Las Vegas is known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World” for good reason. The perpetually illuminated Las Vegas Strip, a 4.5 mile long boulevard, buzzes day and night with enormous theme resorts, dancing fountains, eye-catching characters, noisy casinos, tempting restaurants, high end boutiques, and kitsch souvenir shops.
Urbanites flock to the city every weekend for a quick getaway as do millions of tourists from around the world each year. It is one of the USA’s fastest growing metropolises and certainly one of its top tourist destinations.
Located in the Mojave Desert of Nevada in the southwest USA Las Vegas is best known for its glitz, glam, and roaring entertainment. Many conventions are also held there each year. It offers some of the world’s most unique resorts and entertainment venues in a concentrated area. Some famous hotels include the luxurious Bellagio, the Italian inspired Venetian, the Luxor, Paris Las Vegas, and New York New York.
The list of shows to be seen in Vegas is extensive and ever-changing, often including some of the biggest names in entertainment.
Outside of Las Vegas is a starkly contrasting serene desert landscape. Lakes, rivers, Hoover Dam, and many national parks are nearby including the great Grand Canyon which can be reached via a thrilling helicopter ride from Vegas in only about an hour.
- When To Go
- Top 5 Sites
- Top 5 Things To Do
Las Vegas is one of the USA’s fastest growing metropolises with a famously eclectic mélange of people. Locals include ordinary Nevadans, hot-shot hoteliers, celebrities, singers, performers, Elvis impersonators, showgirls, tourists, taxi-drivers, and transients.
Many people work in the hospitality or entertainment industry. Some of the country’s top hospitality and hotel management programs are located in Vegas. Many conventions are also held in Vegas throughout the year.
Locals that tire of the glitz and constant hum of the Strip (or avoid it entirely) can recreate in many nature areas surrounding downtown Vegas. Lake Mead is a short drive away with plenty of options for water sports, boating, cooling off in the heat of the summer, and hiking. Other parks within a few hours’ drive include Zion National Park, Death Valley National Park, and the Grand Canyon (about an hour from Vegas by plane or helicopter or a 4-5 hour drive).
There are many parks, golf courses, lakes, and recreation facilities in the city’s environs. Vegas is a popular place for retirement and increasingly popular with families. Most residential communities are located outside of the main downtown area.
Nearly every type of food imaginable can be found in Las Vegas. Famous chefs have set up world-class restaurants in classy resorts while the casual American diner, tempting inebriated tourists with greasy hamburgers and fries, is never far away. International cuisines are well represented including Italian, Mexican, Asian, fusions of cuisines, and more. The plethora of restaurants and the variety of cuisines that make up the Las Vegas culinary repertoire are mind boggling. The city is a haven for food enthusiasts.
US Dollar ($)
When To Go
Las Vegas is located in the Mojave Desert of Nevada. The climate can be very hot and dry, especially from June through August, when temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) are not uncommon.
It is a popular weekend destination for many people so hotel rates are generally higher on the weekends. Many conventions, concerts, and shows are held in Vegas throughout the year drawing people from around the world, which can mean crowded venues and higher prices during big events. It’s a good idea to check a Vegas event calendar prior to your trip, which may provide inspiration for an exciting show to attend or may lead you to postpone plans for another weekend depending on what’s happening. Las Vegas is a popular and highly visited destination year round.
Pretty much anything goes in Las Vegas as far as dress is concerned. For the typical tourist with plans to hang out by the pool, stroll the Strip, and visit a few awesome shows, an assortment of lounge wear and stylish formal wear is recommended. Temperatures can be extremely hot during the height of summer, making the resort pool (many of which are embellished with fountains, slides, poolside bars and waterfalls) a popular place to hang out.
There are entertainment shows and nightclubs galore in Vegas, some of which may have a strict dress code while others are far more lax. The night brings out the most fancifully dressed, along with vacationers in shorts and t-shirts looking for a good place to eat and the chance to try their luck at the slot machines.
Appropriate clothing depends on planned activities and personal preference. Even in the hottest months indoor temperatures in air conditioned resorts and restaurants can be unbearably cold so a sweater is recommended.
Las Vegas is easily reachable by air from many major cities in the US. The main airport is located less than ten miles from the city center. It is also possible to arrive by car or by bus. Taxis and shuttles are available from the airport to the downtown area.
Once in the main downtown area it is possible to get around by walking or by taxi, bus, or monorail. The Las Vegas Monorail connects resorts from either end of the Strip. Most hotels, restaurants, venues and attractions are located along the Las Vegas Strip, which is about 4.5 miles long.
For day trips or excursions beyond the downtown area a car may be necessary. Driving along the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) is not usually necessary, nor recommended, as there is usually heavy traffic most of the time.
Visitors should be aware that Las Vegas is a highly populated metropolis with a large number or visitors and a wide range of people from all walks of life. It is generally a safe place to travel to, even with a family, if one travels responsibly and wisely. Most reputable hotels have a safe in the room for storing valuables.
Travelers should be aware of their surroundings at all times and should use only licensed taxis and operators. Most of the main resorts and casinos have security personnel and surveillance cameras.
Heat exhaustion can pose a risk, especially for children and the elderly. Temperatures in the summer can regularly reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, though all of the main facilities off the Strip are usually well air conditioned. Stay hydrated and avoid over exhaustion, especially at mid-day when the heat is at its peak.
Las Vegas is located in Nevada, USA. Visa requirements are the same as elsewhere in the US. Most citizens of the UK, Canada, Australia, and many European countries can visit the US without a visa if staying for no more than 90 days and if visiting as a tourist. Entry regulations can change without notice so it is best to check up to date policies before travel. All visitors are required to present a valid passport upon entry into the country.
Top 5 Sites
1. The Las Vegas Strip (4.5 mile stretch of Las Vegas Blvd.)
3. The National Atomic Testing Museum
4. Mob Museum (National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement)
5. Hoover Dam (one hour southeast of Vegas)
5. The Lost City Museum (located in Overton, approximately one hour from Las Vegas by car)
Top 5 Things To Do
1. Watch a Cirque du Soleil show
2. Get married or renew your vows at the Graceland Wedding Chapel by one of the best Elvis impersonators in town
3. Take an incredible helicopter tour over Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon
4. Brave the ‘Sky Jump’ – a bungee style drop over 800 feet over the edge of the Stratosphere (or just enjoy a cocktail in the Stratosphere’s swanky sky-high lounge)
5. Visit Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Pilot Pocket Guides Las Vegas
Five Minutes In…
The American Empire
The Origins of Thanksgiving
Ten Great Global Recipes
What to Buy?
Episode Insider: Travelling...
Study Guide: Native Americans
Blazing a Trail in Nevada:...
Travel trends: What will...