Las Vegas metropolitan area

Las Vegas metropolitan area

The Las Vegas metropolitan area includes the Las Vegas Valley, a 600-square-mile (1600 km²) basin, and surrounding areas, that is part of Clark County in southern Nevada. The area contains the largest concentration of people in the state. The history of the Las Vegas metropolitan area largely coincides with the history of the city of Las Vegas. "Las Vegas" is often used generically to describe the entire area covered in this article. It is currently the fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation, with a population rise of nearly 25% from 2000 to 2006, and a current population of approximately two million. [cite web |url= |title = Las Vegas Area Population Reaches 2 Million | accessdate=2007-12-10 | format= |work + ] The metropolitan includes parts of the Las Vegas-Paradise Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is by defined by the United States Census Bureau to include all of Clark County, [ cite web |url= |title= METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, December 2005, WITH CODES |accessdate=2007-03-23 |format= |work= ] including the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, and the surrounding areas. In 2005, the valley hosted over 34 million visitors.

As of the 2007 census estimate, the Las Vegas metropolitan Statistical Area area contained over 1.8 million residents, and contains the largest ethnic Hawaiian community outside of Hawaii. [] [ cite web |url= |title= METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, December 2005, WITH CODES |accessdate=2007-03-23 |format= |work= ]

Outdoor lighting displays are everywhere on the many tourist destination buildings in the area. As seen from space, Las Vegas is the brightest city on earth. The lights visible are from the entire valley and not only the city of Las Vegas.citeweb |url= |title=The Extent of Urbanization in the Southwest As Viewed from Space|author=unknown|accessdate=9-7-2008]


The area was previously settled by Mormon farmers in 1854 and later became the site of a U.S. Army fort in 1864, beginning a long relationship between southern Nevada and the U.S. military. Since the 1930s, Las Vegas has generally been identified as a gambling center as well as a resort destination primarily targeting adults. Relatively inexpensive real estate prompted a residential population boom in the Las Vegas Valley in the 1990s and continues to the present day.

Nellis Air Force Base is located in the northeast corner of the valley. The ranges that the Nellis pilots use and various other land areas used by various federal agencies limit growth of the valley to the north.


The Las Vegas Valley is an area generally defined by the Spring Mountains on the west, Sheep Mountains to the north, Muddy Mountains, Eldorado Range and Lake Mead to the east, and the Black Mountains to the south.Fact|date=February 2007

Geography and environment

The land in the Las Vegas Valley is sandy desert with mountains in the distance.


The Las Vegas Valley lies in a relatively high-altitude portion of the Mojave Desert, and this can result in drastic changes of temperature between seasons, and even between day and night. The Valley generally averages less than five inches (130 mm) of rain annually. Daily summer temperatures from June through August typically exceed 100 °F (38 °C). While low ambient humidity tempers the effect of these temperatures, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and sun stroke can occur after even a limited time outdoors in the summer. The interiors of automobiles often prove deadly to small children and pets during the summer and surfaces exposed to the sun can cause first- and second- degree burns to unprotected skin. The late summer, especially in July and August, is marked by "monsoon season" when moist winds from the Gulf of California soak much of the Southwestern United States. While raising humidity levels, these winds develop into dramatic desert thunderstorms that cause flash flooding.

Winter temperatures are very mild with lows of around 30 °F (-1 °C). Snow accumulation at the valley floor is rare but the surrounding mountains receive as much as ten feet (3 m) in the winter.

Air quality

Being located in a desert valley creates issues with air quality. From the dust the wind picks up from disturbed desert, to the smog produced by vehicles to the pollen in the air, the valley can have some bad air days.

Pollen can be a major issue several weeks a year with counts occasionally in the 70,000 plus range. Local governments are trying to control this by banning plants that produce the most pollen.

The dust problems usually happen on very windy days, so they tend to be seasonal and of a short duration.

Smog on the other hand gets worst when there is no wind to move the air out of the valley. Also in winter it is possible to get an inversion in the valley air that actually traps any smog in the valley.

