For a city so new, Las Vegas has experienced a great deal of unique history. The city, Spanish for “The Meadows," was founded just more than a century ago with a population around 1,500. The city has increased in population every decade of its existence, and today, Las Vegas is the 25th largest city in the nation with nearly 675,000 residents.
Legalized gambling, world-renowned entertainment and dining, outdoor activities, golf resorts and a number of other adult avocations has helped Las Vegas become one of the most visited cities in the entire world, with the Las Vegas Strip the world's top tourist attraction.
All of those new residents, particularly casino, hotel and resort hospitality and gaming staff, along with a slew of seasonal and long-term tourists, have created a robust and varied apartment and rental property city, with nearly 1,500 rentals available on Apartment Guide alone.
But Las Vegas is more than just The Strip and Fremont Street, especially as the city continues to boom outward. We scoured the Las Vegas Valley from Angel Park to University Medical Center for some of the city's most interesting and beloved neighborhoods to create this list of Las Vegas fun facts about 10 of Southern Nevada's most popular and interesting neighborhoods.
Forming the heel of the sprawling Summerlin planned community, The Arbors neighborhood sits in the crook of the intersection of the Las Vegas Bruce Woodbury Beltway and West Charleston Boulevard. In the shadow of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, residents of The Arbors enjoy gorgeous sweeping views of the Spring Mountains on the edge of the Las Vegas Valley suburbs.
Surrounded by large boulevards and limited access highways, The Arbors enjoys serenity away from the city center, but also offers convenient travel to the action of the city center. The neighborhood is nearly entirely residential with several green spaces, including pocket parks and large community athletic complexes.
Five fun facts about The Arbors
Famous alumni of The Arbors' Palo Verde High School include two-time Olympic swimming medalist Cody Miller; Brittany Martin Porter, three-time Emmy award winner as the producer for “The Voice;" two-time world champion boxer Jessie Vargas and Brendon Urie, lead singer of pop rock band Panic! at the Disco
Gordon Hammond, tennis pro at The Arbors Tennis and Play Park, is a former USTA professional with 37 sanctioned matches dating back to 2001 under his belt
The Las Vegas Beltway, which forms The Arbors' western border, is officially the Bruce Woodbury Beltway, named for the Clark County Commissioner who spent nearly three decades in his seat
The Hindu Temple of Las Vegas was started by a group of devotees who founded a non-profit in 1994 to raise funds to purchase land and start construction. Within seven years, the Temple was finished and opened its doors in 2001.
The College of Southern Nevada Summerlin Center is part of the Bob and Sandy Miller High Tech Center, one of CSN's eight learning centers to go along with its three main campuses
Bridging the glitzy Las Vegas Strip and uber-touristy Downtown Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Arts District is home to a self-described "cultural explosion" of art galleries, cafes, bars, brewpubs, antique shops and trendy restaurants popular with locals and visitors alike.
Known as 18b, the Arts District originally stretched across those initial 18 blocks but has since expanded into a vibrant neighborhood of artists and digital nomads and a new generation of young professionals coming back to downtown.
There aren't a plethora of rental properties in the Arts District, but the ones that sit in this growing region are stunning and in high demand. Living in 18b is not only convenient to casinos, stage shows and buffets but offers much to do right in the neighborhood, including the Las Vegas Film Festival, First Friday events, Las Vegas Water Lantern Festival and Kindred Souls Festival.
Five fun facts about the Arts District
One of the Arts Districts many murals is one entitled “Corporate Welfare" by Shepard Fairey, the artist behind the famed Obama “Hope" poster art. The mural was created to “inspire us to take a closer look at the intricate connection between corporations and a non-transparent government in a questionable democracy."
The Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino (the LVH), along Las Vegas Boulevard a couple of blocks north of The Strip, claims to feature the world's largest race and sports book
The Burlesque Hall of Fame is the only museum in the world dedicated to the history of burlesque, with a collection of costumes, memorabilia and props. The gallery began as the personal collection of renowned classical burlesque performer Jennie Lee and was turned into a public museum after her death in 1990.
The Las Vegas Community Healing Garden was constructed in just three days following the mass shootings at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. It features a Remembrance Wall along a path of 58 trees representing the 58 lives lost, which surround a “Tree of Life" donated by Siegfried and Roy.
