Las Vegas is one of the most famously extravagant places to visit in America. From its lavishly decorated casinos to its expansive resort suites, Vegas can feel like an entirely different planet. It’s the place to go for a vacation that you won’t soon forget.
But despite the popularity of Las Vegas, there are some interesting facts that you probably don’t know about Sin City. Hopefully, one or more of these factoids may help you win your next Trivial Pursuit game night.
So here they are, 21 surprising and fun facts about Las Vegas you probably didn’t know:
1. Las Vegas is Not the Capital of Nevada
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I know right?! Why can’t they just make the state capitals easier for school kids? Like many states, Nevada’s most famous city is not its capital city.
The capital of Nevada is Carson City.
Back in the day, Carson City was where the money was, due to an abundance of silver mines, so they made it the Nevada state capital. Nowadays, most people can’t even find Carson City on a map 🤣
2. “The Strip” Isn’t Actually Located in Las Vegas
Wha?! Okay let me see if I can make some sense of this for you. The majority of the Las Vegas Strip is actually located in the unincorporated township of Paradise. In Las Vegas’ early days, the proprieters of casinos wanted to avoid paying taxes to the City of Las Vegas and did so by building their casinos outside the Las Vegas city limits.
The City of Las Vegas tried to pull a fast one by annexing this new area into the city before these casinos knew what was happening. In a turn of events, the casino owners on the Strip got wind of the city’s move and quickly voted to create the township of Paradise thus blocking the city’s powerplay.
So what does this all mean to you? Nothing really. The majority of the Las Vegas Valley is now commonly referred to as “Las Vegas” and as you move through the city you won’t notice any difference as you cross various boundary lines. Only the tax man cares.
Just know that it’s possible to visit Las Vegas and never officially set foot in the City of Las Vegas. Weird huh?
Download our Free Map of the Las Vegas Strip
3. The Welcome Sign Isn’t in Vegas, Either
Yep. The city’s famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign isn’t actually in Vegas either! It’s about four miles outside of the border of the city. It’s also located in Paradise.
4. Las Vegas is Not Just For Adults
Las Vegas may sound like the last place that you would want to bring your kids. It is called “Sin City” after all. However, the city has much more family fun to offer than you might expect.
The city provides many kid-friendly attractions, such as:
- The Discovery Children’s Museum
- Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
- Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
- Marvel’s Avengers Station
- The Titanic Exhibit at the Luxor Hotel
- Experience a Virtual Reality with VOID
- Coca-Cola Store
- The Adventuredome at Circus Circus
For a large list of Kid and Family-friendly Las Vegas Attractions see our in-depth article here.
5. Vegas Has an 11-Story Tall Slot Machine
Now, this isn’t actually a working slot machine (imagine the payout if it was, it’d probably crush you!) Slotzilla is the city’s famous 11-story tall slot machine. However, instead of churning out coins, it sends you flying out the front because it’s actually a zip line that will have you flying over the crowd on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.
Riders can choose between a sitting position which zips from seven stories up or being in a Superman-style (flying face down) position that flys over five whole blocks of the Fremont Street Experience from eleven stories up. The view is amazing and so is the experience!
Find out about all the Best Ziplines in Las Vegas in our article here.
6. It’s Not the Only City Named “Las Vegas” In The U.S.
While it’s undoubtedly the most famous Las Vegas out there, it’s not the only one. In fact, it’s a pretty straight shot through Arizona to get to the other one located in New Mexico.
This New Mexican counterpart is about 70 years older than the Nevada city we know and love, but it doesn’t seem to get as much press. A simple town with less than 15,00 people, it has deep roots in the wild west. It’s home to a few cowboy reunions and not much else.
While visiting the New Mexico Las Vegas would be one way to say that you’ve been to “Vegas”, it will not provide nearly as much excitement or entertainment as Las Vegas, Nevada!
7. Without Vegas, There’d Be No FedEx
FedEx is one of the most extensive package shipping companies in the world. If you’ve had something delivered to your door, there’s a good chance that FedEx delivered it. It might come as a surprise that the success of the company is based on a winning bet in Vegas.
During its early years, FedEx was on the cusp of going out of business and couldn’t afford to buy jet fuel for its cargo planes, so on a whim, FedEx founder Frederick Smith took the company’s last $5,000, flew to Las Vegas and played blackjack until he’d turned the companies last $5K into $27,000!
This was enough money to keep the company afloat and turn things around. So, maybe the house doesn’t always win! (source)
8. The City’s Most Famous Water Fountain Uses Greywater…NOT!
There’s been an urban myth circulating for years that the Bellagio Fountains and lake use greywater. If you’ve never heard of it before, the term greywater describes water that’s previously used but not sanitized.
The legend states that the fountain water consists of the shower and sink wastewater from the hotel. Well, I’m here to tell you this is absolutely NOT TRUE!
The truth is that the fountains and 8-acre manmade lake use water from a freshwater well that was dug several decades ago by a golf course that once existed on the site. Myth BUSTED! (source)
Bellagio Fountain Show Times & Complete Song List – visit our article here.
9. It’s the Brightest City On Earth
That’s right. According to National Geographic, when viewing Earth from space, Las Vegas is the most brightly lit area on the entire planet. It shouldn’t be that surprising, though, since the city is known for its famous neon glow. The brightness also has to do with the density of light in such a small area.
