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Las Vegas
—  City  —
City of Las Vegas

Flag

Seal
Nickname(s): "The Entertainment Capital of the World"
"Sin City"
"Capital of Second Chances"
"The Marriage Capital of the World"
Location of Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada
Las Vegas is located in the USA
Las Vegas
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 36°10′30″N 115°08′11″W / 36.175°N 115.13639°W / 36.175; -115.13639
State Nevada
County Clark County
Government
 - Type Council-Manager
 - Mayor Oscar B. Goodman (N.P.)
 - City Manager Betsy Fretwell
Area
 - City 131.3 sq mi (340.0 km2)
 - Land 131.2 sq mi (339.8 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.16 km2)
Elevation 2,001 ft (610 m)
Population (2009)[1][2]
 - City 607,876
 Density 4,154/sq mi (1,604/km2)
 Urban 1,314,356
 Metro 1,865,746
  (28 th U.S.)
Time zone PST (UTC−8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 702
FIPS code 32-40000
GNIS feature ID 0847388
Website www.lasvegasnevada.gov

Las Vegas (pronounced /lɒs ˈveɪɡəs/); is the most populous city in Nevada, the seat of Clark County, and an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining. Las Vegas, which bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, is famous for the number of casino resorts and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, it is the 28th most populous city in the United States with an estimated population by the U.S. Census Bureau of 607,876 as of 2009, by 2030 it will have 735,000[citation needed] according to the city master plan.[1] The estimated population of the Las Vegas metropolitan area as of 2008, was 1,865,746.[2]

Established in 1905, Las Vegas officially became a city in 1911. With the growth that followed, at the close of the century Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in the 20th century (a distinction held by Chicago in the 19th century). The city's tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and this image has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films and television programs. On the other hand, Las Vegas also has the highest number of churches per capita of any major U.S. city. Outdoor lighting displays are everywhere on the Las Vegas Strip and are seen elsewhere in the city as well.

The name Las Vegas is often applied to unincorporated areas that surround the city, especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip. The 4 mi (6.4 km) stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Strip is mainly in the unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester, while a small portion overlaps into Las Vegas and the unincorporated community of Enterprise.

Contents

History

Southern Paiutes of the Moapa - Las Vegas Paiutes wearing traditional Paiute basket hats with Paiute cradleboard and rabbit robe.

The first reported visit to the valley by someone of European descent was Raphael Rivera in 1829.[3] Las Vegas was named by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party,[4] who used the water in the area while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. In the 1800s, areas of the Las Vegas Valley contained artesian wells that supported extensive green areas or meadows (vegas in Spanish), hence the name Las Vegas.

John C. Frémont traveled into the Las Vegas Valley on May 3, 1844, while it was still part of Mexico.[5] He was a leader of a group of scientists, scouts and observers for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. On May 10, 1855, following annexation by the United States, Brigham Young assigned 30 missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints led by William Bringhurst to the area to convert the Paiute Indian population to Mormonism. A fort was built near the current downtown area, serving as a stopover for travelers along the "Mormon Corridor" between Salt Lake and the briefly thriving colony of saints at San Bernardino, California. However, Mormons abandoned Las Vegas in 1857. Las Vegas was established as a railroad town on May 15, 1905, when 110 acres (44.5 ha) owned by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, was auctioned off in what is now downtown Las Vegas. Among the railroads most notable owners and directors were Montana Senator William A. Clark, Utah U.S. Senator Thomas Kearns and R.C. Kerens of St. Louis.[6] Las Vegas was part of Lincoln County until 1909 when it became part of the newly established Clark County. The St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church near 4th and Bridger in downtown was founded in 1910.[7] Las Vegas became an incorporated city on March 16, 1911 and Peter Buol was the first mayor.

