Life in Southern Nevada
Updated On: 1/25/2013 3:26:41 PM
Life in Southern Nevada read more...
Newcomers to the area will find unparalleled diversity, excitement and opportunity in the communities surrounding Nellis Air Force Base. The following pages are designed to provide newcomers with information to make their transition to Nellis enjoyable, including tips for entertainment and adventure, local area overviews and practical information such as local utility services. Newcomers are also encouraged to check out the Chamber of Commerce website in the specific city they’re interested in exploring.
Local Area Overview
Clark County has come a long way since Montana William Clark first purchased 2,000 acres of land and its water rights in 1902, in what is now downtown Las Vegas. Today, Clark County accounts for more than 68 percent of Nevada’s population. With a booming population of 2 million, Clark County is home to several diverse, self-contained cities with independent city governments, police and fire departments, hospitals and school systems. The 8,000-square-mile county is (Photo by Peter Short) also home to 14 of the 15 largest hotels in the nation.
Located in the southeast corner of Nevada, Clark County offers everything from outdoor family activities to adult excursions and events. Thousands of people are attracted to this area as it is home to Las Vegas, which is famous for its neon-illuminated casinos, world-class performances, unique nightclubs and NASCAR races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. From the bright lights of Vegas, visitors can head to Hoover Dam, a wonder of a different sort. Rising 726 feet (221 meters), the dam is a source of electrical power, as well as a water management facility and an engineering marvel that offers presentations, exhibitions and guided tours. Thousands of ancient cave drawings are found at Grapevine Canyon, which also boasts waterfalls and trails for visitors to explore. Clark County is also home to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Valley of Fire State Park, as well as the tourist destinations of Henderson, Laughlin and Boulder City.
Over the last decade, Las Vegas has been one of the fastestgrowing and progressive metropolitan areas in the country. Founded in 1905, Las Vegas is slightly more than 100 years old, but has been transformed from a remote desert gaming community to a thriving metropolis. Although 43 million visitors annually come to Las Vegas for glitz and adventure, more than 550,000 residents consider Las Vegas to be a wonderful place to raise their families and enjoy a high quality of life.
North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas has successfully created an identity that is uniquely separate from its more famous neighbor to the south. North Las Vegas, now home to more than 200,000 residents, encompasses an area of nearly 82 square miles with more than 1,300 acres of industrial parks.
Henderson is 13 miles southeast of downtown Las Vegas via U.S. 93/95. Featuring the Galleria Mall, Arroyo Grande Sports Complex, the Henderson Executive Airport and a population of more than 260,000 residents, it’s a nearby community that continues to grow.
Boulder City is 25 miles southeast of downtown Las Vegas and 10 miles southeast of Henderson. Originated in the 1930s as a housing community for the 4,000 employees working on Boulder Dam, today its 15,000 residents enjoy lush parks, a small-town atmosphere and a host of outdoor recreational opportunities. It is also the only city in Nevada without gaming.
Mesquite was originally founded by Mormon farmers who took advantage of the Virgin River’s fertile soil. Situated 79 miles northeast of Las Vegas on I-15 with a population of more than 19,000, the city is home to numerous casino resorts and golf courses.
Gambling, pleasant weather and numerous indoor and outdoor activities are why 5 million people visit Laughlin each year. Located on the southern tip of Nevada, close to the Arizona border in Clark County, the city boasts a convenient location to the Colorado River and Lake Mohave. Combine accessibility with 300 sunny days and it is understandable why Laughlin is a first-class area for camping, water skiing, fishing, boating and hiking. Travelers interested in nature can hike Grapevine Canyon to see cave drawings and waterfalls, or spend a day at the Big Bend of Colorado State Park.
ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT IN SOUTHERN NEVADA
For years, when people thought of Las Vegas attractions, they inevitably focused on the city’s two resort corridors, with their world-class hotels, restaurants and gaming. But today, the entertainment scene in Las Vegas includes a variety of diverse pursuits. Music emanates from every corner of the city, from casino lounges to concert halls. A thriving local arts scene is yet another sign of the city’s continuing cultural growth, and sporting events, theme parks and other attractions draw visitors from around the world.
