Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is the largest city in the state of Nevada in the southwestern United States. The city is sometimes referred to as Sin City.

Las Vegas is located in the middle of the Mojave Desert and is best known for its casinos and numerous shows. It is also a venue for world-renowned trade shows and conventions, as well as a popular conference venue. Las Vegas is supplied with water and electricity by the nearby Hoover Dam, which dams the Colorado River. Before the Hoover Dam opened, Las Vegas was just a small train station in the desert. Gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931, turning what was once a small desert settlement into a metropolis that, after enormous growth rates in the second half of the 20th century, is still growing. In the 1950s and 1960s, Las Vegas became a money laundering operation for the Chicago mafia. In recent decades, Las Vegas has increasingly tried to move away from the image of a pure gambling city, with the aim of building a more family-friendly image. Las Vegas lacks older buildings compared to other US cities. There are only a few buildings that are 100 years or older. As a result, the city lacks some of the historic charm of other Southwest cities, but on the other hand, the lively metropolis, which is brightly lit at night, has its own unique charm with its futuristic casino buildings on the Strip.

The first Las Vegas casinos were not built on the Strip, but in downtown Las Vegas. Meanwhile, however, the Strip of Las Vegas, which is about 4 miles south of downtown and actually for the most part in the area of the city of Paradise, has become the main attraction of the gambling city. Some surviving casinos emerged in downtown Las Vegas in the 1940s. Parts of downtown Las Vegas seem a bit lifeless with their wasteland and abandoned motels, but politicians are now trying to counteract this. However, Downtown is the center of Las Vegas' subculture and artists, with street art and lots of graffiti. The Fremont Street area in particular is the preferred nightlife spot for locals, who often avoid the touristy Strip.

Outside of the lively center around the Strip and downtown, Las Vegas is primarily characterized by decades of suburbanization, so that the metropolis now extends over almost the entire basin of the Las Vegas Valley. About 2.2 million people (as of 2018) live in the entire metropolitan area of Clark County, which is almost three quarters of all residents of Nevada. As a globally important tourist center, Las Vegas attracts around 42 million visitors every year (as of 2018).



The actual city of Las Vegas forms a coherent urban agglomeration with the cities and towns of Paradise, North Las Vegas, Winchester, Spring Valley, Sunrise Manor, Whitney, Summerlin South, Enterprise and Henderson. The city of Boulder City represents the next larger spatially independent suburb.


Getting here

date of travel
The prices for accommodation, tickets for shows and also many other attractions vary greatly depending on the expected number of visitors.

Basically Monday to Thursday it is much cheaper. Prices can be 100-150% higher on weekends, American holidays and bridging days, and major events such as trade shows, conventions, and sporting events. A lot is then overcrowded and there can be long queues. Research on the Internet helps to avoid these unfavorable dates.

By plane
Only Condor flies directly to Las Vegas three times a week from Germany. The flight time from Frankfurt/Main is around 11 hours and 45 minutes. Otherwise you have to change. All major airlines, e.g. United, British Airways, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines offer connecting flights. You should definitely allow enough time for the transfer, as it can take a long time before you reach your respective gate due to the security checks and distances at large airports.

Harry Reid International Airport (until 2021: McCarran Airport) is located directly on Las Vegas Blvd and near Interstate I-15 ("Las Vegas Freeway") and I-215. Most car rental companies are based in the Rent-A-Car Center, a central building complex on Gilespie Street south of the airport, which has a regular bus shuttle service. As with any airport, the hotels on the Strip can be reached by taxi, but a trip can be expensive depending on the route chosen (taxi often take a long detour via the I-15 freeway) or the frequent congestion on the Strip. The cheapest way to get to the Strip or Downtown from the airport is to take the bus from Terminal 1 (accessible from Terminal 3 via a free shuttle service) on Level 0. Downtown Las Vegas (Fremont Street) is served by the WAX (Westcliff Airport Express) bus line, as well as 24-hour bus lines 109 and 108 (northbound to Bonneville Transit Center (BTC)). The fare for a "single ride" is 2 USD, which can be paid directly to the driver in cash. In order to reach the Strip directly with the buses that run parallel to the Strip, you have to change at lines 109 and 108: for example bus line 109 southbound towards South Strip Transfer Terminal (SSTT), and change there to the Deuce or SDX line, or at Northbound transfer at Bonneville Transit Center. Instead of paying cash for single rides, you can also use a credit card to purchase a 2-hour bus pass ($6) or a 24-hour bus pass ($8) from the machine at the bus station, which is valid on all bus routes including the Deuce and SDX routes that operate on the Strip. There is also a private minibus service from the airport to hotels on the Strip or downtown (USD 6.50 / USD 8 per trip).

By car
Every casino offers a parking garage or a large parking lot where you can park your car yourself (“self-parking”). Most of the multi-storey car parks are directly connected to the hotels or casinos and can be reached directly via a driveway from the Strip. In the few cases where the parking spaces are outside the hotel, there is also a driver service. While up until 2016 all casinos on the Strip were free to park in, many casinos now charge between $9 and $12 for parking, usually from the second hour. Casinos that still have free parking garages include (as of 2018) the Venetian, Palazzo, Circus Circus, Planet Hollywood, SLS Las Vegas, Tropicana, and Treasure Island. In downtown Las Vegas around Fremont Street, most public parking spaces are metered.

