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The Las Vegas Strip is an approximately 4.2-mile (6.8 km) stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South in Clark County, Nevada. The Strip is not located within the City of Las Vegas but is in the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester, which are south of the Las Vegas city limits. Most of the Strip has been designated an All-American Road,[2][3] and is considered a scenic route at night.[4] Many of the largest hotel, casino, and resort properties in the world are located on the Las Vegas Strip. Fifteen of the world’s 25 largest hotels by room count are on the Strip, with a total of over 62,000 rooms.
One of the most visible aspects of Las Vegas’ cityscape is its use of dramatic architecture. The modernization of hotels, casinos, restaurants, and residential high-rises on the Strip has established the city as one of the most popular destinations for tourists.[5]

Boundaries

The Strip in 2009

Historically, the casinos that were not in Downtown Las Vegas along Fremont Street were restricted to outside of the city limits on Las Vegas Boulevard. In 1959 the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign was constructed exactly 4.5 miles (7.2 km) outside of the city limits. The sign is today about 0.4 miles (0.64 km) south of the southernmost entrance to Mandalay Bay (the southernmost casino).

In the strictest sense, “the Strip” refers only to the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard that is roughly between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road, a distance of 4.2 miles (6.8 km).[6][7] However, the term is often used to refer not only to the road but also to the various casinos and resorts that line the road, and even to properties which are not on the road but in proximity. Phrases such as Strip AreaResort Corridor or Resort District are sometimes used to indicate a larger geographical area, including properties 1 mile (1.6 km) or more away from Las Vegas Boulevard, such as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The traditional definition considers the Strip’s northern terminus as the now-defunct Sahara Casino, though travel guides typically extend it to include the Stratosphere, 0.4 miles (0.64 km) to the north. At one time, the southern end of the Strip was Tropicana Avenue, but continuing construction has extended this boundary to Russell Road. Mandalay Bay is located just north of Russell Road and is the southernmost resort considered to be on the Strip.

Because of the number and size of the resorts, the Resort Corridor can be quite wide. Interstate 15 runs roughly parallel and 0.5 to 0.8 miles (0.80 to 1.3 km) to the west of Las Vegas Boulevard for the entire length of the Strip. Paradise Road runs to the east in a similar fashion, and ends at St. Louis Avenue. The eastern side of the Strip is bounded byMcCarran International Airport south of Tropicana Avenue. North of this point, the Resort Corridor can be considered to extend as far east as Paradise Road, although some consider Koval Lane as a less inclusive boundary. Interstate 15 is sometimes considered the western edge of the Resort Corridor from Interstate 215 to Spring Mountain Road. North of this point, Industrial Road serves as the western edge.

The famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign is located in the median just south of Russell Road, across from the now-demolished Klondike Hotel & Casino; another similar sign is in the median at the north end of the Strip near the intersection of East St. Louis and South Main Streets.

Newer resorts such as South Point and the M Resort are on Las Vegas Boulevard South as distant as 8 miles south of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Marketing for these casinos usually states that they are on southern Las Vegas Boulevard and not “Strip” properties.

History

The BellagioCaesars Palace, and part of the Strip

The first casino to be built on Highway 91 was the Pair-o-Dice Club in 1931, but the first on what is currently the Strip was the El Rancho Vegas, opening on April 3, 1941, with 63 rooms. That casino stood for almost 20 years before being destroyed by a fire in 1960. Its success spawned a second hotel on what would become the Strip, the Hotel Last Frontier, in 1942. Organized crime figures such as New York’s Bugsy Siegel took interest in the growing gaming center leading to other resorts such as the Flamingo, which opened in 1946, and the Desert Inn, which opened in 1950. The funding for many projects was provided through the American National Insurance Company, which was based in the then notorious gambling empire of Galveston, Texas.[8][9]

Las Vegas Boulevard South was previously called Arrowhead Highway, or Los Angeles Highway. The Strip was reportedly named by Los Angeles police officer Guy McAfee, after his hometown’s Sunset Strip.[10]

In 1968, Kirk Kerkorian purchased the Flamingo and hired Sahara Hotels Vice President Alex Shoofey as President. Alex Shoofey brought along 33 of Sahara’s top executives. The Flamingo was used to train future employees of the International Hotel, which was under construction. Opening in 1969, theInternational Hotel, with 1,512 rooms, began the era of mega-resorts. The International is known as the LVH today.

