Now, when you’re thinking of good places to go on holiday with your family, Las Vegas probably doesn’t feature in your list of destinations that are fun for everyone. However, Las Vegas is always surprising, and it appeals to so many more people than the typical American stag or hen party groups that it’s famous for! Here's a fun fact about Vegas, to give you a taste of it: 15 of the world’s 25 largest hotels (by number of rooms) are located on that famous 4-mile stretch of road, the Las Vegas Strip.
Las Vegas really began its heyday in the 1950’s, continuing through the Cold War (where visitors could watch the nuclear bombs being tested, taking place elsewhere in the Mojave desert, from their hotel balconies) before going into a decline in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, with a recent rise in popularity. Back in the 1950’s, the place was full of glitz and glamour, but the seedy underworld of the Las Vegas mafia were a well-known and accepted fact of life there. Stars like Elvis and Frank Sinatra were regulars to Vegas, and people from all over America came to revel in the sparkle and the celebrity atmosphere.
The main reason for Vegas’ popularity is that gambling is banned in most of the US, except in Atlantic City (New Jersey) and on the Native American reservations. The state of Nevada is the only state to allow it throughout the state, so as well as Vegas there are other towns like Reno. More casinos are being built on Native American lands, which could have threatened Vegas’ survival, as it brought gambling closer to where many people lived. However, Vegas has been successful in spite of this. In the 1990’s, after a decline, the city changed its tune to try and appeal to a different kind of tourist – families. That’s why so many hotels are "themed". There’s the Luxor (the ancient Egyptian themed hotel), the Paris hotel, and Excalibur, loosely based on the legend of King Arthur. So, Vegas will appeal to both adults and children, as the hotels all have so many things for kids to do whilst the adults lie back by the pool or play in the casinos.
As mentioned before, the Las Vegas Strip is only 4 miles, but pretty much everything in town is there. This makes getting around very easy, especially with the buses and monorails that ferry hot tourists around. You’ll need at least a couple of days to explore the themed hotels, as inside these massive buildings there are so many things you won’t find anywhere else in the world. In a word, Vegas is unique. After a long hot day, you can see a show in one of the many hotels, or if you fancy take a trip to Downtown Las Vegas, where you’ll find the old heart of the city and more zany street performers.
Now, the weather in Las Vegas is boiling hot if you go any time between May and October, so make sure you pack all your sun cream, sunglasses and T-shirts! Get out your swimming gear, too – Las Vegas has some of the most awesome hotel swimming pools in the entire world, so you won’t want to miss that. To get to Vegas, it’s a 10/11 hour flight from the UK, but once you arrive the airport is basically next door to the Strip. Coming to Vegas after that long flight really is the strangest thing – you leave a world of green fields and rolling hills behind, and land in this flat, barren desert valley, with mountains either side of you. Look out of the window of your plane, and you’ll see buildings of all shapes and sizes – from a big, black pyramid at one end to a futuristic space tower at the other, there’s something for everyone in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo credit: Alice Barnes-Brown