Las Vegas started as a stopover on the pioneer trails to the west, and became a popular railroad town in the early 1900s. It was a staging point for all the mines in the surrounding area, especially those around the town of Bullfrog, that shipped their goods out to the rest of the country. With the proliferation of the railroads, Las Vegas became less important but the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam in 1935 resulted in the growth of residents and tourism. The dam, located 30 mi (48 km) southeast of the city, also formed Lake Mead, the US's largest man-made lake and reservoir. Today, tours are offered into lesser known parts of the dam. The legalization of gambling in 1931 led to the advent of the casino-hotels, for which Las Vegas is famous. Major development occurred in the 1940s. The success of the city's early casino businesses was owed to American organized crime. Most of the original large casinos were managed or at least funded under mob figures Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Meyer Lansky or other mob figures at this time.[8] The rapid growth of this gambling empire is credited with dooming Galveston, Texas; Hot Springs, Arkansas; and other major gaming centers in the 1950s.[9]

With the arrival in the late 1960s of businessman Howard Hughes, who purchased many casino-hotels, as well as television and radio stations in the city, legitimate corporations began to purchase casino-hotels as well, and the mob was run out by the federal government over the next several years. The constant stream of tourist dollars from the hotels and casinos was also augmented by a new source of federal money. This money came from the establishment of what is now Nellis Air Force Base. The influx of military personnel and casino job-hunters helped start a land building boom which, as of today, has leveled off a bit.

Though Las Vegas's gambling revenues have been surpassed by Macau, the Las Vegas area remains one of the world's top entertainment destinations.[10][11]

Geography and climate

Typical desert scene in the Las Vegas area

Las Vegas is situated on the arid desert floor within Clark County. The surrounding environment is dominated by desert vegetation and some wildlife, and the area is subject to torrential flash floods. Enabling the rapid population expansion was a major addition to the city's sewage treatment capacity. The sewage treatment expansion resulted from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant funding 2008 programs to analyze and forecast growth and environmental impacts through the year 2019.

The city is in an arid basin surrounded by dry mountains. City elevation is around 2,030 ft (620 m) above sea level. The Spring Mountains lie to the west. Much of the landscape is rocky and dusty. Within the city, however, there are many lawns, trees and other greenery. Due to water resource issues, there is now a movement to encourage xeriscapes. Another part of the water conservation efforts include scheduled watering groups for watering residential landscaping. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 131.3 sq mi (340 km2), of which 131.2 sq mi (340 km2) is land and .1 sq mi (0.26 km2) of it (0.04%) is water.

Climate

Snowfall is rare but possible as seen December 2008.

Las Vegas' climate is an arid, desert climate (Koppen climate classification BWh), typical of the Mojave Desert in which it lies. The city enjoys abundant sunshine year-round and has an average of about 300 sunny days per year, with very little rainfall.

The summer months of June through September are very hot and mostly dry with average daytime highs of 94 °F (34 °C)-104 °F (40 °C) and nighttime lows of 69 °F (21 °C)-78 °F (26 °C); and most days in July and August exceed 100 °F (38 °C) but with very low humidity, frequently under 10%.

Las Vegas' winters are of short duration and the season is generally mild, with daytime highs near 60 °F (16 °C) and nighttime lows around 40 °F (4 °C). The mountains surrounding Las Vegas accumulate snow during the winter but snow is rare in the Las Vegas Valley itself.[12] Several years apart, however, snow has fallen in the valley. Temperatures can sometimes drop to freezing 32 °F (0 °C) but winter nighttime temperatures will rarely dip below 30 degrees.

Annual precipitation in Las Vegas is roughly 4.5 in (110 mm), which mainly occurs during winter but is not uncommon anytime of the year.

