Las Vegas is the self-proclaimed ‘entertainment capital of the world’, and it is exactly that characteristic audaciousness that has inspired the city’s unique array of bombastic hotels, glamorised gambling and over the top entertainment.
The success of Las Vegas sits isolated in the centre of the Nevada Desert, one of the USA’s most inhospitable regions. Most holiday hot spots tend to stick to temperate beaches, fascinating historical settings or beautiful national parks. Las Vegas has none of these natural attractions, yet still managed to become enormously successful.
Until the 1940s Las Vegas remained an insignificant town in the middle of the boiling desert. It was however the completion of the Manhattan Project and the advent of nuclear weapons that started Las Vegas on the road to becoming a tourist capital. As nuclear weapons testing was carried out in the deserted Nevada desert, nearby Las Vegas was close enough to watch the fireworks whilst far enough way to stay safe. So it was to witness nuclear bombs that people first flocked out to Las Vegas, and from there its hotel industry began.
Thanks to New Mexico’s lax gambling laws each of the new hotels would include their own casino to give tourists extra entertainment. These casinos became popular with Americans who couldn’t gamble in other states and alongside the perceived glamour of gambling high stakes came a culture of drinking, dancing and showing off the fortunes people had won in the casinos. This is when the grandiloquent glitz of Las Vegas originated.
As time moved on the hotels grew, their casinos grew and so did the entertainment. No star could be too big and so hotels began spending vast sums on stars such as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, until the city also became synonymous with glamorous entertainment.
So today Las Vegas is a destination like no other. It has giant hotels, spectacularly gaudy furnishings, extravagant casinos and spectacular entertainment. A sophisticated city it may not be, but it’s certainly unique and bold enough to be worth visiting at least once.
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