Las Vegas Strip
||This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (July 2016)|
The Las Vegas Strip is a stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada, known for its concentration of resort hotels and casinos. The Strip is approximately 4.2 miles (6.8 km) in length, located immediately south of the Las Vegas city limits in the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester. However, the Strip is often referred to as being in Las Vegas. Most of the Strip has been designated an All-American Road, and is considered a scenic route at night. Many of the largest hotel, casino, and resort properties in the world are located on the Las Vegas Strip.
South Las Vegas Boulevard
|Length||4.2 mi (6.8 km)|
|South end||Russell Road|
|North end||Sahara Avenue|
One of the most visible aspects of Las Vegas' cityscape is its use of dramatic architecture and lights. The rapidly evolving skyline and constant modernization of hotels, casinos, restaurants, residential high-rises, and entertainment offerings on the Strip, have established it as one of the most popular destinations for tourists in the United States, and the world.
Historically, the casinos that were not in Downtown Las Vegas along Fremont Street were limited to outside of the city limits on Las Vegas Boulevard. In 1959 the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign was constructed exactly 4.5 miles (7.2 km) outside of the city limits. The sign is today about 0.4 miles (0.64 km) south of the southernmost entrance to Mandalay Bay (the southernmost casino).
In the strictest sense, "the Strip" refers only to the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard that is roughly between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road, a distance of 4.2 miles (6.8 km). However, the term is often used to refer not only to the road but also to the various casinos and resorts that line the road, and even to properties that are not on the road but in proximity. Phrases such as Strip Area, Resort Corridor or Resort District are sometimes used to indicate a larger geographical area, including properties 1 mile (1.6 km) or more away from Las Vegas Boulevard, such as the Hard Rock, Rio, Palms, and Hooters casinos.
The traditional definition considers the Strip's northern terminus as the SLS, though travel guides typically extend it to include the Stratosphere, 0.4 miles (0.64 km) to the north. Mandalay Bay, located just north of Russell Road, is the southernmost resort considered to be on the Strip (the Klondike was the southernmost until 2006, when it was closed, although it was not included in Las Vegas Strip on some definitions and travel guides).
Because of the number and size of the resorts, the Resort Corridor can be quite wide. Interstate 15 runs roughly parallel and 0.5 to 0.8 miles (0.80 to 1.29 km) to the west of Las Vegas Boulevard for the entire length of the Strip. Paradise Road runs to the east in a similar fashion, and ends at St. Louis Avenue. The eastern side of the Strip is bounded by McCarran International Airport south of Tropicana Avenue.
North of this point, the Resort Corridor can be considered to extend as far east as Paradise Road, although some consider Koval Lane as a less inclusive boundary. Interstate 15 is sometimes considered the western edge of the Resort Corridor from Interstate 215 to Spring Mountain Road. North of this point, Industrial Road serves as the western edge.
The famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign is located in the median just south of Russell Road, across from the now-demolished Klondike Hotel & Casino. Another similar (and newer) "Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas" sign is in the median a mile north of the Strip at the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd and South 4th St. Newer resorts such as South Point and the M Resort are on Las Vegas Boulevard South as distant as 8 miles south of the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. Marketing for these casinos usually states that they are on southern Las Vegas Boulevard and not "Strip" properties.
Early years (1930s–1990s)Edit
The first casino to be built on Highway 91 was the Pair-o-Dice Club in 1931, but the first on what is currently the Strip was the El Rancho Vegas, opening on April 3, 1941, with 63 rooms. That casino stood for almost 20 years before being destroyed by a fire in 1960. Its success spawned a second hotel on what would become the Strip, the Hotel Last Frontier, in 1942. Organized crime figures such as New York's Bugsy Siegel took interest in the growing gaming center leading to other resorts such as the Flamingo, which opened in 1946, and the Desert Inn, which opened in 1950. The funding for many projects was provided through the American National Insurance Company, which was based in the then notorious gambling empire of Galveston, Texas.
Las Vegas Boulevard South was previously called Arrowhead Highway, or Los Angeles Highway. The Strip was named by Los Angeles police officer and businessman Guy McAfee, after his hometown's Sunset Strip.
Caesars Palace was established in 1966. In 1968, Kirk Kerkorian purchased the Flamingo and hired Sahara Hotels Vice President Alex Shoofey as President. Alex Shoofey brought along 33 of Sahara's top executives. The Flamingo was used to train future employees of the International Hotel, which was under construction. Opening in 1969, the International Hotel, with 1,512 rooms, began the era of mega-resorts. The International is known as Westgate Las Vegas today. The first MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, also a Kerkorian property, opened in 1973 with 2,084 rooms. At the time, this was one of the largest hotels in the world by number of rooms. The Rossiya Hotel built in 1967 in Moscow, for instance, had 3,200 rooms; however, most of the rooms in the Rossiya Hotel were single rooms of 118 sq. ft (roughly 1/4 size of a standard room at the MGM Grand Resort). On November 21, 1980, the MGM Grand suffered the worst resort fire in the history of Las Vegas as a result of electrical problems, killing 87 people. It reopened eight months later. In 1986, Kerkorian sold the MGM Grand to Bally Manufacturing, and it was renamed Bally's.