Climate data for Las Vegas, Nevada
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 77
(25)
87
(31)
92
(33)
99
(37)
109
(43)
116
(47)
117
(47)
116
(47)
113
(45)
103
(39)
87
(31)
78
(26)
117
(47)
Average high °F (°C) 57
(13.9)
63
(17.2)
69
(20.6)
79
(26.1)
88
(31.1)
99
(37.2)
104
(40)
102
(38.9)
94
(34.4)
81
(27.2)
66
(18.9)
57
(13.9)
79.9
(26.6)
Average low °F (°C) 37
(2.8)
41
(5)
47
(8.3)
54
(12.2)
63
(17.2)
72
(22.2)
78
(25.6)
77
(25)
69
(20.6)
57
(13.9)
44
(6.7)
37
(2.8)
56.3
(13.5)
Record low °F (°C) 8
(-13)
16
(-9)
19
(-7)
31
(-1)
29
(-2)
48
(9)
56
(13)
54
(12)
43
(6)
26
(-3)
15
(-9)
11
(-12)
8
(-13)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.59
(15)
0.69
(17.5)
0.59
(15)
0.15
(3.8)
0.24
(6.1)
0.08
(2)
0.44
(11.2)
0.45
(11.4)
0.31
(7.9)
0.24
(6.1)
0.31
(7.9)
0.40
(10.2)
4.49
(114)
Source: [13][14][15] May 5, 2009

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 25
1910 800 3,100.0%
1920 2,304 188.0%
1930 5,165 124.2%
1940 8,422 63.1%
1950 24,624 192.4%
1960 64,405 161.6%
1970 125,787 95.3%
1980 164,674 30.9%
1990 258,295 56.9%
2000 478,434 85.2%
Est. 2008 558,383 [1] 16.7%
source:[16][17]

The United States Census Bureau 2008 estimates place the population for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Statistical Area at 1,865,746 people, and the region is one of the fastest growing in the United States.[2] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California.[18]

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 70.8% of Las Vegas' population; 51.8% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 10.6% of Las Vegas' population; 10.4% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.7% of the city's population; 0.6% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 5.0% of the city's population; 4.9% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.4% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 8.9% of the city's population; 0.2% were non-Hispanic.

Individuals from two or more races made up 3.5% of the city's population; of which 2.5% were non-Hispanic.

In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 29.2% of Las Vegas' population.[19][20]

As of the census[21] of 2000, there were 478,434 people, 176,750 households, and 117,538 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,222.5 /sq mi (1,630.3 /km2). There are 190,724 housing units at an average density of 1,683.3 /sq mi (649.9 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 69.86% White, 10.36% African American, 0.75% Native American, 4.78% Asian, 0.45% Pacific Islander, 9.75% from other races, and 4.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.61% of the population.

There were 176,750 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 103.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $53,000 and the median income for a family was $58,465.[22] Males had a median income of $35,511 versus $27,554 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,060. About 6.6% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.4% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

Las Vegas has one of the highest suicide and divorce rates of the U.S.[23][24] A research study that found Las Vegas residents are 40% less likely to commit suicide if they leave Las Vegas and visitors are twice as likely to commit suicide there as elsewhere was published in the Las Vegas Sun newspaper in 2008, breaking a long-time taboo on discussion of suicide in Las Vegas.[25] The city's high divorce rate is not wholly due to Las Vegans themselves getting divorced. Since divorce is easier in Nevada than most other states, many people come from across the country for the easier process.

For similar reasons, Las Vegas has also one of the highest marriage rates of U.S. cities as well, with many licenses issued to people from outside the area (see Las Vegas weddings).

Economy

The primary drivers of the Las Vegas economy have been the confluence of tourism, gaming, and conventions which in turn feed the retail and dining industries. The city serves as world headquarters for the world's two largest Fortune 500 gaming companies, Harrah's Entertainment and MGM Mirage.[26] Several companies involved in the manufacture of electronic gaming machines, such as slot machines, are located in the Las Vegas area. In the 2000s retail and dining have become attractions of their own. Tourism marketing and promotion are handled by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, a county wide agency. Its annual Visitors Survey provides detailed information on visitor numbers, spending patterns and resulting revenues.[27]

Constant population growth means that the housing construction industry is vitally important. In 2000 more than 21,000 new homes and 26,000 resale homes were purchased. In early 2005 there were 20 residential development projects of more than 300 acres (120 ha) each underway. During the that same period Las Vegas was regarded as the fastest growing community in the U.S. However, the recession of 2007-2009 and the accompanying business downturn has sent business and growth tumbling, with Las Vegas recording one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the country. The disappearance of disposable consumer income and the backlash against corporate entertainment spending sent the hospitality industry into a tailspin that it has yet to recover from as of late 2009.

