The Hoover Dam: Must or Bust?

After checking out from the Riviera for my birthday weekend and having some time to spare before checking into our next hotel, Andy and I decided to make the drive over to the Hoover Dam. I have always wanted to see the Dam after learning about what a modern marvel it is, and just wanting to gawk at the massive size this Dam is.

Getting off the highway and going through the security check point, I was getting super excited to see what was laying behind the bends. Our jaws dropped as we wound our way down the mountain where this colossal bridge for the highway appears. It really played a trick on your mind while driving and making you feel quite little with a side of vertigo.

Hoover Dam highway bridge

Hoover Dam highway bridge

I don’t know if it was the Midwesterness in me or what, but I really thought that paying $10 for parking was outrageous when we already knew that we weren’t going to go on the tour (this time around), so we were paying just to walk the Dam. I finished grumbling and we made our way down the maze of the structure and over to the Dam. It really does take your breath away because the size of the Dam is just out of this world.



I had spent three hours the night before getting a tattoo on my shoulder so the crowds at the Hoover Dam were making me nervous. The ‘mustcapturethebestphotoandnotlookwhereIamgoing’ tourists were making me tense my shoulder muscles more than I had wanted, so I becoming somewhat cranky. Also, the sun finally broke through and brought on the heat and I couldn’t take off my sweatshirt so I was baking as the Wisconsin in me does not handle heat well.

We finally found a gap through the crowds and bridge traffic to cross the street and catch a glimpse of the front of the Dam. Capturing a few more photos I couldn’t take the heat anymore so we made our way back to visit the visitor center. We took the 2 minute escalator ride down to the center, walked through the door and found that you had to PAY to visit. Once again, I wasn’t in the mood to spend money on something that should be free, so we busted a U-y and went back up.


Me at the Hoover Dam

Being a travel magnet collector that I am, and even though I was hot, sore and cranky I still needed my souvenir. We made our way into the gift shop, fighting through more crowds, my fist ready in the Chuck Norris position to anyone who grazed past my sore shoulder, we finally picked out one stinking magnet ($4.99, ugh) and a bottle of water (from Costco, Kirkland brand $2.50) and got out of there. Also saw that at the ‘Cafe’ you could spend $6 on a hotdog, $3 for coffee and $2.59 for the same brand of bottle of water.

In the end, even though I was cranky I am glad I got to see the Dam because it is pretty amazing to see the size of it and what it provides for the area (although I am a great supporter for solar and wind energy, especially out here, because I am not on board for the destruction that is happening to the Colorado River). I just felt like for a place that clearly makes money off of the power it provides it really felt like a rip off for visitors.


  • Very scenic car ride from Vegas
  • The construction of the Dam is impressive
  • Although we did not take the $30/ per person tour, we hear that is is a great and informative tour


  • $10 to park
  • $10/ per person to visit the visitor center (don’t call it a visitor center if it is a museum!)
  • The feeling of being ripped off
  • Crowds (I know this is a obvious one, but I didn’t like it)

Ever been to the Hoover Dam? Let’s us know your opinion and maybe we may go back to give it another chance.




  1. I’m torn too. It is too touristy, but it does offer some great views!

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