Las Vegas Strip

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The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip
The Strip
Las Vegas Boulevard South
Length: 4 mi (6.4 km)
South end: Russell Road
North end: Sahara Avenue
Major cities: Paradise
Las Vegas
Nevada highways

The Las Vegas Strip is an approximately 4 mile (6.4 km) stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South in Clark County, Nevada, United States. A small portion of The Strip lies in Las Vegas, but most of it is in the unincorporated areas of Paradise and Winchester. Most of "The Strip" has been designated an All-American Road.[1][2]

Many of the largest hotel, casino and resort properties in the world are located on the world famous Las Vegas Strip. Eighteen of the world's twenty five largest hotels by room count are on the Strip, with a total of over 67,000 rooms.[3][4]

Several decades ago, Las Vegas Boulevard South was called Arrowhead Highway, or Los Angeles Highway. The Strip was reportedly named by Los Angeles police officer Guy McAfee, after his hometown's Sunset Strip.[5]

One of the most visible aspects of Las Vegas' cityscape is its use of dramatic themes. The theming of hotels, casinos, and restaurants on the Strip has established the city as one of the most popular destinations for tourists. [6]


[edit] Boundaries

The Strip as seen from its northern end at the Stratosphere hotel
A similar view of the Strip at night

In the strictest sense, "the Strip" refers only to Las Vegas Boulevard, roughly between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road, a distance of 4.1 miles (6.6 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 which are not on the road but in proximity. Certain government agencies, such as the Nevada Gaming Commission, classify properties as "Las Vegas Strip" for reporting purposes, although these definitions can include properties which are 1 mile (1.6 km) or more away from Las Vegas Boulevard (such as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino). Phrases such as Strip Area, Resort Corridor or Resort District are sometimes used to indicate a larger geographical area.

The Stratosphere, situated 0.25 miles (0.40 km) north of Sahara, is regarded as the northern boundary of the Strip. At one time, the southern end of the Strip was Tropicana Avenue, but continuing construction has extended this boundary to Russell Road. Mandalay Bay is located just north of Russell Road.

Because of the number and size of the resorts, the Resort Corridor can be quite wide. Interstate 15 runs roughly parallel and 1 to 2 miles (1.6 to 3.2 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 East St. Louis Avenue. The eastern side of the Strip is bounded by McCarran 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. Some resorts such as The Rio and the The Palms are actually west of Interstate 15, so a more inclusive definition might extend west to Valley View Boulevard or Arville Street.[citation needed]

The famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign is located in the median just south of Russell Road, across from the now-defunct Klondike Hotel & Casino; another similar sign is in the median at the north end of the Strip near the intersection of east St. Louis and south Main Streets.

[edit] History

The first casino to be built on Highway 91 was the Pair-o-Dice Club in 1931; the first on what is today's Strip was the El Rancho Vegas, opening on April 3, 1941 with 63 rooms and standing for almost 20 years before being destroyed by fire in 1960. Its success spawned a second hotel on what would become The Strip, the Hotel Last Frontier, in 1942. The Flamingo opened a few years later, on December 26, 1946.

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, became the largest hotel in the world, and began the era of mega-resorts. The International is known as the Las Vegas Hilton today.

The first MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, also a Kerkorian property, opened in 1973 with 2,084 rooms. At the time, this was the largest hotel in the world by number of rooms. On November 21, 1980, the MGM Grand suffered the worst resort fire in the history of Las Vegas, killing 87 people as a result of electrical problems. 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.

Las Vegas Strip at night with the Aladdin (Now Planet Hollywood)

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. These huge facilities offer entertainment and dining options, as well as gambling and lodging. This change impacted the smaller, well-known and now historic hotels and casinos, like The Dunes, The Sands and the Stardust.

