Sin City, The Lady, Disneyland for Adults, Lost Wages – these are only a few nicknames that Las Vegas is known by. You’re aware of the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” but have you wondered what the fuel that powers this throbbing city in the middle of the Nevada Desert is? The chances are that you haven’t!
Believe it or not, Vegas is not only about casinos, gambling, extravagant shows, and pretty women. There are so many architectural marvels and surprising facts surrounding the city that it might take you a lifetime to grasp them all. But don’t worry; we are here to simplify things for you.
In this article, we are going to talk about what it means to get “Vegas famous,” some random yet surprising facts, and some of the city’s architectural marvels that will take your breath away. So, keep on reading!
The Dark Past and Pleasures of Sin City
Las Vegas is a place for the rich and famous; at least it was before the area became heavily commercialized and was thrown open for tourists. This internationally acclaimed resort city, known for gambling, nightlife, entertainment, shopping, fine dining, etc. has rather had a controversial past.
From the notorious mob bosses being founding fathers to the recent shootings, there have been many incidents that left the resort city shaken. Despite the tragic events, Vegas managed to bounce back and carry on. There is no such thing as “perfect time” to visit; throughout the year is fine.
Las Vegas might be famous for many things, but in recent years it has become increasingly popular for celebrity hangouts. Stars from around the world come to Sin City to party, relax, and try their hand at fortune on the grandest stage of them all. The city’s proximity to Los Angeles makes travel easy and convenient.
Las Vegas is a celebrity magnet. But it is also a heaven for the paparazzi and those looking to get clicked with their favorite stars. If you are one of them, then head over to the following places to get lucky:
LAX Nightclub, Luxor – partly owned by Christina Aguilera and frequented by celebrities
TAO Nightclub where Marc Anthony celebrated his 38th birthday
N9NE Steakhouse, Palms Las Vegas – a place where the stars go to dine
And if you’re planning on becoming a celebrity yourself, head over to the casinos and try your luck in winning millions. Who knows, you might just become the next Mr. Anonymous, who won $ 39 million in playing blackjack.
21 Fun Curiosities About Las Vegas
- 130,000 Rooms But Not One For Me?
Did you know that the estimated room count comes to 130,000 when you combine all the Las Vegas hotels? In fact, the big places like MGM Grand, Tropicana, Excalibur, has over 5000 rooms themselves, overtaking the gross collective of the entire San Francisco! Here’s another fun fact: almost always the occupancy is close to 90%. You better believe that!
- Gambling BANNED. Seriously?
Relax; Las Vegas is a gambling haven, but it was not always this way – not legally at least. After the city was founded in 1905, the antigambling law of the State of Nevada criminalized betting in 1910. However, that didn’t stop people from indulging as the activity moved largely underground. Nevada legalized gambling again in the year 1931, and the rest is history.
- No Lotteries For You, Mister!
This might sound odd, but it’s a fact that the State of Nevada doesn’t permit lottery. Many have made attempts to overturn Article IV, Sec. 24 but without success. You can, however, participate or host in church raffles and fundraisers by charitable organizations. Is Sin city moving towards godliness? You decide.
- Neon-Neon Everywhere!
Las Vegas is bright. Sometimes, blindingly so because of all the blazing neon lights. You can count on seeing neon pretty much anywhere you turn your head towards. In fact, the giant Cowboy Vegas Vic. is considered to be a symbol of the city. Did you know that there are over 15,000 miles of neon tubing within the city?
The glowing lights are such an integral part of Vegas that there is even a dedicated museum for them. The Neon Museum currently features more than 150 signs and the stories behind them.
via Pinterest; Copyright Ron Niebrugge
- The Strip Ain’t in Vegas, but the strippers are!
The Las Vegas Boulevard known as The Strip that stretches for 6.8 km doesn’t actually fall within Las Vegas. Who would’ve thunk? Vegas goes south towards Sahara Avenue, but The Strip is laid through two incorporated townships: Paradise and Winchester. 18 top hotels in the world are located in this glamorous road.
- Abode of the Gods
The Luxor Hotel is built like a pyramid, following the footsteps of Egyptian pharaohs who sought to impress with the size of their pyramids. The Luxor Hotel is notorious for its glittering 30 story architecture wrapped in glass, complete with Obelisk and Sphinx.
It is said that the hotel’s Atrium measures that 29,000,000 ft.³ and have the ability to hold nine 747’s on top of one another. Even the spotlight that points straight towards the sky is said to be the brightest spotlight in the whole world. Pleasing the Egyptian gods much?
- For Whom The Wedding Bells Toll
If you know anything about Las Vegas, then you know that it is a hit wedding destination. Be it a traditional type wedding or something out of the blue crazy; you’ll find what you want right here. Heck, you can even tie the knot with Elvis or MJ acting as the witness. It is estimated that close to 500 couples get hitched on Vegas every day on an average.
