17 Fun Facts About Las Vegas That Will Make Think
17 Fun Facts About Vegas That Will Make You Scratch Your Head
Vegas history is colorful and, at times, unbelievable, but Sin City is one of the most diverse and unique places in the United States. While it’s known for unparalleled luxury and world-class entertainment today, there is so much more to know about this city.
And what better way to learn more about Las Vegas off the beaten path than by learning some fun facts?
Las Vegas Facts
If you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas, find out more about this one-of-a-kind city with interesting tidbits that your friends and family will love to know. You may just wind up feeling like a local with this insider knowledge!
Now, get comfortable and prepare to be amazed. Here are the most interesting fun facts about Las Vegas you won’t soon forget!
1 | Las Vegas is Named After Hidden Underground Wells | Las Vegas means “the meadows,” and it was named by Rafael Rivera in 1821. The Spanish pioneer laid out the Old Spanish Trail, and he was the first European to set foot into Las Vegas territory.
He called the spacious fields Las Vegas because of its sprawling fields of vibrant grass nourished by abundant local springs.
Despite the desert landscape it’s known for today, Las Vegas was once a natural oasis filled with rolling green hills. The springs were dried up by groundwater pumping, and now, 90% of the city’s water comes from Lake Mead.
Thousands of years before humans arrived, the Las Vegas valley was once so verdant that it attracted now-extinct animals like the Shasta Ground Sloth and Columbian Mammoth.
2 | Las Vegas is the Brightest Place on Earth | The Las Vegas Strip has around 30 hotels and casinos lining its path, and their enormous signage and neon lights make them the brightest spot on the planet. NASA published an image taken by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) showing just how magnificently bright The Strip looks from above Earth.
The Las Vegas Strip even tops Hong Kong, the world’s brightest city, thanks to its concentrated display of lights. If there’s ever a place you’d need sunglasses after the sun sets, it’s probably The Strip.
3 | People in Las Vegas Consume More Shellfish in a Day Than the Entire United States Does in a Year | The classic shrimp cocktail is a Las Vegas staple, and seafood buffets are common throughout the city. People in Vegas love shellfish so much that they reportedly consume 60,000 pounds — or 30 tons — per day. That’s more than the entire country collectively eats in an entire year!
While no source has definitively proven just how much shellfish is consumed every 24 hours, there are many outlets that report similar figures.
Why are so many people crazy about shellfish in Sin City? One, seafood is a luxury, and no one does the glamorous lifestyle quite like Las Vegas. It’s all part of the package when you visit upscale hotels and restaurants throughout the city.
However, even low-key and casual family eateries often serve seafood dishes. The taste for shellfish has become a trademark of the city. So, if you’re craving a lobster roll to rival the ones found in Maine, there’s no better place to do it than Las Vegas.
4 | Over 300 Weddings Happen Every Day in Las Vegas | A lot of people who get married in Vegas elope. In fact, there are dozens of walk-in wedding venues that let you tie the knot at the drop of a hat. You can get married by an Elvis impersonator, become spouses in less than 10 minutes and even rent a wedding dress on the spot at some locations.
The most famous chapel is the Graceland Wedding Chapel, an LGBTQ-friendly venue that’s been in business for over 80 years. In 1977, it became the first wedding chapel on Earth to host an Elvis-themed ceremony.
Only in Vegas can you get married by “The King” as you share your first dance as a couple. There are also fresh flowers, photography and limo services on-site, so you really can put a wedding together in minutes.
Want something a bit more low-key? There are also traditional ceremony packages that are just as wonderful, minus the sequins and sideburns.
5 | The High Roller is the Tallest Observation Wheel in the World | The High Roller on Las Vegas Boulevard stands 500 feet tall and measures 520 feet across. The Ferris wheel is beloved by tourists and considered a landmark by locals. A 30-minute ride offers 360-degree views of the city, making it one of the best spots to get some amazing night photos of Sin City in all its glory.
The wheel opened in 2014, and it is owned and operated to this day by Caesars Entertainment. The High Roller attracts around 5,000 passengers each day.
