Explaining Las Vegas to People in Reno

Meya Dicks a student at the University of Nevada, Reno, is used to the stereotypes, and details how being from Vegas is not all about the hangovers.

I’m originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. Home of the Strip, drive-thru chapels, and casinos, we have it all. Las Vegas is often boiled down to gambling, strip clubs, and the like, but it is full of vast diverse communities who call the city home.

When I moved to Reno, I was met with the stereotypes of my city full force.

Not limited to the ideas that people must party all the time, everyone who lives there must work in casinos or some form of hospitality, and overall it must be fun to live there.

While some of these ideas hold true, it isn’t the complete reality. While many people do party, if you’re under the age of 21, there isn’t much to do.

When I lived there, I spent most of my time in coffeehouses, Targets, or hiking; I can’t remember the last time I even visited the Strip which is where the majority of casinos and clubs are.

Many people do work in hospitality, but often the jobs exist for those who are less educated and therefore more easily taken advantage of because they don’t know their rights. It is arguably a very exploitative industry. Unless you have a strong community related to ethnicity, religion, or race, the city is as boring as any small town.

Within the media, movies such as The Hangover are a perfect example of how the city is represented.

It is a place where people throw bachelor parties, spend all their money gambling, or get wasted at strip clubs. In movies and tv shows, the people who live in the city aren’t portrayed, it’s just people visiting. In newscasts or articles, often the focus is just on the Strip as if it is the epicenter of Las Vegas. The Strip exists solely for tourists, unless it’s your 21st birthday, no one visits the Strip. The city itself is often ignored.

While I may hold disdain for the city and I did everything in power to get out, it still is home. There are vast communities if you know where to look. I found home in the Jewish community, and LGBTQ+ community.

There is Chinatown, while the name only includes China, it is the epicenter of culture for many Asian-Americans. North Las Vegas is home to many people of color where their own communities have thrived. Las Vegas is more than the stereotypes it is boiled down to.

Reporting by Meya Dicks shared with the Reynolds Sandbox

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Reynolds Sandbox

Reynolds Sandbox

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.