United States of America
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The Las Vegas Valley is a major metropolitan area located in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The largest urban agglomeration in the state, it is the heart of the Las Vegas–Paradise-Henderson, NV MSA. The Valley is largely defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a 600 sq mi (1,600 km2) basin area surrounded by mountains to the north, south, east and west of the metropolitan area. The Valley is home to the three largest incorporated cities in Nevada: Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas. Six unincorporated towns governed by the Clark County government are part of the Las Vegas Township and constitute the largest community in the state of Nevada.
- Poet laureate of the united states address in las vegas valley
- Map of Las Vegas NV USA
- Ground broken on ikea in southwest las vegas valley
- Geography and environment
- Fault zones
- Air quality
- Technology companies
- Culture and the arts
- Other communities
- Rail and bus
- Existing services
- Primary and secondary
- Colleges and universities
- Venues in Las Vegas
Map of Las Vegas, NV, USA
The names Las Vegas and Vegas are interchangeably used to indicate the Valley, the Strip, and the city, and are used as a brand by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to denominate the entire region. The Valley is affectionately known as the "ninth island" by Hawaii natives and Las Vegans alike, in part due to the large number of people originally from Hawaii who live in and travel to Las Vegas on a regular basis.
Since the 1990s the Las Vegas Valley has seen exponential growth, more than doubling its population of 741,459 in 1990 to more than 2 million estimated in 2015. The Las Vegas Valley remains one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States, and in its relatively short history has established a diverse presence in international business, commerce, urban development and entertainment, as well as one of the most iconic and most visited tourist destinations in the world. In 2014, a record breaking 41 million visited the Las Vegas area, producing a gross metropolitan product of more than $100 billion.
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The first reported non-Native American visitor to the Las Vegas Valley was the Mexican scout Rafael Rivera in 1829. Las Vegas was named by Mexicans in the Antonio Armijo party, including Rivera, who used the water in the area while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. In the 19th century, areas of the valley contained artesian wells that supported extensive green areas, or meadows, hence the name Las Vegas (vegas being Spanish for "meadows").
The area was previously settled by Mormon farmers in 1854 and later became the site of a United States Army fort in 1864, beginning a long relationship between southern Nevada and the U.S. military. Since the 1930s, Las Vegas has generally been identified as a gaming center as well as a resort destination, primarily targeting adults.
Nellis Air Force Base is located in the northeast corner of the valley. The ranges that the Nellis pilots use and various other land areas used by various federal agencies, limit growth of the valley in terms of geographic area.
Businessman Howard Hughes arrived in the late 1960s and purchased many casino hotels, as well as television and radio stations in the area. Legitimate corporations began to purchase casino hotels as well, and the mob was run out by the federal government over the next several years. The constant stream of tourist dollars from the hotels and casinos was augmented by a new source of federal money from the establishment of what is now Nellis Air Force Base. The influx of military personnel and casino job-hunters helped start a land building boom which is now leveling off.
The Las Vegas area remains one of the world's top entertainment destinations.
The valley is contained in the Las Vegas Valley landform. This includes the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson, and the unincorporated towns of Paradise, Spring Valley, Sunrise Manor, Enterprise, Winchester, and Whitney. The valley is technically located within the larger metropolitan area, as the metropolitan area covers all of Clark County -including parts that do not fall within the valley.
The government of Clark County has an "Urban Planning Area" of Las Vegas. This definition is a roughly rectangular area, about 20 mi (32 km) from east to west and 30 miles (48 km) from north to south. Notable exclusions from the "Urban Planning Area" include Red Rock, Blue Diamond, and Mount Charleston.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is the largest police department in the valley and the state and exercises jurisdiction in the entire county. There are approximately 3,000 police officers that cover the city of Las Vegas; unincorporated areas; the town of Laughlin, about 90 mi (140 km) from Downtown Las Vegas; and desert, park, and mountain areas within Clark County. The department does not exercise primary jurisdiction in areas with separate police forces such as North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Nellis Air Force Base and the Paiute reservation.