The year’s total falling just shy of 100,000. And to make things easier, all you need to get married in Vegas is a passport or driver’s license for identity proof and around $ 50 to get a marriage license. You pay in cash and get the license as quick as in 20 minutes.
- The Tallest Tower in The Neighborhood
The Stratosphere Tower standing tall at 1149 feet holds the record for being America’s tallest freestanding observation tower. It is from here you can get a 360° view of Sin City, and rightfully so because the observation deck is held up at the height of 869 feet. A view of The Strip from atop this tower is a view to die for.
- The Las Vegas Sign Isn’t Actually in Vegas
The mighty Las Vegas sign is actually located at Paradise, which is a neighboring town. This is much like The Strip, which is almost entirely technically situated in paradise. So don’t think you’ve reached Vegas as soon as you get the sign’s first sight. Another fact – the original sign is much smaller than other Vegas signs as it stands only at 25 feet.
- Putting Lives at Risk
Did you know that people once used to put their lives at risk to click a picture with the infamous Las Vegas sign? Yes, tourists would stand in the middle-of-the-road just to get photographed and get bragging rights they came to Vegas. The city later figured that injured or dead tourists would be bad for business, so they installed a parking lot close by in 2008.
You no longer have to risk your life to take a photo; just wait your turn to arrive.
- There is a Museum Dedicated to The Mobs
Wait, what? That’s right! The controversial Mob Museum is located just a few minutes away from the 5th street and is one of a kind in the US. Known officially as the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, the museum was opened in 2012 despite opposition from Washington. Oscar Goodman, the former mayor, is credited with the idea.
The building’s neoclassical architecture is bound to stand out amidst all the neon-lit casinos, but this museum remains a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
- No Copyright Involved
The designer of the Las Vegas sign, Betty Willis, gifted her design to the city as a generous gift. Meaning, she never got around to copywriting her design. The conclusion? Vegas magnets, Vegas keychain, Vegas bumper stickers, all flaunting “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” without paying any royalty to Willis.
Does she regret her decision? We don’t know. But given the fact that souvenirs sell like hotcakes here, Betty’s gift might as well have made her a multi-millionaire had she copyrighted the sign.
- I scream. You scream. We All Scream For Ice Cream!
Aviator and wealthy businessman Howard Hughes once requested a bulk shipment of Baskin-Robbins banana nut ice cream (200 gallons) during his stay at Las Vegas Desert Inn. Just a few days later, he had a change of mind and decided he would only eat chocolate marshmallow ice cream because he was tired of banana nut.
What happened next is kind of wholesome as the inn decided to distribute the remaining ice cream for a year for free! Don’t you wish you were there for free ice cream?
- Gambling Gone Too Far?
Okay, this is kind of an offensive fact that might leave you disturbed. In 1980, a hospital in Las Vegas was forced to suspend their staff after coming to know that they were betting on patients to die. It is said that one nurse even murdered a patient so that she could win the bet. If that’s not your definition of disturbing, we don’t know what is!
- Heart Attack in Heart Attack Grill
Call it the mother of coincidences if you will, but a man did actually suffer a heart attack while having lunch at Vegas’ famous Heart Attack Grill. He did survive the ordeal, but the restaurant’s challenge of not charging for food if anyone eats over 350 pounds came under a lot of attack. Clever marketing ploy or just a stroke of bad luck – maybe it’s a bit of both.
- Howard Hughes Strikes Again!
How much money is enough money to be able to buy an entire resort when the owner asks you to leave? $ 13 million if you ask Howard Hughes, who once gave away one year worth of free ice cream. He overstayed his initial reservation for which he booked the entire top two floors, but was eventually politely asked to leave by the inn’s owner.
Being a suave businessman that he was, he flicked out his chequebook and bought the resort for around $ 13 million. We’ve officially found the very definition of “Badass.”
- The Biggest Win of Them All
The largest sum anyone ever won on Vegas slots was a number of $ 39 million at the Excalibur. A 25-year-old software engineer put in $ 100 and ended up taking home $ 39 million, beating the odds of 1 in 16.7 million. Can you imagine being this lucky? It’s like Lady Luck herself descended from heaven and gave him the wettest kiss he could ever imagine.
Feel free to try your luck as well; just don’t expect to make that much money, or else you might be going home disappointed.
- A Street With Many Names
Las Vegas Boulevard has had many names in the past. People have called it Los Angeles highway, Arrowhead highway, 5th Street, Salt Lake highway, US 93, US 91, US 466, and many others. This popular location, The Strip is as famous among the locals as it is among tourists. And you thought you had many nicknames!
