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14 things the rest of the country thinks about Las Vegas

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our Silver State stories, it’s that Nevadans — and Las Vegans in particular — are fiercely protective of their home, even if they hate on it themselves sometimes.

As much as we love complaining about the Strip, or tourists, or the heat, or the Strip, we love complaining about haters even more. Just take a look at the feedback we got after a series of Gallup polls showed Nevada in a poor light: The main sentiment? If you don’t like it, you can leave. And if you stay — at least in Las Vegas — you can complain all you want about the horrible drivers as long as you give equal time to celebrating the things we love.

The Gallup polls got us interested in how people outside of Las Vegas view the city, so we asked residents of cities throughout the U.S. to describe what they think of it. What they had to say reflected the dual personalities of the city: The Las Vegas we live in, and the Vegas visitors experience.

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“I think of a split personality:

1. The Strip is a vacation destination spot where people go to live it up. It is a place of low morality, with sidewalks paved with pornographic flyers and trod by people seeking ways to misbehave.

2. Ten minutes from the Strip are clean, newly built, planned communities filled with young families. Parents of these families work to support a good, family-oriented environment by involving themselves in school, church and other more wholesome activities.” -Massillon, Ohio

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“Bright lights and lots of noise on the Strip, surrounded by really dry desert suburbs.” -Barrow, Alaska

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“Admittedly, in spite of the fact that I know I have family in the area who are outside of the strip, what usually comes to mind is a negative reaction about going there because of the strip. The last time I went, I ventured down to the street with some of my colleagues simply to do a little sight-seeing and to get some ice cream at the end of the day. What I saw (or tried not to see) really made me feel like I had descended into (hell). I was so grateful to get back to my room! Coming to LV for me would need to be to visit family outside of the strip area.” -Thompson Station, Tennessee

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Unsurprisingly, people’s views of Las Vegas were split depending on whether or not they view it as a vacation destination.

“Flashy and exciting. I think of drinking, shopping and warm weather. It comes alive at night.” -Spokane, Washington

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“When I think about Vegas I think about being young, alive and fun. Like all the fun in the country could be crammed into that city and the Strip.” -Washington, D.C.

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“I think of Las Vegas as this giant party in the middle of nowhere.” -Charlotte, North Carolina

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“PARTY! SUPER FUN TIMES! And some class because I always dress nicer when I go there.” -Boise, Idaho

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“I think of a vacation filled with debaucherous activities that include, but are not limited to, day drinking at pool parties, strip clubs, gambling, DJs spinning until 4 a.m. and zero sleep.” -McLean, Virginia

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“This is going to be super cliche but all I can think about when I think of Vegas is the typical “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and how Vegas became the city that started that phrase. Everywhere else can’t compare to the craziness that tends to go on when you go there so they say…” -Toronto, Canada (OK, it’s not the U.S. … but it’s close.)

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“Strip clubs, booze and gambling.” -Newport News, Virginia

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“Too expensive to really have a good time, but we sure do try anyway!” -Salt Lake City, Utah

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For people whose idea of a good time doesn’t involve the Strip, the view is more about stereotypes:

“When I think of Vegas, I think of cheap hotels with the stench of stale cigarettes permanently wavering over the whole city. Classy is definitely not a word I would use in the same sentence!” -College Station, Texas

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“I think about the Strip. I hate to say this, but I can’t help but think about what I’m sure are stereotypes. Gambling. Mob-owned and run. Drinking 24/7. Vegas is where the high rollers go to have fun … not Reno. I do think about the unique architecture that the casinos bring to Vegas.” -Sacramento, Calif.

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”I think I would say it’s a city I love to visit but never would want to live. It just seems shallow and boring once you get past the casinos.” -Clearfield, Utah

What do you think? Did they hit the nail on the head or miss what it means to be in Las Vegas? Let us know on Twitter: @reviewjournal

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