The original travel destination, settlers were first attracted to Las Vegas in the 1800s for the spring-fed creek that provided them a natural stopping point on their journey along the Old Spanish Trail to California. So important was this oasis in the midst of the desert, it was called Las Vegas, Spanish for “the meadows.” Among the first settlers here were those whose names you’ll see gracing the streets in downtown Las Vegas: John C. Fremont, Octavius Gass and Helen Stewart. The town of Las Vegas was officially established in 1905, with its first hotel, the ritzy Golden Gate (which still stands today), opening in 1906.
The spirit of ingenuity that these visionaries brought to the area still thrives today—a drive down the Las Vegas Strip, on which developers are continually looking to outdo each other by building bigger and better casinos, restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment venues, will show you that creativity knows no bounds. That is truly what makes Las Vegas magical; around every corner you can discover a new experience that makes this city of neon uniquely yours. Perhaps you’re looking to chill at an out-of-the way haunt and curl up with a good drink. Or be in the thick of it at the newest celebrity chef-driven restaurant. Las Vegas has built it all, and you will come.
Some people come for the glamour. It’s easy to have stars in your eyes, thanks to the sheer volume of movies and television shows that have featured Vegas throughout the years. When you visit, you may find you literally do have stars in your eyes—after all, celebrities love a Vegas vacation too. A walk down the Strip or Fremont Street downtown affords interactions with showgirls. And this town was just made for people watching—more so than any other city, people are adventurous here, and watching them have the time of their lives is infectious.
There’s so much to see and do in Las Vegas—get the lay of the land with a drive down the Strip and downtown or a Big Bus ride that lets you hop-on, hop-off. One thing’s for sure, you’ll want to visit all the iconic spots: the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, the Bellagio Fountains, the High Roller (the world’s largest observation wheel) and the Top of the World Restaurant and 107 SkyLounge at Stratosphere, which complete a rotation every 80 minutes. If you’re one of the aforementioned adventurous travelers, check out the thrill rides atop Stratosphere’s Tower. For another sky-high view—and high tea—head to the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental. You’ll feel like you’ve been set in the middle of the Strip’s skyline. It’s a grand place to be!