The county is working to control these problems and has shown some success over the years. The constant tightening of Federal requirements for allowable particles in the air, make the task of meeting air quality standards difficult.


The native flora does little to help the soil retain water. During the intense rains of monsoon season or (relatively) wet months of January and February, a network of dry natural channels, called washes or arroyos, carved into the valley floor allows water to flow down from the mountains and converge in the Las Vegas Wash which runs through the Clark County Wetlands Park. The wash system used to form a large natural wetlands which then flowed into the Colorado River until the construction of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River led to the creation of Lake Mead. Further development in the 1980s and 1990s made Lake Las Vegas, which required directing the Las Vegas Wash into tunnels which run under Lake Las Vegas and into Lake Mead.

The Las Vegas area is limited to about 300,000 acre feet (370,000,000 m³) of water each year from Lake Mead, with credits for water it returns to the lake. The allocations were made when Nevada had virtually no people or agriculture. The allocations were also made during a wet string of years which overstated the available water in the entire watershed. As a result, precipitation that is below normal for a few years can have a major impact on the Colorado River Reservoirs.

Early Vegas depended on the aquifer which fed the springs, but the pumping of water from these caused a large drop in the water levels and ground subsidence over wide areas of the valley. Today, the aquifers are basically used to store water that is pumped from the lake during periods of low demand and pumped out during periods of high demand.


The population doubling time in the greater metropolitan area was under ten years since the early 1970s and the Las Vegas metropolitan area now has a population of over two million people{fact|July 2008}. This rapid population growth led to a significant urbanization of desert lands into industrial and commercial areas, but, by and large, low-density, single-family tract homes ("see" suburbia).


The driving force is the tourism industry. In the past the casinos were the one major attraction. Now shopping, conventions and fine dining are also major forces in attracting the tourist dollar. With about 130,000 hotel rooms, as of 2005, to fill, the conventions help fill the hotels, destination restaurants, and shopping malls on the Strip.

There is a balance between all of the tourist operations in town. The conventions need hotel rooms, dining, and entertainment options. The hotels need the conventions, and tourists to fill their rooms. The restaurants depend on travelers in the hotel rooms to fill their tables. Everyone depends on a good road system to get travelers into town as well as available and reasonably priced airline seats.

Over the past few years, retirees have been moving to the valley driving businesses that support them, from housing to health care.

Las Vegas has been trying to expand its manufacturing and research base. There have been some positive signs from the World Market Center being developed in the city and opening of Lou Ruvo Alzheimer's Institute in 2007 in addition to many smaller businesses.

While the cost of housing spiked up over 40% in 2004, the lack of business and income taxes still makes Nevada an attractive place for many companies to relocate to as well as expand into. Being a true twenty-four hour town, call centers have always seemed to find Vegas a good place to find workers willing to work at all hours.

Construction is strong. New strip casinos take years to build and employ thousands of workers. The same could be said of the housing boom with new home sales around 15,000 units in 2004. With the introduction of Turnburry Towers several years ago, developers discovered that there was a large demand for high-end condominiums. At the end of 2004, it was estimated that as many as eighty major condominiums were in various stages of development.


Las Vegas has expanded its attractiveness to visitors by offering high-end merchandise in many upscale shopping malls although casino gaming and theater shows remain the primary reason that most tourists come to Las Vegas. In addition to the outlying malls, most casinos on the Strip are connected to indoor malls that offer an extensive range of choices. The monorail on the east side of the Strip facilitates shopping trips from the north to the south.

Major malls include:

*Bonanza Gift Store
*The Boulevard Mall
*Galleria at Sunset
*Grand Canal Shoppes
*Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas
*Fashion Show Mall
*The Forum Shops at Caesars
*Las Vegas Premium Outlets
*Meadows Mall
*Miracle Mile Shops
*Stratosphere Tower Shops
*Town Square


Slab-on-grade foundations is the common base for residential buildings in the area.

Traditionally housing consisted primarily of single family detached housing. Apartment complexes generally were two story buildings. There have been exceptions, but they were few and far between. In the 1990s, Turnberry Associates constructed the first high rise condominium. Prior to this there were only a handful of mid rise multi family housing.

