Las Vegas, Sin City, Lost Wages… Whatever you may call it, Vegas is known as America’s adult playground. You’ve heard about the casino myths and all of the dos and don’ts. You probably also know about the celebrity chef restaurants and the larger-than-life shows.
Here, I’m going to let you in on seven facts you might not know about Las Vegas, NV. You’ll quickly realize that it’s a weird place with some bizarre history. I mean, what other cities in the United States were wrapped up with the mob?
Keep reading below to find out more about why Sin City is the way it is.
1 – Luxor’s Atrium
The Luxor Resort and Casino is one of the standout casinos on Vegas’s famous Strip, not necessarily for its gambling but for its awe-inspiring architecture.
The casino features a pyramid built out of glass and steel. The 30-story hotel and casino is a tribute to the Ancient Egyptians and their fascinating history. The casino resort even has a sphinx guarding the entrance to the property.
Want to know a little-known fact about this casino-hotel’s atrium? The atrium is said to be around 29,000,000 square feet in total space. It can hold almost nine 747’s stacked on top of each other!
Another better-known fact about the Luxor is the spotlight at the top of the pyramid. It’s one of the brightest in the world. But to be frank, the rumors are false. It cannot be seen from space.
2 – Las Vegas Tunnels
Las Vegas calls the arid Mojave Desert home. And what happens in deserts? Flash floods.
A flash flood can come out of nowhere and destroy entire cities and the entire landscape. And Vegas wasn’t having it.
The city’s designers built underground tunnels as a form of flood mitigation. When Las Vegas gets heavy rains in winter and spring, the city could easily be washed away in the downpours.
The tunnels divert the massive amounts of rain away from the city and its infrastructure. The tunnels make up a system of underground water diversions that’s 200 miles long. But what about the other seven to eight months?
The “tunnel dwellers,” as some outlets refer to them, mostly struggle with poverty and mental health issues. Plenty of them are veterans dealing with PTSD and other related issues.
Most of the tunnel residents come topside during the day to earn money and return to their own underground city at night.
3 – No Powerball for You
Nevada is the undisputed gambling capital of the United States. The state has over 400 casinos, which is more than any other state (or combination of states).
You can also drink on the sidewalks in Las Vegas. You can get married on a whim in one of the many Vegas wedding chapels. You can eat any cuisine you could possibly want within walking distance from a hotel room on the Strip. You could even have said cuisine delivered to your room.
Sure, you can do all of that, but you can’t try to win the lottery. I know, seems off-brand for this hedonistic city, right? The state of Nevada has absolutely no lottery, not even scratch-off tickets. It’s been decided by the lawmakers (and the casino operators) that it’s not a good idea for Nevada’s bottom line.
The state has never had a lottery system, and that’s not going to change any time soon. The casinos are one of the most significant tax contributors to the state’s finances.
If Nevada introduced a lottery, it would be lousy revenue news for the casino. It’s a delicate balance that the state legislature doesn’t want to tip over.
4 – The Las Vegas Strip Isn’t in Las Vegas
You read that right. The Las Vegas Strip isn’t in actually within the Vegas city limits. The 4.2 miles (6.8 km) is just south of Las Vegas.
18 of the world’s most famous hotels aren’t in Vegas. The luxury hotels are either in the city of Paradise or Winchester. Maybe next time you’re off for a trip, you can say you’re simply visiting Winchester, Nevada!
5 – Vegas Quickie
I’m talking about one of Vegas’ nicknames, “The Wedding Capital of the World.” And don’t forget, Elvis can be your wedding officiant.
Las Vegas is a wedding destination for planned and unplanned weddings. You can walk into one of the many chapels and be officially married in 20 minutes. It’s faster than a three-day wait required in my home state of Texas.
In Texas, you need to go to the courthouse and purchase a wedding license for around $50. Then you must wait three days before you get married. You can either get married in a courthouse or a more traditional venue.
When getting married in Las Vegas, you can walk in with your future spouse, show your valid forms of ID, slap down the $50 to $75, get your license, get married, and walk out just 20 minutes later as a married couple.
Vegas offers an array of wedding venues. You can get married in a stately classic venue like your mother wants you to. I’m talking about spending big bucks and planning for months!
But let’s say you don’t want the big, over-the-top wedding. If you decided over a gin and tonic that you two want to get married 15 minutes ago, this is the place for you.
You can even get married in the convivence of your car. The Little White Chapel, on the Strip, will marry you and your loved one from the comfort of your vehicle. Vegas does convenience culture at its best.
6 – Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada
We all know that iconic sign that welcomes visitors to Sin City. It’s a kitschy neon sign that has been replicated on all kinds of gifts found on the Strip.
Much like the Strip, the Welcome to Las Vegas sign isn’t even in Las Vegas. It’s also in Paradise, Nevada. The sign is the original selfie instigator. Visitors have risked their lives for years to stand in the middle of South Las Vegas Boulevard to get a shot of themselves in front of the famous sign.
We have all seen the keychains, shirts, boxer shorts, shot glasses—you name it. Well, there was actually an innocent little snag with the sign designer. Betty Willis, the designer, gifted the sign to the City of Las Vegas.
She never thought about copyrighting its design. So, gift shops jumped on the opportunity to slap the classic Vegas image on to everything. And I mean everything.
No one knows if Betty regrets not copyrighting it. She never complained about it. I’m hoping that she thought of it as imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.
7 – Howard Hughes Was a Lot
Man, Mr. Hughes gave the hotel and casino staff a run for their money when he was in Vegas for one of his lengthy stays.
The wealthy business genius, director, and pilot was known for his over-the-top requests and strange habits. This was best shown in Las Vegas when he was staying at the Desert Inn.
While at the Desert Inn Casino and Hotel for a long weekend, he requested 200 gallons of Baskin Robins’ banana nut ice cream delivered to his suite.
In the 1950s, this was an operational feat. The delivery would take several days to complete. While Hughes was waiting for the 200-gallon ice cream delivery, he changed his mind.
He decided he was sick of banana nut ice cream and would only eat chocolate marshmallow ice cream from that point forward. He sounds pickier than my daughter when she was a toddler.
There was a sweet outcome in the end. The Desert Inn gave out free scoops for a year.
And we’re not done with Howard’s high maintenance behavior. He was once staying at one of the more prominent hotel and casino properties on the Vegas Strip. He had reserved the two top floors of the hotel.
When he was politely notified by the hotel staff that he had overstayed his booking, he asked how much it was to buy the hotel. The owner was contacted and replied that he would sell a hotel for $13 million. Hughes whipped out his checkbook and wrote a check for that amount.
Thus, Hughes Hotel-Casino was born. It was under his ownership (later his estate’s) until 1978. I guess the best problems to have are ones you can solve with money. Hughes had it, so he bought the hotel.
I hope this new trivia really boosts your Vegas knowledge. I love knowing trivia because it’s a great conversation starter, and it’s fun to think about while you’re there.
Las Vegas has so many more obscure facts. I will be adding to this list as I find them. Remember, the Sin City is home to more than just what meets the eye!