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Nevada 604/Las Vegas Boulevard

Las Vegas Boulevard sees considerable traffic counts at all hours of the day. A back-up like this (seen on northbound approaching Flamingo Road as seen from the Eiffel Tower replica) is common, even on a Sunday. To the left in this picture is the large manmade lake that hosts the famous Bellagio fountains and to the right Bally's resort, which is partially within the shadow of the Eiffel Tower replica. Photo taken 02/21/10.

Routing

Nevada 604 is Las Vegas Boulevard from north of downtown Las Vegas to Apex following the old alignment of U.S. 91 and U.S. 93. Prior to 2008, Nevada 604 covered the entire length of Las Vegas Boulevard, from Jean to Apex. By 2002, most of what was Nevada 604 through the famed Las Vegas Strip was removed from the Nevada State Highway system (specifically, Nevada 604 between Russell Road and Sahara Avenue). On the 2002 and 2008 official route logs of the Nevada State Highway System, Nevada 604 appears as non-state-maintained highway. Clark County now maintains the highway. For our purposes, we will group all of Las Vegas Boulevard under the Nevada 604 designation. NDOT removed the few route shields in existence between Jean and downtown Las Vegas; the Nevada 604 reassurance shield that used to reside in front of the MGM Grand Resort north of Tropicana Avenue was gone by 2004.

History

Nevada 604 replaced U.S. 91-466 between Jean and Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. From Fremont Street north to Apex, Nevada 604 replaced U.S. 91-93. Only one known sign remains along Las Vegas Boulevard that shows the U.S. 91 or U.S. 466 designation (scraped off shield).

In 2002, the section of Nevada 604 between Russell Street and Sahara Avenue was decommissioned, which is much of the length of the Las Vegas Strip. By 2004, remaining segments of Nevada 604 from Sahara Avenue through the city of Las Vegas to Owens Street were also decommissioned. By 2008, the segments of Nevada 604 south of Russell Road (to the Jean interchange) were also eliminated from the state system.

Nevada 604 has had several names. It began as Arrowhead Highway, then was changed to Salt Lake Highway, Fifth Street, U.S. 91 and the Los Angeles Highway before being named Las Vegas Boulevard around 1959. NDOT and most maps refer to the Strip as Nevada 604. The road has a long history. In 1914, anticipating increased motor vehicle traffic, the city spent $10,000 to pave the road as far as Jean. Four years later, neon lighting was introduced to America from France. Now Las Vegas is viewed as one of the premier places to see an abundance of neon-lit signs and marquees; see the Neon Museum for more.

Las Vegas Boulevard was designated as a federal scenic byway in 2000 (reference Las Vegas Review-Journal articles from May 2, 2000, and June 16, 2000). During a ceremony to open National Tourism Week in Nevada in early May 2000, Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt dedicated a marker near the Strip's "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign proclaiming Las Vegas Boulevard to be a federal scenic byway. The Strip was named an "All-American Road" by the federal government -- the only neon-lit road to gain such a designation and one of 15 such roads nationally -- with an official decree from the federal Department of Transportation on Thursday, June 15, 2000.

According to the May 2, 2000, article, "although the Strip is three miles long, there are more than 15,000 miles of neon tubing blazing on all the casinos lining the road. [During 1999,] Las Vegas hosted 33.8 million visitors with an economic impact of $28.6 billion. More than 25 percent of Clark County residents are employed in the tourism industry. In 1996, the Strip -- which officially runs from Russell Road to Sahara Avenue -- was declared a state scenic byway by the Nevada Commission on Tourism. The federal designation was sought by the Nevada Department of Transportation and the members of the Las Vegas Strip Scenic Byway team, including Clark County, the Bureau of Land Management and the Strip resorts."

Las Vegas Boulevard gained its nickname "The Strip" when Guy McAfee of the Los Angeles Police Department, claimed it looked like the Sunset Strip. McAfee was the commander of the LAPD vice squad. When Los Angeles cracked down on gambling, he was forced to resign or surrender-he resigned, and bought the Pair-O-Dice (for which Paradise Valley is now named) Club, renamed it the 91 Club on the then Los Angeles Highway. According to "Resort City in the Sunbelt," it was McAfee who first referred to the four-mile strip of U.S. 91 south of town as 'the Strip'- a reference to the Sunset Strip he had so often traveled between Beverly Hills and Hollywood (Moehring, page 42).

The Strip was among six new All-American Roads and four new National Scenic Byways named on June 15, 2000. An All-American Road is considered a more prestigious title than a National Scenic Byway, of which there are 57. The All-American Road designation includes Las Vegas Boulevard between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road. Most All-American Roads are secluded two-way highways that feature majestic views of mountains, lakes and rivers such as the San Juan Skyway, which snakes through the Colorado Rockies; Hell's Canyon Scenic Byway in Oregon, which is 218 miles of evergreen-studded mountain highway; or California 1 along the Pacific Coast near Big Sur. Or, the roads may give an historical perspective, such as the Selma-to-Montgomery March Byway in Alabama, which commemorates the civil rights movement.

