If you haven't been to this area before, you may not know that the culture and lifestyle of Greater Las Vegas extend well beyond the bright lights and extravagance of the Las Vegas Strip. The Greater Las Vegas area offers a rich and diverse culture, educational resources, recreational opportunities, entertainment, extraordinary cuisine, and professional sports teams, providing everything residents need to live a colorful and compelling lifestyle.
A Brief History
The Greater Las Vegas Area has always been a popular place to live. The Sloan Canyon petroglyphs left behind by native cultures in the region are thought to be 4,000 years old. Other area cultural artifacts have been dated to 10,000 years ago. The region was most recently settled by pioneers in 1844, attracted members of the Mormon Church (who built a fort here, halfway between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles), and Las Vegas was founded as a city in 1905.
The Hoover Dam project was approved by President Herbert Hoover in 1930 (it was called the Boulder Dam, and renamed during the Truman administration). It brought a lot of workers, and money into the city. The population increased from 5,000 to 25,000 in a few short years. Gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931. Local business owners and crime lords established casinos and theaters to entertain the influx of workers and keep the money flowing: the city survived the Great Depression.
Las Vegas soon became the gambling capital of the world in the 1940s-1950s. The city continued to experience high growth rates into the 2000s. The city of Las Vegas had a population of 641,903 in 2020. Clark County (the Greater Las Vegas Area) had a combined population of 2,265,461 in 2020, making it the 11th most populous county in the United States.
- Casinos (including the infamous collection of resort hotels and casinos along Las Vegas Boulevard South)
- Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area (petroglyphs, the Sistine Chapel of Native American rock art)
- Smith Center for the Performing Arts (recently built in 2012 featuring performances from resident companies Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Ballet Theatre and touring Broadway productions)
- DISCOVERY Children’s Museum
- Mob Museum
- The Neon Museum
Downtown Las Vegas has well over a hundred restaurants to explore and enjoy. Dining options range from upscale establishments to diners and coffee shops. Michelin no longer rates restaurants in Las Vegas, but many have earned the accolade in years past and continue to delight diners including:
- Michael Mina
- Wing Lei
And if you’re looking for comfort food at a local diner or restaurant, you won’t need to look too far (a small sampling):
- Lou’s Diner (serving hungry guests since 1969)
- Lola’s (this one earned a four-star rating from Food Network’s Guy Fieri, locals recommend the seafood gumbo)
- Hockey: NHL Vegas Golden Knights
- Football: NFL Las Vegas Raiders
- Basketball: WNBA Las Vegas Aces (2022 WNBA Champions)
- NASCAR: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Residents of the Greater Las Vegas area enjoy a wide range of recreational opportunities including organized youth sports and aquatics programs from regional parks and recreation departments, hiking, fishing, swimming, mountain biking, and camping at Lake Mead & Lake Mohave (America’s first National Recreation Area) and skiing and snowboarding at the local ski resort, Lee Canyon.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area (1.5 million acres across mountains, canyons, valleys, and two lakes)
Lee Canyon (445 acres of terrain with 26 trails served by 3 chair lifts for skiing and snowboarding; the resort will be opening mountain biking trails in 2023)
The Clark County School District provides public education to Las Vegas area students in grades K-12. It is the nation’s fifth largest school district and was established in 1956. It serves over 300,000 students. The school earned an overall grade of B from Niche.com: the school ranking includes 9 key areas. CCSD earned a B- in academics, a B+ in sports, B+ in college Prep, and an A+ in diversity.
There are many institutions of higher learning in the Greater Las Vegas area, including:
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas
- Nevada State College
- Chamberlain University Nursing School
- The Culinary Academy Las Vegas