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Las Vegas Nevada

Local Culture Entertainment and the Las Vegas Strip

History Las Vegas was founded in 1905, when 110 acres – 45 ha – of land adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks were auctioned in what would become the downtown area. 1931 was a pivotal year as Nevada legalized casino gambling and reduced divorce requirements. At this time, the city also benefited from an influx of construction workers at nearby Hoover Dam. Crime figures such as Bugsy Siegel became involved in the growing gaming center leading to the opening of resorts such as the Flamingo, which opened in 1946, and the Desert Inn in 1960.

Location Las Vegas is on the floor of the Mojave Desert surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides. The landscape is rocky, arid and subject to torrential flash floods.

Culture the city is home to several museums, including the Neon Museum, The Mob Museum, the Natural History, Discovery Children’s Museum, the Nevada State Museum and the Old Las Vegas Mormon State Historic Park. The Downtown Art District hosts numerous galleries and events. The Smith Center is a world-class performing arts center that hosts Broadway shows and other major touring attractions, as well as orchestral, opera, ballet, choir, jazz, and dance performances.

The Las Vegas Strip is 4.2 miles – 6.8 km – long and is located just south of the city limits; it is internationally known for the resort hotels and casinos along its route, including 15 of the 25 largest hotels in the world. The Las Vegas cityscape features dramatic architecture and lights. The latter have been dimmed only for five performers and one Las Vegas figure upon their deaths: Elvis Presley, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, George Burns, Frank Sinatra and UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian.

Entertainment Most of the attractions and shows on the Strip are located on hotel casino properties. The strip is well known for its lounges, showrooms, theaters and nightclubs. Some of the more popular free attractions visible from the Strip include the water fountains at Bellagio, the volcano at The Mirage and Caesars Palace’s Fall of Atlantis and Festival Fountain. The only movie theatre directly on the Strip is the 10-screen Regal Showcase Theatre in the Showcase Mall next to the MGM Grand. 

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