‘So, there we were, casually rolling through the deserts of New Mexico in the early morning sunshine, when we spotted a highway sign for Las Vegas…’
Las Vegas, New Mexico is a million miles from (figuratively speaking) from Sin City, Nevada. And that wasn’t a bad thing at ALL.
Las Vegas is a 60-minute drive North of Santa Fe and we stumbled upon it on the way to Colorado. When you see a sign for Las Vegas, you *must* turn off the highway and visit; even if it is just to go home and tell your friends and family that, yes, you’ve been to Vegas and no, there are absolutely NO casinos there, despite what people keep telling you.
Not a casino in sight…
Las Vegas, New Mexico is a fairly large city, comparatively speaking. I didn’t spot a single slot machine, neon sign, or drunk person the whole time I was there. Admittedly, it was only 9 am when we arrived, but I feel the lack of drunks can only be seen as a positive.
However, I’d like to point out that I didn’t explore the entire length and breadth of the town. Therefore, there *may* have been someone sleeping off a little too much tequila from the night before; I couldn’t say for certain.
Anyway, exiting the I25 at one of three exits will see you rock up in Las Vegas. From there, you can head downtown for a walk along the beautiful Bridge Street. Las Vegas, New Mexico is everything that Nevada’s city isn’t. It’s rather quiet and peaceful in the early morning sun; lined with little parks and pleasant places to sit and relax. It seems to transport you back to the days of the Wild West with the gorgeous building facades lining the main walkway.
There’s nothing I don’t love about feeling like I’m in ‘Real America’. I have no idea what that actually means, but it’s the only way I can think of to describe it… The lazy pace of life: early morning coffee stops; people driving by in their pickups with a dog riding shotgun; and not a Starbucks or Subway in sight. This, to me, was a little piece of Heaven.
Las Vegas, NM, is the seat of San Miguel County and sits around 120 miles North East of Albuquerque. There’s a surprising amount to do, including visiting the LV Museum, nearby Storrie Lake State Park, the National Wildlife Refuge, and the beautiful Our Lady of Sorrows Church. My favourite thing was to sit in the vintage Plaza Drugs cafe and enjoy the views, but that’s just me.
Not to be outdone by its Nevada counterpart, Las Vegas, NM has a pretty rich and rather dodgy history of its own. When the Santa Fe Trail and the railroad was established, Las Vegas was transformed into a lawless city. It attracted no-gooders, such as Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Jesse James and Wyatt Earp. You can only imagine what going for a quiet pint in the saloon must have been like on a Saturday night.
These days, the city appears to be rather law-abiding and quiet. I saw no one gun slinging along the main street and not a horse and cart in sight. I think I just found me a new favourite Las Vegas.