The Millennium Fandom Bar on Las Vegas Boulevard in the Arts District was named “The Ultimate Bar for Cosplayers" by Buzzfeed
North of the popular Sun City golf club community is the vast expanse of Centennial Hills. Covering most of northern Las Vegas, the neighborhood features a variety of geographic sectors, stretching from city to suburban to desert rural.
The southern tier of Centennial Hills is filled with sprawling suburbs adjacent to the plethora of country clubs across and along Cheyenne Avenue in associations with flowery names like Sierra Crossings at Shadow Hills, Silver Spur and Lone Mountain Heights, sitting in the shadow of the 600-foot-tall eponymous solitary butte.
The Las Vegas Expressway (U.S. Route 95) crosscuts the neighborhood, forming commercial pockets around interchanges with Rancho Drive, Durango Road and the Las Vegas Beltway. And the northern half of the neighborhood fades from exurban to desert and includes large parks like Floyd Lamb at Tule Springs and the titular Centennial Hills Park.
With around 250 available rental properties sprinkled throughout the neighborhood, Centennial Hills is one of the most popular and geographically diverse regions in the Las Vegas Valley.
Five fun facts about Centennial Hills
The Tule Springs Archaeological Site, located inside Floyd Lamb Park, is one of the few locations inside the U.S. where humans were thought to have lived alongside and hunted Ice Age megafauna like Columbian mammoths and large ice-age horses
The Los Prados Golf Course was designed by famed architect Jeff Hardin in 1987. Harden was a trained civil engineer and began designing golf courses with innovator Del Webb, who pioneered golf courses integrated with housing in the 1960s. Hardin handled the engineering on legendary Sun City, Webb's first integrated project, in Arizona.
A portion of the northward extension of the Las Vegas Expressway (U.S. Route 95), completed in 1980, runs through Centennial Hills. The highway is officially designated as the Oran K. Gragson Expressway, named for the four-term (and last Republican) mayor who championed its construction.
The southwestern-themed Santa Fe Station Hotel and Casino featured Las Vegas' only ice rink when it opened in 1991 and held the singularity for seven years. The rink was utilized as a training and preparation facility for ice skaters performing on The Strip, including Olympic champions Viktor Petrenko and Oksana Baiul.
Centennial Hills Park is a 120-acre park, which was built around a historic inverted riverbed that's thought to be the last remaining remnant of a large network of river channels that were common in the pre-desert Las Vegas Valley
Perched in the northeast corner of the residential community of Summerlin is the optimistically-named neighborhood of Desert Shores. An oasis from the golf course neighborhoods, Desert Shores is a neighborhood divided by itself.
The western half of Desert Shores is nearly entirely commercial. The area tucked west of U.S. Route 95 is populated by a number of business and industrial parks, shopping centers and hotels. The area also features the large Mountain View Hospital & Medical Center complex, as well as two parks, the playgrounds and athletic fields at Aloha Shores and the little league fields at Doc Romero Park.
Desert Shore's eastern side is its residential district surrounding three parallel finger lakes, centered by the gorgeous Lake Jacqueline. A number of stacked subdivisions line the shores around and near the lakes, including Mar-A-Lago, Pelican Point and the center jewel Diamond Bay. The neighborhoods share public access to the upscale Lakeside Center on Lake Jacqueline, anchored by Desert Shores' “Restaurant Row," featuring a number of high-end and award-winning eateries.
Five fun facts about Desert Shores
Americana Las Vegas, along Lake Jacqueline, part of Desert Shores' “Restaurant Row," was named one of USA Today's “10 Best Restaurants in Las Vegas." Impressive, considering the thousands of restaurants in the Valley.
Desert Shores features a small population of wild red-eared slider turtles along the lakeshore by Breakwater Bridge. The turtle species is the most popular pet turtle in America.
Marche Bacchus French Bistro and Wine Shop is a New Orleans-owned French restaurant overlooking Lake Jacqueline. The wine shop offers nearly 1,000 French, American and international labels.
Aloha Shores Park, a community park along the east side of the neighborhood, is one of the only public parks in Las Vegas offering bocce, horseshoe and volleyball courts as well as a roller hockey rink
Looking for a relaxing soak with friends after a long day? The Desert Shores Racquet Club, along with its lighted outdoor pool, offers a 10-person hot tub.