By bus
Greyhound buses run between Las Vegas and Southern California's coastal centers several times a day in 4-6 hours, as well as a longer service from Denver via Grand Junction, Colorado. The Greyhound Bus Terminal is located off Fremont Street.

By train
See also: Rail Travel in the US Las Vegas has a train station near Fremont Street, but no passenger train has run to or from Las Vegas since the mid-1990s. Amtrak only offers a bus service from some of the stations in the greater area and from Los Angeles.



Some of the casinos can be reached with a monorail. This is definitely a good idea during the day when the temperatures are hot. However, the monorail is at the back of the casinos, so you have to go through the casinos to get to the monorail from the Strip. Otherwise you can walk the strip with all the casinos, provided you have good shoes.

Contrary to popular belief, the city has an extensive bus network. The main lines operate 24 hours a day. The Strip is served by Deuce double-decker buses (24-hour service) and SDX express buses (Strip & Downtown Express, 9:30am-12:30am), which also serve the old downtown area on Fremont Street. For these lines, 2-hour ($6), 24-hour ($8), 3-day ($20), and 30-day ($65) tickets are available in advance only, no sale by the driver. The other lines are cheaper (single fare from 2 USD). Almost all bus stops along the Strip have ticket machines that accept cash (no change!) and credit cards. A ride on the upper deck of a Deuce bus is relaxing from stepping on the pavement and is still sightseeing. However, the Deuce buses are often full to overcrowded and are rarely on time due to the congested traffic on the Strip.

Since the city is quite flat and the attractions are all centrally located, it is also easy to get around the city by bike. Biking is not recommended on the Strip. Traffic on the Strip is usually very dense, there are no bike lanes and very few parking spaces.



Each casino is a sight in itself! It doesn't matter whether it's the Mirage, in front of which an artificial volcanic eruption takes place in the evening, or the Treasure Island, in front of which a naval battle is recreated, or the so-called "theme hotels", which replicate well-known cities and places - e.g. the Paris (with the Eiffel Tower), the Bellagio or the New York. It's incredible what people come up with in Las Vegas. And you can go back to Las Vegas every few years - you can always find new hotels, but you can't find the old ones anymore.


Sights along the Strip

All casinos are worth seeing in and of themselves – many have a theme.
The Luxor is a pyramid and decorated in ancient Egyptian style.
The Excalibur (the first major hotel in recent times (opened 1991) with a theme (fairytale castle) is nice to look at from the outside. On the first floor there is a baking line of Krispy Kreme donuts (viewed through glass windows and then bought/ eaten fresh) .
In the New York New York there is a promenade on the lower floor that is based on the harbor of New York. Here there are more individual snack options than the food chains found everywhere else. A roller coaster runs around the hotel.
The MGM Grand is characterized by the roaring lion and that's why you could admire a few overslept big cats behind glass in addition to memories of film classics. Unfortunately, the lions are no longer there. Magician David Copperfield can still be seen here from time to time.
Park Las Vegas, formerly Monte Carlo Las Vegas, features art from Burning Man, namely Bliss Dance.
The shopping mall around Planet Hollywood is currently being renovated, but houses many small shops and some good restaurants.
Next door is the Paris with the Eiffel Tower (about 1/3 the size of the original) that you can drive up.
The Bellagio is an absolute highlight!!! Inside there is a small noble shopping mall: Chanel, Armani etc. But outside are the Fountains of Bellagio - water fountains choreographed to pieces of music (e.g. "Viva Las Vegas" by Elvis, but also classical music with Andrea Bocelli). are. Absolutely worth seeing (especially at night when they are lit up).
There is also a shopping mall in Caesars, which is becoming more exclusive every year. A few years ago there were also funny little shops where you could browse - now Chanel and Co. are also spreading here.
The Flamingo is the oldest remaining casino on the Strip and has been featured in numerous films.
The Venetian also has a huge underground mall with canals where you can ride gondolas (and the gondolier sings too)
The Circus Circus, housed in a tent-like structure, puts on short acrobatic performances 24 hours a day and also has a small indoor amusement park.
The Mirage has a fire-breathing volcano that erupts regularly. You can also see white tigers and dolphins in "Siegfried and Roy's secret garden".
The Wynn has a huge waterfall.
The Encore mainly caters to a young crowd with its nightclubs XS Nightclub, Encore Beach Club and Surrender Nightclub.
The Stratosphere Tower is an approximately 350 meter high tower of the hotel and casino Strat Las Vegas. Here you have the best view over Las Vegas to the surrounding desert and mountains. A visit at night is also very impressive when the whole city flashes and lights up. Although you can no longer ride a roller coaster at the top, you can let yourself be hung over the edge by a robotic arm, occupy the Freefall Tower or dare to dare on a rope towards the Strip. At the top of the tower is the Top of the World Restaurant.