Redevelopment

The north end of the Las Vegas Strip in 2006.

When The Mirage opened in 1989, it started a trend of further development of the southern portion of the Las Vegas Strip. This resulted in a drop in tourism in the downtown area but many recent projects and condominium construction have increased visitors to downtown.

A concerted effort has been made by city officials to diversify the economy from tourism by attracting light manufacturing, banking, and other commercial interests. The lack of state individual and corporate income tax and very simple incorporation requirements have fostered the success of this effort.

Las Vegas has recently enjoyed an enormous boom both in population and tourism. The urban area has grown outward so quickly that it is beginning to run into Bureau of Land Management holdings along its edges, increasing land values enough that medium- and high-density development is beginning to occur closer to the core. As a reflection of the city's rapid growing population, the new Chinatown of Las Vegas was constructed in the early 1990s on Spring Mountain Road. Chinatown initially consisted of only one large shopping center complex, but the area was recently expanded for new shopping centers that contain various Asian businesses.

With the Strip expansion in the 1990s, the downtown area (which has maintained an old Las Vegas feel) began to suffer. The city made a concerted effort to turn around the fortunes of downtown. The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) was built in an effort to draw tourists back to the area and has proven to be popular in that regard. Since the recession began in 2008, many of these efforts have closed. The multi-level Neonopolis, closed their 11 theaters and nearly all retail stores. Many high-rise condo projects have also been underway but one of the highest profile buildings, The Streamline Towers, has gone into bankruptcy. Other promising signs emerged for the area. The city had successfully lured the Internal Revenue Service operations from the far west of the city to a new downtown building that opened in April 2005. The IRS move is expected to create a greater demand for additional businesses in the area, especially in the daytime hours.

The city purchased 61 acres (25 ha) of property from the Union Pacific Railroad in 1995 with the goal of creating something to draw more people to the downtown area. In 2004 Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman announced plans for Symphony Park, which will include residential and office high-rises, the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, an academic medical center, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, and a new City Hall. After failed negotiations with The Related Co. on the development of Union Park in October 2005, San Diego-based Newland Communities was chosen by the city as the new development firm. The Newland contract calls for Dan Van Epp, Newland's regional vice president and former president of the Howard Hughes Corp., to oversee his company's work on Symphony Park. The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute was completed in 2009.

Along with the Symphony Park, other promising residential and office developments have begun construction around downtown Las Vegas. New condominium and hotel high rise projects have changed the Las Vegas skyline dramatically in recent years. Many large high-rise projects are planned for downtown Las Vegas as well as the Las Vegas Strip.

In 2004, the city partnered with Cheetah Wireless Technologies and MeshNetwork to pilot a wide area mobile broadband system. The pilot system is installed downtown, around the Fremont Street Experience. In 2005, on a lot adjacent to the city's 61 ac (247,000 m2), the World Market Center opened. It is intended to be the nation's and possibly the world's preeminent furniture wholesale showroom and marketplace, and is meant to compete with the current furniture market capital of High Point, North Carolina.

On October 23, 2006, plans were unveiled to build a World Jewelry Center in Downtown's Symphony Park. Similar to the World Market Center, the WJC will be a one stop shop for jewelry trade shows from around the world. The project proposes a 57-story, 815 ft (248 m) office tower.[28]

Tourism

The iconic Las Vegas Sign

The major attractions in Las Vegas are the casinos and the hotels. The most famous hotel casinos are located on Las Vegas Boulevard on the portion of that road known as the Las Vegas Strip. These larger casinos are located outside of the city. Many of these hotels are massive, providing thousands of rooms, with their large adjoining casino areas. There are many hotel casinos in the city's downtown area as well, which was the focal point of the city's gaming industry in its early days. Several large hotels and casinos are also located somewhat off the Strip, as well as in the county around the city.

