Las Vegas is a city of wonder. The lights, the music, the crowds, the big wins and shocking losses at the casino tables all combine to create an atmosphere of unsuppressed excitement. You only need to know a little information about the Las Vegas Strip to understand some of the delights the city has to offer.
But there’s much more to this city than the modern extravaganza of action and possibility. However much you think you know about this urban playground, here are three facts that will surprise you:
2500% More Visitors than Residents on the Strip and Beyond
The Las Vegas metropolitan area is home to about two million residents. However, nearly 50 million visitors flock to this world-famous city every year. That means that visitors are 25:1 here in the Vegas Valley.
As you drive through Red Rock National Monument, walk along the famous Strip, or visit Hoover Dam, you will likely meet people from everywhere except Las Vegas. No wonder Vegas is a top spot for people watching, as visitors from around the globe arrive to see what all the fuss is about.
The Las Vegas Convention Center hosts nearly 60 conventions each year, from the CES (consumer electronics show) for which tickets are difficult to obtain and highly sought after, to the Motor Trend International Auto Show, to MJBizCon, a cannabis convention.
People Have Lived in Vegas for more than 10,000 years
It’s true! Nomadic Paleo-Indians used the area for hunting and gathering, appreciating the natural springs and meadowland, which attracted animals on the hoof. The Paleo-Indians were followed by non-nomadic Anasazi, who planted crops such as beans and corn.
European settlers did not enter the area until the 1800s, as they were searching for a route between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the missions of Southern California founded by the famous missionary priest Junipero Serra. Las Vegas is truly a place with a rich and intriguing history.
Vegas is a Real-Live Oasis
Unlike the surrounding Mohave, Sonoran and Great Basin deserts, which combine to create deadly and forbidding territories where survival is difficult, the Las Vegas Valley is a place of springs bubbling to the surface, grasses, and seasonal arroyo flooding.
Las Vegas is ringed by mountains, creating the Las Vegas Valley. This valley has been famous for its springs and life-sustaining habitat for thousands of years. As noted above, various groups of nomads and settlers appreciated the resources of the region. You can see the actual Las Vegas Spring on the site of the Springs Preserve, in the center of town. However, other springs appear around the valley; there’s a charming water source at the Whitney Mesa Preserve hiking area.
A Final Word
It’s not just a place of fabulous glitz and glamour. Las Vegas is also a hiking mecca, a history buff’s dream destination, and a center for yoga and meditation. Celebrity chefs host flagship restaurants, top chocolatiers ply their trade and teach students from all over the world, and friendly locals enjoy relaxed suburban surroundings.
In short, Las Vegas is whatever you are looking for.