By the mid 2000s, there was a major move into high rise condominiums which had a noticeable impact on the skyline, especially in the area around The Strip.

United States housing market correction

Las Vegas has been one of the top areas in the nation adversely affected by the recent subprime mortgage crisis and United States housing market correction, resulting in a freefall in home prices and mass foreclosures. As of January 2008, 1.9% of homes in the Las Vegas area were in the foreclosure process, almost triple the rate of a year earlier. [ [ Buyers' Revenge: Trash the House After Foreclosure - ] ] The problem was exacerbated by rampant speculation from house flippers, who sought quick profits and never intended to live in the homes they purchased. As of April 2008, 51% of the more than 22,000 homes for sale in the area were vacant, according to Las Vegas real estate research firm SalesTraq. [ [,1,3818352.story Pricy Las Vegas homes quickly lose their luster - Los Angeles Times ] ]

Las Vegas neighborhoods

*Alta Drive/Scotch 80's/Rancho Circle/Rancho Bel Air
*Blue Diamond
*Centennial Hills
*Desert Shores
*Green Valley
*Lake Las Vegas
*Los Prados
*Painted Desert
*Paradise Palms
*Paradise Vista
*Mountains Edge
*Rancho Sierra Estates
*Seven Hills
*Silverado Ranch
*Southern Highlands
*The Lakes
*West Las Vegas — area bordered by Carey to the North, Bonanza to the South, Rancho Drive to the West, and I-15 to the East. [cite news |first=ALAN |last= CHOATE |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Struggling district first needs residents |url= |work= Las Vegas Review-Journal |publisher= |date= |accessdate=2008-04-28 ] Contains many "letter" streets, streets named after Presidents, and streets named after jewelry.

Incorporated cities

*Boulder City
*Las Vegas
*North Las Vegas

Unincorporated communities

* Enterprise
* Paradise
* Spring Valley
* Summerlin South
* Sunrise Manor
* Whitney
* Winchester





* "Boulder City News" is a weekly newspaper, serving Boulder City
* "Gamingwire" an online news service about gaming and related topics
* "Henderson Home News" is a weekly newspaper, serving the Henderson, owned by Greenspun Media Group, publishers of the "Sun".
* "Las Vegas Advisor"
* "Las Vegas Business Press"
* "Las Vegas CityLife" weekly paper
* "Las Vegas Review-Journal"
* "Las Vegas Sun"
* "Las Vegas Weekly" is an alternative weekly paper owned by Greenspun Media Group, publishers of the "Sun".
* "Summerlin News" and its sister "West Valley News" serving Summerlin and Spring Valley, owned by Greenspun Media Group, publishers of the "Sun".
* "Valley Times" is a defunct newspaper that was discontinued around 1985. It covered the North Las Vegas area in the 1970s and 1980s.


*"Las Vegas Style"


*Citizens Area Transit
*Las Vegas Monorail


* McCarran International Airport
* North Las Vegas Airport
* Henderson Executive Airport


Two major freeways - Interstate 15 and Interstate 515/U.S. Route 95 - cross in downtown Las Vegas. I-15 connects Las Vegas to Los Angeles and San Diego, California, and heads northeast to and beyond Salt Lake City, Utah. I-515 goes southeast to Henderson, beyond which US 93 continues over the Hoover Dam towards Phoenix, Arizona. US 95 connects the city to northwestern Nevada, including Carson City and Reno. US 93 splits from I-15 northeast of Las Vegas and goes north through the eastern part of the state, serving Ely and Wells, and US 95 heads south from US 93 near Henderson through far eastern California. A three-quarters beltway has been built, consisting of Interstate 215 on the south and Clark County 215 on the west and north. Other radial routes include SR 160 to Pahrump and SR 147 to Lake Mead.

With the notable exceptions of Las Vegas Boulevard, Boulder Highway, and Tonopah Highway (better known as the northern part of Rancho Drive), the majority of surface streets outside downtown Las Vegas are laid out along Public Land Survey System section lines. Many are maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation as state highways.