Sights downtown

Fremont Street Experience Downtown Las Vegas, old Fremont Street has been covered with a giant video screen. The street below is bustling with tourists and street performers. This is also where the cheaper and older hotels like the "4 Queens" and the "Golden Nugget" can be found. The oldest hotel in town (opened in 1906) is the "Golden Gate Hotel" with the telephone number 001.
Fremont East South of the covered Fremont Street Experience is the Fremont East entertainment district. Here you will find numerous bars and music clubs and Downtown Container Park, a family-friendly outdoor attraction.
Neon Museum The Neon Museum is an open-air museum just north of downtown that features neon lighting systems from historic casinos. Regular admission is $20. When taking photos, you should be careful not to step over the stone boundaries at the side of the path, so as not to damage the sometimes fragile historical exhibits.
Mob Museum The Mob Museum gives a look into the underworld of mob bosses and how they influenced the development of the city of Las Vegas. Also has a speakeasy and whiskey distillery. Normal admission is $26.95.


What to do

Play, shop and sweat! Oh yes - and eat: Almost every casino offers cheap breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, all you can eat of course!

If you're staying in one of the big hotels, don't miss the swimming pool. The swimming pools are very nicely done with rivers to float on and drink service right up to the pool.



Arriving guests are already greeted by the first slot machines at the airport. In the city's casinos there are batteries of slot machines, often grouped by type. The one-armed bandits, still known from films from the 1950s and 1960s, have disappeared, as have the paper cups for the coins that came with them. Everything now runs fully electronically as a video. The machine types differ with regard to the determination of winnings: there are 'one line' and 'multi line' versions, i. i.e. in the first case the matching symbols must appear on a line, in the other case different cross variants can also bring a win. The machines can be fed with amounts from 1 cent - the scale is open.

Various other games are offered at gaming tables.

In contrast to the German gambling law, you can also gamble online in Nevada.

In principle, game winnings are tax-free for non-US citizens and should be paid out in full. In many casinos, foreigners, like US citizens, are automatically deducted and withheld 30% tax on winnings of $10,000 or more. Foreign residents can use the US Internal Revenue Service Form 1042-S to reclaim the taxes they have paid. It is advisable to keep all receipts carefully.



In Las Vegas you can get married very quickly and easily. In a County Clerk's Office you can usually get married with a valid passport and at least 18 years of age without waiting. Opening times daily 09:00 - 00:00. Cost per person $60. After that, if you want it to be a little more romantic, you can be married by a person of your choice (pastor, priest, rabbi, shaman...) with this 'marriage license'. However, the marriage must be reported to the competent registry office after the return journey.

Most major Las Vegas hotels and wedding chapels offer wedding packages for wedding ceremonies. Everything you need for this, such as a wedding dress, Cadillac, entertainment and even the wedding guests can be rented.



Electric Daisy Carnival With up to 400,000 participants, the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas is one of the largest electronic dance music festivals in the world. The three-day festival takes place annually on the last weekend in June. It takes place at the Las Vegas Speedway, half an hour north of Las Vegas.
iHeartRadio Music Festival iHeartRadio takes place in on the Strip in September.
Life Is Beautiful Music Festival Life Is Beautiful (LIB) takes place in Downtown Las Vegas in late September or early October.



Las Vegas offers excellent shopping. In and around the hotels there are malls and shopping areas with everything that tourists like to buy. That means clothes, accessories for teddy bears, kitsch, etc. The malls are elaborately designed and made according to a theme, e.g. Arabian city or Roman mall. In the malls there are also cabaret performances or artificial rain. There is also the large shopping center Fashion Show Mall, which specializes primarily in fashion, right on the Strip.

Shopping in the various outlet malls is much cheaper than in the casino shops.

Las Vegas South Premium Outlets, 7400 South Las Vegas Blvd, accessible via the SDX bus route
Premium Outlet Center, 875 South Grand Central Parkway (Be careful of the temperature here as the trails are all outdoors. It can be extremely hot and stressful depending on the weather)

Those looking for inexpensive DVDs and CDs will find a number of pawn shops in Las Vegas that sell used music for $2 and films for $5-10.


Cuisine and restaurants

If you only think of fast food when you think of USA and food, you will be taught better when you are in Las Vegas at the latest. Almost all larger casinos offer a huge buffet with "all you can eat" inexpensively (breakfast between $10 and $25, large buffet in the evening from about $20 to $35). Most of the time 24 hours a day. Breakfast in the evening, dinner in the morning, no problem. The quality and selection is mostly excellent. The idea behind it is, of course, where you eat, you might later gamble away your money when gambling. Few tourists eat outside of the casinos, although you can find everything from basic fast food to fine dining there.

Please note that you will be assigned a seat. In the casinos, you collect before entering the buffet restaurant, then you join the queue to be shown to a table. It is important to tell the ushers the number of guests (e.g. "a party of two"), then it may go a little faster. At the end you leave a small tip on the table; one US dollar per person is considered reasonable.

Besides buffets, Celebrity Chefs Las Vegas have now made their home. Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsey and Giada DiLaurentiis are just a few of the top chefs running their own restaurants in Las Vegas.


