Best known as one of the entertainment capitals of the world, the city of Las Vegas is set in the south-west American state of Nevada, and is home to more than half a million residents.
Originally a part of Mexico, the land was seized by United States forces following prolonged battles in the 1840s, and was first properly used as a place for military personnel to stock up on their way out West, before becoming a wagon stop for trade routes along the railroad.
The original population of Vegas boomed when construction work began on what would eventually be named the Hoover Dam. Work commenced in the late 1920s the project drew thousands of men from all around the country to help build it. Vegas then began its mission to be the place to go for those workers to get some entertainment in their downtime, as in 1931 it obtained its first casino licence.
Although the city itself receives the brunt of its reputation as the self-proclaimed Entertainment Capital of the World, it is actually the Las Vegas Strip which provides the lion's share of worldwide tourism and entertainment facilities. The Strip itself is actually south of Vegas city limits, and is mostly located in two nearby towns known as Paradise and Winchester. Here you will find a wide selection of casino-hotels that are celebrated around the world for their gaming facilities; as well as the famous musicians and entertainers who have regularly performed there for decades.
Chinese New Year is always celebrated in Vegas' own unique style due to its high amount of visits, with parades through downtown areas, and even on casino floors and in the hotel lobbies. These parades are often brilliant displays of colour and sound, and are definitely worth a look if you are staying in Vegas during the first three months of the year.
Other main attractions include CityCenter; a retail and entertainment attraction that broke records in its scale and budget to build. Whether you are in Vegas for the gambling or just there to accompany someone who is, there are plenty of things you can do in this and any other of the city big complexes.
Check out one of the city's Ultra lounges if you're looking for some great nightlife; they are a cross between a club and a lounge for anyone who likes to mix it up.
Famous Vegas personalities include rock band The Killers, and former tennis pro Andre Agassi.
Last updated: 31 January 2014