IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Welcome to [Ba]Sin City!

A guided tour of Frank Miller's dangerous metropolis
/ Source: contributor

So you’ve never been to Frank Miller's Sin City, eh? Well, we checked in with the Chamber of Commerce to find out about the city’s attractions and highlights for visitors. Travelers looking for a different kind of vacation may find just the perfect destination in Sin City.

Pack your trench coatReminiscent of San Francisco, Basin City is rooted in historic ambience and soaked in cultural diversity.  Be prepared to meet a wide variety of people, as the city has drawn residents from all walks of life.  Conversely, the weather can be pretty predictable.  “Rain doesn’t come to Basin City very often.  And when it does, it’s usually pretty lame stuff,” one resident notes.  “But maybe twice a year the desert sky really coughs it up and spits it out.”  In any case, be sure to check local weather conditions before heading out, as you might need a trench coat or your sunscreen depending on the time of year.

If you are a sports fan, then you must know about Basin City football’s recent boost.  Not long ago, the City Council approved a new stadium.  Now, the Basin City Blues, a once-struggling football team, is about to make a return on that investment.  With superstar Dimitrius Knight acquired in a recent trade, expect to see this team make it to the playoffs this season!  The once-flagging local sports scene is on the rise.  Catch a game on the cheap before playoff hysteria drives up demand for tickets...and ticket prices! 

Once a hot (and we do mean HOT) spot for family vacationers, the Santa Yolanda Tar Pits have gone through several phases of existence.  Despite their historic and cultural value as a scientific dig site, the Basin City Board of Tourism pushed to develop the Tar Pits into a theme park.  Riding on the rush of Michael Crichton’s dinosaur fiction, the park did incredibly well for a short time.  Despite the influx of tax dollars, the death of an elderly patron in a freak fall accident ended the resurgence of Santa Yolanda.  All that remains of the park’s once-glorious dream is the statues of dinosaurs that litter the expanse of the park.  A definite photo op!

Not exactly family friendlyAs time has passed, the city has not managed to maintain its family-friendly image, despite its strong religious ties.  The Roark family, much like Basin City’s own royal family, continues their legacy today, marked by the Statue of Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark.  Of gothic design, it stands 20 feet tall.  Often, candlelight vigils are held there to mark special events and the passing of young children. 

The real Cardinal Roark still resides in the city at The Mission, or “Fortress Roark” as it is more commonly known on the streets.  Dating from the 1800s, this stuccoed church and residence is typical of the period.  The bell tower is an especially stunning feature, and can be heard well into the city.  A gift shop is located just outside the gates where you can purchase a miniature replica of the Statue of Cardinal Roark, a Mission snow globe or a cardinal crown made of foam rubber.  A must-see for fans of religious architecture.

Historic Old Town has been noted as the reason for the city’s nickname, “Sin City.”  However, an extensive urban renewal plan is in effect to reclaim this once-polluted area from the clutches of the drug dealers, prostitutes and thugs who openly roam its streets.  A twisty turn of alleyways and corridors, it was rumored to have been designed during the Depression to prevent police investigation and chases.  As one resident notes, “Walk down the right back alley in [Ba]Sin City and you can find anything.”

For our traveling businessmen, we encourage a visit to Kadie’s Club Faces.  One regular patron writes that “Kadie’s is my kind of joint.  Country, and I don’t mean that touchy-feely ‘You Put Me on a Natural High’ garbage they’re passing off as country these days.  No, at Kadie’s, it’s the old stuff.  It’s Conway [Twitty] and Tammy [Wynette] and Merle [Haggard], from back before they went all squishy.  Songs to drink to and songs to cry to.”  Kadie’s offers nightly entertainment from 8 p.m. on.  And the best part of all?  What happens at Kadie’s stays at Kadie’s

If driving, be sure to check out the quaint old-fashioned Good Luck Gas & Oil for your car — and snacking — needs.  Located on the edge of town, it is one of the few remaining full service stations.  The architectural and design detail is exacting, down to the employees’ dress — the original uniforms from Good Luck’s heyday, the ’30s!  Sadly, the gas does not reflect ’30s price.

If you’re a modernist, then be sure to get a room at Mimi’s Night Flight Motel.  Recently refurbished, Mimi’s now sports a retro-modern feel.  Floor-to-ceiling windows offer an incredible view of the city.  Inside, no detail has been spared: original ’50s era boomerang coffee tables, art by Kandinsky, and rich leather furniture make this the hipster’s place to stay in Basin City.  Starting at $89 a night.

Though Basin City may not be getting the buzz it once used to, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the goods for a bang-up trip.  With plenty to do and see, it’d be criminal not to visit!  Take a chance and come see what this fair city has to offer.  We guarantee that you’ll leave a changed person!

—Basin City Chamber of Commerce