Night life

Las Vegas has a lot of shows. In recent years, Las Vegas has been trying to become family-friendly. The image of a "sinful" city that has been built up over the years can only be understood to a limited extent from a European perspective, but for some Americans it already means great freedom if they can hold a beer can open in their hand while watching the laser show on Fremont Street. Most shows are therefore quite tame. Many shows are from Cirque de Soleil. You can pre-order tickets online or buy them at a Las Vegas ticket shop. There are various booths along Las Vegas Blvd where you can buy remaining tickets for the night. This allows for a discount of up to 50% for those who decide on the spur of the moment. Many casinos are also home to clubs and large discotheques, mostly in which star DJs from the EDM scene spin, such as Omnia, XS Nightclub, Hakkasan, Encore Beach Club, or Drai's. Las Vegas also has nightlife off the Strip. Downtown's most popular nightlife district, Fremont East, has more alternative bars, music venues and nightclubs that locals also frequent.



In general, the accommodation is very cheap compared to the general overnight prices in the USA. For example, you can rent a double room in a large casino for around $50, without breakfast, as is always the case in the USA. The breakfast buffet costs between $10 and $25 per person and is very rich even for European tastes.

Recently, many hotels have charged a "resort fee" of $20 to $35 in addition to the regular and often prepaid room rate, regardless of whether you use the facilities such as the pool or fitness room.

At the weekend, prices usually rise by more than 100 percent.

For travelers from Germany or the euro area, it is advisable to check the hotel offers of the major tour operators (self-arrival), especially when the dollar exchange rate is high, as they often offer cheap accommodation prices. Some of these offers already contain the above Resort fee, but you should make sure that this is noted on the voucher.

Accommodation can be divided into three categories:

Most expensive:
The big casinos on the Strip. During the week, however, the older ones in particular can also be very cheap.

Most Inexpensive:
The casinos and motels of Downtown and Fremont Street, old Las Vegas. Downtown there are some cheaper hotels and motels that also charge a resort fee, but have a nightclub instead of a casino. These accommodations can be very noisy at night several days a week and are therefore more geared towards a night owl crowd. There are also some cheap motels in the vicinity of the airport, some of which can be reached on foot from the strip.

So in the middle:
The more outlying hotels and motels. However, these require that the Strip can only be reached by car unless they are on an RTC bus route. Inexpensive mid-range hotels in the second row such as e.g. The Orleans, for example, offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the Strip during limited hours.



Swimming The pools in the casinos are intended for splashing and cooling off and are unsuitable for physical activity. However, there are a few small public indoor and outdoor swimming pools in the city area, such as the Baker Pool near downtown, where competitive swimmers can swim laps.
Rock Climbing Experienced sport climbers will find a climbing paradise with a large number of multi-pitch routes in the Red Rocks in Red Rock Canyon just a few miles beyond the western city limits.
Winter Sports Those who head to Las Vegas in the winter will find the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort in Lee Canyon, just 55 minutes' drive from the Strip, at 8,000 feet above sea level and boasting over 30 ski runs.



About a 5-minute drive from the Strip is the relatively sprawling campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). With around 28,600 students (2015), it is the largest university in Nevada. Other state colleges include Nevada State College at Henderson and the College of Southern Nevada.



Most jobs in Las Vegas are in the city government, the numerous casinos, hotels and motels, the entertainment industry, and higher education institutions.



For the majority of tourists who visit Las Vegas, safety instructions are recommended that are also valid in other major cities in the world. Against the background that the city is trying to shed its dingy image, the city administration has, on the one hand, increased the presence of police and security personnel in the tourist areas around Strip and Fremont Street in recent years, on the other hand, the increase in the price of building land and settlement of the big casinos around the Strip have largely replaced dark corners and dodgy semi-legal establishments.

Because of this, the Strip is safe to walk between the Stratosphere complex to the north and Mandalay Bay to the south at any time of the day or night. In view of the large crowds, you should pay special attention to your valuables. The development is proving favorable that in the casinos the use of the machines is almost exclusively processed via a receipt system, so that larger amounts of cash can safely be left in the hotel.

Caution should be exercised when leaving the Strip, especially after dark. Even the Industrial Road running parallel to the Strip can be problematic. Due to the relatively high number of homeless people in the city and the high number of drug addicts, there are occasional assaults, robberies at gas stations and the occasional small shootout, which are related to drug-related crime. For this reason, it is recommended that you only travel by vehicle outside of the Strip, especially at night. In view of the fact that the other parts of Las Vegas are relatively uninteresting to tourists, this is not a serious limitation.

On the Strip and in the Fremont Street area, you are often approached with a wide variety of offers. It is highly advisable not to react or to stand still.

The area of Las Vegas Blvd between the Strip and Fremont Streets still requires caution when entering after dark. Here you can still find some of Las Vegas' former locations such as strip clubs, table dance bars and, although illegal in Nevada, brothels. Corresponding flyers are also distributed on the Strip, but this is mostly done unobtrusively and does not have to be considered. Prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas. That's why the ladies are officially called strippers (private dancers).

Expect an increased number of drunks on the Strip late at night.

In view of the very high temperatures, especially in the summer months, you should ensure you drink enough and use appropriate sun protection.