The Wet 'n Wild water park opened in 1985 and was located on the south side of the Sahara hotel. The park closed at the end of the 2004 season and was later demolished. The opening of The Mirage in 1989 set a new level to the Las Vegas experience, as smaller hotels and casinos made way for the larger mega-resorts. The Rio and the Excalibur opened in 1990. These huge facilities offer entertainment and dining options, as well as gambling and lodging. This change affected the smaller, well-known and now historic hotels and casinos, like The Dunes, The Sands, the Stardust, and the Sahara.
The lights along the Strip have been dimmed in a sign of respect to six performers and one other major Las Vegas figure upon their deaths. They are Elvis Presley (1977), Sammy Davis Jr. (1990), Dean Martin (1995), George Burns (1996), Frank Sinatra (1998), former UNLV basketball head coach Jerry Tarkanian (2015),  and Don Rickles (2017).  In 2005, Clark County renamed a section of Industrial Road (south of Twain Avenue) as Dean Martin Drive, also as a tribute to the famous Rat Pack singer, actor, and frequent Las Vegas entertainer.
In an effort to attract families, resorts offered more attractions geared toward youth, but had limited success. The (current) MGM Grand opened in 1993 with MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park, but the park closed in 2000 due to lack of interest. Similarly, in 2003 Treasure Island closed its own video arcade and abandoned the previous pirate theme, adopting the new ti name.
In addition to the large hotels, casinos and resorts, the Strip is home to a few smaller casinos and other attractions, such as M&M World, Adventuredome and the Fashion Show Mall. Starting in the mid-1990s, the Strip became a popular New Year's Eve celebration destination.
Recent years (2000–present)Edit
With the opening of Bellagio, Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn and Encore resorts, the strip trended towards the luxurious high end segment through most of the 2000s, while some older resorts added major expansions and renovations, including some de-theming of the earlier themed hotels. High end dining, specialty retail, spas and nightclubs increasingly became options for visitors in addition to gambling at most Strip resorts. There was also a trend towards expensive residential condo units on the strip.
In 2004, MGM Mirage announced plans for CityCenter, a 66-acre (27 ha), $7 billion multi-use project on the site of the Boardwalk hotel and adjoining land. It consists of hotel, casino, condo, retail, art, business and other uses on the site. City Center is currently the largest such complex in the world. Construction began in April 2006, with most elements of the project opened in late 2009. Also in 2006, the Las Vegas Strip lost its longtime status as the world's highest-grossing gambling center, falling to second place behind Macau.
In 2012, the High Roller Ferris wheel and a retail district called The LINQ Promenade broke ground, in an attempt to diversify attractions beyond that of casino resorts. Renovations and rebrandings such as The Cromwell Las Vegas and the SLS Las Vegas continued to transform The Strip in 2014. The Las Vegas Festival Grounds opened in 2015. In 2016, the T-Mobile Arena, The Park, the Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino, and the Park Theatre opened. Smaller changes and developments are taking place as well.
- The Monte Carlo Resort and Casino will undergo a two-year, $450 million makeover to be completed by end of 2018.
- The Wynn Resorts board approved phase one of the Wynn Paradise Park. Construction will be phased with the lagoon and beach amenities expected to be completed by early 2019.
- Construction of the All Net Resort and Arena started in March 2017 and is expected to be complete by end of 2019.
- Work on the Las Vegas Stadium is planned to begin in 2017 and be completed in time for the 2020 NFL season.
- Genting Group bought the site of the Stardust in 2013 with plans to build and open Resorts World Las Vegas in 2020.
RTC Transit (previously Citizens Area Transit, or CAT) provides bus service on the Strip with double decker buses known as The Deuce. The Deuce runs between Mandalay Bay at the southern end of the Strip (and to the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign and South Strip Transfer Terminal after midnight) to the Bonneville Transit Center (BTC) and the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas, with stops near every casino. RTC also operates an express bus called the Strip and Downtown Express (SDX). This route connects the Strip to the Las Vegas Convention Center and Downtown Las Vegas to the north, with stops at selected hotels and shopping attractions (Las Vegas Premium Outlets North & South).
Several free trams operate on the west side of the Strip:
- Mandalay Bay Tram connecting the Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur
- Aria Express connecting the Monte Carlo, Crystals (also stop for Aria), and Bellagio
- Between Treasure Island and The Mirage
Prior to CAT bus service beginning operations in 1992, mass transit on the Strip was provided by a private transit company, Las Vegas Transit. The Strip route was their only profitable route and supported the whole bus system.
