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Las Vegas Guide
Las Vegas - Out and About
Las Vegas, with almost 405,000 inhabitants, is the largest city in the state of Nevada, in south-western USA.
Founded in 1855 as a Mormon colony, the city began to expand rapidly, following the construction of a dam on the Colorado River and the subsequent formation of Lake Mead. In that same year the State of Nevada legalized gambling.
The city is also home to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas(1957), and the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society, which contains interesting sections regarding the history of the state. Las Vegas is famed however for its large casinos and luxurious hotels. The first of which being The Flamingo Hotel, built in 1946 , owned by Bugsy Siegel, a renown gangster, who invested their money gained from a life of crime, in the sumptuous interior of the hotel and its dazzling pink neon façade. Thus creating the guidelines, still valid today, for the elegant and somewhat flashy hotels.
The gambling nerve centre of Las Vegas is Downtown, the Centre and above all the Strip, an 18 km long road flanked by hotels and casinos of monstrous dimensions. Theme hotels have sprung up over the last twenty years, these amusement parks house the largest casinos, characterized by the constant background noise of the tinkling of thousands of slot machines. The true monuments to Las Vegas are its hotels and their large and surprising interiors.
The Imperial Palace houses one of the largest collections of historic cars, while the Mirage, situated in front of the Imperial, welcomes its visitors with an artificial lake and a volcano that erupts and spews lava every 15 minutes. In front of Treasure Island, visitors are treated to a naval battle, complete with pirates, cannons and sinking ships. The New York- New York is a reconstruction of the island of Manhattan, with skyscrapers, Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. The prize for the most kitsch goes to Caesar’s Palace, a replica of ancient Rome with marble columns, statues, fountains, and a golden chariot illuminated by torches; the interior houses reproductions of famous Roman statues and a copy of the Bernini fountain in Piazza Navona, it is also possible to have a drink and be waited upon by staff dressed as ancient Egyptians on Cleopatra’s Barge.
The Excalibur is located further along the Strip, the hotel resembles a castle with merlin the magician looking out of the top window. The Luxor is a giant pyramid which houses over 5000 rooms, built to Egyptian style. The MGM hotel has copies of the famous Hollywood studios. The most recently built hotels include: Paris, Venice and Bellagio, which are scale reproductions of these towns and cities complete with Eiffel Tower, gondolas and Lake Como with a fantastic dancing fountain display. All these luxurious hotels apply a very reasonable tariff, much lower than other USA cities, basing their earnings on the gains derived from gambling. It is easy to find a double room for about 100 dollars, while those hotels located off the Strip offer much lower rates even as low as 30 dollars. The city also offers hundreds of nightly shows and exhibitions. The Las Vegas Entertainment Guide (Tel. 702-2255554) provides an updated recorded message, giving detailed information on what the city has to offer. To fully appreciate the Strip it is necessary to stroll along its length on foot. Relatively cheap taxis and buses are the best means in order to visit the rest of the city .During the day it is best to hire a car to visit the surrounding area and leave the glitter of Las Vegas for the evening.
Las Vegas - Not to be missed
Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park is located at the cross-roads between Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington Avenue. The park houses both the remain of the old fort built by the Mormons in 1855 and various artefacts from the same period.
Main Street, which starts where the Strip finishes, is lined with tiny doll-like chapels, used for lightning-quick weddings typical of Las Vegas and the State of Nevada. Hoover dam is located a few miles south of the city . The dam holds back the Colorado river and is 224 metres high and 384 metres long. Guided tours and boat trips can be booked from the Visitor Center.
Las Vegas - Walks and tours
The Desert National Wildlife Range is situated a short distance from the city along the US highway N° 45. The park is the largest natural reserve in the state and is home to hundreds of species of animals including coyotes, deers, elks, prong horn and rare birds. The reserve is open all year round. The reserve entrance is located at Corn Creek Field Station.
Valley of Fire, the oldest and largest state park in Nevada, is situated approximately 50 miles north-east of Las Vegas. The park obtains its name from its red rock formations, often covered by petroglyphs. The park also contains an area of petrified forest.
The 100 mile long artificial Lake Mead, considered to be the Las Vegas Riviera, is located 30 miles south of the city. A more strenuous trip, which can be undertaken in one day, is a visit to Death Valley, located approx. 140 miles north of Las Vegas (2.5 hours by car). This arid place is full of fascinating and wonderful panoramic sites. The landscape varies from the mountains of Dante’s Peak to the golden rocks of Zabrienski Point, from the hollow of Sand Dunes at Furnace Creek and Mosaic Canyon to the ghosts towns and the old magnesium mines.
Grand Canyon is an undoubtedly splendid but expensive trip (approx. 200 dollars per person). The Canyon can be reached by car, living the interstate 40 at Williams for the interstate 64. Plane flights from Phoenix or Las Vegas take the visitor to the town of Tusayan, 8 km. from Grand Canyon village. However one arrives, they are met by the awe-inspiring site of this enormous gorge eroded over a period of millions of years from a mountain plateau. Gand Canyon can be observed from three separate zones: the South Rim, the North Rim and the gorge itself, from where it is possible to descend directly to the Colorado River.
The Grand Canyon village is located on the South Rim and houses numerous hotels, a post office and supermarket. The North Rim offers a wide of variety of hikes and trails and is less crowded by tourists. For booking and accommodation: Reservation Department, Grand Canyon National Park Lodges, Grand Canyon AZ 86023, tel. 602-6382401.
Las Vegas - The traveller's notebook
Currency : The unit of currency is the US$, subdivided into 100 cents.
Electric supply: 110/120 volts, 60 hertz
Climate : desert
Opening hours : Shops are usually always open inside the hotels and casino. The shops of the city are open every day from 10 am. to 9 pm.
Telephones : Telephone code: 702
Las Vegas - A pocket guide
The large hotels-casinos contain numerous restaurants offering a range of meals from elegant dinners to fast-food snacks. These large complexes also house a variety of shops and boutiques offering gifts, clothing, jewellery and perfume.
Disclaimer: the above information is provided 'as is' and Hostelsclub accepts no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from this information.