Some of the most notable casinos involved in downtown gaming are on the Fremont Street Experience which was granted variances to allow bars to be closer together, similar to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego.

Downtown area casinos

Surrounding Cities

Culture

Downtown Las Vegas: The Fremont Street Experience outside of Binion's Horseshoe Casino

On the first Friday of each month, the "First Friday" celebration is held which exhibits the works of local artists and musicians in a section of the city's Downtown region now called the "Arts District".[29]

The Thursday prior to First Friday is known in the 18b Arts District as "Preview Thursday". This evening event highlights new gallery exhibitions just opening throughout the district.

The Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park, also known as the Las Vegas Zoo, exhibits over 150 species of animals and plants.

The $485 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts (currently under construction) will be located downtown in Symphony Park. The center will be appropriate for Broadway shows and other major touring attractions as well as orchestra, opera, and dance performances.

The city also hosts annual events like the Helldorado Days (Las Vegas).

Sports

Las Vegas does not have major-league sports, although the metropolitan population is as large or larger than many cities that have them. The two major reasons are concern about legal sports betting and competition for the entertainment dollar, both of which Las Vegas has in abundance. The city currently has two minor league sports teams, baseball's Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League (the AAA farm club of the Toronto Blue Jays), and hockey's Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL (an affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes).

In the past, the city had teams in the Canadian Football League, the XFL, the WBL, and the Arena Football League. There is speculation that the completion of a new arena that had been expected to open in 2010 (and now has no projected opening date) would bring teams from the NBA and NHL. The city is reportedly on the short list of Major League Soccer for an expansion franchise in the near future. There have also been contacts between city officials and several Major League Baseball owners regarding relocation. The ownership of the Florida Marlins held a widely-publicized meeting with Mayor Oscar Goodman in the winter of 2004. The city was a strong candidate to be the new home of the Montreal Expos, who eventually became the Washington Nationals. It was reported that the guarantee of a new stadium built entirely with public funds swung the balance in Washington's favor. Major League Baseball held their 2008 winter meetings in Las Vegas.

High profile limited-duration sporting events have been successful. Las Vegas hosted the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. The NASCAR Sprint Cup series has drawn up to 165,000 fans. Las Vegas also hosts a significant number of professional fights, primarily boxing fights. Many of these fights (such as those in MMA's UFC) take place near downtown or on the Strip in one of the major resort/hotel/casino event centers. Mandalay Bay is frequently a top contender as a venue for the UFC. Las Vegas is often referred to as "The Mecca of boxing"[30] title which it often shares with New York's Madison Square Garden.[31] Meanwhile, the amateur MMA league Tuff-N-Uff competes at The Orleans. The National Finals Rodeo has drawn thousands of fans to the city since 1985, and a contract extension was signed in 2005 keeping the event in Las Vegas through 2014. The NBA Summer League is currently held in the city, and the USA Olympic basketball team trained in the city in 2008.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas competes in NCAA Division I in men's and women's sports. UNLV is a member of the Mountain West Conference. The College of Southern Nevada also has an athletic program, with significant success in baseball at the community college level.

There are strong athletic programs at many Las Vegas high schools, with a number of players in several sports going on to major colleges and professional careers as athletes, including Andre Agassi, Greg Anthony, Marcus Banks, Steven Jackson, Ryan Ludwick, Greg Maddux, Frank Mir, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Reynolds.

Parks and recreation

Las Vegas has dozens of parks,[32] including Las Vegas Springs Preserve recreational and educational facility and Floyd Lamb State Park.