The first MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, also a Kerkorian property, opened in 1973 with 2,084 rooms. At the time, this was one of the largest hotels in the world by number of rooms. The Rossiya Hotel built in 1967 in Moscow, for instance, had 3200 rooms; however, most of the rooms in the Rossiya Hotel were single rooms of 118 sq. ft (roughly 1/4 size of a standard room at the MGM Grand Resort). On November 21, 1980, the MGM Grand suffered the worst resort fire in the history of Las Vegas as a result of electrical problems, killing 87 people. It reopened eight months later. In 1986, Kerkorian sold the MGM Grand to Bally Manufacturing, and it was renamed Bally’s.

The Wet ‘n Wild water park opened in 1985 and was located on the south side of the Sahara hotel. The park closed at the end of the 2004 season and was later demolished.

Las Vegas Strip at night with the Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood)

The opening of The Mirage in 1989 set a new level to the Las Vegas experience, as smaller hotels and casinos made way for the larger mega-resorts. These huge facilities offer entertainment and dining options, as well as gambling and lodging. This change affected the smaller, well-known and now historic hotels and casinos, like The DunesThe Sands, the Stardust, and the Sahara.

In 1995, following the death of Dean Martin, the lights along the Strip were dimmed in a sign of respect to him. This was repeated in 1998 in honor of the recently deceased Frank Sinatra. In 2005, Clark County renamed a section of Industrial Road (south of Twain Avenue) as Dean Martin Drive, also as a tribute to the famous Rat Pack singer, actor, and frequent Las Vegas entertainer.

In an effort to attract families, resorts offered more attractions geared toward youth, but had limited success. The (current) MGM Grandopened in 1993 with Grand Adventures amusement park, but the park closed in 2000 due to lack of interest. Similarly, in 2003 Treasure Island closed its own video arcade and abandoned the previous pirate theme, adopting the new ti name.[11]

In addition to the large hotels, casinos and resorts, the Strip is home to a few smaller casinos and other attractions, such as M&M WorldAdventuredome and the Fashion Show Mall. Starting in the mid-1990s, the Strip became a popular New Year’s Eve celebration destination.

With the opening of BellagioVenetian, and Wynn resorts, the strip trended towards the luxurious high end segment through most of the 2000s, while some older resorts added major expansions and renovations, including some de-theming of the earlier themed hotels. High end dining, specialty retail, spas and nightclubs increasingly became options for visitors in addition to gambling at most Strip resorts. There was also a trend towards expensive residential condo units on the strip.

In 2004, MGM Mirage announced plans for Project CityCenter, a 66-acre (27 ha), $7 billion multi-use project on the site of the Boardwalk hotel and adjoining land. It consists of hotel, casino, condo, retail, art, business and other uses on the site. City Center is currently the largest such complex in the world. Construction began in April 2006, with most elements of the project opened in late 2009.

In 2006, the Las Vegas Strip lost its longtime status as the world’s highest-grossing gambling center, falling to second place behind Macau.[12]

In 2012, two large Ferris wheels and a retail district called The LINQ broke ground, in an attempt to further diversify the attractions offered on the strip beyond that of casino resorts.

The diversification continued in 2013 with MGM Resorts International’s announcement of plans to build a major indoor arena and retail district behind New York-New York resort in partnership with Anschutz Entertainment Group.[13] After a recent pause in new strip resort development, the Malaysian gaming company Genting Group bought the unfinishedEchelon Place project with plans to build a new resort called Resorts World Las Vegas to open in 2016.[14]

The Strip today

2007 panorama of the southern half of the Las Vegas Strip by night with Project CityCenter construction on the bottom right

Transportation

The Deuce

The Las Vegas RTC Transit WrightbusStreetcar used for the Strip and Downtown Express (SDX)

While not on the Strip itself, the Las Vegas Monorail runs on the east side of the Strip from Tropicana Avenue to Sahara Road.[15]

RTC Transit (formerly CAT or Citizens Area Transit 1992–2008) provides service on the Strip with double decker buses known as The Deuce. The Deuce runs between Mandalay Bay at the southern end of the Strip to the Bonneville Transit Center (BTC) in Downtown Las Vegas, with stops near every casino. RTC also operates an express bus called the Strip and Downtown Express (SDX). This route connects the Strip to the Las Vegas Convention Center and Downtown Las Vegas to the north, with stops at selected hotels and shopping attractions.