The Deuce bus (CAT Enviro500)
Concerning pedestrian safety and to help alleviate traffic congestion at popular intersections, several pedestrian footbridges were erected in 1990s. Some feature designs that match the theme of the nearby resorts. The Tropicana – Las Vegas Boulevard footbridges were the first to be installed, and based on the success of this project additional footbridges have been built on Las Vegas Boulevard at the Flamingo Road intersection connecting Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, Bally's, and The Cromwell; between The Mirage/Treasure Island and The Venetian, and at the Las Vegas Boulevard-Spring Mountain and Sands Avenue intersection connecting the Wynn with the Fashion Show Mall, The Palazzo and Treasure Island. The latest to be completed connects Planet Hollywood, CityCenter and The Cosmopolitan at the Harmon Avenue intersection.
According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's annual Las Vegas Visitor Profile Study, only 36% of people said they walked around the Strip, a figure that is a drop from 2013 (52%). 
Attractions on the StripEdit
In recent years, all golf courses on the Strip but the Desert Inn Golf Course have been removed to make way for building projects. Even though many golf courses along the Strip were being torn down, such as the Tropicana Country Club and the Dunes golf course, developer Steve Wynn, founder of previously owned Mirage Resorts, purchased the Desert Inn and golf course for his new company Wynn Resorts. The Wynn Golf Club is "...the only golf course attached to a resort on the Las Vegas Strip...". In 2005, he opened Wynn Las Vegas, complete with remodeled golf course providing tee times to hotel guests only.
Amusement parks and ridesEdit
The strip is home to many amusement parks and rides. These include:
- Bonanza Gift Shop is billed as the "World's Largest Gift Shop", with over 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) of shopping space.
- The Shoppes at The Palazzo feature luxury stores including the only Barneys New York department store in Las Vegas.
- Fashion Show Mall is adjacent to Treasure Island and opposite Wynn Las Vegas.
- Grand Canal Shoppes is a luxury mall connected to The Venetian with canals, gondolas and singing gondoliers.
- The LINQ Promenade is an open-air retail, dining, and entertainment district located between The Linq and Flamingo resorts that began a soft open in January 2014. It leads from a Strip-side entrance to the High Roller.
- Miracle Mile Shops is part of the Planet Hollywood hotel.
- The Forum Shops at Caesars is a luxury mall connected to Caesars Palace, with more than 160 shops and 11 restaurants.
- Crystals at CityCenter is a luxury high-fashion mall at CityCenter.
- Harmon Corner is a three story retail center located next to Planet Hollywood with shops and restaurants.
- Showcase Mall is next to MGM Grand, and displays a 100-foot Coca-Cola bottle.
- The Park, a short east-west street between the Monte Carlo and New York-New York resorts is a park-like boulevard lined with retail shops and restaurants, leading to T-Mobile Arena.
The Las Vegas Strip is well known for its lounges, showrooms, theaters and nightclubs; most of the attractions and shows on the Strip are located on the hotel casino properties. Some of the more popular free attractions visible from the Strip include the water fountains at Bellagio, the volcano at The Mirage, and the Fall of Atlantis and Festival Fountain at Caesars Palace. There are several Cirque du Soleil shows, such as Kà at the MGM Grand, O at Bellagio, Mystère at Treasure Island, Zumanity (for ages 18 and older) at New York-New York, Criss Angel Believe at the Luxor, and Michael Jackson: One at Mandalay Bay.
Many notable artists have performed in Las Vegas, including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Wayne Newton, Liza Minnelli, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Liberace, and in more recent years Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Barry Manilow, Cher, Elton John, Bette Midler, Donny and Marie Osmond, Garth Brooks, Jennifer Lopez, Reba McEntire, Mariah Carey and Olivia Newton-John have had residencies in the various resorts on the Strip. Currently, the only movie theatre directly on the Strip is the 10-screen Regal Showcase Theatre in the Showcase Mall next to the MGM Grand (opened in 1997 and operated by Regal Entertainment Group).
Gambling has become less of a mainstay in recent years, with only 4% of visitors in 2016 saying they came to Las Vegas to gamble, way down from 15% in 2013, 12% in 2014 and 10% in 2015.
