Best Place to Take a "Trip"

Desert Diamond Casino

7350 S. Nogales Highway

STAFF PICK: Something about the combination of bright neon, a sign beckoning "open all night," and high-stakes bingo action brings out the weird in our species. Try rolling into the 24-hour Desert Diamond Casino at about 2 a.m., and you're guaranteed to feel like you've just dropped onto the set of Fellini's Satyricon while riding a jittery mescaline buzz. Old Pueblo-style Rat Packers who always wear their sunglasses at night rub elbows with bleary-eyed keno-junkies, spandex-covered suburbanites, and big-haired thrill seekers at the crowded blackjack tables and buffet lines. The fact that everyone is there to fling copious amounts of money into the hot desert night makes it all the more surreal. Stay for more than an hour, and you'll swear that the sound of quarters hitting the slot machine trays sounds like maniacal laughter; clanging buzzers, flashing lights, and psychedelic carpeting adds to the fun. This is a forgotten glimpse of old-style Vegas, before the kids and the roller coasters took over.

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