When one imagines Las Vegas, The Strip and all its shimmering, glass-enclosed, over-the-top glitz might be the picture that comes to mind. But if it's the classic period of Vegas you're envisioning, lit up with the glitter of Elvis-era casinos, blocks of neon and towering cowboy Vegas Vic, that's Downtown Las Vegas along Fremont Street.
Today, the western five blocks of Fremont Street in Downtown houses the Fremont Street Experience, a pedestrian mall along what was once “Glitter Gulch," underneath a 90-foot high, four-block long, LED-lined open-air canopy.
The downtown thoroughfare features a number of attractions, including numerous tourist shops and chain restaurants, “Slotzilla," an 11-story slot machine-themed zipline, the “Viva Vision" light show, featuring 12,000,000 LED lamps, and a number of classic hotel casinos like the Golden Nugget, Binion's Horseshoe and Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, the oldest and smallest on Fremont.
But Downtown comprises much more than just Fremont. Across Interstate 515 and west of Bruce Street are a bevy of residential downtown neighborhoods also offering more than six dozen residential properties.
Downtown also houses the Las Vegas Arts District, the Gateway District, World Market Center, Smith Center for the Performing Arts and a myriad of museums, including the Neon Museum, Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Mob Museum and Discovery Children's Museum.
Five fun facts about Downtown
At 1,149 feet tall, the Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the country and the second-tallest in the Hemisphere (behind the CN Tower in Toronto). The tower, part of The Strat Hotel and Casino, features an observation deck and three of the four highest thrill rides in the world. Its famous rooftop roller coaster closed in 2005.
Fremont Street was the site of Las Vegas' first hotel, the Hotel Nevada which opened in 1906 and is the current site of the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, and Las Vegas' first legal gaming establishment, a bar called the Northern Club, licensed in 1931 and razed in 2016
Downtown features Vegas' most famous wedding chapels. Wee Kirk o' the Heather, opened in 1940, is the oldest operating wedding chapel in Las Vegas. A Little White Wedding Chapel is known for its drive-thru “Tunnel of Vows." Graceland Wedding Chapel is the originator of vows performed by Elvis impersonators. But The Little Church of the West is the legendary chapel where Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret tied the knot in “Viva Las Vegas."
Discovered in 1980 in Kingower, Australia, the Hand of Faith is the largest gold nugget on display in the world, at just about 60 pounds and 18 inches long. It has been on display in the Golden Nugget, of course, since 1981 having been purchased by the casino for a reported $3 million in today's value.
In 1989, craps player Stanley Fujitake rolled 118 times for more than three hours without "sevening out" at the California Hotel & Casino, a record that stood for almost two decades. “Golden Arm," a now-common craps term for any player rolling for more than one hour without losing, was coined after Fujitake's feat.
East Las Vegas, the neighborhood within the city limits, is not to be confused with Whitney, NV, an unincorporated town formerly known as East Las Vegas. This East Las Vegas, the one that is not Whitney, is a district immediately to the east of Downtown between U.S. Route 93 and East Owens Avenue to Lamb Boulevard.
Two large green spaces dominate the central portion of East Las Vegas, the popular golf course Desert Pines Golf Club and Gary Reese Freedom Park, which features a number of athletic fields, including numerous little league diamonds, two football fields and a wheelchair sports park.
The remainder of the neighborhood is residential with two-story single-family homes in associations like Washington Square, Vera Johnson Manor, Bracken and the sweetly-named Mi Casa en el Sol ("My House in the Sun"), along with a smattering of rental properties including Park Vista, Playa Vista and Mirabella.
Five fun facts about East Las Vegas
The neighborhood of East Las Vegas shared its name with the town of East Las Vegas for 35 years. By popular demand, the town changed its name to Whitney in 1993, the same name it had from its founding in 1931 to 1958.
Big League Dreams Las Vegas is a public athletic park at Gary Reese Freedom Park that features an indoor soccer pavilion, two football fields, batting cages and a restaurant. The park also has six baseball fields replicating Major League Baseball's most iconic ballparks, including Yankee Stadium, Pittsburgh's Crosley Field, Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Fenway Park — complete with a Green Monster — and a faux ivy-covered Wrigley Field.
