Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining and nightlife and is the leading financial and cultural center for Southern Nevada.
The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, Las Vegas is the 29th-most populous city in the United States, with a population of 603,488 at the 2013 United States Census Estimates. The 2013 population of the Las Vegas metropolitan area was 2,027,828. The city is one of the top three leading destinations in the United States for conventions, business, and meetings. In addition, the city’s metropolitan area has more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world, and is a global leader in the hospitality industry. Today, Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
Established in 1905, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in that century (a similar distinction earned by Chicago in the 19th century). The city’s tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films, television programs, and music videos.
Las Vegas is generally used to describe not just the city itself, but areas beyond the city limits—especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip—and the Las Vegas Valley. The 4.2 mi (6.8 km) stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Las Vegas Strip is in the unincorporated communities of Paradise, Winchester, and Enterprise, located in Clark County.
The major attractions in Las Vegas are the casinos and the hotels, although in recent years other new attractions have begun to emerge.
Most casinos in the downtown area are located on the Fremont Street Experience, The Stratosphere being one of the exceptions. Fremont East, adjacent to the Fremont Street Experience, was granted variances to allow bars to be closer together, similar to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, the goal being to attract a different demographic.
The Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, located downtown along the Fremont Street Experience, is the oldest continuously operating hotel and casino in Las Vegas; it opened in 1906 as the Hotel Nevada.
The year 1931 marked the opening of the Northern Club (now the La Bayou). The most notable of the early casinos may have been Binion’s Horseshoe (now Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel) while it was run by Benny Binion.
Boyd Gaming has a major presence downtown operating the California Hotel & Casino, Fremont Hotel & Casino and the Main Street Casino. Other casinos operations include the Four Queens Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Club (currently undergoing renovation) and Mermaid’s Casino, which are also located downtown along the Fremont Street Experience.
Downtown casinos that have undergone major renovations and revitalization in recent years include the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, The D Las Vegas Hotel Casino (formerly Fitzgerald’s), Downtown Grand (formerly Lady Luck), El Cortez Hotel & Casino and The Plaza Hotel & Casino.
The Forever Flawless Store is located in The Grand Canal Shoppes an upscale shopping mall inside The Venetian Hotel & Casino.
The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino a luxury hotel and casino resort situated between Harrah’s and The Palazzo on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, on the site of the old Sands Hotel. The hotel tower contains 36 stories and rises.
The Venetian resort complex is (together with the adjacent Sands Expo Convention Center and The Palazzo Hotel and Casino Resort) the world’s second-largest hotel, with 4049 rooms, 3068 suites and a 120,000-square-foot casino.
The hotel uses Venice, Italy, as its design inspiration and features architectural replicas of various Venetian landmarks, including the Palazzo Ducale, Piazza San Marco, Piazzetta di San Marco, the Lion of Venice Column and the Column of Saint Theodore, St Mark’s Campanile, and the Rialto Bridge.
The Grand Canal Shoppes was opened along with the Venetian in 1999. The mall has indoor canals, where gondolas take people around the mall. The mall is anchored by a flagship, high-fashion Barneys New York store and contains many designer and upscale boutiques. Live performances can be found throughout the mall.
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