In 1995, following the death of Dean Martin, the lights along the strip were dimmed in a sign of respect to him. They did the same thing in 1998 in honor of the recently deceased Frank Sinatra. 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 Grand Adventures amusement 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.[7]

View of the Strip, looking north from the Tropicana intersection

Downtown Las Vegas hotels and casinos suffered heavily from the Strip's boom. They have funneled money into remodeling the facades of casinos, adding additional security and new attractions, like the Fremont Street Experience and Neonopolis (complete with movie theaters).[citation needed]

In addition to the large hotels, casinos and resorts, The Strip is home to a few smaller casinos, motels 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.

In 2004, MGM Mirage announced plans for Project CityCenter, a 66 acre (600,000 m²), $7 billion multi-use project on the site of the Boardwalk hotel and adjoining land. It will consist of hotel, casino, condo, retail and other uses on the site. When completed, City Center will be the largest such complex in the world.[citation needed] Construction began in April 2006, and the first elements of this project are expected to be available in 2009.

In 2006, the Las Vegas Strip lost its longtime status as the world's highest-grossing gambling center, falling to second place behind Macau.[8]

[edit] The Strip today

The Las Vegas Strip by night with Project CityCenter construction on the bottom right
The Las Vegas Strip by night with Project CityCenter construction on the bottom right

[edit] Transportation

While not on The Strip itself, the Las Vegas Monorail runs on the east side of The Strip from Tropicana Avenue to Sahara Road.

CAT Bus provides service on the strip with double decker buses known as The Deuce. The Deuce stops at most major resorts and continues north to downtown and the Fremont Street Experience. A current list of fares is available.

A tourist trolley service travels up and down The Strip and stops at various, but not all, Strip hotels, along with a stop at the Fashion Show Mall. The fare is $3.00 for a one way ride, regardless how far you travel down the strip. Alternatively, a 24-hour pass is $7, and exact change is required. Trolleys are scheduled to arrive every 15 minutes.

Two small, free cable-pulled trams operate on the Strip. One runs between Treasure Island and The Mirage, while the other provides service to Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur.

Taxis can only stop at hotel entrances or designated spots, so when planning to get somewhere ask which is the closest hotel.

Before CAT Bus came on 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.[citation needed]

[edit] Free shuttles

Las Vegas Blvd. traffic during the day

Some of the shuttles have a policy requiring a room key from an affiliated casino. Enforcement of these policies may vary.[9][10]

[edit] Walking around

Las Vegas Strip at Sands Road

Several Strip hotels have undertaken efforts to make the street more pedestrian-friendly. New casinos design their façades to attract walk-up customers, and many of these entrances have become attractions themselves - the Fountains at Bellagio, the volcano at The Mirage, and the Treasure Island. Spectators gather on the sidewalks in front of the casinos to watch these shows.

To alleviate traffic issues at popular intersections, several footbridges have been installed to help pedestrians safely traverse the roads. 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; between The Mirage/Treasure Island and The Venetian; and the latest ones at the Las Vegas Boulevard-Spring Mountain and Sands Avenue intersection connecting the Wynn with the Fashion Show Mall and The Palazzo.

[edit] Golf courses

In recent years, all but one of the on-Strip golf courses (the Desert Inn Golf Course) have fallen prey to the mega-resorts' need for land and have closed. Developer Steve Wynn, founder of previously owned Mirage Resorts, purchased the Desert Inn and golf course for his new company Wynn Resorts. In 2005, he opened Wynn Las Vegas, complete with remodeled golf course providing tee times to hotel guests only.

In 2000, Bali Hai Golf Club opened just south of Mandalay Bay and the Strip.

[edit] Major hotel locations

For a full list of hotels on the Strip, see list of Las Vegas Strip hotels.