Geography and environment
The Las Vegas Valley lies in the Mojave Desert. The surrounding land is desert with mountains in the distance.
The Las Vegas Valley lies in a relatively high-altitude portion of the Mojave Desert, with a subtropical hot-desert climate. The Valley generally averages less than 5 in (130 mm) of rain annually. Daily daytime summer temperatures in July and August typically range from 100 °F (38 °C) to 110 °F (43 °C), while nights generally range from 72 °F (22 °C) to 80 °F (27 °C). Very low humidity, however, tempers the effect of these temperatures, though dehydration, heat exhaustion, and sun stroke can occur after even a limited time outdoors in the summer. The interiors of automobiles often prove deadly to small children and pets during the summer and surfaces exposed to the sun can cause first- and second-degree burns to unprotected skin. July and August can also be marked by "monsoon season", when moist winds from the Gulf of California soak much of the Southwestern United States. While not only raising humidity levels, these winds develop into dramatic desert thunderstorms that can sometimes cause flash flooding.
Winters in the Las Vegas Valley are typically chilly, but sunny. Winter highs in December and January usually range from 52 °F (11 °C) to 60 °F (16 °C), while nighttime lows range from 34 °F (1 °C) to 42 °F (6 °C). The mountains surrounding the valley are snow-covered during the winter season, but snow accumulation in the area itself is uncommon. Every few years apart, however, Las Vegas does get a measurable snowfall.
Spring and fall are generally warm to hot.
The valley has seven known earthquake fault zones; Frenchman Mountain Fault; Whitney Mesa Fault; Cashman Fault; Valley View Fault; Decatur Fault; Eglington Fault; West Charleston Fault.
Having part of the region located in a desert basin creates issues with air quality. From the dust the wind picks up, to the smog produced by vehicles, to the pollen in the air, the valley has several bad air days.
Pollen can be a major issue several weeks a year, with counts occasionally in the 70,000-plus range. Local governments are trying to control this by banning plants that produce the most pollen.
The dust problems usually happen on very windy days, so they tend to be short and seasonal, with full-fledged dust storms occurring rarely.
Smog, on the other hand, gets worse when there is no wind to move the air out of the valley. Also, in winter it is possible to get an inversion in the valley.
Since manufacturing is not a dominant industry of Las Vegas, and with Clark County working to control air quality problems, success has been shown over the years.
The native flora does little to help the soil retain water. During the intense rains of monsoon season or (relatively) wet months of January and February, a network of dry natural channels, called washes or arroyos, carved into the valley floor allows water to flow down from the mountains and converge in the Las Vegas Wash which runs through the Clark County Wetlands Park. The wash system used to form a large natural wetlands which then flowed into the Colorado River, until the construction of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River led to the creation of Lake Mead. Further development in the 1980s and 1990s made Lake Las Vegas, which required directing the Las Vegas Wash into tunnels which run under Lake Las Vegas and into Lake Mead.
Nevada receives an allocation 300,000 acre feet (370,000,000 m3) of water each year from Lake Mead, with credits for water it returns to the lake. The allocations were made with the Colorado River Compact when Nevada had a much smaller population and very little agriculture. The allocations were also made during a wet string of years, which overstated the available water in the entire watershed. As a result, precipitation that is below normal for a few years can significantly affect the Colorado River reservoirs. The Las Vegas area uses most of this allocation with Laughlin, Nevada using most of the remaining allocation. In June 2007, the price of a cubic meter was 57 cents in Las Vegas. Las Vegas gets around 90 percent of its water from Lake Mead.
Early Vegas depended on the aquifer which fed the flowing springs supporting the meadows that gave the area its name, but the pumping of water from these caused a large drop in the water levels and ground subsidence over wide areas of the valley. Today, the aquifers are basically used to store water that is pumped from the lake during periods of low demand and pumped out during periods of high demand.
The population doubling time in the greater metropolitan area was under ten years, since the early 1970s and the Las Vegas metropolitan area now has a population approaching two million people. This rapid population growth led to a significant urbanization of desert lands into industrial and commercial areas (see suburbia).