Shopping malls are becoming as popular in Las Vegas resorts as slot machines. The Fashion Show Mall located on the Strip across from the Wynn Resort offers shoppers eclectic to popular items. The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace is a shopper’s delight that attracts more visitors than Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood features food, shopping and entertainment experiences that rival any major mall in America. Other shopping centers in the area may not be as flamboyant but offer a variety of department stores, specialty shops and outlet malls featuring a mix of international and Southwestern products and foods.
Many Las Vegas residents enjoy the opportunity to explore the city from a tourist’s perspective, visiting local attractions, walking the Strip and a enjoying a mini-vacation right here in their hometown. You can take in the extraordinary fountain shows at the Bellagio and the Wynn, watch mermaids swim with the fishes in the Silverton’s giant aquarium or tour the dolphin habitat at The Mirage. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, M&M World and the Ethel M Chocolate Factory are “must see” venues; treasure hunters will enjoy browsing the valley’s numerous antique shops; foodies will have a taste for specialty food stores and fresh food farmer’s markets; while fashionistas can choose between upscale retail boutiques, resort-centered retail properties and malls or budget-friendly outlet centers and swap meets.
Las Vegas is known forits entertainment diversity that both delights and educates those who visit. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art includes paintings and sculptures from such renowned artists as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet. The Las Vegas Art Museum inside the Sahara West Library and Fine Art Museum and the Lost City Museum of Archaeology in Overton, Nev., which is owned and maintained by the State of Nevada as one of its six state museums, also provide wonderful venues for art aficionados.
Set on nearly five acres in downtown Las Vegas, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is at the heart of downtown Las Vegas’ newest urban development, Symphony Park. Designed to address the needs of community residents, The Smith Center offers a blend of performances by local arts groups as well as first-run touring attractions. It also features music, theater and dance companies who celebrate cultures from all over the world. The Smith Center’s resident companies will include the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Ballet Theatre.
The Adventuredome at Circus Circus
This five-acre theme park is contained within a climate-controlled dome that features water rides, a roller coaster, laser tag and animated dinosaurs.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Stretching 1.5 miles across the Nevada desert just north of Las Vegas, the tri-oval Motor Speedway is home to year-round events. Most popular of the events held at the speedway are the Electric Daisy Carnival and the NASCAR circuit series that visit the city.
Las Vegas Mini Grand Prix
This seven-acre park features the longest Go Kart Track in Nevada. The track offers grand prix racing in adult minicars, which can reach speeds of 60 mph, go-carts and kiddie go-carts.
Designed for BMX and motocross racing, the Mesquite Raceway hosts a variety of races, events and competitions throughout the year.
Boasting the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States west of the Mississippi, this 120-story tower features indoor and outdoor observation decks; Insanity, the Ride; and XSCREAM and Big Shot, the world’s highest thrill ride.
Las Vegas Zoo
The zoological park is home to exotic animals from all over the world, including the last family of Barbary apes in the United States. A petting zoo and a gift shop are also available at the park.
Sports fans who prefer the bleachers to the playing field can enjoy Las Vegas 51s Triple-A baseball in the spring and summer; the Las Vegas Lobos World Football League and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Running Rebels football team in the fall or Rebels basketball in the winter. Winter sports fans can also enjoy the Las Vegas Wranglers, the city’s minor league ice hockey team inside the Orleans Resort Casino, or the Mountain West Conference Mens Football Championship at Sam Boyd stadium.
Hoover Dam (Boulder City)
Located 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas on U.S. 93, the Hoover Dam turns the raging waters of the Colorado River into the still waters of Lake Mead. One of the largest manmade lakes in the world, Lake Mead extends 110 miles from the Hoover Dam.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red rock formations and desert scenery attract thousands of bicycle enthusiasts to the 13-mile loop road that winds along the western border of the Las Vegas Valley.
At this recreational area 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas, visitors can discover Mount Charleston’s numerous hiking trails, campsites, picnic spots and snow skiing opportunities among 300,000 acres of forest. Fabulous ski facilities can also be enjoyed at Brian Head Resort Inc., Elk Meadows Resort and Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort.
Valley of Fire State Park
Dedicated in 1935 as Nevada’s first state park, this 56,000-acre wilderness features extraordinarily colorful rock formations, Native American petroglyphs and year-round campsites.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead is the largest man-made reservoir in the United States in terms of maximum water capacity. It is located on the Colorado River about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nev., in the states of Nevada and Arizona, and is formed by the Hoover Dam. The recreation area attracts more than 7 million visitors annually for swimming, boating, skiing, fishing and camping.