What we now know as Nevada was originally home to Paiute, Washoe, and other indigenous tribes. Long before the first fortune hunters came to the land in search of minerals like silver and gold.
Much of the land, however, remained uninhabited until 1931, when gambling arrived. Since that time, many well known landmarks have been built and preserved around the Silver state.
Famous Landmarks in Nevada
1. Hoover Dam
Located in the Black canyon on the Colorado River, bordering Arizona, construction of the Hoover Dam began in 1931. Completed in 1935, it cost $49 million and hundreds of workers’ lives.
Named for president Herbert Hoover, who played a vital role in its creation. The dam was to have several purposes, including:
- flood control
- power supply
- water storage
The dam’s focal point is a concrete arch that is 726 feet at its highest point. It’s 1,244 feet long, 45 feet wide, and has a depth of 590 feet.
Today, the goals of the dam continue to be fulfilled. The massive concrete arch controls flooding from the Colorado River.
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It also irrigates over 1.5 million acres of farm land. Over 16 million people get their water from the dam, and over 500,000 homes are powered by this marvel of engineering.
This national historical landmark also supports recreational activities for people who enjoy its natural beauty. Everyone is invited to enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities surrounded by the dam, beautiful canyons and rock formations.
2. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Located about 15 miles west of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon is easily scene from the rooftops of the Vegas strip. Over 3 million people visit Red Rocks 197,349 acres each year.
The conservation area was established in 1967. It showcases large red rock formations, peaks, and walls up to 3,000 feet high.
The area is popular among hikers and rock climbers. The highest point is La Madre mountain at 8,154 feet. There are several loops (including a one-way road for vehicles), side roads, and parking.
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Long before trails, loops, and parking, Red Rock was inhabited by several indigenous tribes. They were drawn to the area for its abundant sources of water, animal, and plant life that was hard to come by in the desert.
Later, when European Americans settled the area, sandstone mining was attempted, but was unsuccessful. Remnants of the quarry can still be seen today.
3. Valley of Fire State Park
Located in Overton, Nevada, this beautiful 40,000 acre state park is open from sunrise to sunset. Established in 1935, the area has some of the most breathtaking mountainous rocks in Nevada.
The park also offers round the clock access to their camping sites. The park is also a popular picnic and hiking spot. A visitors center offers educational programs.
But what the park is most well known for is its Aztec sandstone formations and ancient petroglyphs from over 2,000 years ago. Petrified trees are also sprinkled throughout the park. The area was designated a national landmark in 1968.
4. Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
Known the world over, this iconic sign was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 2009. Located on the medium of Las Vegas Boulevard, the sign is actually about 4 miles from the city limits.
At 25 feet tall and a border of flashing yellow lights, there’s no missing that you’re headed for sin city. The sign was designed by Betty Willis and built in 1959. She never copyrighted her design, rather, she thought of it as her gift to this fast growing town.
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Before 2008, there were many fatalities with people trying to take pictures in front of the sign. So Las Vegas decided to make over $1 million in improvements to make it safer. The city made the medium in the area wider, created a parking lot, and hired staff to help take pictures.
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While the Las Vegas strip has changed drastically over the years, the sign welcoming you to this oasis has remained untouched over time.
5. Bellagio Hotel & Casino
The Bellagio, at the center of all the city’s action, is an Italian-themed luxury hotel and casino. It’s fashioned after the town of Bellagio near Lake Como, Italy.
Construction on the hotel was started in 1995 after Steve Wynn bought the Dunes casino and had it razed. The Bellagio was opened on October 15, 1998. The hotel cost $1.6 billion to build on 77 acres.
With a 36 story tower, the hotel has almost 4,000 rooms and 156,000 square feet of casino space. Other attractions include:
- the fountains of Bellagio
- art gallery
- 1800 seat theater
- the famous “dancing” fountain
- restaurants like Le Cirque and Spago
- high end shopping plaza with shops like Chanel, Gucci, and Prada
The Bellagio has also been the setting for many movie and television scenes. Including Oceans 11. The dancing water fountain is often the star of those scenes.
