Runner-up: The Chainification of The Strip
In the 90s, when we were young (in our 20s), innocent (maybe not that innocent) and poor (definitely poor), we went with chain experiences all the time -- dining at Macaroni Grill and Red Robin, staying at La Quinta, getting our drink on at Gordon Biersch. But, now almost 20 years later, we're a little more flush with cash and a lot more discerning. And, still in our 20s, miraculously.
Our expectations and options have broadened and now we know that chain is okay (and, in some but not many, surprisingly remarkable), but unique is so, so much better. Just this past year alone, we've delighted to find tantalizing experiences at first of its kind joints. Drooling over dishes at Le Thai, Honey Salt, and Pop Up Pizza, to name a few. Enjoying our resort fee-less suite with a (balcony) view at The Cosmopolitan. Or, boozing it up at The Griffin or the Lady Silvia.
But, you'll notice that 99 percent of the experiences we cited aren't on The Strip. That's because the trend towards chainification continues to grow. And, grow. On the dining front, this year has seen Carlos'n Charlie's, Senor Frog's and Bubba Gump (just to name a few new chains) open on Las Vegas Boulevard. An okay Cirque show replace a so-so one. We could go on, but you get the point.
And, next year will bring more of the same with Hakkasan, the Delano, DoubleTree, and more, headed our way. We're not saying that these experiences will be underwhelming or subpar, they could be amazeballs for all we know right now. We just yearn for the time when the Vegas Strip was an original and not a copycat. Don't you?
(PHOTOS: The Cosmopolitan on Foursquare, VegasChatter)