The Las Vegas Strip is located in well, Las Vegas. More specifically, it’s located in the Mojave Desert in the southern part of the state of Nevada, in the Western United States, near the borders of both California and Arizona.
To be even more specific, the Las Vegas Strip is in Clark County, Nevada – a large, 8,000 square mile (21,000 square kilometer) stretch of land in the extreme southern tip of the state of Nevada.
In terms of Las Vegas itself, The Strip – at 4.2 miles in length – has 32 casinos, and it’s located in the southern, middle part of the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
Whereas the popular downtown Fremont Street Casinos area is pretty much in the geographic center of Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Strip is located further to the south of town, sort of on the way to California.
Unlike metropolitan areas back east, or in other countries, the Las Vegas Strip is located pretty far from any other major city. From Los Angeles to Las Vegas, it’s 271 miles, or about a four hour drive. It’s 300 miles (a 4 and ½ hour drive) from Phoenix, Arizona, while Salt Lake City, Utah is 421 miles from Las Vegas, or roughly just under a six hour drive.
The Las Vegas Strip is located just to the east of Interstate 15, which is now the major thoroughfare through Sin City.
The Strip used to be the major highway going from Los Angeles into town. The Strip led visitors, (most of whom traveled from Southern California) to downtown Las Vegas at Fremont Street, where visitors would enter into very modest casinos (some with sawdust on the floor), to try their luck at the one-armed bandits (“one-armed bandits” is the nickname for those old school slot machines you could only operate by pulling the handle).
(Here’s a Google map of the Las Vegas Strip)
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Back in the early days of Las Vegas, (think 1940’s and earlier), Fremont Street in downtown was the epicenter of gambling in Las Vegas. The Strip was just barren desert you had to pass on the way to the excitement.
With gambling becoming more and more popular post-World War II, savvy casino developers (like the infamous mobster, Bugsy Siegel), sought to capture (not literally), some of those Los Angeles gamblers before they could get north to downtown.
As a result, casino/hotels like Bugsy’s Flamingo were built on the road south of Fremont Street, which was once known as the “Los Angeles Highway,” and later became “Las Vegas Boulevard,” which is technically, the real name of the Las Vegas Strip.
(Go here to learn about the first casino on the Las Vegas Strip).
This attempt by early Las Vegas casino operators to be the first opportunity where road-weary L.A. residents could scratch their gambling itch led to a southward expansion of gambling in Las Vegas. This is why the Las Vegas Strip is located south of town. In fact, the Strip isn’t even in the city limits of Las Vegas; rather, sections of the Strip are located in the unincorporated towns of Paradise, Nevada, and Winchester, Nevada.
Also in Paradise, Nevada is the region’s main airport, McCarran International Airport, which is located next door to the Las Vegas Strip. In fact, the western boundary of the airport fronts the Strip, right across the street from Mandalay Bay and the Luxor Hotel and Casino.
The Las Vegas Strip’s convenient location next to McCarran International Airport not only allows for cheaper taxi rides, it provides guests staying at places like the MGM Grand to have a pretty good view of planes landing and taking off (because what else is there to do in Las Vegas?). As a side note, and in case you are wondering why they built an airport next to the Strip, the fact is that McCarran was actually there first. It is, for example, three years older than the Flamingo.
Las Vegas Location to Other Cities
While Sin City isn’t exactly close to other major towns, it is a fairly reasonable drive from most places in Southern California. The fact Las Vegas is located reasonably close to Los Angeles makes the gambling mecca Southern California’s most popular playground. This is especially true on weekends and holidays. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau, 26% of all visitors are from Southern California.
Other Places Located Nearby Las Vegas
It owes its early growth, (and current electricity), to the awe-inspiring Hoover Dam to the south and east of town. If you get a chance to escape the casinos, you should check it out, as Hoover Dam is located just 35 miles from Las Vegas.
For thrill seekers wanting to check out the hottest place in the United States (literally), Las Vegas is located 142 miles east of Death Valley.
On the opposite extreme, Las Vegas is located 50 miles away from a ski resort.
As for cities, Las Vegas is out west, in the middle of nowhere, (just as us Westerners like it). It is 1,125 miles from Seattle, 1,748 miles from Chicago, 2,519 miles from Miami, Florida, and 2,552 miles from New York. (Photo courtesy of Tony Kent from Flickr).