The driving force in Las Vegas is the tourism industry and the area has about 150,000 hotel rooms, more than any city in the world. In the past, casinos and celebrity shows were the two major attractions for the area. Now shopping, conventions, fine dining, and outdoor beauty are also major forces in attracting tourist dollars.
Las Vegas serves as world headquarters for the world's two largest Fortune 500 gaming companies, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International. Several companies involved in the manufacture of electronic gaming machines, such as slot machines, are located in the Las Vegas area. In the first decade of the 21st century, shopping and dining have become attractions of their own. Tourism marketing and promotion are handled by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, a county-wide agency. Its annual Visitors Survey provides detailed information on visitor numbers, spending patterns, and resulting revenues.
While Las Vegas has historically attracted high-stake gamblers from around the world, it is now facing tougher competition from the UK, Hong Kong and Macau (China), Eastern Europe and developing areas in the Middle East.
Las Vegas has recently enjoyed a boom in population and tourism. The urban area has grown outward so quickly that it borders Bureau of Land Management holdings along its edges. This has led to an increase in land values such that medium- and high-density development is occurring closer to the core. The Chinatown of Las Vegas was constructed in the early 1990s on Spring Mountain Road. Chinatown initially consisted of only one large shopping center complex, but the area was expanded with shopping centers that contain various Asian businesses. Over the past few years, retirees have been moving to the metro area, driving businesses that support them from housing to health care.
While the cost of housing spiked up over 40% in 2004, the lack of business and income taxes still makes Nevada an attractive place for many companies to relocate to or expand existing operations. Being a true twenty-four-hour city, call centers have always seemed to find Las Vegas a good place to hire workers who are accustomed to working at all hours.
The construction industry usually accounts for a large share of the economy in Las Vegas. Hotel casinos planned for the Strip can take years to build and employ thousands of workers. The same could be said of the housing boom. With the introduction of Turnberry Towers, developers discovered that there was a large demand for high-end condominiums. At the end of 2004, several major condominium towers were in various stages of development, however, in 2008, the construction industry went into a downturn due to the credit crunch, though the industry has since seen a rebound.
In 2000 more than 21,000 new homes and 26,000 resale homes were purchased. In early 2005 there were 20 residential development projects of more than 300 acres (120 ha) each underway. During that same period, Las Vegas was regarded as the fastest-growing community in the United States.
Other promising residential and office developments have begun construction around downtown Las Vegas. New condominium and high-rise hotel projects have changed the Las Vegas skyline dramatically in recent years. Many large high-rise projects are planned for downtown Las Vegas, as well as the Las Vegas Strip.
In recent years, rapid Manhattanization and Vancouverism has occurred in Las Vegas.
Construction in Las Vegas is a major industry and quickly growing with the population. In March 2011, construction employed 40,700 people and is expected to grow with the recovering economy. Since the mega resorts that have defined Las Vegas today, began going up in the early 1970s, construction has played a vital role in both commercial and non commercial developments. Cranes are a constant part of the Las Vegas Skyline. At any given time there are 300 new homes being constructed in Las Vegas. Downtown and The Strip always have at least one hospitality project under construction. In addition, in recent years Las Vegas has seen a spike in high-rise housing units. Luxurious condos and penthouse suites are always being built. New suburban master planned communities are also becoming common in Las Vegas ever since The Howard Hughes Corporation began work on Summerlin, an upper-class community on the west side of the valley.
The massive project CityCenter broke ground on June 26, 2006. Now completed at 3780 Las Vegas Boulevard South, it is the largest privately funded building complex in the world. At a cost of $9.2 billion, CityCenter was one of the largest projects in Vegas history. It put a massive strain on the construction ability and workforce of the area due to number of laborers and amount of materials required. Because of this, prices of almost any construction project in Las Vegas doubled. It is currently held by MGM Resorts International and has three hotels, two condo towers, and a hotel-condo building along with a large shopping and entertainment center.
