I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, especially since I have accepted an assignment to write an article about that very thing. Face it, if you live here you are in one of two camps:
- There’s nothing special about Las Vegas!
- There’s everything special about Las Vegas!
What I want to know, is what you think makes our town special, what makes it a vibrant community. If you were looking for a place to visit, what would attract you to Las Vegas, NM?
Susie Tsyitee, director at the Las Vegas Arts Council, asked the question at a recent Rotary of Las Vegas presentation: What do you think the common response is when visitors ask, “What is there to do in Las Vegas?” Most commonly the response from people who most often come in contact with visitors is, “There’s nothing to do in Las Vegas.”
Gas station attendants, motel registration clerks, fast food restaurant workers, cashiers at quick shop markets like Allsup’s, these are often the only contact visitors have with our community.
Do people not know about:
- The City of Las Vegas Museum (on Grand Avenue, history and culture)
- The Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center (inside CCHP on Bridge Street, history and culture)
- Montezuma Castle at the United World College (international students and history)
- Five historic districts with self-directed walking tours (history and architecture)
- Hiking (outdoor recreation)
- Fishing (outdoor recreation)
- Camping (outdoor recreation)
- National Wildlife Refuge (outdoor recreation and conservation)
- Special activities year around
- NMHU special events open to the public (entertainment and education)
- UWC special events open to the public (international cultural interaction and entertainment)
- Saturdays @ the museum (history and entertainment)
- Monthly Fort Union “Glimpses From the Past” at CCHP (history and military)
- Gallery 140 on Bridge Street (arts, culture and entertainment)
- Fiesta in July (cultural enrichment and entertainment)
- Places With a Past in August (history, architecture and culture)
- Heritage Week in August (history and culture)
- NMHU Homecoming in September (celebration and education)
- Two national parks (Pecos National Monument and Fort Union) within easy driving distance (history and culture)
- Fridays al Fresco in Plaza Park through the summer (music and entertainment)
- Antiquing (shopping)
- Galleries (shopping, arts and culture)
- Annual Light Parade in December (celebration and entertainment)
- Annual Holiday Home Tour (CCHP sponsored celebration)
Access to much of what happens in Las Vegas is free or at minimum cost. You can’t find a better deal than that.
This doesn’t begin to touch on the private sector sponsored music and arts events like gallery openings, live music at local taverns, amateur productions put on by a local theater group and special events designed to celebrate the talents of local artists in every creative discipline.
There is no better affordable dining experience anywhere! Local eateries have been recognized for generous servings, freshly made entrees with locally-grown (when possible) produce, excellence in presentation and service, diverse menus… Can you tell I’m a fan of our little town?
When I posed the question of what makes our town special to local businessman Charlie Sandoval, he said without hesitation, “History, culture, and New Mexico Highlands University.” My husband said, “Location, location, location!”
What do you think? In one word or as many words as you like, tell me what you think makes Las Vegas, NM special. What shouts, “Las Vegas is a vibrant town!” to you? Respond in the comments section below, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line type LV Special.
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