Desert Pines High School is just more than two decades old but has already produced two high-level basketball players. Pierre Jackson was an honorable mention All-American at Baylor in 2012 and was drafted in the second round by the Philadelphia 76ers. Julian Jacobs was first-team All-PAC-12 in 2016 at USC and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Desert Pines Golf Course was designed by notable course designer Pete Dye, a recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Dye designed or co-designed nearly 150 golf courses around the world, but just two in Nevada.
The Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Department, which has training and logistics facilities in East Las Vegas, is one of just nine fire departments in the nation accredited by both the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and the Insurance Services Office
The name Las Vegas means “The Meadows" in Spanish, which would make Meadows Las Vegas' namesake neighborhood. The small hamlet of Meadows sits just below U.S Route 95 to Charleston Boulevard between South Decatur and South Valley View.
The area is best known for its two-story regional eponymous Meadows Mall on the north end of Meadows. As you proceed south, the mall and its associated shopping centers dissolve into a swath of single-family ranches and split-levels inside orderly blocks.
The neighborhood is bounded on its western and southern borders by a number of other retail and fast food shops, but along its eastern front is the renowned Las Vegas Springs Preserve, which houses a desert botanical garden, nature trails, the interactive Origen Experience Museum, a design lab, children's nature center, the Nevada State Museum and an outdoor amphitheater.
Five fun facts about Meadows
Meadows Mall, which opened in 1978, was just the second enclosed mall in Las Vegas. The company that became Target Corporation planned the mall on this site amid protests and permit denials from the City Commission, which sought a better location. The case went all the way to the state Supreme Court, with Target coming out on top.
Silver Sage Wellness Center received one of the state's first medical marijuana dispensary licenses
Essex/West Charleston Lions Circle Park, a park inside an eight-entrance roundabout, is Las Vegas' largest purely circular park. In 2017, the park received a splash pad and new lighting, among nearly $220,000 in improvements.
The Springs Preserve on the eastern border of Meadows is a preserve of the original Las Vegas Springs, a 15,000-year-old natural desert oasis that was the water source for Native Americans, Mexican explorers and Mormon settlers. After a millennium of providing water to the desert, the springs ceased flowing in 1962 as development permanently reduced the water table.
St. Barbara Church is a Chaldean Catholic congregation made up primarily of Catholics of Iraqi descent. The Chaldeans began settling in Las Vegas in the early 2000s, and the church has become one of the largest of its type in the Southwest.
Itself containing aforementioned smaller neighborhoods like The Arbors and Desert Shores, along with celebrated senior community Sun City, Summerlin is a three-decade-old super-regional neighborhood that dominates the west side of Las Vegas at the foot of the Spring Mountains and Red Rock Canyon escarpment.
A “master planned community," Summerlin is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Las Vegas Valley, having more than doubled in size since the turn of the millennium, bursting at nearly 125,000. Over its 22,500 acres, the self-contained community offers nearly 230 parks and playgrounds, 25 schools, three casino resorts, nine golf courses, a major hospital complex and a new minor league baseball stadium.
The TPC Las Vegas golf course was designed in consultation with four-time PGA major champion and World Golf Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd and was featured in EA Sports' “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2001" video game. It was the home of the Senior PGA Tour's Las Vegas Senior Classic for seven years.
Meanwhile, the TPC at Summerlin golf course, just to the north of TPC Las Vegas, is home to the PGA Tour's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, held every October since 1983. Formerly the Las Vegas Invitational, the Summerlin event was the site of Tiger Woods' first-ever PGA Tour win, in 1996.
After a heated battle between administrators and nurses that was mediated by the National Labor Relations Board, Mountain View Hospital & Medical Center became the first hospital in the nation to be newly organized with National Nurses United, America's largest registered nurses union
The Suncoast Hotel and Casino was originally named the Sundance but was forced to change its name due to a copyright conflict with the Sundance Film Festival. In 2000, the Suncoast became one of the first major casinos in Nevada to introduce coinless slot machines.
Cimarron-Memorial High School has won the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association State Wrestling Championship 12 times. Heavyweight UFC champion Roy Nelson wrestled at CMHS.
Within view of its namesake Sunrise Mountain, Sunrise is a small community on the extreme eastern edge of the city of Las Vegas. Representing four vertical blocks between East Owens Avenue and East Charleston Boulevard, Sunrise forms blocks through cross streets Washington, Bonanza and Stewart between North Lamb and North Nellis.