;East-west roads, north to south [Most arterial roads are shown, as indicated on the Nevada Department of Transportation's [ 2004 Roadway Functional Classification map] , accessed May 2008.]

*Las Vegas Beltway (CC 215)
*Ann Road
*Craig Road (SR 573)
*Cheyenne Avenue (SR 574)
*Carey Avenue
*Lake Mead Boulevard (SR 147)
*Washington Avenue (SR 578)
*Summerlin Parkway, Bonanza Road (SR 579)
*Charleston Boulevard (SR 159)
*Sahara Avenue (SR 589)
*Desert Inn Road
*Spring Mountain Road (SR 591)
*Flamingo Road (SR 592)
*Tropicana Avenue (SR 593)
*Russell Road (SR 594)
*Sunset Road (SR 562)
*Warm Springs Road
*Blue Diamond Road (SR 160)
*Las Vegas Beltway (I-215), Lake Mead Parkway (SR 564)
*Horizon Ridge Parkway
*St. Rose Parkway (SR 146)
;North-south roads, west to east

*Las Vegas Beltway (CC 215)
*Durango Drive
*Buffalo Drive
*Rainbow Boulevard (SR 595)
*Jones Boulevard (SR 596)
*Decatur Boulevard
*Valley View Boulevard
*Dean Martin Drive
*Las Vegas Boulevard (SR 604), Rancho Drive (SR 599)
*Paradise Road (SR 605)
*Maryland Parkway
*Eastern Avenue (SR 607)
*Pecos Road
*Lamb Boulevard (SR 610)
*Nellis Boulevard (SR 612)



* Las Vegas Zoo
* Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
* Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay


*Las Vegas Music Festival
*Las Vegas Bike Fest


* Ethel M's Botanical Cactus Gardens
* Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
* The Gardens at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve


* Architecture Studies Library
* Boulder City Public Library
* Community College of Southern Nevada Libraries
* Henderson District Public Libraries
* Las Vegas-Clark County Library District
* Lied Library
* North Las Vegas Library District


*Atomic Testing Museum
*Burlesque Hall of Fame
*Clark County Heritage Museum
*Erotic Heritage Museum
*Guinness World of Records
*Hollywood Movie Museum
*Hoover Dam Museum
*Imperial Palace Auto Collection
*Las Vegas Art Museum
*Las Vegas Gambling Museum
*Las Vegas Natural History Museum
*Liberace Museum
*Lied Discovery Children's Museum
*The Lost City Museum
*Madame Tussauds Las Vegas
*Marjorie Barrick Museum
*Neon Museum at the Fremont Street Experience
*Nevada State Museum
*Nevada State Railroad Museum
*Pinball Hall of Fame
*Shelby Museum
*Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art


* The Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center
* Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex
* Clark County Shooting Park
* Clark County Wetlands Park
* Desert Breeze Park
* Sunset Park


Las Vegas is the home of the following minor league teams:


Primary and secondary

*Public schools:The Clark County School District operates all of the public primary and secondary schools in the county with the exception of a few which are contracted out to a private organization.

*Private schools:

**The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain
**Bishop Gorman High School
**Faith Lutheran Jr/Sr High School
**Calvary Chapel Christian School
**Calvary Church Christian School
**The Milton I. Schwartz Hebrew Academy
**Las Vegas Day School
**The Meadows School
**Merryhill School
**Mountain View Christian School
**Paradise Christian Academy []
**Shiloh Christian School
**St. Viator School
**Trinity Christian School
**New Horizons Academy
**University Baptist Academy

Colleges and universities

*Public Schools
**University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is the major higher education institution in Las Vegas;
**University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) also has a campus for the School of Medicine in Las Vegas;
**Nevada State College located in Henderson, Nevada;
**College of Southern Nevada - formerly known as the Community College of Southern Nevada and Clark County Community College.

*Private schools 4 year+
**Design Institute
**National University of Nevada
**Touro University Nevada
**University of Phoenix-Nevada
**University of Southern Nevada, Doctor of Pharmacy degree


Venues in Las Vegas



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