People who visit Las Vegas tend to spend most of their time on either The Strip or in the downtown core where the locals hang out. The Strip is where you’ll find all the grandest casinos and hotels, like Caesar’s Palace and the MGM Grand. It’s also home to extreme nightclubs and awesome entertainment venues for shows like Cirque du Soleil. Downtown is the place to be for cheaper but awesome local eats and has a more pub-like atmosphere away from the glitzy nightclubs. You can’t pass up seeing the light show at Fremont Street!
Places to Visit in Las Vegas
- The Strip
- Fremont Street
- Caesar’s Palace
- Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- The legendary Golden Nugget
- Mob Museum
- The Bellagio fountains
Unique Things to See and Do in Las Vegas
- Zip line over the crowds at Fremont Street
- Take a gondola ride at the Venetian
- Party on the rooftop at Drais
- Take a limo tour of the city
- Pose for photos at the famous Las Vegas sign
- See some live shows, like Cirque du Soleil
- Take a day trip outside the city, like to Red Rock Canyon
- Ride a rollercoaster on top of the Stratosphere Tower
Las Vegas History
How did such a lawless, wild city like Las Vegas come to be in the middle of the desert, seemingly surrounded by nothing but open land? Flying into Las Vegas is always a bewildering experience. There’s nothing but rock and desert until suddenly there’s a super-city stretching to all corners.
Although both Native American groups and European pioneers were already in the area for hundreds of years, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that Las Vegas started growing in notoriety. At the time, Nevada was well known for being a place where couples could get divorced. The construction of the railroad brought people into the Las Vegas area.
Although gambling was initially illegal, that didn’t stop speakeasies and outlawed casinos from popping up all over the city. When gambling became legal in 1931, the organized crime network had already taken hold in Las Vegas. Then, construction of the Hoover Dam began in 1931, bringing huge droves of workers to the city. Casinos and strip joints were opened on Fremont Street, and the dam started powering the millions of Las Vegas’s lights and billboards.
The Strip was developed in the 1940s with casinos and hotels. The notorious gangster Meyer Lansky took it all to the next level by opening the Flamingo, a fancy resort that drew celebrities and huge talent. By the 1950s, Las Vegas was seeing something like eight million visitors a year, and performers like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley made regular appearances.
Eventually corporate bigwigs bought out the mobster-owned hotels, and in 1989 the first mega-resort opened (the Mirage). That’s why nowadays The Strip is dotted with casino-hotels like The Venetian, MGM Grand, and Caesar’s Palace. You can take a trip around the world simply by being on The Strip. And Las Vegas’s popularity isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even in times of recession, Las Vegas thrives!
Getting Around Las Vegas
Lucky for the budget traveller, most everything for tourists is within walking distance wherever you stay in Las Vegas, whether it’s on The Strip or downtown. Although word to the wise: the heat can hit you like a suffocating blanket! Taxis are available in abundance, and you’ll find a stand outside all major hotels. However, getting between The Strip and downtown can be pricey by taxi.
Did you know…?
Las Vegas has its own underground city. There are nearly 1000 people living in the tunnels beneath the major hotels and casinos on The Strip.
Did you ALSO know…?
Las Vegas has over 15,000 miles of neon tubing in the city, seriously. You can learn all about the city’s glowing history at the Neon Museum.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Las Vegas
There’s no wrong time of year to visit Las Vegas. It’s glorious year-round. However, the city can get surprisingly cold in the winter months, with temperatures dipping to below freezing. Summers are the opposite extreme, with oppressive heat, although air conditioning is found literally everywhere as are some amazing hotel pools!
You’ll find fewer crowds during the holiday season between Christmas and New Year’s, as well as mid-week. Most people tend to come for the weekend. To save money, you’ll find the best deals during the holiday season and after Labour Day.
Ready to plan your visit to Las Vegas? Check out these popular guides and trips.