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Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas Strip (also known as The Strip) is 4 mi (6.7 km) of Las Vegas Boulevard South partly in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, that has been designated an All-American Road. Many of the largest hotel, casino and resort properties in the world are located on The Strip. Over the years, Las Vegas Boulevard South has been called Arrowhead Highway, Salt Lake Highway, U.S. Highway 91, and Los Angeles Highway. The Strip was reportedly named by police officer Guy McAfee, after his hometown’s Sunset Strip, in Los Angeles.

The Strip runs from the Stratosphere at the northern end, to the Mandalay Bay on the southern end. Of the 4 miles, nearly 3.5 miles of it is located in the township of Paradise, Clark County, only a small portion is within the city limits of Las Vegas. McCarran Airport is located at the southern end of The Strip, along with the famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign.

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

History

The first casino to be built on Highway 91 was the Pair-o-Dice Club in 1931.

The first hotel to be built on what is today’s Strip was the El Rancho Vegas, opening on April 3, 1941 with 63 rooms and standing for almost 20 years before being destroyed by fire in 1960. Its success spawned a second hotel on what will become The Strip, the Hotel Last Frontier, in 1942. The Flamingo opened a few years later, on December 26, 1946.

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, the International Hotel with 1,512 rooms, would become the largest hotel in the world, and begin the era of mega-resorts. The International is known as the Las Vegas Hilton today.

1973 added a new resort to The Strip. The (original) MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, also a Kerkorian property, opened with 2,084 rooms, ranking as the number one hotel in the world by number of rooms at that time. On November 21, 1980, the MGM Grand suffered the worst resort fire in the history of Las Vegas, killing 87 people (84 in the fire and three more due to injuries) as a result of electrical problems. It reopened eight months later.

In 1986, Kerkorian sold the MGM Grand to Bally Manufacturing and it was renamed Bally’s.

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 impacted the smaller, well-known and now historic hotels and casinos, like The Dunes and The Sands.

In an effort to attract families, resorts offered more attractions geared toward youth, but had limited success. The (current) MGM Grand opened in 1993 with Grand Adventures amusement park, but it 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.

Downtown Las Vegas hotels and casinos suffered heavily from the Strip’s boom. They have funneled money into remodeling the facades of casinos, adding additional security and new attractions, like the Fremont Street Experience and Neonopolis (complete with movie theaters).

Wet and Wild water park, located next to the Sahara hotel, closed permanently at the end of the 2004 season.

Announced in 2004 was Project City Center on the Las Vegas Strip. This 66 acre (600,000 m²), $6 billion, project on the site of the Boardwalk hotel and adjoining land is planned as a multi use project. It is the largest such project announced in the United States. It will consist of hotel, casino, condo, retail and other uses on the site. The first elements of this project are expected to be available in 2009.

On July 8, 2005, news reports (1, 2) said that film actors George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt will be working with actress/model Cindy Crawford’s husband Rande Gerber to design and build a new casino hotel in Las Vegas just off the Strip. Gerber is the man behind Green Valley Ranch resort and spa’s Whiskey Sky, so he is already involved in the Las Vegas entertainment market. Groundbreaking is expected to begin in January 2006. Clooney filmed Ocean’s Eleven at the Bellagio, and spends vacation time at the Green Valley Ranch resort and spa. The official announcement came on August 29, 2005. The hotel, condo, and casino property will be called Las Ramblas, and will be built on Harmon Avenue next to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Getting around

Las Vegas Strip at night with the Aladdin and Paris hotels

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

Cat Bus provides both a standard route (stops at each resort, 24 hours a day) and an express route (only stops 8-9 times total in 7 miles, 12 hours a day, 5 days a week) bus service on the Strip.

A tourist trolley service travels up and down The Strip and stops at various, but not all, Strip hotels, along with a stop at the Fashion Show Mall. The fare is $1.75 per ride, exact change required. Trolleys are scheduled to arrive every 15 minutes.

Two small light-rail services, referred to as trams, operate on the Strip. One runs between Treasure Island and The Mirage. The other provides service to Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur.

Compared to major roadways in other cities, the Las Vegas Strip is becoming pedestrian-friendly. New casinos design their facades to attract walk-up customers and many of these entrances have become attractions themselves – the Fountains at Bellagio, the volcano at The Mirage, and the Treasure Island (TI) Pirate Show are the most well-known. People gather on the sidewalks in front of the casinos to watch these shows.

To alleviate traffic issues at popular intersections, footbridges have been installed to help pedestrians more safely cross the roads. 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 the latest ones at the Las Vegas Boulevard-Spring Mountain and Sands Avenue intersection connecting the Wynn with the Fashion Show Mall.

Free Shuttles

Between Harrah’s Las Vegas and the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino. Approximately every 30 minutes.
Between Caesars Palace and the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino. Approximately every 30 minutes.
Between Paris/Bally’s and the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino. Approximately every 30 minutes.
Between Barbary Coast and The Orleans. Approximately every 15 minutes.
Between Barbary Coast and Gold Coast. Approximately every 15 minutes.
Between Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the MGM Grand and the Harley-Davidson Cafe (next to the Aladdin). Leaves the Hard Rock on the hour.
Between Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Fashion Show Mall and the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Leaves the Hard Rock on the hour.