The Strip is home to many entertainment venues. Most of the resorts have a showroom, nightclub and/or live music venue on the property and a few have large multipurpose arenas. Major venues include:
Locations of major landmarksEdit
Former hotel/casino locationsEdit
|North towards Fremont Street
|Vegas World/Million Dollar Casino|
|Jackpot Casino/Money Tree Casino||Holy Cow/Foxy's Firehouse|
|Sahara Avenue||Sahara Avenue|
|El Rancho Vegas||Sahara/Club Bingo|
|Wet 'n Wild|
|Westward Ho||La Concha Motel|
|Desert Inn Road||Desert Inn Road|
|Silver Slipper/Golden Slipper|
|New Frontier/Last Frontier/Frontier||Desert Inn|
|Spring Mountain Road||Sands Avenue|
|Castaways||Nob Hill Casino|
|Holiday Casino, Holiday Inn|
|Flamingo Capri/Imperial Palace/Quad|
|Flamingo Road||Flamingo Road|
|Aladdin/Tally Ho/King's Crown|
|Tropicana Avenue||Tropicana Avenue|
|Russell Road||Glass Pool Inn|
South towards Interstate 215
Demolished or closed Strip casinos and hotelsEdit
- Aladdin Hotel & Casino: Opened in 1963 as the Tally Ho, became the King's Crown in 1965, the Aladdin in 1966, and was demolished in 1998, and reopened in 2000. In 2007, the Aladdin was renamed Planet Hollywood.
- Big Red's Casino: Opened in 1981 and closed in 1982. Property developed for CBS Sports World Casino in 1997. Changed name to Sports World Casino after CBS threatened to sue. Closed in 2001, now a shopping center.
- Barbary Coast Hotel and Casino: Closed in 2007, now The Cromwell.
- Boardwalk Hotel and Casino: Closed on January 6, 2006, demolished May 9, 2006 to make way for CityCenter.
- Castaways Hotel and Casino: Opened in 1957 as the San Souci Hotel and became the Castaways in 1963 and was demolished in 1987. Now The Mirage.
- Desert Inn: Closed on August 28, 2000, demolished in 2004, now Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas; Desert Inn golf course was retained and improved.
- Dunes Hotel and Casino: Closed on January 26, 1993, demolished in 1993, now Bellagio. The Dunes golf course is now occupied by parts of Monte Carlo, New York-New York, CityCenter, Cosmopolitan, and T-Mobile Arena.
- El Rancho (formerly Thunderbird/Silverbird): Closed in 1992 and demolished in 2000. Now the unfinished Fontainebleau.
- El Rancho Vegas: Burned down in 1960. The Hilton Grand Vacations Club timeshare now exists on the south edge of the site where the resort once stood; the remainder is now the Las Vegas Festival Grounds.
- Hacienda: Closed in 1996, demolished in 1996, now Mandalay Bay. Until 2015, a separate Hacienda operated outside of Boulder City, formerly the Gold Strike Inn.
- Holiday Casino: Opened in 1973 and closed in 1992. Now Harrah's Las Vegas.
- Holy Cow Casino and Brewery: First micro brewery in Las Vegas. Closed in 2002, property currently vacant.
- Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino: Opened in 1959 as the Flamingo Capri and became the Imperial Palace in 1979 and The Quad in 2012. Now The Linq.
- Jackpot Casino: Closed in 1977, now part of Bonanza Gift Shop
- Klondike Hotel & Casino: Closed in 2006, demolished in 2008.
- Little Caesars Casino: Opened in 1970 and closed in 1994. Paris Las Vegas now occupies the area.
- MGM Grand Hotel and Casino: Closed in 1986 and now Bally's Las Vegas.
- Money Tree Casino: Closed in 1979, now Bonanza Gift Shop.
- Marina Hotel and Casino: Closed, adapted into MGM Grand, now the West Wing of the MGM Grand.
- New Frontier: Closed July 16, 2007, demolished November 13, 2007. Currently being redeveloped as Alon Las Vegas.
- Nob Hill Casino: Opened in 1979 and closed in 1990. Now Best Western + Casino Royale
- Riviera Hotel and Casino: Opened in 1955; Closed in May 2015 to make way for the Las Vegas Global Business District.
- Sahara Hotel and Casino: Closed on May 16, 2011. Reopened August 23, 2014 as SLS Las Vegas.
- Sands Hotel and Casino: Closed on June 30, 1996, demolished in 1996, now The Venetian.
- Silver City Casino: Closed in 1999, now the Silver City Plaza Shopping Center.
- Silver Slipper Casino: Opened in 1950 and closed and demolished in 1988. It became the parking lot for the New Frontier until its closure and demolition in 2007.
- Stardust Resort & Casino: Closed on November 1, 2006, demolished on March 13, 2007. Currently being redeveloped as Resorts World Las Vegas.
- Vegas World: Opened in 1979 and closed in 1995. Now the Stratosphere Las Vegas
- Westward Ho Hotel and Casino: Closed in 2005, demolished in 2006. Currently being redeveloped as Resorts World Las Vegas.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Las Vegas Strip.|
- Schmid, H. (2009), Economy of Fascination: Dubai and Las Vegas as Themed Urban Landscapes, Stuttgart; Berlin: E. Schweizerbart Science Publishers, ISBN 978-3-443-37014-5.