About Art and Design in Las Vegas
Ha ha ha. We all know Vegas doesn't do culture. Actually, that's not true. Actually it sort of is. It has an "arts district", of a sort, and an impressive new performing arts centre. But this city still lacks a lot of basics, such as a proper art museum. This is not to say, however, that Vegas doesn't have "culture" - merely that you may have to redefine your notion of it. For instance, if anything about the Rat Pack era - including mid-modern architecture, gangster shootings and smoking in public buildings - appeals to you, then Vegas may just be your Grand Tour.
Started as a Mormon fort, Vegas became a pit stop on the so-called Mormon trail, between California and Salt Lake City. The construction of the Hoover dam expanded the population and created a demand for entertainment. The mafia moved in, gambling was legalized in 1931 and it grew from there.
Politics & Economy
Nevada is a swing state that has famously voted for every winning president since 1912 (except Jimmy Carter). Las Vegas is the only place in America where a waitress can make as much as a senior public servant, giving the city an appealingly egalitarian air. With an economy driven by showbiz and hospitality, Las Vegas is a fairly laissez-faire, socially liberal city but a large population of Mormons and first generation Latinos gives it a conservative streak.
Andre Agassi, Jimmy Kimmel, Jenna Jameson, Brandon Flowers and the rest of the Killers no one remembers.
Every day is an event in Vegas but some, like National Finals Rodeo in early December and World Series of Poker in June and July, are so big they can change the whole city. For a local event with color and character try Helldorado Days in mid-May, an annual rodeo which has been Downtown since 1934.
The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement aka. The Mob Museum; the Neon Museum; The National Atomic Testing Museum
Holidays & Festivals
The Vegas First Friday is centered on the Arts District, just north of the main Strip. It's one of the country's biggest and offers a lively, local's-eye-view of the city.
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