LAS VEGAS – When I tell people I live in Las Vegas, I can see the gears turning in their heads and I prepare myself for the barrage of questions I’m about to be asked.
“Do you live in a hotel?” “Are there even any schools there?” “Do you gamble?”
Trust me, Las Vegas is a regular city just like many others, but the extra glitz and glamor is definitely a plus.
Nestled in the southern tip of the state of Nevada, Las Vegas is primarily known for its tourism industry.
Every night, the neon glow of the signs and hotels illuminate even the darkest nights. The ring of jackpots can be heard from around every corner of the iconic Strip. Street performers station themselves along the path, trying to break out. But Las Vegas is much more.
I live on the west side of Las Vegas in an affluent neighborhood known as Summerlin. It is surrounded by not only the upscale real estate, but the natural beauty of mountain ranges that mark the edge of the valley.
I attend West Career and Technical Academy, a nationally ranked magnet high school. The school offers nine different programs designed to help students prepare for college, ranging from engineering to cybersecurity to biomedical sciences.
I am currently in the biotechnology program currently working on my senior capstone project where my partner and I are researching the environmental effects of nicotine on microscopic organisms known as C. Elegans.
The few times that my friends and I aren’t stressed from school, we love to hang out at different places around town. We enjoy spending our free time in various places like Downtown Summerlin and Town Square.
From retail stores to movie theaters, each mall around town has something for everyone to do. But our personal favorite is little board game cafe, which is our usual go-to spot.
Some other notable locations around Las Vegas include Red Rock and Mountain’s Edge, which are nice escapes for people looking for a good hike. If you’re itching for more of Las Vegas’ culture and history, look no further than Fremont Street and the Mob Museum, each housing classic artifacts.
I encourage everyone to visit Las Vegas, not only for the Strip, but also for its hidden gems. There’s so much to explore and it’s important to go beyond the facade.
To me, Las Vegas is more than a tourist destination. It’s my home.
Nikolai Apilado is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.