You've seen the rankings.
Las Vegas is No. 1 in foreclosures, the worst housing market in the nation and among the worst in unemployment, funding for education, teen pregnancy, traffic congestion, crime ... what else?
It's a wonder anyone lives here.
Oh yeah, it's also the "Coolest City" in America, tied with New York City, according to the Aug. 2 edition of Forbes magazine. It's the first time the Big Apple has had to share that billing in three years.
"Times have been tough in Las Vegas and the city is suffering a real estate crash that's among the worst in the country," Forbes said. "But the entertainment mecca still welcomes 36 million tourists a year and the city's relaxed laws around gambling and other vices add to its sense of danger and excitement."
So that's why we live here.
Next on the list were Seattle, Chicago and Oakland, Calif. Market research firm Harris Interactive conducted an exclusive poll for Forbes, asking more than 2,100 adults from across the country which of the 40 largest metropolitan areas were the "coolest."
Here's a twist. Of the single respondents, the largest percentage thought New York was the coolest city, while married people gave the nod to Las Vegas.
"Las Vegas has a reputation for attracting pensioners who come to while the day away at slot machines. But in fact, respondents between 18 and 34 years old thought Las Vegas was cooler than New York," Forbes noted. "Still, while they might imagine it to be a happening place, trendy young folks don't account for the majority of visitors to the city."
Forbes cites the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in reporting the average age of 50 for vacationers in 2009.
Rankings included a count of the number of restaurants, bars and clubs; museums, theaters, stadiums and arenas; and galleries and concert venues.
The Forbes ranking points to the long-term economic viability and financial strength of Las Vegas, said Jonathan Galaviz of Galaviz and Company business strategy consultants. An example of the "cool" factor bringing business to Las Vegas is online retailer Zappos.com, he said.
"One of the things that continues to bother us, in so many ways, is how negative people have become about Las Vegas from various corners," Galaviz said. "It seems as though being negative on Las Vegas is somehow in vogue ... pessimism about Las Vegas is understandable, but we believe that it should be replaced with an optimistic view that the city is capable of quickly bouncing back."
However, the economy needs to diversify and create new jobs in areas of health care, 24-hour dot-com businesses, the film industry and financial services, he said.
"But as long as the free-market sees Las Vegas as 'cool', the city will move forward. We don't have financial formulas or equations to justify that stance, but we hold that view," Galaviz said.
Forbes found the biggest disconnect between the amount of available entertainment and how cool Las Vegas seems to be . While it won out on overall coolness, the city was 25th for nightlife, 27th for galleries and concert venues and third from last for museums and live theater venues.
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0491.