Las Vegas - International Gambling Paradise
Las Vegas is world-famous for its many casinos and fabulous hotel complexes, which look particularly spectacular in the dark. Visitors also come here because of the great shopping facilities, the possibility to have a quick and unique wedding and to experience the nightlife in the desert city.
Geography - The city in the desert
Las Vegas lies in the south-west of the USA and is the biggest city in the state of Nevada with an area of 340 km². It is located in the middle of the Mojave Desert, which contains several artesian springs (groundwater springs). They gave the city its name , which means "the meadows" in Spanish. Nowadays, the city gets most of its water from the nearby Lake Mead at the Hoover Dam. Las Vegas has about 603,500 inhabitants. Its metropolitan region is even populated by 2 million people. Due to its position in the desert, the city's climate is very hot and there is hardly any precipitation. The average yearly temperature is 18.8 °C.
Culture - Venice, Paris, New York and Monte Carlo all in one place
People already tried settling the city in 1854 but Las Vegas was only officially founded in 1905. Due to the construction of Hoover Dam and the legalisation of gambling in Nevada, the city boomed in the 1930s. Since then, more and more hotels and casinos have been built, most of which are located on two streets: the Strip (a section of Las Vegas Boulevard) and Fremont Street (the old Las Vegas). The hotels are the city's main attractions because many of them are modelled on famous places or offer special highlights. While the Mirage impresses with an artificial volcanic eruption in the evening and the Bellagio with water fountain shows with music which take up to fifteen minutes, travellers see an exciting sea battle in front of Treasure Island. The Venetian Hotel fascinates with a huge underground shopping centre, in which visitors feel as if they are in Venice. You can ride on the canals in a gondola and enjoy the Venetian atmosphere. The Luxor is a pyramid. In front of it, you see a replica of the Sphinx. Excalibur looks like a fairy-tale castle. In front of the New York-New York Hotel, you see the Statue of Liberty and its interiour looks like the Port of New York. Next to the Hotel Paris you find the Eiffel Tower, which is about one third as high as the original. The Monte Carlo was based on the glamorous European principality. There are, however, many other interesting sights. Examples are the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden, the Las Vegas Sign, the Las Vegas High Roller (a gigantic big wheel), the Fremont Street Experience, the Stratosphere Tower and the Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden. Interesting museums are the Neon Museum, the King Tut's Tomb and Museum, the Mob Museum, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum and the Discovery Children's Museum.
Experience - Casinos, wedding chapels and gigantic shopping centres
Las Vegas is known for five things: gambling, weddings, shopping, Elvis impersonators and exciting entertainment shows. There is one casino after another in the desert city and even most hotels have one. Travellers already see the first gaming machines at the airport. The typical one-armed bandits are not very common any more. They were replaced by modern machines. Due to the uncomplicated marriage law, Las Vegas is a popular wedding location. You can get married wearing the classic white dress or a costume in one of the many wedding chapels. There are even wedding drive-ins for those who are in a hurry. Besides casinos and wedding chapels, the hotels fascinate visitors with their luxurious shopping centres. A real highlight is the Bellagio. Las Vegas simply offers everything the heart desires. Travellers who stroll along the Strip will see many Elvis impersonators. A photo with the King of Rock 'n' Roll is one of the most popular souvenirs. In the evening, when millions of lights light up the city, there are countless shows. They have, however, become tamer in recent years because the city is trying to get a more family-friendly image. Nevertheless, Las Vegas is still one of the cities with the best nightlife in the USA. There is a great number of bars and lounges and even the hotels have their own night clubs. In addition, Las Vegas is an excellent destination for eating out. Besides numerous fast food chains, you find many noble restaurants here. Most people, however, eat in the casinos. They often offer cheap all-you-can-eat buffets, which you can use 24/7. An advantage of that is that you can stay close to the gaming machines. Viva Las Vegas!
Activities - The Golfing Paradise in the Mojave Desert
There is a lot to see and do in Las Vegas, also outside of the casinos. Helicopter and balloon flights, during which you can admire the city from above, are very popular. This experience is particularly spectacular at night. If you prefer staying on the ground, you can go hiking, riding or cycling in and around the city. Golfers can pursue their hobby on over 35 golf courses. Holidaymakers find refreshment in the Wet 'n' Wild Las Vegas (a water park) or in the hotels' great pools. A unique experience is a visit to the Heavy Equipment Playground, on which you can operate real construction machines. Even more adventurous activities are quad biking in the desert or ziplining. You definitely get a rush of adrenaline while tandem skydiving or flying a plane in the style of Top Gun and Air Combat. Travellers who love fast cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Astin Martins can fulfil their dream during the Exotic Car Driving Experience. Day trips to Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon are a welcome change to the city life.
Las Vegas has its own airport, McCarran International Airport, which is about 5 kilometres south of the city centre. Travellers can use the Greyhound intercity bus from most US American cities or the car. The hotels all have large car parks, on most of which you can park for free. The Las Vegas Monorail travels between many casinos and parallel to the Strip. In addition, the city has a relatively well developed bus network.
Las Vegas is an exciting city at day but even more so at night when all its attractions and hotels are ablaze with light. The city is booming due to its reputation as a gambling and shopping paradise and a mecca for people who want to get married or entertained. The breathtaking hotels, which are often modelled on famous places, create an international atmosphere.