Las Vegas is now more than a gambling haven. . .itâ€™s a family destination, with entertainment for all ages.
Nevada is not where one would expect to find one of the top tourist destinations in the world, but Las Vegas has been challenging expectations ever since being established as an entertainment capital in 1946. In just a few years, Vegas went from being a wide spot in the road to the playground for gamblers, Hollywood stars, and tourists from all over the world. Las Vegas legalized gambling in 1931, but it wasnâ€™t until Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo Hotel on the day after Christmas in 1946 that the Strip, and modern Las Vegas, was born. In the following years, the smaller, â€˜family-runâ€™ hotels and casinos would gradually be replaced by mega-resorts and corporate hotels, and the city that was once based purely on entertainment for adults, began billing itself as a destination for the entire family.
Today, the action has moved from downtown Las Vegas to the Strip. The Strip is actually a four-mile section of Las Vegas Boulevard South, and contains most of the newer mega-hotels that Vegas offers. Many of these hotels are some of the biggest, most expensive properties in the world. Las Vegas is located in the Nevada desert, so the resorts and hotels are open year-round, the sun is always beaming, rain is almost non-existent, and fun is always in season.
Every year the hotels in Vegas get bigger, more lavish, and the entertainment choices more fabulous. On any given night, visitors can chose from old Vegas stand-bys such as Barry Manilow, David Copperfield, and Tony Bennett, to the biggest shows of today like the Blue Man Group, Spamalot, and Penn and Teller, to the more eclectic, like tribute show to Neil Diamond or the Rat Pack. Las Vegas, Nevada is also famous for its championship quality golf courses. Each year, the PGA hosts numerous events and tournaments in and around Vegas, and likewise for tourists, the courses are always in great shape, the sun is always shining, and the bunkers are always raked.
The Strip is home to the largest, most lavish, and luxurious casinos and hotels in the United States. Some of the most famous that tourists will encounter are:
- Circus Circus: Themed after its name, guests enjoy its daily acrobatic shows, clowns, and other amazing displays. One of the older casinos on the Strip, and a Vegas landmark.
- Bellagio: When it was built it was the most expensive and largest casino in the world. In addition to thousands of game tables and rooms, the Bellagio has a world-class art museum, and it features the nightly dancing water fountain in front.
- Ceasars Palace: An ancient Roman-themed affair, Ceasars has waiters working in togas, and is another of the most famous and well-known in Vegas.
- The Venetian: Set to become the largest hotel-complex in the world when its Palazzo section opens, this Venice-based resort features gondola rides along waterfront shopping, a Guggenheim art museum, and 17 award-winning restaurants.
Although Las Vegas has grown incredibly fast in the sixty-odd years since the city found its calling, the best may be yet to come. A monorail is slowly opening that runs the length of the stripâ€”beginning at the MGM Grand Casino and passes the Convention Center, Las Vegas Hilton, before ending at the Sahara. When fully completed, the monorail will connect from the airport all the way to the Sahara. Plans are also under discussion to build the tallest hotel in the world, as well.