Slab-on-grade foundations are the common base for residential buildings in the area.
Traditionally, housing consisted primarily of single-family detached homes. Apartments generally were two story buildings. Until the 1990s, there were exceptions, but they were few and far between. In the 1990s, Turnberry Associates constructed the first high rise condominium towers. Prior to this, there were only a handful of mid-rise multi-family buildings. By the mid-2000s, there was a major move into high rise condominiums towers, which affected the region's skyline around the Strip.
Some technology companies have either relocated to Las Vegas or were created there. For various reasons, Las Vegas has had a high concentration of technology companies in electronic gaming and telecommunications industries.
Companies that originally were formed in the Las Vegas region, but have since sold or relocated include Westwood Studios (sold to Electronic Arts), Systems Research & Development (Sold to IBM), Yellowpages.com (Sold to BellSouth and SBC), and MPower Communications.
The major attractions in the Las Vegas Valley are the hotel/casinos. These hotels generally consist of large gambling areas, theaters for live performances, shopping, bars/clubs, and several restaurants and cafes. There are clusters of large hotel/casinos located in both downtown Las Vegas and on the Las Vegas Strip. The largest hotels are mainly located on the Strip, which is a four-mile section of Las Vegas Boulevard. These hotels provide thousands of rooms of various sizes. Fifteen of the world's 25 largest hotels by room count are on the Strip, with a total of over 62,000 rooms. There are many hotel/casinos in the city's downtown area as well, which was the original focal point of the Valley's gaming industry. Several hotel/casinos ranging from large to small are also located around the city and metro area. Many of the largest hotel, casino, and resort properties in the world are located on the Las Vegas Strip.
The valley's casinos can be grouped into several locations. The largest is the Las Vegas Strip, followed by Downtown Las Vegas, and then the smaller Boulder Strip. There are also several one-off single standing hotel/casinos dotted around the valley and the metro area.
Las Vegas has expanded its attractiveness to visitors by offering both affordable and high-end merchandise in many shops and shopping malls. Many hotels on the Las Vegas Strip also have adjacent shopping malls, giving the Las Vegas area the highest concentration of shopping malls in any four mile stretch of road. In addition to the malls on the Strip, there are several outlying malls in the City of Las Vegas, Henderson, and the surrounding area. The monorail, lying somewhat east of the Strip, facilitates north-south travel, including stations at several casinos and the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Las Vegas holds many of the world's largest conventions each year, including CES. SEMA, and Conexpo. The Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the largest in the world with 1,940,631 sq ft (180,290.5 m2) of exhibit space. These events bring in an estimated $7.4 billion of revenue to the city each year, and host over 5 million attendees.
Culture and the arts
The "First Friday" celebration, held on the first Friday of each month, exhibits the works of local artists and musicians in an area just south of downtown. The city is home to an extensive Downtown Arts District which hosts numerous galleries, film festivals, and events.
The Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park, also known as the Las Vegas Zoo, exhibits over 150 species of animals and plants. The Zoo closed its doors in September, 2013.
The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is the only aquarium that is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in the state of Nevada. It features over 2,000 animals and 1,200 species in 1.6 million gallons of seawater.
The $485 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts is located downtown in Symphony Park. The center is appropriate for Broadway shows and other major touring attractions as well as orchestral, opera, choir, jazz, and dance performances.
Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is a facility presenting high-quality art exhibitions from major national and international museums. Past exhibits have included the works of Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, and Peter Carl Fabergé. A self-guided audio tour is also offered.
The Las Vegas Natural History Museum features robot dinosaurs, live fish, and more than 26 species of preserved animals. There are several "hands-on" areas where animals can be petted.
The Atomic Testing Museum, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, houses artifacts from the Nevada Test Site and records the dramatic history of the atomic age through a series of interactive modules, timelines, films, and actual equipment and gadgets from the site.
The valley is home to numerous other art galleries, orchestras, ballets, theaters, sculptures, and museums as well.