Some pharmacies are located right on the Strip (CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens Pharmacy), but most of the big discount stores like Target also have a pharmacy section.


Practical hints

The minimum age for casino visitors is 21 years. Regardless of age, you should always take your passport with you so that you can identify yourself.

Slot machines are grouped in casinos. Depending on the minimum stake and the corresponding chance of winning. If you play the small ($0.05) or quarter machines ($0.25) you get free drinks (including alcohol) after waiting a bit. The service is much better with the 1-dollar machines, you quickly get all drinks and snacks for free. A tip is still expected from the service, about $1 per order. If you have too much money and play at the $100 machines, the service is caring accordingly.

If you're not a US citizen and make a very large profit (say, $10,000 or more) you may be deducted 30% tax, which you can usually recover from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) afterwards. Keep receipts safe!

It is similar with roulette and the card and dice games, there are tables with different minimum bets. If you are unsure about local customs as a visitor, just watch other players first. Everything(!) is monitored with cameras and every casino has its own security service.

There are no clocks in the casinos and the exits are poorly signposted. This has method to keep the player in the casino as long as possible.

Gambling, whether at the slot machines or at the gaming table, is to be regarded as entertainment and requires appropriate discipline. Basically, you have to be aware of the fact that an effective profit is hardly to be expected. So it is advisable to define a fixed budget to gamble beforehand and to stick to it. Slot machines manage around 600 to 800 game rounds per hour, with the result that correspondingly high amounts go through. It is advisable to only play machines that you understand how they work and how you win. Especially with games over several lines, there are always winnings, which only rarely pay back the respective stake and thus create a false illusion. Although you keep making profits, you lose a lot of money.

In Las Vegas, the GSM 1900 network works without any problems. You need a tri-band cell phone to make calls. There are also many Internet cafes, mostly located in souvenir shops.

Internet access in the casinos is often only free in the lounges. Registration or login is almost always required. In many casinos, internet access in the room is covered by the resort fee, but the bandwidth is limited. More bandwidth is only available through an additional payment.



Daily goals
Red Rock Canyon The Red Rock Canyon National Park is only a 25-minute drive from the Strip and a few kilometers beyond the western city limits. This makes it also suitable for half-day tours. Here you can drive the Scenic Drive, hike, sport climb, mountain bike or camp. The one-day pass for a motor vehicle costs $15 (as of November 2018). Red Rock Canyon is known as the setting for the desert and highway scenes in the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998). Also, about a mile closer to Las Vegas is the Calico Basin hiking area, with free parking and the popular Red Spring Desert Oasis picnic spot, which with its deciduous trees is a popular photo backdrop for newlyweds.
Valley of Fire About 55 minutes by car or 80 kilometers from the Strip is Valley of Fire State Park northeast of Las Vegas. Here you can hike or, after registering, camp on existing campsites (with electricity). Thousands of years old rock carvings by the Anasazi Indians can be viewed in the Valley of Fire, for example on Atlatl Rock. The valley's rock formations are also a popular subject for local wedding photos. The daily pass fee for a motor vehicle of $10 (as of July 2017) must be carried and placed in a mailbox using an envelope available on site. The valley is known, among other things, as the setting for the film Star Trek: Generations.
Mount Charleston Only about 50 minutes by car or 65 kilometers from the Strip is Mount Charleston with the 3,632 meter high Charleston Peak in the Spring Mountains northwest of Las Vegas. Here you will find an alpine mountain scenery with a slightly cooler microclimate just an hour away from the lively life and desert climate of the casino city. The parking lots behind the village of Mount Charleston serve as a starting point for well-prepared mountain tours. In the neighboring valley of Lee Canyon is the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort.
Lake Mead Lake Mead National Recreation Area is located southeast of Las Vegas, about 30 minutes' drive or 37 kilometers from the Strip. Here you can hike, swim, book boat trips or camp at existing large campgrounds such as Boulder Beach Campground. The park usually has a very hot desert climate. The famous Hoover Dam (also known as Boulder Dam) is just a 10 minute drive past the east exit of the park. The motor vehicle fee is $20 as of July 2017 and is valid for 7 consecutive days. The Valley of Fire can also be reached from Lake Mead via the Northshore Road (NV-167).

General precautionary measures: Even with these local recreation destinations, you should always carry large amounts of drinking water with you, especially in summer, even if you are only a short distance from the vehicle. Small children and pets should never be left alone in the car;

