There are so many things to do in Las Vegas, where do you start? And what must you really see? Las Vegas is a city of casinos of course, so a visit at least once to the famous Las Vegas Strip and its gambling joints is usually on most people's agenda. Since all of the large casinos offer great entertainment from the biggest stars in the world it isn't all about the gambling either.

However what visitors to much of the Las Vegas Strip do not realize is that when they are there they are not actually in Las Vegas, but in Paradise.

Paradise is a suburb of Las Vegas, and is home to many of what are considered the major casinos such as the MGM Grand and Caesars Palace. But wherever you are in the city, did you ever wonder how all that glitz and glamour began?

Las Vegas began life as a stopover on the pioneer trails headed out west, and became a popular railroad town by the dawn of the twentieth century. It was also home to the many workers from the mines all over the area and the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1935 also did a great deal to boost both the population and the number of tourists visiting Las Vegas. However, it was the legalization of gambling in the State of Nevada that really kicked Las Vegas into action. Casino hotels began to pop up all over the city. Most of the first casinos in Las Vegas belonged to organized crime. Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky were the big men of Las Vegas for years.

In the 1960s the billionaire Howard Hughes came to town and purchased many of the casinos, hotels and TV stations in the city. Over the next several years the mob was effectively run out of the city and more legitimate corporations invested in Las Vegas.

The mid nineteen eighties saw a period of unprecedented growth begin, and the city's population almost doubled between 1985 and 1995 growing from 186,380 to 368,360. Larger and more glamorous casinos were constructed which all offer far more than just gaming tables and a great nightclub act. Many of them are so large and self contained that it is hardly ever necessary for a tourist to leave the building for their entire vacation.

The Freemont Street Experience was opened in 2007 in an effort to boost Las Vega's ailing downtown area and has so far been very successful. It showcases "vintage" Las Vegas, which many felt had disappeared.
 
For years, Las Vegas was the gambling capital of the world, but in 2006 the Macau Special Administrative Region in China announced gambling revenues that surpassed Las Vegas, making it the new king in the gambling world. That has not made a major impact on Las Vegas however, and thanks to an intensive advertising campaign in the last couple of years, the number of visitors heading to Sin City every year is higher than ever before.