So, you’re going to Las Vegas for HM14 and looking for a guide to all the fun things to do on the Las Vegas Strip, right?
“When I have friends in town, I tell them not to go to the Strip and to come hang out with me downtown or in the suburbs of Vegas—where the real fun is to be had,” Dr. Damania says. “But I doubt I can tell that to 2,000 rabid hospitalists looking to relive ‘The Hangover 3.’”
To be sure, many of the attendees at the annual meeting will be staying at the meeting’s base of operations at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard. And many won’t venture farther than they can walk.
And, while that’s not the worst idea, don’t be fooled. Las Vegas Boulevard isn’t technically in Las Vegas; it’s actually an unincorporated area of Clark County. That hasn’t stopped the desert destination from becoming a global destination. According to Las Vegas officials, 14 of the 20 largest hotels in the world are in the city, which offers more hotel rooms than any place else on Earth.
The Strip offers a bounty of world-class restaurants, clubs, and entertainment to augment the schedules of those inclined to dabble with its slot machines, table games, and sports betting. And, if you want the top-down view, try the observation tower at the Stratosphere, which, at 1,149 feet, is the tallest freestanding structure west of the Mississippi River.
But Dr. Damania doesn’t want to recommend what you can find in Frommer’s description of the famed Strip. He wants to give you the hidden Las Vegas, known locally as Downtown.
“It is the [more] authentic part of Vegas,” he says, adding that while a rental car helps to reach some places, nearly everything is accessible by taxi or bus.
For example, did you know Sin City has a Chinatown? It’s along Spring Mountain Road, about four miles north of Mandalay Bay, and includes
several enclosed shopping malls. Restaurants Dr. Damania would recommend there include Raku, which specializes in Japanese food, and Kabuto, which feeds him “the best sushi” he’s ever had.
In between are mom-and-pop eateries of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indonesian food. If Mexican cuisine is more your flavor, try La Comida in Downtown, and make sure to order a margarita.
While gambling and grub are hallmarks of both the Strip and Downtown, Dr. Damania also urges friends to hit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for hiking and a view of natural Nevada (www.redrockcanyonlv.org) and take a tour of the mammoth Zappos (www.zapposinsights.com/tours/zappos-tour-experience) headquarters about eight miles north of HM14’s hotel. “That is a fun tour.
To see how the Millennial Generation is changing the workplace and what kind of lessons we can learn for hospital medicine in our own workplace, which I think is way too uptight,” he says.
Speaking of which, that’s the last recommendation Dr. Damania has for every hospitalist in town for the meeting: Come visit his clinic, Turntable Health. It’s an open invite to the thousands of attendees.
If you don’t believe that, just e-mail him at [email protected] to set up a tour—or ask for a restaurant recommendation.