6 | The MGM Grand is the World’s Largest Hotel | The legendary MGM Grand Hotel and Casino has 6,852 rooms spread across 30 floors. It also features four pools, three whirlpools, a spa, luxury sports bar and the biggest casino in Las Vegas at 170,00 square feet.
The hotel was founded in 1975 as the Marina Hotel and Casino, and it wasn’t until December 1983 that it became the MGM Grand that we know today.
An estimated 70,000 people move through the hotel each day, and 12,000 guests stay there on any given night. Most are drawn to the slot machines, which can pay out an average of $1,000 but have won people as much as $500,000 to $2.4 million.
7 | The Bellagio Hotel Holds Two Guinness World Records for its Fountains | In 1999, the Bellagio Hotel and Casino won a Guinness World Record for having the most fountains in any lake. There are over 1,200 fountains in the artificial lake on the property.
The lake itself holds 22 million gallons of freshwater, but a common urban myth is that it uses gray water recycled from laundry, bathtubs, showers and sinks around the city.
Later, the Bellagio was certified by Guinness World Records for its chocolate fountain, which is the largest in the world. Designed by Chef Jean-Pierre Maury, it stands 27 feet tall and circulates two tons of chocolate at a rate of 120 quarts per minute through six high-powered pumps.
You can view the chocolate fountain at the Bellagio’s very own patisserie for free.
8 | There Are More than 150,000 Hotel Rooms in the City | If you ever need a place to crash for the night, Las Vegas will likely have a spot. To help accommodate nearly 40 million annual visitors, the city houses an astonishing 150,857 hotel rooms as of 2022.
Since 2002, the number of Las Vegas hotel rooms has steadily increased by 26,587. Likewise, tourism has continually risen by millions each year. In 2022, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported 38,829,300 tourists passing through its city.
9 | Vegas Once Lost its Title as the World’s Largest Gambling City | Gambling and Las Vegas are an iconic duo. Ask most people what comes to mind when they hear Las Vegas, and it will likely be slot machines or a casino. While the city previously held the crown for the world’s most profitable gambling city, the title passed on to Macau in 2019.
That year, gambling revenue was six times higher in Macau than Las Vegas! In 2022, Las Vegas earned $8.2 billion from casinos, a 17% increase from 2021. That same year, Macau reported $5.24 billion in earnings.
10 | There is an Abandoned City Beneath Lake Mead | The ghost town of St. Thomas was submerged in the 1930s by the United States Federal Government. In order to build Lake Mead, the world’s largest manmade reservoir, the U.S. had to clear out as much space as it could. This involved buying the land the town sat on and informing residents that they had to leave.
While residents were compensated for their lost property, many stayed until they were forced to leave by the rising waters. The last person to go was a man named Hugh Lord. Mr. Lord paddled his way from home.
At its peak, Lake Mead submerged the town of St. Thomas in 60 feet of water. Today, the levels have receded, and you can see remnants of the town.
St. Thomas was originally established in 1865 by settlers who mistakenly thought they were in Utah or Arizona. However, the land was not discovered by them. It belonged to ancestral Puebloan people who once had a settlement across the river from the town.
11 | Las Vegas is a Mecca for Antiques Collectors | There is so much more to do in Las Vegas than gamble! There is an impressive number of antique stores Las Vegas locals love, many of which have been in business for decades. You can explore them and take home a piece of the city’s history with you.
Main Street is the antique district of Las Vegas, and you’ll love spending an afternoon perusing all the one-of-a-kind trinkets, collectibles, fashion, jewelry and more.
12 | Cover Bands Are Local Legends | You may think of big-name celebrities as the most famous faces in the city, but the cover bands Las Vegas has to offer can be equally well known. Some of the most famous include the Bronx Wanderers at the Westgate Cabaret, where they’ve had a residency since 2016.
The family band covers a variety of timeless rock songs and has been performing for 18 consecutive years. Fans love their high-energy, comedic touch and undeniable talent.
Other notable cover bands in Vegas include The Spazmatics, All Shook Up and Beatlemania.