6. Fort Churchill State Historic Park
Located in Silver Springs, Nevada, Fort Churchill historical park preserves the remains and lore of an important US army fort. Established in 1957, the 20 acres were added to the national registry of historic places in 1966.
The area was named for Sylvester Churchill, Inspector General of the US army during the civil war. The fort was originally built to give protection to early settlers and the Pony Express (which had a waystation at the fort). It became a supply depot during the Civil War and housed about 200 soldiers.
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After the war, the fort was abandoned and sold at auction. In 1932, the property was deeded to the Daughters of the American Revolution (a historical preservation organization).
The group restored much of the fort and opened a museum. There is also hiking, picnics, and camping allowed in the park.
7. High Roller Las Vegas
The High Roller, is a 550 foot high Ferris wheel in the heart of the Las Vegas strip in Paradise, Nevada. Owned by Caesar’s Entertainment corporation, the wheel opened on March 31, 2014.
Presently, it is the world’s 2nd largest Ferris wheel. Recently, it was booted from the number one position by Ain Dubai, in Dubai, which stands at 800 feet high.
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Still an amazing piece of engineering, the wheel can hold up to 1120 passengers. Each of their 28 cabins can hold up to 40 people, 300 square feet of glass, and 8 flat screen televisions.
A 30 minute ride will cost you between $25 to 35, but the view is certainly worth it. For $60 per person, those over 21 can enjoy the “Happy Half Hour” open bar cabin. The High Roller is also available for weddings and special events.
8. The Venetian Las Vegas
The Venetian hotel and Casino sits on the site of the legendary Sands casino. With almost 4100 rooms and suites and over 120,000 square feet of casino play area, The Venetian is one of the largest hotels in Las Vegas. Opened in 1999, the hotel’s theme is Venice, Italy and they even have motorized gondolas.
This 36 story beauty cost a whopping $1.5 billion to build. With luxury shopping, 5 5-star restaurants, and a Guggenheim museum, you’ll be without one thing to do. If that’s not enough, The Venetian is home to the world renowned nightclub, Tao.
The hotel also has a large amphitheater that has hosted acts like the Blue Man Group and Faith Hill. Need a space to hold a conference! The Venetian boasts one of the largest convention centers in Las Vegas.
9. Caesars Palace
With one of the most recognized brand marks in the world, Caesar’s Palace has been going strong since 1966. Their Roman Empire themed hotel is always a popular spot to stay.
With almost 4,000 rooms (remodeled several times since the 1966 opening), the casino has 124,000 square feet of gaming space. At 34 acres and 14 stories, Ceasers may not be as large as some of the other resorts in the strip, but it still packs a punch!
In fact, Caesar’s set itself apart from the others in the 1970s by hosting some of the biggest boxing events in history. Rocky 3 was also filmed at the Palace. Over the years, Caesars has hosted performers like:
- Frank Sinatra
- Ella Fitzgerald
- Celine Dion
- Stevie Nicks
- Rod Stewart
- Tina Turner
- Mariah Carey
- Diana Ross
It’s no secret that if you want A List entertainment while in Las Vegas, you go get one of the 4300 seats in their replicated Roman amphitheater. After the show, grab a bite at the iconic Mr. Chow’s or do some shopping at The Forum shops.
10. Fremont Street Experience
The Fremont Street Experience is a bit over a half mile stretch of street of the Las Vegas strip that was turned into a pedestrian mall in 1994. There are a few main attractions when visiting Fremont.
The first is the almost 1400 foot long vault canopy that covers the outdoor area and is the source of many an artistic light show. Next, second is the “Slotzilla” zip line that will send you flying across the neighborhood.
Finally, there are 3 performance stages along the street. There’s always music, dance, or dramatic acts performing for free. Fremont was not just randomly chosen for this role. The street is well known by history buffs and General Las Vegas enthusiasts.
Fremont was the first street in Las Vegas to have a hotel (today known as the Holden Gate), the first street to have a street light, and the first street to have a high rise building.