More distant destinations
Grand Canyon Las Vegas is the ideal starting point for tours into the canyons. So you can reach Zion National Park within a day. The Grand Canyon is about 5 to 7 hours' drive away in the state of Arizona. You can drive via Kingman and Williams directly to Grand Canyon Village or to the slightly larger town of Flagstaff either on the Interstate or via the legendary Route 66 H66. The entrance fee for a motor vehicle into Grand Canyon National Park or Grand Canyon Village is $30 (as of July 2017). Heading east, just past Henderson, about half an hour southeast of the Strip on Highway H95, is the famous Hoover Dam. If you want to book an organized trip to the Grand Canyon, it's worth comparing prices. An excursion booked through a hotel can cost three times as much as one booked through an individual excursion agency.
Rhyolite and Death Valley North of Las Vegas you can also visit Rhyolite, a ghost town from the California Gold Rush era. It's about an hour away on the way to Death Valley. Death Valley National Park itself is a little further west, about an hour and a half from Las Vegas by car.
Phoenix The city of Phoenix, Arizona, is approximately 300 miles southeast of Las Vegas, or at least a 5-hour drive.
Los Angeles The city of Los Angeles in the state of California can be reached southwest via Interstate 15 and is about 420 kilometers or at least a 4-hour drive away.
Extraterrestrial Highway H395 to Rachel/Nevada Rachel/Nevada is about 240 kilometers by road north of Las Vegas on the eastern edge of AREA 51. UFO lovers know this place, the Little A'Le'Inn with the flying saucer in front of it has cult status in these circles. Extraterrestrial Highway H395 is easily accessible via I15 and Great Basin Highway H93. The mostly straight road leads through a very lonely area, so that after a while one perceives aliens. Along the route, please watch out for wild horses that may run onto the road. Rachel itself is a small desert town populated and visited by ufologists and conspiracy theorists. The trip is lengthy, but has a certain appeal when you've already visited many other things around Las Vegas.
Joshua Tree National Park The most direct way to get to Joshua Tree National Park in the state of California from Las Vegas is to take I15 south to the Nipton Road exit just after Primm, then after 3 miles take Nipton Road and again 5 kilometers on Ivanpah Road, turn right onto Morningstar Mine Road, so that you can drive through the desert area of Mojave National Preserve via the towns or waypoints of Cima, Kelso and Amboy to the town of Twentynine Palms in Joshua Tree National Park.



First settlement before the founding of the city

The first non-native person to reach what is now Las Vegas is believed to be the Mexican Rafael Rivera, who in 1829 scouted a merchant caravan on the Old Spanish Trail to Los Angeles looking for an alternative route. Due to the artesian springs and the associated vegetation in the otherwise dry desert region, he called the place Las Vegas (Spanish: "The floodplains").

The first settlement was founded in 1855 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), but was abandoned two years later. The United States Army constructed Fort Baker in the mid-1860s. Because of its springs, Las Vegas became an important stopping point for wagon trains and the railroad between California to the west and New Mexico to the east. In 1903, rancher widow Helen Stewart sold most of her farm property to the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad for $55,000. The entire railway line was completed in 1905 and the company subdivided the farm property acquired due to the brisk demand. On May 15, 1905, property was auctioned off to speculators and investors for a total of US$ 265,000, and the city of Las Vegas was officially founded.


Legalization of gambling; the boom and the decline

The construction of the Hoover Dam from 1931 to 1935 and the legalization of gambling in Nevada in 1931 laid the foundation for the city's rapid growth. In 1941, El Rancho Vegas, the first hotel casino, opened just outside of what was then Las Vegas, and in December 1942 the New Frontier on the Strip followed. Mobster Bugsy Siegel, who had run a betting shop for horse racing in Las Vegas since 1941, bought the El Cortez gambling hotel in late 1945 with several partners, including Meyer Lansky, Moe Sedway and David Berman. It was soon sold for a profit and the money invested in building the Flamingo Las Vegas. It became the first hotel-casino to have a celebrity-performing auditorium inspired by Hollywood nightclubs. Contrary to popular legend, Siegel was not the founding father of the concept of hotel casinos and modern Las Vegas, but followed others who had embarked on this path before him.

In the 1950s, many visitors came to the city to see the atomic bomb tests that took place near the city at the Nevada Test Site in the desert. During this period, the influence of the American Cosa Nostra increased; she controlled numerous hotels. Parts of the casino profits were skimmed off by the gangsters before they could be taxed and ended up with the family bosses who lived far from the city from cities such as e.g. B. Chicago or Miami controlled the casinos.

After that, the National Crime Syndicate declared Las Vegas an open city; i.e. H. unlike other cities, it did not "belong" to a "family" or a criminal clan, but anyone could engage in business here. The bosses financed the construction costs from the 1960's onwards from the newly established pension fund of the Teamsters Transport Workers' Union; In particular, this approach applies to the return of the Cosa Nostra to Las Vegas in the 1970s, which was handled through straw men. In 1974, Allen Glick bought two casinos for $63 million from union funds. The connection was made through official Teamsters channels to Frank Balistrieri, Milwaukee's Cosa Nostra boss, who then contacted Nick Civella. Fund manager Roy Williams only had to sign. In particular, this form of financing applies to the casinos Aladdin, Circus Circus, The Sands, The Dunes and Tropicana.

This detour financing and the "skimming" of the casinos were exposed. By the time a Las Vegas money courier was caught at the Kansas City airport with two $40,000 packages on February 14, 1979, corruption was evident and a string of successful house searches began. In 1986, other Chicago Outfit mobsters were fined $2 million for financially skimming Las Vegas casinos. Moe Dalitz was already looking for new owners for the casinos in the mid-1960s. This role was taken over by Howard Hughes in 1967, who introduced the business models that are still common today and slowly pushed the gangsters out of business. In the 1970s and 80s, the city was still considered increasingly run-down.