See what Las Vegas looks like from space here.
10. A “Black Book” Banning List Really Exists
While it might seem like something from a movie, the “Las Vegas Black Book” is the real deal. While each casino and bar has a list of banned individuals that apply to their particular establishments, the black book is definitive for the entire strip.
Therefore, the people listed in the black book are not allowed to enter any casino in Las Vegas.
The history of the black book goes back to the days of mafia rule in Las Vegas. Today, the names inside are generally people who tried to cheat the system. I’m pretty sure the guys from the movie Oceans 11 would be in that book!
11. Sin City’s Version of The Great Sphinx Is Bigger Than The Real One
The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the most beautiful and iconic monuments ever made in human history. So, naturally, Las Vegas had to have a duplicate.
Oddly enough, though, the Sphinx at the Luxor Las Vegas is much larger than the Egyptian Sphinx of Giza. The original statue is a mere 66 feet tall, while the Las Vegas version towers upwards of 110 feet.
14 Mistakes to Avoid in Las Vegas: Don’t do these things – article here
12. Las Vegas Eats More Shrimp Than the Rest of The U.S. Combined
This is a pretty unique way to beat the rest of the country, but Las Vegas is a pretty unique place! According to the Las Vegas Sun, people in Las Vegas consume 60,000 pounds of shrimp each day. That’s about 30 tons!
It’s a pretty massive number, but consider the sheer amount of people loading up their plates at buffets in the city every day. Even still, it’s pretty shocking that a single city, nowhere near the ocean, can eat more shrimp every year than the entire rest of the country combined!
13. Many Casinos in Town Don’t Have a 4th Floor
The number thirteen often strikes fear into the hearts of Westerners as being an unlucky number. For Asian guests, however, the number four is considered to be much more unlucky.
Las Vegas hotels avoid numbering the floors with a four to ward off any superstition linked between the number four and death. The word for death in both Chinese and Japanese sounds eerily similar to the number four, and we can all agree no one wants to sleep in a death room.
So, hotels like the Rio skip right from the 3rd floor to the 5th floor when labeling their 42-story hotel, and, for their Asian guests, that is quite a relief. (source)
14. Over 120,000 Couples Get Married in Las Vegas Each Year
You heard that right! Las Vegas plays host to over 120,000 weddings every year! That’s over 10,000 weddings each and every month (they can’t all be spur of the moment right?!). That makes Las Vegas the number 1 wedding destination in the country.
“How to Get Married in Las Vegas: 7 Steps to Getting Hitched” – A must-read if you want to get married in Vegas.
15. You Really Can Gamble Just About Anywhere in Las Vegas
If you’re worried about a lack of gambling options in Vegas, don’t be. (You weren’t really worried were you?) Not only is there an abundance of casinos to explore, but there are slot machines and video poker machines in lots of other places, too – from movie theaters to airports.
Even grocery, liquor, and convenience stores have their own gambling areas. Cha-Ching!
16. There is One Slot Machine for Every Eight Las Vegas Residents
With the Las Vegas Valley residential population being right around 2 million people, that’s approximately 250,000 slot machines in the greater Las Vegas area!
I personally would be more excited about this fact if we (the residents) got to split the profits from one of these machines eight ways 🎰😜
Do Las Vegas locals go to the Strip? Find out in our article here.
17. Gambling Was Once Illegal in Las Vegas
Between 1905 and 1929 gambling in Las Vegas was illegal as Nevada became one of the last states to criminalize gaming.
It didn’t take Nevada long before they realized the error of their ways and once again legalized gambling in 1930.
18. Las Vegas is Considered to Be the 9th Island of Hawaii (Unofficially)
Las Vegas has become unofficially known as the 9th Island of Hawaii. The reason for this is because of the city’s large population of Hawaiians.
Like Hawaii, the city is based almost entirely on tourism. Unlike Hawaii, it’s a lot cheaper to live in Las Vegas 🌴 Maybe Las Vegas’ official greeting should be “Aloha”!
19. There Are 150,000 Hotel Rooms in Las Vegas
With approximately 150,000 hotel rooms in the Las Vegas Valley, it would take the average person several lifetimes (288 years more or less) to spend one night in each room!
Find the Best Deals on Las Vegas Hotel Rooms at TripAdvisor.
20. Only 15% of Vegas Visitors Plan to Gamble
A recent study found that while only 15% of visitors to Las Vegas come planning to gamble extensively, 71% of visitors end up gambling at some point during their stay.
After all, if you come to Vegas and don’t gamble at least a little bit, have you really been to Vegas?
21. The Bellagio Hotel is Bigger Than Bellagio, Italy
It’s true! The Bellagio Hotel and Casino on the Strip has more rooms (3,950 total rooms) than the actual population of Bellagio, Italy (population 3,707). Wow! (source)
27 Exciting Things to Do Off-Strip in Las Vegas – See them here
Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada
If you had fun with these facts about Las Vegas, just think how much fun you’ll have when you actually visit!
Check out our guide How To Choose a Hotel in Las Vegas (The Ultimate Guide). It’s guaranteed to help you plan your next trip to this exciting and vibrant city.