Major hotels, casinos and resorts on The Strip

Listed from north to south:

Name Rooms Opened / Notes
Stratosphere
2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South
2,444 April 30, 1996
Sahara
2535 Las Vegas Blvd. South
1,720 1952
Circus Circus
2880 Las Vegas Blvd. South
3,770 October 18, 1968
Westward Ho
2900 Las Vegas Blvd. South
744 1963 Closed on November 17, 2005
Riviera
2901 Las Vegas Blvd. South
2,100 April 20, 1955
Stardust
3000 Las Vegas Blvd. South
1,500 July 1958
New Frontier
3120 Las Vegas Blvd. South
1,000 October 30, 1942
Wynn Las Vegas
3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South
2,716 April 28, 2005
Treasure Island (TI)
3300 Las Vegas Blvd. South
2,900 October 27, 1993
The Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
4,049 May 3, 1999
The Mirage
3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South
3,049 November 22, 1989
Casino Royale
3411 Las Vegas Blvd. South
152 Nob Hill 1979
Casino Royale 1992
Harrah’s Las Vegas
3475 Las Vegas Blvd. South
2,616 1992 Previously known as the Holiday Casino
Imperial Palace
3535 Las Vegas Blvd. South
2,700 1980 Previously known as the Flamingo Capri
Flamingo
3555 Las Vegas Blvd. South
3,642 1946 – known as the Flamingo Hilton from 1974-99.
Caesars Palace
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South
3,348 August 5, 1966
Barbary Coast
3595 Las Vegas Blvd. South
200 1979
Bellagio
3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South
3,000 October 15, 1998
Bally’s
3645 Las Vegas Blvd. South
2,814 Bonanza Hotel
The factual accuracy of the following date is unclear. Please view Bally’s talk page.
July 5, 1973 as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, largest in the world with 2,084 rooms.
Sold in 1986 and renamed.
Paris
3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South
1,900 September 1, 1999
Aladdin
3667 Las Vegas Blvd. South
2,567 1963 as the Tally-Ho.
Rebuilt and reopened on August 18, 2000.
Boardwalk
3750 Las Vegas Blvd. South
654 1968.
Rebuilt and enlarged in the 1990s.
Plans being developed to remove this hotel as part of a larger project. Closed on January 9, 2006.
Monte Carlo
3770 Las Vegas Blvd. South
3,002 June 21, 1996
New York-New York
3790 Las Vegas Blvd South
2,024 January 3, 1997
MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South
5,044 December 18, 1993
Tropicana
3801 Las Vegas Blvd. South
1,800 1957
Excalibur
3850 Las Vegas Blvd. South
4,032 June 19, 1990
Luxor
3900 Las Vegas Blvd. South
4,407 October 15, 1993
THEhotel at Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
1,117 2004
On November 17, 2005 the hotel started to change the signage to set this hotel apart from the Mandalay Bay.
Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
3,700 March 2, 1999
Four Seasons
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
424 1999
Top four floors of Mandalay Bay’s main building.

Major shopping attractions on The Strip

Name Description
Bonanza Gift Store
2440 Las Vegas Boulevard South
World’s largest gift store, Purveyors of Las Vegas Pop culture
Fashion Show Mall
3200 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Grand Canal Shoppes
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South
A canal, with gondolas and singing gondoliers, winds along in front of many of the shops.
Desert Passage
3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South
1.2 miles of shopping with 140 stores, located at the Aladdin. Features an hourly indoor thunderstorm.
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
Las Vegas Boulevard South

Golf courses

In recent years, all the on-Strip golf courses, except the Desert Inn Golf Course, fell prey to the mega-resorts need for land and were 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, a new public golf course opened just south of Mandalay Bay on the Strip. Catering to a high-end golf enthusiast, the Bali Hai Golf Club is easly seen by drivers on I-15.

Demolished Strip hotels

Desert Inn (and golf course): Demolished, now the Wynn Las Vegas.
The Dunes (and golf course): Demolished, rebuilt as Bellagio
El Rancho Vegas: Burned down in 1960. The Hilton Grand Vacation Club timeshare now exists on the south edge of the site where the resort once stood.
El Rancho (formerly Thunderbird/Silverbird): Demolished, now Turnberry Place condominium complex.
Glass Pool Inn was called Mirage Motel until 1988 when forced to change name due to The Mirage opening down The Strip in 1989.
Hacienda: Demolished, now Mandalay Bay
Marina (hotel and casino): Westward pointing tower (known as the West Wing) of the MGM Grand
The Sands: Demolished, now The Venetian
Vegas World: demolished and rebuilt as the Stratosphere; parts of the old Vegas World still remains.

Links

Sources

  • Yahoo! Maps listing distance from Stratosphere to Mandalay Bay.

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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