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Las Vegas travel guide — Las Vegas tourism and travel information

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about Las Vegas

Las Vegas is the largest city in the U.S. state of Nevada, and (due to its gambling and entertainment) a major tourist destination. At the 2000 census, the city had a population of 478,434 making it the largest city in the state of Nevada. The city's official population estimate as of July 1, 2002 is 514,640. Las Vegas is the county seat of Clark County, Nevada.

The name "Las Vegas" is often also applied to the unincorporated areas of Clark County that surround the city, especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip. This four and a half mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard is mostly outside the Las Vegas city limits, in the township of Paradise, Nevada.

Las Vegas geography

Las Vegas is located at 36°11'39" North, 115°13'19" West (36.194168, -115.222060).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 293.6 km² (113.4 mi²). 293.5 km² (113.3 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.04% water.

Las Vegas history

First settled in 1854 by Mormon farmers, Las Vegas already had been named by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party who watered there while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. At that time, some low areas of the Las Vegas Valley contained artesian springs which created extensive green areas in contrast to the surrounding desert, hence the name Las Vegas, Spanish for "The Fertile Valleys." The Mormons abandoned the site in 1857, and the U.S. Army built Fort Baker there in 1864. Thanks to the springs, Las Vegas was a water stop, first for wagon trains and later railroads, on the trail between Los Angeles, California, and points east such as Albuquerque, New Mexico. Las Vegas was founded on May 15, 1905 when 110 acres, in what later would become downtown, were auctioned.

Incorporated in 1911, and with gambling legalized in 1931, Las Vegas started its rise to world fame in 1941, when developers began building large hotels incorporating gambling casinos. Several such early enterprises are widely reputed to have been backed by money from crime syndicates based in the eastern United States. Gangsters Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and Meyer Lansky are widely credited as the organizers and prime movers behind early development of Las Vegas. Ever since then, Las Vegas has been a mecca of gambling.

Las Vegas is sometimes called "Sin City" due to the popularity of legalized gambling, availability of alcoholic beverages any time of the day and night, various forms and degrees of adult entertainment, and legalized prostitution in nearby counties (Nevada law prohibits prostitution in counties which have large populations). The nickname favored by local government and promoters of tourism is "The Entertainment Capital of the World." In the last fifteen years or so many massive casinos have been built, and the emphasis has turned from gambling and other "adult" pursuits to entertainment for both adults and children. In addition, concerted effort has been made by city fathers to diversify their economy by attracting light manufacturing, textiles, banking, and other commercial interests. The lack of any state, individual or corporate income tax, and very simple incorporation requirements, have fostered the success of this effort. Having been late to develop an urban core of any substantial size, Las Vegas has retained very affordable real estate prices in comparison to nearby urban centers. Consequently, the city has recently enjoyed an enormous boom both in population and in tourism. As of 2001, the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area is the fastest growing population center in the United States. Las Vegas's incorporated population of 478,434 is an understatement of the city's recent population boom, as much of the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area is unincorporated. The Las Vegas Valley metropolitan area is home to 1,583,172 residents according to the county's 2003 estimate.

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.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Las Vegas, Nevada".

This city is also known as: Las Vegas.

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