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It’s easy to love Las Vegas for the obvious reasons: The great food scene, the beautiful outdoors, the exhilarating freedom to blow your stimulus check on a Deuces Wild machine at 3 a.m. But when those pleasures are clouded by pandemic fallout, what’s left to love? You have to dig a little deeper. That’s the premise of this issue’s feature story that celebrates Las Vegas in unconventional fashion. We asked ourselves: What are the less tangible, less obvious reasons we love Las Vegas — and not just love love, but love with those deeper shades of feeling that require patience, engagement, reflection? We’re talking about those begrudging fondnesses, unlikely endearments, and droll affections that emerge only when you’ve either lived here a good while or taken the time to think (and feel) through your relationship with the many sides of Southern Nevada. In sharing these niche enthusiasms for some of Las Vegas’ quirks and hidden virtues, we hope you’ll find some new reasons to love where you live as well.

Here’s another way to share your love: By entering our 2021 “Focus on Nevada” photo contest. Now in its ninth year (!), our annual photo contest has become a veritable Desert Companion tradition that celebrates the diverse visions of our vibrant state. Whether you’re shooting with a smartphone or state-of-the-art gear, there’s a category for everyone — and a chance at $4,000 in prizes. Enter before April 1 at

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