A view of Las Vegas Strip at night from I-215 (north to south, left to right)
North towards Fremont Street
Sahara Avenue Sahara Avenue
Hilton Grand Vacations Club

Circus Circus

Fontainebleau Resort
Convention Center Drive

Fashion Show Mall

Wynn Las Vegas
Spring Mountain Road Sands Avenue
Treasure Island The Palazzo
The Venetian
The Mirage Casino Royale
Imperial Palace
Caesars Palace Flamingo
Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon
Flamingo Road Flamingo Road
Bellagio Bally's
Planet Hollywood
Harmon Avenue
Monte Carlo
New York-New York MGM Grand
Tropicana Avenue Tropicana Avenue
Excalibur Tropicana
Four Seasons, Mandalay Bay, THEHotel
Russell Road
South towards Interstate 215
to McCarran International Airport

[edit] Shopping attractions

Name Description
Bonanza Gift Store
2440 Las Vegas Boulevard South
World's largest gift store, Purveyors of Las Vegas Pop culture
Fashion Show Mall
3200 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Opposite Wynn Las Vegas
Grand Canal Shoppes
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South
A canal, with gondolas and singing gondoliers, winds along in front of many of the shops.
Miracle Mile
3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Part of the Planet Hollywood hotel.
The Forum Shops at Caesars
Las Vegas Boulevard South

[edit] Entertainment

Most of the attractions and shows on the Strip are located on the hotel casino properties. Some of the more popular free attractions include the water fountains and the Conservatory at Bellagio, the Sirens of TI show at Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, and the White Tiger Habitat at The Mirage.

Shows playing in Las Vegas include six Cirque du Soleil shows, the Blue Man Group, and some imported Broadway shows like Mamma Mia! and The Phantom of the Opera.

[edit] Demolished or closed Strip casinos & hotels

[edit] Transportation

The Las Vegas Monorail pulling into the Las Vegas Convention Center Station in Paradise.

McCarran International Airport provides commercial flights into the Las Vegas valley. The airport also serves private aircraft, domestic and international passenger flights, and freight/cargo flights. General aviation traffic generally uses North Las Vegas Airport, other airfields are available. City Ride Bus Service is provided by the Transportation Services Division. This limited service offers two routes in the downtown area with fare running from free to $0.50 depending on age and disabilities.[11] CAT Bus is a popular means of public transportation among locals and tourists with various bus routes covering Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and other suburban areas of the valley.

The Las Vegas Monorail runs from the MGM Grand Hotel at the south end of the Strip to the Sahara Hotel and Casino at the north end of the Strip. 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.
  • All city street signs begin with a N, S, W, or E designation.

Until 1997, the Amtrak Desert Wind train service ran through Las Vegas using the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) rails that run through the city; Amtrak service to Las Vegas has since been replaced by 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 had the distinction of being the only train station located in a casino.

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 and San Diego, 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 three-quarters 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.

With the notable exceptions of Las Vegas Boulevard, Boulder Highway (SR 582), and Rancho Drive (SR 599), the majority of surface streets outside downtown Las Vegas are laid out along Public Land Survey System section lines. Many are maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation as state highways.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Federal Highway Administration (2000-06-15). U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Downey Announces New All-American Roads, National Scenic Byways in 20 States. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-06-22. 
  2. ^ Las Vegas Strip Named All-American Road. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-06-22. 
  3. ^ "The 24 Largest Hotels in the World". Retrieved on 2008-05-28. 
  4. ^ One of the 19, the Las Vegas Hilton, is an "off-Strip" property but is located less than 0.5 miles (0.8 km) east of the Strip.
  5. ^ "Las Vegas: An Unconventional History". American Experience. Retrieved on 2007-06-07. 
  6. ^ Lukas, Scott A.. Scott A. Lukas. ed. “Theming as a Sensory Phenomenon: Discovering the Senses on the Las Vegas Strip,” in The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nation, and Self,. Lexington Books, 2007. pp. 75–95. ISBN 0739121421. 
  7. ^ Treasure Island Show Symbolizes New Era for Strip Resort. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-06-04. 
  8. ^ Barboza, David (2007-01-24). "Asian Rival Moves Past Las Vegas". New York Times. 
  9. ^ "Shuttles". Retrieved on 2008-02-11. 
  10. ^ "Shuttle Service". Retrieved on 2008-02-11. 
  11. ^ "City Ride Bus Service". Retrieved on 2007-08-02. 

[edit] External links

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