For decades, Las Vegas has occupied an unrivaled place in America’s cultural identity. Elvis impersonators, showgirls, casinos and neon lights are some of the most familiar emblems of Las Vegas’ culture, but they are only part of the story. Aside from being known as a playground for the rest of the country, Las Vegas is also a desert oasis filled with art, culture, adventure and natural beauty.
In recent years, Las Vegas has secured its place on the cultural map. In 1998, Steve Wynn surprised many when he decided to open an art gallery in his $1.9 billion hotel-casino, Bellagio. Art critics were skeptical, but the public applauded his efforts when the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art opened and launched Las Vegas to the forefront of the art scene. With eyes glued to this emerging art center, other reputable art institutions started looking toward Las Vegas. The result: fine art galleries located in the resort corridor, featuring revered masterpieces by celebrated artists. While hotels embraced the new frontier of bringing art to Las Vegas, others focused on preserving one of the most famous aspects of Las Vegas’ vibrant history. The Neon Museum is a collection of classic neon signs from the 1940s to present day. The collection currently features 11 refurbished, vintage neon signs. The museum is also developing a new building to house the nonrestored historic signs, currently displayed on a three-acre outdoor site called the Boneyard.
Neon has beckoned visitors to the endless casinos and grand entertainment shows of the Las Vegas Strip for decades, but the city’s gaming history began even before the bright lights ever beamed. On March 19, 1931, Governor Fred Balzar signed a bill that legalized gaming in Nevada. Since that day, Nevada, and especially Las Vegas, has become recognized worldwide as a premier gaming destination. From traditional card and dice games, to slot machines and race and sports book betting, the casino industry has flourished and evolved into an international phenomenon. Now, more than 80 years later, Nevada celebrates the very industry that has supported economic growth in the state. Last year alone the Las Vegas strip raked in more than $9 billion in gaming revenue.
If taking risks isn’t your business, Las Vegas is close to many natural attractions that are a guaranteed win-win experience. Mt. Charleston, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park and the Mojave National Preserve are just a few of the scenic attractions located within just 60 miles of downtown. From hiking, camping, and skiing to the natural beauty and wildlife of the region, there is plenty to see around Las Vegas for those who want a break from the fast pace of the city. Even within city limits you can find an escape. Las Vegas is home to more that 50 exquisite, challenging championship golf courses designed by legends of the sport and available for play throughout the year thanks to the area’s inviting climate.
No matter what your pleasure, Las Vegas is jam-packed with sights and sounds to thrill, and adventures to suit every possible palette. Join us and take a chance on having a great time!
Get to know Las Vegas at:www.lvcva.com
Info: ©Las Vegas News Bureau, lvcva.com
Photos © Las Vegas News Bureau, lvcva.com and © istockphoto.com