Located in the southernmost precincts of a wide, pancake-flat valley, Las Vegas is the biggest city in the state of Nevada. Treeless mountains form a scenic backdrop to hotels awash in neon glitter. Although bursting with residents and visitors, the city is quite compact, geographically speaking.
There are two main areas of Las Vegas: the Strip and Downtown. The former is probably the most famous 4-mile stretch of road in the nation. Officially called Las Vegas Boulevard South, it contains most of the top hotels in town and offers almost all the major showroom entertainment. First-time visitors will, and probably should, spend the bulk of their time on the Strip.
Downtown, meanwhile, is where Vegas started its Glitter Gulch fame, complete with neon ambassadors Vegas Vic and Sassy Sally watching over the action.
For many people, that’s all there is to Las Vegas. But there is actually more to the town than that: Paradise Road, just east of the Strip, and Boulder Highway on the far east side of town, are home to quite a bit of casino action; Maryland Parkway boasts mainstream shopping; and there are different restaurant options all over the city. Many of the “locals’ hotels,” most of which are off the regular tourist track, offer cheaper gambling limits plus budget food and entertainment options. Confining yourself to the Strip and Downtown is fine for the first-time visitor, but repeat customers (and you will be) should get out there and explore. Las Vegas Boulevard South (the Strip) is the starting point for addresses; any street that crosses it starts with 1 East and 1 West at its intersection with the Strip (and goes up from there).
All major Las Vegas hotels provide comprehensive tourist information at their reception and/or sightseeing and show desks.
Other good information sources are the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, open Monday through Friday 8am to 5:30pm; the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, open Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm; and, for information on all of Nevada, including Las Vegas, the Nevada Commission on Tourism, open 24 hours.