Several free trams operate on the west side of the Strip:

Taxis can only stop at hotel entrances or designated spots, so when planning to get somewhere, passengers inquire as to which hotel or taxi stand is closest to the intended destination.[16]

Before CAT Bus came on in 1992, mass transit on the Strip was provided by a private transit company, Las Vegas Transit. The Strip route was their only profitable route and supported the whole bus system.[citation needed]

Free shuttles

The Strip traffic during the day, looking north from the MGM Grand

Some of the shuttles have a policy requiring a room key from an affiliated casino. Enforcement of these policies may vary.[17][18]

Pedestrian traffic

Pedestrians can walk the length of the Las Vegas Strip with wide sidewalks in many places. Sidewalks can get crowded in the evenings and early mornings, especially on weekend nights. Crowds also gather near the outdoor shows at The MirageTreasure Island andBellagio.[19]

To improve pedestrian safety and help alleviate traffic congestion at popular intersections, several pedestrian footbridges were erected. Some feature designs which match the theme of the nearby resorts. The Tropicana – Las Vegas Boulevard footbridges were the first to be installed, and based on the success of this project additional footbridges have been built on Las Vegas Boulevard at the Flamingo Road intersection; between The Mirage/Treasure Island and The Venetian, and at the Las Vegas Boulevard-Spring Mountain and Sands Avenue intersection connecting the Wynn with the Fashion Show Mall and The Palazzo. The latest to be completed connects Planet HollywoodCityCenter and The Cosmopolitan at the Harmon Avenue intersection.[20]

Golf courses

In recent years, all but one of the on-Strip golf courses (the Desert Inn Golf Course) have fallen prey to the mega-resorts’ need for land and have closed. Developer Steve Wynn, founder of previously owned Mirage Resorts, purchased the Desert Inn and golf course for his new company Wynn Resorts. In 2005, he opened Wynn Las Vegas, complete with remodeled golf course providing tee times to hotel guests only.

In 2000, Bali Hai Golf Club opened just south of Mandalay Bay and the Strip.[21]

Shopping attractions

Entertainment

Most of the attractions and shows on the Strip are located on the hotel casino properties. Some of the more popular free attractions visible from the Strip include the water fountains at Bellagio, the Sirens of TI show at Treasure Island, the volcano at The Mirage, and the Fall of Atlantis and Festival Fountain at Caesars Palace. There are severalCirque du Soleil shows, such as  at the MGM Grand, O at Bellagio, Mystère at Treasure Island, Zumanity (for ages 18 and older) at New York-New York, and Criss Angel Believe at the Luxor.[22]

The only movie theatre directly on the Strip is the 10-screen Regal Showcase Theatre in the Showcase Mall next to the MGM Grand (opened in 1997 and operated by Regal Entertainment Group).[23]

Major hotel locations

For a full list of hotels on the Strip, see List of Las Vegas Strip hotels.

A view of Las Vegas Strip from the south east; 2012

North towards Fremont Street
Stratosphere
Sahara Avenue Sahara Avenue
SLS
Circus Circus Fontainebleau (on hold)
Riviera
Resorts World Las Vegas
Desert Inn Road Desert Inn Road
Encore
Fashion Show Mall Wynn
Spring Mountain Road Sands Avenue
Treasure Island The Palazzo
The Venetian
The Mirage Casino Royale
Harrah’s
The Quad
Caesars Palace Flamingo
Gansevoort Las Vegas
Flamingo Road Flamingo Road
Bellagio Bally’s
Paris
VdaraCosmopolitan Planet Hollywood
Harmon Avenue Harmon Avenue
Aria Grand ChateauThe Signature
Mandarin Oriental
Monte Carlo
New York-New York MGM Grand
Tropicana Avenue Tropicana Avenue
Excalibur Tropicana
Luxor
THEHotel
Four SeasonsMandalay Bay
Russell Road
South towards Interstate 215 I-215.svg

Former casino locations

North towards Fremont Street and Lotus Inn
Vegas World
Sahara Avenue Sahara Avenue
El Rancho Vegas Sahara (future site of SLS Las Vegas)
El Rancho
Westward Ho
Stardust
Desert Inn Road Desert Inn Road
New FrontierSilver Slipper Desert Inn
Spring Mountain Road Sands Avenue
Castaways (partially) Sands (partially)
Sands (mostly)
Castaways (partially) Nob Hill Casino
Holiday Casino and Holiday Inn
Imperial Palace
O’Sheas
Barbary Coast
Flamingo Road Flamingo Road
Dunes MGM Grand
Little Caesar
The Aladdin
Harmon Avenue Harmon Avenue
Boardwalk
Marina
Tropicana Avenue Tropicana Avenue
Hacienda
Russell Road
Klondike
South towards Interstate 215 I-215.svg

Demolished or closed Strip casinos and hotels

Las Vegas Strip Hotels