If you’re ever in the city looking for a good show, you can catch a cover band’s performance and get the same five-star entertainment you’d receive from a major celebrity’s tour. You can also frequently catch free concerts hosted on Fremont Street!
13 | Some Hotels in Las Vegas Are Missing a Floor | The number seven is lucky in America, and 13 is considered bad luck. In many Asian cultures, it’s the number four you have to watch out for. To respect this, some hotels skip the figure altogether.
Most notably, the Wynn is missing a fourth floor and all hotel numbers in the 40s. The same goes for its sister property, the Encore. Many Asian-themed lodgings will also leave out this number, so don’t be alarmed if you realize there's a button absent in the elevator.
14 | The Las Vegas Strip isn’t in Las Vegas | How can the city’s most famous attraction not even be in it? Well, it all comes down to a geographic technicality. Instead of being in Las Vegas proper, The Strip is actually in Clark County, Nevada, with the majority located in the aptly named Paradise township.
Although it may not technically be a part of Las Vegas, The Strip remains as one of America’s leading tourist attractions and generates billions of dollars in revenue for the state of Nevada each year.
Despite what many people think, the Las Vegas Strip isn’t just for adults who want to party. Vegas is known as a foodie paradise, and many people go there just for the incredible restaurants.
There are also plenty of kid-friendly Las Vegas things to do, like visiting the Adventuredome and Shark Reef Aquarium.
15 | Over 70% of Tourists Gamble When They Visit the City | While just 15% of people say they visit Vegas for the gambling, 71% wind up doing it, according to the 2013 Las Vegas Visitor Profile. With casinos on nearly every street, it’s easy to see why so many people want to at least try the slot machines before heading home.
Even though most people aren’t there to gamble, the average tourist spends around $761 testing their luck during their stay.
16 | The Bronze Lion at the MGM Grand is the Largest in the World | When you think of impressive sculptures, you might not immediately envision a hotel in Las Vegas. However, Las Vegas is home to the largest bronze sculpture in the United States.
The iconic bronze lion at the MGM Grand weighs a staggering 90,000 pounds and stands at 45 feet tall.
The MGM Grand lion was built by a convicted con artist, Snellen Maurice Johnson, who wanted to become a sculptor after he got out of prison. Over the course of his life, the self-taught artist produced over 500 statues in bronze.
The “Grand Lion” is just one project that Mr. Johnson was commissioned to create. In 1999, Salt Lake City asked him to create a bronze clock to count down the days until the Winter Olympics.
17 | The City Only Receives Around 4 Inches of Rain Each Year | Las Vegas is a dry city, receiving just 4 inches of rainfall each year on average. The rain only tends to fall for about 26 days out of the entire year, and it’s most common during February.
With such little rain, you might be wondering how the city can flood. This is due to water draining into the Las Vegas Wash, a 12-mile-long river that leads into Lake Mead.
If you visit Las Vegas during its rainy season, make sure you exercise caution and avoid heading out when there is heavy rain or flood advisories.
Luckily, the city is relatively rain-free throughout the year, and you can enjoy your visit without having to worry.
BONUS | Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino Once Housed the Largest Sports Book in the World | Located at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, the SuperBook was once the largest sports book in not only Las Vegas but the world. It’s still one of the biggest though, where you can catch sports, horse racing and so much more! Check it out the next time you’re in town.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
Explore Las Vegas for Yourself
Now that you’re in the know on these Las Vegas facts, you’re ready to enjoy the Las Vegas Strip. Whether you’re there for the food, gambling, entertainment or desert vibes, you’re sure to have an awesome time.
For more travel tips and tricks for visiting Las Vegas, visit our Westgate Resorts Travel Blog.
* Westgate Resorts is in no way affiliated with the attractions featured in this article. Items or places listed are current as of the publishing date of this article. Please call or visit the respective website for the most up-to-date offerings and details.
When You Check-in, There's a Lot to Check Out
Sign up for our newsletter and check-in to great offers, secret stuff, and special events.