New upswing

Since 1990, Las Vegas has been one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. Steve Wynn initiated the trend reversal in 1989 with the opening of the Mirage, which, among other things, was able to attract new and, above all, affluent customers with the Siegfried & Roy Show. Furthermore, the opening of the Las Vegas Convention Center, one of the world's largest exhibition halls, attracted a new audience through congresses and conferences. Since the turn of the millennium, attempts have been made by the city to change the city's image from a Sin City (“City of Sin”) with casinos, nude bars and illegal prostitution to a City of Entertainment (“City of Entertainment”); the goal was to make the city attractive for families with children.

In fact, the city was able to achieve great success: While Las Vegas was the fourth most dangerous city in the USA in 2008, it is in 68th place according to FBI statistics in 2019. The basis of the statistics was the number of violent crimes (murder, manslaughter, rape and robbery) in relation to the number of inhabitants, whereby only cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants were evaluated. The proportion of income generated by gambling in hotels and casinos is also declining in favor of other leisure activities.

Since the 2010s, the city government has been trying to revitalize the city's historic center, Downtown. In previous decades, the neighborhood had lost importance compared to the southern Strip. In 2012, for example, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, an opera and concert hall in Art Deco style, and four museums were opened.

Between 2008 and 2021, the Strip saw some of the largest projects in the city's history. In 2009, for example, the CityCenter opened, a district with hotels and apartments in various skyscrapers, in the planning of which the architectural offices of Norman Foster, Helmut Jahn and Daniel Libeskind were involved. It is the most expensive privately funded construction project in US history. In 2016, the T-Mobile Arena was completed at the southern end of the Strip.

In the Las Vegas mass murder on October 1, 2017, 58 people were killed and more than 800 injured on the grounds across from the Mandalay Bay hotel during a performance by country singer Jason Aldean as part of the Route 91 Harvest music festival.

The 2017 move of the Golden Knights (National Hockey League) and the Raiders (National Football League) to Las Vegas in 2020 further contribute to the growth in attendance. Allegiant Stadium opened in 2020 as the home of the Raiders. The stadium with a capacity of 72,000 was the most expensive stadium in the world when it opened with construction costs of around two billion US dollars.

In 2021, the most expensive hotel project in the city opened with Resorts World Las Vegas.


Economy and Infrastructure

Tourism revenue in 2017 was around 60 billion US dollars, and in 2014 more than 40 million tourists visited the city for the first time. The casinos themselves have a total annual turnover of about 4.5 billion US dollars. Las Vegas has approximately 150,000 guest beds. The cost of building hotels is increasing. The Venetian Resort Hotel cost $1.6 billion to build and the Wynn Las Vegas Casino & Hotel is considered the most expensive hotel at $2.7 billion. Donald Trump built a high-rise with condominiums in the city, and the MGM Mirage Group invested around 7.4 billion US dollars in the CityCenter Las Vegas, which opened in December 2009. The Cosmopolitan, which fell to Deutsche Bank due to insolvency, cost around four billion US dollars.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a dramatic drop in visitor numbers: from 42.52 million visitors in 2019 to 19.03 million in 2020, 2021 saw 32.23 million visitors come to the city.

The largest employer outside of the gambling and tourism industries is the city's government, which employs 20,000 people. In addition to the entertainment industry, the public sector with the University of Nevada and the post office provide jobs here. There are 30 hospitals, and the number has increased significantly in recent years.

Las Vegas' per capita income of $27,988 is slightly above the US average ($27,466). The official unemployment rate is around 5.5 percent, slightly above the American average.

The Las Vegas metro area generated economic output of $122.4 billion in 2018, ranking 36th among the metropolitan areas of the United States. In recent years, the economy has been able to recover and has recorded above-average growth rates in a national comparison.



The desert city of Las Vegas gets 90 percent of its water and drinking water from Lake Mead. The reservoir was completely filled for the last time in 1999, since then the water level has dropped by more than 30 meters. The drinking water shortage - triggered by the water waste, the rapid population explosion and the expanded tourism - caused the city to hire three water waste investigators (colloquially water cops) in the Las Vegas Valley Water District.



Harry Reid International Airport handled approximately 52 million passengers in 2019. In 2021 it was ranked the 10th busiest airport in the world. Far from the city at the time of construction, the airport is now almost entirely surrounded by development.

The city has had Citizens Area Transit (CAT) since 1990 and RTC Transit since 2004, a bus network with a total of 38 lines that has to cover an area twice the size of Berlin (1732 square kilometers). However, even at peak times, the lines are often only offered every 15 or 20 minutes, and they are not coordinated with each other. Only on the busiest bus line, The Deuce, which travels the entire "Strip", you usually only have to wait a few minutes for the next bus until the early evening. In the evenings, however, there can also be considerable waiting times here.

The Las Vegas Monorail has been around since 2004, it takes fourteen minutes to travel from the Hotel MGM Grand to the Hotel Sahara Las Vegas, stopping at the Las Vegas Convention Center and some hotels such as Caesars Palace and Bally's.

