Las Vegas is one of the most famous cities on Earth – synonymous with hedonism, great entertainment and uniquely American excess. Two things made Las Vegas the city it is. The first happened in 1928 when the US government authorised the construction of the Boulder Dam (now known as the Hoover Dam) which brought about the migration of thousands of workers in need of something to do at the weekend. The second happened in 1931 when gambling, illegal in California, was legalised in neighbouring Nevada. The rest, as they say, is history. Although initially built around gambling (and still the best place
in the world to go for it) Vegas today offers a lot more than craps and poker. A significant percentage of tourists come and go without having gambled a dime, but instead eaten in some of the best restaurants, stayed in the most opulent hotels, drunk in the best bars, watched the best shows and shopped in the finest boutiques, as well as enjoyed the near permanent sunshine.
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Further to this there is a small but growing trend to use Las Vegas as a base from which to explore the natural and man-made wonders that surround the area, including the mighty Hoover Dam that started the whole enterprise. Lake Powell, the Bryce and Zion National Parks and the Grand Canyon are all within easy reach, meaning you can complement the bright lights of the city with the peace and wide open spaces of the desert on your luxury Las Vegas holiday.
Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon by Helicopter
The Grand Canyon and the Bryce and Zion National Parks can be explored in a variety of ways. For those keen to leave the gaming tables for as short a time as possible this can be done by helicopter in half a day, though typically you would spend at least a day at each, staying overnight close by.
The first time you arrive in Las Vegas is the highlight – it's a riot of neon lights, fountains, casinos, and the iconic replica Paris and Luxor landmarks – all in the middle of the desert. Mind boggling.