McCarran International Airport (LAS) provides commercial flights into the Las Vegas. The airport serves domestic, international, and cargo flights, as well as some private aircraft. General aviation traffic, however, will typically use the much smaller North Las Vegas Airport, or other airfields in the county. Public transportation is provided by RTC Transit. Numerous bus routes cover Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, and other suburban areas.
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 the Southern California coastal urban centers of Los Angeles and San Diego, and heads northeast to and beyond Salt Lake City, Utah. I-515 goes southeast to Henderson, beyond which US 93 continues south of Hoover Dam over the new Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge towards Phoenix, Arizona and the Arizona Sun Corridor. 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.
Rail and bus
While the Las Vegas area does not have any passenger rail service, proposals to revive passenger trains to Las Vegas have included the Desert Xpress high-speed train from Victorville, California; the California-Nevada Interstate Maglev, which would extend to Anaheim, California, with its first segment being to Primm, Nevada. The Las Vegas Railway Express; and the Z-Train, which would travel six days a week between Los Angeles Union Station and a new Z-Train Station adjacent to the Strip; and the Desert Lightning to Los Angeles and Phoenix. Las Vegas receives about 30 freight trains per day in 2004, and serves as a district crew change point, requiring all trains to stop in downtown. Freight traffic was 179,284 cars in 2004.
Two major freeways—Interstate 15 and U.S. Route 95—cross in downtown Las Vegas. I-15 connects Las Vegas to Los Angeles and San Diego, and heads northeast to and beyond Salt Lake City. Interstate 515 goes southeast to Henderson, beyond which U.S. Route 93 continues past 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 SR 160 to Pahrump and SR 147 to Lake Mead.
With the notable exceptions of Las Vegas Boulevard, Boulder Highway, and Tonopah Highway (better known as the northern part of Rancho Drive), the majority of surface streets outside downtown Las Vegas are laid out along Public Land Survey System section lines. Many are maintained, in part, by the Nevada Department of Transportation as state highways.
The Las Vegas area is dependent on imported gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuel as is most of Nevada, which has only one refinery. The region is dependent on the Calnev Pipeline as its single supply. Limited diesel is delivered to a dedicated terminal in North Las Vegas by rail. Diversified supply is dependent on the planned UNEV pipeline.
About 25% of the electric power from Hoover Dam goes to Nevada, and about 70% of power to Southern Nevada comes from natural gas fired power stations.
Las Vegas is often home to several notable minor league teams, as well as the UNLV Runnin' Rebels, and one major professional team:
Las Vegas has many natural outdoor recreational options.
There are several multi-use trail systems within the valley operated by multiple organizations. The River Mountains Loop Trail is a 35-mile (56 km) long trail that connects the west side of the valley with Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Summerlin offers more than 150 miles of award-winning trails within the 22,500-acre (9,100 ha) community. There are also the 3-mile (4.8 km) Angel Park Trail, Bonanza Trail, and the county's Flamingo Arroyo Trail, I-215 West Beltway Trail (5 miles (8.0 km)), I-215 East Beltway Trail (4 miles (6.4 km)), Tropicana/Flamingo Washes Trail and the Western Trails Park Area Equestrian Trails (4 miles).
The Las Vegas Valley also hosts world class mountain biking including Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park located in Boulder City which boasts itself as one of the International Mountain Biking Association's "epic rides".
Primary and secondary
The Clark County School District operates all of the public primary and secondary schools in the county with the exception of a few which are contracted out to a private organization.
Colleges and universities
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is in Paradise, about three miles (5 km) south of the city limits and roughly two miles east of the Strip. The University of Nevada Medical School has a campus near downtown Las Vegas. Several national colleges, including the University of Phoenix and Le Cordon Bleu, have campuses in the Las Vegas area. Nevada State College, National University and Touro University Nevada are nearby Henderson. The College of Southern Nevada has campuses in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson. Henderson also is home to DeVry University and the Keller Graduate School of Management, as well as the University of Southern Nevada. Other private entities in the Las Vegas Valley include Apollo College and ITT Technical Institute.