- The Curious Case of The Tunnel Dwellers
Deep beneath the glitter and glamour, lies a dark world where close to 1000 people live out their lives. Often referred to as “the tunnel people of Las Vegas,” these unfortunate souls have nowhere left to go, and most of them are said to have mental health issues. The 200 miles of flood tunnels might be a place of filth for many, but some call it home.
You’ll find residents of all ages there; most doing odd jobs during the day for money. Many are war veterans trying to cope up with post-traumatic stress. We bet you’ll never see Las Vegas the same way again after reading more about the tunnel dwellers.
- Take Home a Piece of Luck
Did you know that every year when the lights on the Las Vegas sign are replaced, they are sold off as commemorative souvenirs? Yes, this means if you want something that stays with you, you can buy one of these lights now. Hang on; it gets even better – the proceeds generated from light sales are later donated to charity. How’s that for good karma?
- Gambling is Not All Bad
The founder of FedEx, the multimillion-dollar transport and shipping company, Frederick W. Smith supposedly saved his company by gambling away to success in Vegas. Legend has it that Smith took his company’s last and remaining $ 5000 to Vegas and came back with $ 27,000 by winning at blackjack. This allowed him to pay for the company’s fuel bill of $ 24,000.
If you want to try your hand at blackjack, you better hope you don’t get this guy as your opponent.
The Architectural Wonders of Las Vegas
Popular around the world for grandiose presentations and themed casinos, the strip of Las Vegas is abode of some of the most exquisite displays of art and engineering. The hotels lining up on the 4 mile stretch of the Boulevard are considered to be some of the most expensive and dynamic structures on the planet.
If you’re visiting as a tourist, taking photographs of these marvels should ideally be on the top of your to-do list. But hey, we aren’t forcing you. Even if you are not much of an admirer of architecture, we would still implore you to at least check out these seven locations.
- The Grand Canals, Venetian Las Vegas
Visiting Vegas but want to get a feeling of the famed city of Venice in Italy? Head over to Venetian Las Vegas to be transported to another time and place. This is as close to the actual Venice you can get without booking a plane for Italy. Here you’ll see everything, starting from the gondoliers going about their day in the Grand Canal to the magnificent Hall frescoes in vivid detail.
The gondola rides in this destination are one of the most popular attractions and have been consistently voted to be a top performer. In fact, the serenading gondoliers put a considerable amount of effort to maintain the authenticity of Venice’s atmosphere and overall feel.
- The Eiffel Tower
One of the icons of the Vegas skyline is the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. This monumental structure stands at the height of 46 stories and is a half-scale replica of the actual landmark in France. The Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas is considered to be the world’s most massive replica of the original.
To maintain authenticity, the designers and architects of this structure took inspiration from Gustav’s original paintings, use the same color, and fitted the exact lighting system as the Paris’ Tower. Apart from gambling inside the casino, you can take a glass elevator to the observation deck and get a complete 360° view of the Vegas Valley.
- The Fountains of Bellagio
If you’re in the mood for some entertainment and don’t want to spend a dime – witness the majestic Bellagio fountains in all their glory. The fountains are situated in front of the Bellagio Hotel, on a lake stretching up to 8.5 acres. It is here that you can see more than 1200 fountains dancing to lights and music.
The music played here ranges from the legendary compositions of Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti to classical Western music by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. The performance happens every 30 minutes, and no admission fee is required. Just make sure of the starting time before paying a visit.
- Volcano of The Mirage
The volcano erupting in front of Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is a spectacle to behold! Keep an eye out from the dusk until 11 at night to see this grand display of extravagance play out. See breathtaking fire effects accompanied by audiovisual cues, including compositions from the legendary Indian tabla maestro Zakir Hussain and late Mickey Hart, drummer of Grateful Dead.
Every eruption lasts for about 10 minutes and includes shooting fireballs choreographed perfectly to the music. Schedules, however, are subject to change; be sure to inquire beforehand. This show is also free and can be seen from The Strip.
- The High Roller
Nestled in between Flamingo Las Vegas and The Linq Hotel & Casino, the Las Vegas High Roller is one of the Strip’s major attractions. Standing tall at 550 feet and measuring 520 feet in diameter, this Roller holds the record for being the tallest observation wheel on the planet. This structure it eclipses even the Singapore Flyer and the London Eye.
The Marvel of architecture comes with 28 glass cabins that unveil a clear view of the Las Vegas Strip. The roller spins for 30 minutes to complete one revolution. Fancy, isn’t it?
Las Vegas – a place where dreams become a reality and hopes come to die
Can you guess the one thing that separates this luxury destination from others around the world? No, it’s not the neon lights or extravagant buildings; it is the ‘larger than life’ feeling associated with Sin City. Anything can happen in Vegas. It is here that poor become rich and the rich become poor every minute.
via Pinterest; Copyright Ron Niebrugge
So, when are you planning your trip to Vegas with your buddies?