Las Vegas: The evolution of the Strip

Las Vegas remains one of the most popular and famous gambling destinations in the world, with its rich history of casinos, hotels and shopping complexes to name but a few of its lures. There really is something for everybody in Vegas, and the world-famous Strip is the go-to place for your entertainment fix.

Set over the course of 4.2 miles, Las Vegas Strip is based along South Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada and is actually on the city limits of the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester. Before the Vegas Strip became what we know it as today, its beginnings were much more humble so let’s take a look at how the Strip evolved to become the entertainment hub of the world.

20th century beginnings

Ever since early Spanish explorers started to settle in the United States of America around 500 years ago, the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) was used by travelers to navigate across the west coast. This was effectively what the Boulevard was used for up until the city’s incorporation in 1905. The Strip itself became somewhat abandoned as new routes were added, but the introduction of the first cars saw the Strip undergo some much-needed improvements.

Interest in the Strip began to increase once more and in 1911, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city – but it wasn’t until 1931 that the state of Nevada legalized gambling. This saw the first ever casino/club open along the Strip (which was designated U.S. Highway 91 in 1926) which was called the Pair-O-Dice Club. The popularity of the club grew, mainly from travelers passing through and similar clubs were built to satisfy the growing demand.

The 1940s saw mobster Bugsy Siegel open the first luxury hotel along the Strip called the Pink Flamingo, with the Golden Nugget Casino opening its doors in 1946 and it’s still one of the largest casinos in downtown Vegas. Howard Hughes can take much of the credit for the rise in the number of luxury casinos and hotels that were built, as the entrepreneur moved in to the Desert Inn in the 1960s which saw other moguls follow suit.

Modern era

World-famous casinos such as the Bellagio, the MGM Grand, Mirage and Caesars Palace were all opened throughout the next three decades and Vegas was carving out quite the reputation for providing a huge variety of entertainment. Complexes such as the Rio and Excalibur reaffirmed Vegas’ grip as the go-to place for gambling enthusiasts, with a whole host of trendy restaurants, quirky clubs and shopping malls all being added along the Strip.

The 21st century brought more changes to Vegas and the Strip, as the Venetian, the Palazzo, Encore and Wynn complexes all opened their doors for the first time to travelers and holidaymakers from all over the world. Even some of the older casinos have all had some form of refurbishments, to keep the trend current and up-to-date with the modern era.

There’s no denying that the Strip is arguably the most exciting place in the world in terms of people looking for a genuine escape from reality. There’s many future developments that are all set to put the gloss on what is already a shining beacon of fun and festivities, with more hotels, casinos, clubs, shopping malls and complexes all set to open over the coming years.

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