#LasVegas is the realest hashtag on Instagram

Las Vegas is a place I have never visited. I can’t think about that for too long without feeling sad, because I love the idea of Las Vegas, and I know that someday I will go there and float stoically in the sparkling Marquee Dayclub pool for ever and ever. 

See ya later #lasvegas 🇺🇸♣️♥️♠️♦️#elvis #nobuandpipgethitched

A photo posted by Pip Tanaka (@piptravels) on

Say what you want about the city; there’s a profound, mysterious beauty in things that shouldn’t exist but do.

There are only three ways to experience #LasVegas: Family trips, EDM, and Dan Bilzerian. A large swath of #LasVegas is dedicated to the advertisements of camgirls—not because they’re located in Las Vegas, but because they, like the city, are a universal symbol of a good time, money, and unrealized ennui. Looking at #LasVegas photos on Instagram makes me crave a group vacation—or wish I hadn’t been such a loser in high school, so that I could now be invited to Vegas bachelorette parties.

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A photo posted by #DPCperformancegraphix (@obeewanton) on

Family trips are strange, decadent affairs in Sin City. No friend of mine who went to Vegas as a kid remembers enjoying it. It’s an inherently contradictory place to take kids, except that it shouldn’t be because there are buffet chocolate fountains, brightly-colored flashing things everywhere, and magic shows. It’s really a kids’ town, and this Danish family is doing it so right with a limo. I also enjoy his woman who posted several photos at the Bellagio all at once with the slightly ominous hashtag “#finaltrip.” Are they…not ever coming back to Vegas?

#wedding #bellagio #lasvegas #finaltrip

A photo posted by Chiara Spaggiari (@chiaraspg) on

I also really enjoyed this post from a Las Vegas helicopter tour service. The caption “Our pilot Fred is at it again!” perfectly complements an extreme close-up of Fred hamming it up for the camera while a couple waits off to the side for a tour with their wacky and fun-loving pilot.

When #LasVegas is not absolutely inundated with camgirl advertisements or the same promo poster for a Future show 1,345,956 times, it is mostly women alone in front of things. Woman alone in front of the Venetian. Woman alone in front of the Las Vegas sign. And, perhaps conveying the side of Vegas that scares us all a bit, woman alone in front of slot machines.

#lasvegas#venetianhotel#palazzo#benatkyvovegas#blonde#usa#vacation

A photo posted by Martinka Zrubakova (@martinkalinka) on

Nigel the lakwatsera ✈️ #lasvegas

A photo posted by Nigel Pennington (@nagenags) on

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There’s also the EDM scene. Did you know that if you say the syllables ee-dee-em aloud three times in Vegas then these dudes magically appear?

Party time 🎉🎉🎉 @dbstf #YesterdayIsGone #lasvegas #dashberlin #dbstf

A photo posted by Dash Berlin Official Insta (@dashberlin) on

People look down upon electronic dance and house music with a very specific and cutting derision, but is there ever a time where you see of photo of someone at Skrillex and they don’t look like they’re having the actual best time of their life? I know the reason for that is the same reason a tech bro looks so blissed-out at Burning Man, but still.

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Zio Dan #lasvegas #danbilzerian

A photo posted by Vincenzo Merafina (@vincenzomerafina91) on

Dan Bilzerian, meanwhile—millionaire playboy poker player, and thrower of porn stars—is blind aspiration incarnate. Las Vegas is a place built purely by whim with no real, natural reason for settlers to migrate there. He is the pièce de résistance, the cargo pants-wearing, machine-gun-toting Sinatra of the whole city. Like God, Dan Bilzerian is everywhere in Vegas, and even when he’s not there, he’s there. He’s this bottle of Grey Goose up against the skyline; he’s Angieliciousx wearing a fur vest and black bikini at the MGM Grand. Dressed always as an incongruously wholesome-looking outdoorsman, he is here, here and here.

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These people lead lives I can only pretend to understand. I will never enter the realm of existence, for example, that this Australian actress inhabits when she poses on the edge of an infinity pool in a tutu. 

Vegas is a place where people relentlessly go all in, whether it’s a grandma spending her social security check at a grocery store or someone who has made their profession Having a Good Time. That’s why #LasVegas is the realest hashtag on Instagram.

Photo via Moyan Brenn/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)