9 things we wish the rest of the world knew about Las Vegas

Las Vegas is one of those places that everyone seems to have an opinion about, regardless of whether they’ve spent much time here. National media can’t resist playing off stereotypes of freewheeling debauchery, and people who have never been anywhere near the city don’t hesitate to condemn its excess.

It got us thinking: If we could tell the rest of the world one thing about Las Vegas, what would it be? Here’s what our Facebook fans had to say:

It exists outside of the Strip

What’s with people thinking either people don’t live in Las Vegas or that everyone lives on the Strip? Many commenters lamented that for a metro area of about 2 million, Las Vegas is weirdly invisible to a lot of people.

We don’t like haters

If you don’t like Las Vegas, you don’t have to visit, some commenters said. We understand that not everyone is going to fall in love with Las Vegas. That’s fine, but just because you’re not in love with it doesn’t mean you have to discount it as a mindless wasteland every chance you get.

“(I) wonder how people would feel if we trashed their city without ever being in it, because you know just because of the ‘reputation’ our city has people will bash it,” Joy Lewis said on Facebook.

We aren’t stereotypes

“Every city has its main attractions but the general populations doesn’t subscribe. Not everyone in Salt Lake City skis. Not everyone in Honolulu surfs,” Judy Cobb said. A lot of people in Las Vegas work on the Strip, but that doesn’t mean they spend all of their free time there. The great thing about Las Vegas is if we want to go to the Strip, it’s there. But it’s not our entire life.

It’s a real city full of real people who do real things

We go to work and school. We go to the dentist and take our kids to the park. We shop at grocery stores and would sometimes rather stay home and watch Netflix than go out.

“Once you get away from the Strip, it’s just like any other town with normal people living their lives,” Monique Wasson told us.

It’s not a 24/7 vacation

Why are people so confused when they come to town and we can’t drop everything to play tour guide?

“We are not laying out under palm trees with a drink in hand every day like some people think,” Clint Nieves said.

There’s something for everyone

There’s shopping, dining, concerts and gambling. And then there’s hiking, mountain biking and a host of other outdoor activities that feel a world away from the Strip.

“You can be home, but yet so far away,” Wendy Jones told us. “You can do anything from summer sports to winter sports all in the same day just traveling for less than an hour.”

It’s one of the most unique places you’ll ever visit

Las Vegas is at once two different worlds and worlds within a world. You have a normal city surrounding the Strip, and then a million different experiences on the Strip itself.

“Stand on Las Vegas Blvd. — think of any place on earth you’d like to be, then walk a block or two, and experience it!” Jackie Manos said.

It’s unconventionally beautiful

It’s a “great place during the day, but at night it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world!” Bruno Weichert said. Look out over the valley from an expanse of darkness to the bright lights of the Strip, and you’ll see what he means.

It’s home

Two million people have made their homes in the unlikeliest of places. “It’s a city where dreams can come true and where dreams can be forever lost,” Tara Bonacci said. “Las Vegas is what you truly make of it. She can be your best sunny friend, or your darkest enemy.” Whatever happens, many of our commenters said, it’s home.

Contact Stephanie Grimes at sgrimes@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @stephgrimes