Sunrise is nearly entirely residential, aside from commercial shopping and retail along major intersections. Two-story split levels and ranches dominate the blocks of subdivisions bisected by the Las Vegas Wash with a number of spread-out apartment complexes filling in alongside. But aside each of the arterial roads, waves of big box stores and chain restaurants dominate the landscape.
Five fun facts about Sunrise
Seven miles from The Strip, the Sunrise neighborhood marks the easternmost perimeter of the Las Vegas city limits, surrounded on its other three sides by the unincorporated town of Sunrise Manor
The Las Vegas Wash runs nearly the entire length of Sunrise, from the northwest to southeast corners. The neighborhood contains two miles of the 12-mile channel that carries the Valley's excess water into Las Vegas Bay and Lake Mead.
The In-N-Out Burger location in Sunrise is one of more than 15 in Las Vegas Valley, but there are no locations of the famous burger chain anywhere else in Nevada
Charleston Boulevard, which forms the southern border of the neighborhood, is signed as Nevada State Route 159. But up until 1982, much of the road was designated as an Alternate to U.S. Route 95 that no longer exists.
At just 400 by 600 feet, Stewart Place Park is small but it's Sunrise's only park. It features horseshoe courts, a walking path and a water playground.
Across the spaghetti interchange from Downtown at the junction of U.S. Route 95 and Interstate 15 is the bowl that forms West Las Vegas. While there's much of Las Vegas to the west of Downtown, West Las Vegas, or the Westside, is one of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in the Valley.
West Las Vegas was the primary residential district for African-American casino employees and entertainers up until the late 1950s, as they were allowed to work in the casino district downtown but forbidden to live there.
As a result, the Westside populace created their own Vegas for themselves and black tourists, complete with what was known as “The Black Strip," with notable black- and Chinese-owned clubs like the Harlem Club, Brown Derby, Cotton Club, Chickadee, Ebony Club, Westside Club, Town Tavern and the famous Moulin Rouge, where legends like Louis Armstrong, Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis, Jr. performed.
While desegregation in 1958 ushered in a fall of the racial barrier on Fremont, it pushed West Las Vegas into disrepair that was amplified by the end of redlining in the early 1970s, as wealthy residents moved to newer neighborhoods.
Preservation efforts met with mixed results at best and the population declined for decades. But today, new revitalization plans are starting to take shape led by the Nevada Preservation Foundation, particularly along historic Jackson Avenue and in Marble Manor and Berkley Square.
Stretching from Interstate 15 to Rancho Drive, West Las Vegas is filled with rectangular blocks of single-family homes that slowly feel suburban as you move west within the neighborhood. A number of rental properties and apartment complexes dot the area, mostly west of Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Five fun facts about West Las Vegas
Opened in May of 1955, the Moulin Rouge was Las Vegas' first integrated hotel and casino. It was such a hit that it landed on the cover of Life Magazine just a month later. But fame was fleeting and the Moulin Rouge closed in December, a mere seven months after opening.
In the 1950s, the Town Tavern was a popular after-hours hangout for black celebrities from The Strip that were not allowed to stay in the hotels they performed in, including regulars like Cab Calloway, Chubby Checker, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Sonny Liston
The Clark Avenue Bonanza Railroad Underpass bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Union Pacific Railroad right of way had been a dangerous hindrance of travel between the city of Las Vegas and newer settlements to the west until the underpass was built in 1937 and opened up West Las Vegas to development.
In 2011, the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas was honored as part of NBC personality Al Roker's “Lend a Hand" program as one of the top five “outstanding non-profits in the country"
Magnet school Advanced Technologies Academy is a highly decorated educational institution. It was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the top high school in Nevada and among the top 120 in the nation. It has received the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence three times.
Michael is a Philadelphia-based writer with a variety of interests, including music, TV, politics, travel and sports (Fly Eagles Fly!). His background includes a decade as a programming executive in network television, six years as a marketing executive at a technology company and time at two magazines and two advertising agencies. He also sits on the board of a non-profit law firm that assists veterans with disabilities. His work has been featured in nexxt.com, Ale Street News and Radio TV Interview Report Magazine. Michael is a proud Syracuse grad (Newhouse) who has lived in Kansas, Chicago, Saratoga and beyond.