The city is on the Union Pacific Railroad's Salt Lake City to Los Angeles line. Since 1997 there has only been freight traffic. The train station is in the Union Plaza Hotel at the end of Fremont Street.



Aria Resort & Casino
Hotel Bellagio
Bally's Las Vegas
Binion's Horseshoe
Caesar's Palace
Circus Circus Hotel
Desert Inn (demolished in 2001)
The Dunes (demolished in 1993)
Encore Las Vegas
Excalibur Hotel
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
New Frontier (demolished in 2007)
Golden Gate Hotel
Golden nuggets
Harrah's Las Vegas
Imperial Palace
Mandalay Bay
MGM Grand Hotel
Monte Carlo Resort
New York New York hotel
The Orleans Hotel and Casino
Oyo Hotel & Casino
Palms Casino Resort
Paris Las Vegas
Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino
Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino
Riviera (demolished in 2016)
Sahara Las Vegas
Sands (demolished in 1996)
Stardust (demolished in 2007)
Stratosphere Las Vegas
Treasure Island
The Cosmopolitan
Tropicana Las Vegas
Trump International Hotel
Venetian Resort Hotel
Wynn Las Vegas

Most of these hotels are concentrated on just two streets, the Strip and Fremont Street. Some of the hotels are replicas of well-known places in the world. The expanded Venetian Resort Hotel replaced the MGM Grand Hotel as the city's largest hotel in early 2008 and was then the second largest hotel complex in the world with over 7,000 rooms. The Bellagio is best known for the Fountains of Bellagio, a water show with water fountains to music that takes place every fifteen minutes. The World Series of Poker is held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino every year.


Arts and Culture

Music and acting

Las Vegas has been known for its numerous shows since the settlement of gambling. Liberace, who rose to fame in Las Vegas, was the first artist to perform in one of the casinos for any length of time. This residency concept has been gaining in importance since the 1940s. At that time, each of the big casinos had its own orchestra and big bands. In the late 1940s, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald were among the best-known musicians who shaped Las Vegas through their performances in the casinos.

The concept of residency also gained importance in the 1950s. Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf and Ronald Raegan, then still actors, played in the concert halls of various hotels. Frank Sinatra's career was heavily influenced by his long-term residencies in Las Vegas, which he maintained from 1953 to 1994. Wayne Newton began his career in Las Vegas in 1959 and by 2019 he had performed over 30,000 concerts in the city. Elvis Presley played in Las Vegas several times during his career, in the 1970s during a successful residency 837 concerts in a row at the International Hotel (today Westgate).

Magicians became popular in the 1980s, most notably David Copperfield and the duo Siegfried & Roy. Copperfield remained active until the start of the 2019 COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, singer Cher also played a successful residency at Caesar's Palace. At that time, a residency in Las Vegas had a rather negative reputation that symbolized the end of an artist's career.

In the 21st century, the successful shows of Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez could bring about a change, the residency in Las Vegas became attractive again. In 2019, Lady Gaga received $100 million for her relatively short residency Enigma + Jazz and Piano. Singer Adele is set to have a residency at Caesars Palace in 2022.


Museums and galleries

One of the most important museums in Las Vegas is the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, or "Mob Museum" for short, which opened in 2012 in the city's old courthouse. The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art will display the Las Vegas Museum of Art's collection until it has its own museum building. The "Cultural Corridor" north of downtown also houses the Las Vegas Natural History Museum and the Neon Museum.

The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art has been on the Strip since 1998. In cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, rotating exhibitions are open to the public. The Aria Fine Art Collection consists of sculptural works by internationally renowned artists that are on public display on Gallery Row, home to many exclusive art galleries. Las Vegas is also home to international art galleries such as Perrotin and Sotheby's.

The Las Vegas Arts District, located between downtown and the Strip, is home to numerous smaller art galleries and exhibition spaces. The First Friday arts festival is held here every month.


Bands from Las Vegas

Five Finger Death Punch (formed 2005), metal band
Escape the Fate (formed 2004), hardcore band
The Killers (formed 2001), rock band
Imagine Dragons (formed 2008), rock band
Panic! at the Disco (formed 2004), rock band



In the summer of 2016, the ice hockey franchise Vegas Golden Knights was founded. In the 2017/18 season, the team started playing in the National Hockey League (NHL). It plays its home games in the T-Mobile Arena, which opened in 2016 and is located in the suburb of Paradise.

Since 2020, Las Vegas has also been home to a franchise of the National Football League (NFL) with the Las Vegas Raiders. This was not an expansion team, but the Oakland Raiders, previously based in Oakland, California. The team started playing in Las Vegas as planned for the 2020 NFL season. Home ground is Allegiant Stadium. The minor league baseball team Las Vegas Aviators, which is currently part of the Oakland Athletics organization, also plays in Las Vegas.

The NBA has held an NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas every summer since 2004, where NBA rookies can gain their first experience and unsigned talent can earn a contract on an NBA team.[38] Plans for NBA expansion have been thwarted by Las Vegas' relaxed gambling and wagering laws. The 2007 NBA All-Star Game was held in Las Vegas.