Attractions

Las Vegas is a popular destination for Hawaiians. In 2002, almost 80,000 former residents of Hawaii lived in Las Vegas, and nearly 3,000 Hawaiians visited Las Vegas every week.[33] Las Vegas is sometimes referred to as Hawaii's Ninth Island.[34] The city is the home to the first ABC Stores branch outside the state of Hawaii.[34]

Government

Las Vegas City Hall in downtown Las Vegas

The City of Las Vegas government operates as a council-manager government. The Mayor sits as a Council member-at-large and presides over all of the City Council meetings. In the event that the Mayor cannot preside over a City Council meeting, the Mayor Pro-Tem is the presiding officer of the meeting until such time as the Mayor returns to his seat. The City Manager is responsible for the administration and the day-to-day operation of all of the municipal services and city departments. The City Manager also maintains intergovernmental relationships with federal, state, county and other local governments.

Much of the Las Vegas metropolitan area is split into neighboring incorporated cities or unincorporated communities. Approximately 700,000 people live in unincorporated areas governed by Clark County, and another 465,000 live in incorporated cities such as North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City. Las Vegas and nearly all of the surrounding metropolitan area share a police department, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which was formed after a 1973 merger of the Las Vegas Police Department and the Clark County Sheriff's Department. North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City as well as some colleges have their own police departments.

A Paiute Indian reservation occupies about one acre (4000 m2) in the downtown area of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas, as the county seat and home to the Lloyd D. George Federal District Courthouse, draws numerous legal service industries providing bail, marriage, divorce, tax, incorporation and other legal services.

City council

(Council members' official city websites are also available)

  • Oscar B. Goodman – Mayor and Council member at Large (Term Expires in 2011)
  • Gary Reese – Mayor Pro-Tem and 3rd Ward Council member (Term Expires in 2011)
  • Lois Tarkanian – 1st Ward Council member (Term Expires in 2011)
  • Steve Wolfson, Esq – 2nd Ward Council member (Term Expires in 2009)
  • Stavros Anthony – 4th Ward Council member (Term Expires in 2013)
  • Ricki Barlow – 5th Ward Council member (Term Expires in 2011)
  • Steve Ross – 6th Ward Council member (Term Expires in 2009)

Education

Primary and secondary public education is provided by the Clark County School District (CCSD), which is the fifth most populous school district in the nation (projected enrollment for the 2007–2008 school year is 314,000 students in grades K–12).

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is in Paradise, about three miles (5 km) south of the city limits and roughly two miles east of the Strip. The University of Nevada Medical School has a campus near downtown Las Vegas. Several national colleges, including the University of Phoenix, have campuses in the Las Vegas area. Nevada State College and Touro University Nevada are both in nearby Henderson. The College of Southern Nevada has campuses in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson. Henderson also is home to DeVry University and the Keller Graduate School of Management, as well as the University of Southern Nevada. Other private entities in the Las Vegas Valley include Apollo College, National University, ITT Technical Institute.

Transportation

RTC Transit is a public transportation system providing bus service throughout Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and other suburban areas of the valley. Intercity bus service to Las Vegas is provided by traditional intercity bus carriers, including Greyhound; many charter services, including Green Tortoise; and several Chinatown bus lines. Amtrak California also operates Deluxe Express Thruway Motorcoach dedicated service between the City and its nearest passenger rail station in Barstow, California.

A new bus rapid transit link in Las Vegas called the ACE Gold Line (bus route with limited stops and frequent service) will be launching in March 2010 and will connect downtown Las Vegas, the Strip, the Las Vegas Convention Center and Town Square.

With the exceptions of Las Vegas Boulevard, Boulder Highway (SR 582), and Rancho Drive (SR 599), the majority of surface streets in Las Vegas are laid out in a grid along Public Land Survey System section lines. Many are maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation as state highways. The street numbering system is divided by the following streets:

  • Westcliff Drive, US 95 Expressway, Fremont Street and Charleston Boulevard divide the north-south block numbers from west to east.
  • Las Vegas Boulevard divides the east-west streets from the Las Vegas Strip to near the Stratosphere, then Main Street becomes the dividing line from the Stratosphere to the North Las Vegas border, after which the Goldfield Street alignment officially divides east and west.
  • On the east side of Las Vegas, block numbers between Charleston Boulevard and Washington Avenue are different along Nellis Boulevard, which is the eastern border of the city limits.

