gotten the idea that Millennials require such a delicate touch. Don’t confuse us with Hipsters who are guided by their apparent universal sense of non-conformity. We’re just low rollers a bit overwhelmed by a legendary city we’ve been listening to our friends and family build up in our imagination. We see this place of reckless abandon and hedonism in our minds and think “Sign me up!” But when we get there, we’re a bit confused. “All we can do is gamble? What about all the history we heard about? What about the great experiences?”
While I don’t appreciate the Millennial Stereotypes (especially that Generation Me BS), I do agree with the idea that we are driven by a thirst for new experiences and Vegas is a great to satiate that thirst. The first time I saw Viva Vision at the Fremont Street Experience, I was completely blown away. To see a party in the street with free-range drinking and an excellent light show set to classic rock, it felt like a life changing experience. It also doesn’t hurt that the prices on Fremont Street are lower which is a plus for my low roller generation.
Millennials need to stay occupied, so variety is key. In that regard, I particularly liked the Stratosphere with its tower, second-floor shops, and horror themed arcade.
South Point, of course, with everything they have to offer (the Peruvian Horse Competition was fascinating by the way). Silverton’s Aquarium had given me at least a few hours of entertainment when I wasn’t gambling or checking out the adjacent Outdoor World (ok, that might just be a Texas thing). And, Fremont Street, always worth another mention because of the almost endless variety of things to do.
So when I hear about these Strip Casinos working double time to make interactive games or try to re-engineer their casinos in some backward way to draw in my generation, I think “Good luck with that. I’ll be at Binion’s trying to find a suitable replacement of my favorite Star Wars slot or at Main Street Station enjoying the architecture and the 777 Beer Sampler.”
[Photos: Andrew J. Benavidez | Cover: Michael Movestro]