Interstates 15, 515, and US 95 lead out of the city in all four directions. Two major freeways - Interstate 15 and Interstate 515/U.S. Route 95 - cross in downtown Las Vegas. I-15 connects Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California and heads northeast to and beyond Salt Lake City, Utah. I-515 goes southeast to Henderson, beyond which US 93 continues over the Hoover Dam towards Phoenix, Arizona. US 95 connects the city to northwestern Nevada, including Carson City and Reno. US 93 splits from I-15 northeast of Las Vegas and goes north through the eastern part of the state, serving Ely and Wells, and US 95 heads south from US 93 near Henderson through far eastern California. A partial beltway has been built, consisting of Interstate 215 on the south and Clark County 215 on the west and north. Other radial routes include Blue Diamond Road (SR 160) to Pahrump and Lake Mead Boulevard (SR 147) to Lake Mead.

East-west roads, north to south[35]
North-south roads, west to east

McCarran International Airport handles international and domestic flights into the Las Vegas Valley. The airport also serves private aircraft and freight/cargo flights. Some of the general aviation traffic use the smaller North Las Vegas Airport and Henderson Executive Airport.

The Union Pacific Railroad is the only class one railroad to provide rail freight service to the city. Until 1997, the Amtrak Desert Wind train service ran through Las Vegas using the Union Pacific Railroad tracks that run through the city. Amtrak service to Las Vegas goes to Needles, California and continues on Amtrak's Thruway Motorcoach bus service. Plans to restore Los Angeles to Las Vegas Amtrak service using a Talgo train have been discussed but no plan for a replacement has been implemented. The Las Vegas Amtrak station was located in the Plaza Hotel. It held the distinction of being the only train station in the United States that was located in a casino.

Sister cities

Las Vegas has several sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Nevada, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-07-01. http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/tables/SUB-EST2008-04-32.csv. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  2. ^ a b c "Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". U.S. Census Bureau. 2009-07-01. http://www.census.gov/popest/metro/tables/2008/CBSA-EST2008-01.csv. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  3. ^ McCabe, Francis (2008-12-17). "ROAD WARRIOR Q&A: Foliage removed for widening". http://www.lvrj.com/news/36288024.html. Retrieved 2008=12=21. 
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External links

Coordinates: 36°10′34″N 115°08′13″W / 36.176°N 115.137°W / 36.176; -115.137


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|Las Vegas]]

Las Vegas is a city in the American state of Nevada. The city has a population of 567,641 people in 2009. It is the biggest city in Nevada. Las Vegas is also the county seat of Clark County in Nevada.

History

Mormon farmers first lived there in 1854. It was called Las Vegas by Spanish people. I, Katha McGowan moved here in 1961. The name means The Meadows in the Spanish language. It had a lot of these in 1854. The city is known for its dry climate, as is the rest of Southern Nevada. It is surrounded by deserts.

The US Army built Fort Baker there in 1864. Las Vegas has springs so people used to stop there for water when they were going to Los Angeles or other places in California.

In 1905, 110 acres owned by William A. Clark, on which he built a railroad to Southern California were auctioned and Las Vegas was founded as a railroad town. Las Vegas officially became a city in 1911.

Culture

Las Vegas, also known by a shorter name, Vegas, is notable for its liberal policies on activities such as drinking and gambling. Gambling was made legal in the state of Nevada in 1931. In 1941, many hotels were built in Las Vegas with casinos in them. Las Vegas is sometimes called "Sin City" because so many people come to the city for gambling and drinking alcohol, two common "sins".

People come to Las Vegas for vacation, many hotels have different themes and have shows and events to get people to come there. Because of this, Las Vegas is called "The Entertainment Capital of the World".

Las Vegas is also known for its many casinos, decorated with various bright colours. Some of these casinos include Circus Circus, a circus-themed casino, and The Venetian, an Italian-themed casino.

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