Highway Guides

Scenes Pertaining to Las Vegas Boulevard (Former Nevada 604, U.S. 91-466, U.S. 91-93)
Mandalay Bay Resort
The Mandalay Bay (opened March 2, 1999) is the southernmost resort on the Las Vegas Strip. Located across the street from the runways of McCarran International Airport, the tall hotel casino offers a cabana-style setting complete with beach and wave pool. Photo taken 03/31/08.
Luxor Resort
The Luxor resort (opened October 15, 1993) is located between Mandalay Bay and Excalibur. It has an Egyptian theme, complete with Sphinx and pyramid. Photo taken 03/31/08.
New York New York Resort
This view shows the entrance into the New York New York resort from the pedestrian bridge that crosses Las Vegas Boulevard between MGM Grand and New York New York. The skyline for New York New York is visible behind the entrance. This popular casino, which was built in the late 1990s to mimic New York City, showcases replicas of many famous New York City attractions, including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the New York City skyline. The skyline features many buildings from mid-town Manhattan, but it does not show the ill-fated World Trade Center towers. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Still on the MGM Grand-NYNY pedestrian bridge, this view shows the skyline created by the facade of the New York New York casino. A fast-paced roller coaster wraps around the scaled skyscrapers, offering a thrill ride that brings riders close to these buildings. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Now looking north from the front of the Excalibur resort, this view shows a different look at the New York New York skyline, including the heights reached by the Manhattan Express roller coaster. Photo taken 03/29/08.
A third view shows the New York New York skyline at night from the MGM Grand resort. Photo taken 03/29/08.

Walking south on Las Vegas Boulevard, this marquee for the New York New York resort dominates the view prior to Tropicana Avenue. Photo taken 04/01/06.
A replica of the Brooklyn Bridge is adjacent to the New York New York resort. This view faces south along Las Vegas Boulevard. Photo taken 04/01/06.
MGM Grand Resort
This view shows the MGM Grand lion and the hotel in one shot from the pedestrian bridge between New York New York and Excalibur. MGM Grand opened on Dec. 18, 1993; with 5,005 rooms and a 171,500-square-foot casino, it is the largest hotel-casino in the world. Photo taken 03/29/08.
The MGM Grand marquee is seen from near the Brooklyn Bridge replica in front of New York New York along the Las Vegas Boulevard west sidewalk. Photo taken 04/01/06.
The green-hued MGM Grand resort and hotel comes into view on the north side of Tropicana Avenue. Photos taken 03/28/08 and 01/20/02.
Crossing over Las Vegas Boulevard (walking east parallel to Tropicana Avenue) on the pedestrian bridge connecting New York New York with MGM Grand, this view shows the pedestrian bridge entrance to the MGM Grand resort. While it appears that these pedestrian bridges only connect the casinos, there are escalators and elevators outside the casinos that allow pedestrians to access street level without entering the casinos themselves. Photo taken 03/29/08.
The MGM Grand lion stands guard at the southeastern corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. Photos taken 03/29/08 and 03/28/08.
On a service road parallel to Nevada 604 is this errant Interstate 15 California shield, which points the way from the MGM Grand parking lot to the freeway. It should say Interstate 15 Nevada, considering Las Vegas is located in Nevada, not California. Still, this is a neat error to see, and one must wonder if the sign were fabricated in the Golden State. Photos taken 01/20/02.
Excalibur Resort
At night, the Excalibur resort is awash in colors that conjure a medieval feel from the days of Rohan. This view looks southwest from the pedestrian bridge between the MGM Grand and New York New York resorts at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue (Nevada 593). Photo taken 03/28/08.
A wizard greets visitors to the Excalibur resort. Excalibur was opened on June 19, 1990. It is the largest resort hotel with 4,032 rooms. Photo taken 04/01/06.
This view of the Excalibur hotel can be seen from the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue (Nevada 593) looking southwest. Photo taken 01/20/02.
Monte Carlo Resort
Looking west from Las Vegas Boulevard north of the New York New York resort is the Monte Carlo resort. This high-rise hotel tower is situated between New York New York and City Center. It opened on June 21, 1996. Photo taken 03/28/08.
The Monte Carlo has a grand entrance on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard. Photo taken 04/01/06.
City Center
City Center rises between the Monte Carlo and the Bellagio resorts. This view is seen from the replica Eiffel Tower at the Paris resort. The towering complex includes Aria (resort and casino), Vdara (hotel and condominiums), Harmon (hotel), Mandarin Oriental (hotel and condominiums), the twin Veer Towers (condominiums), and Crystals (main retail area). The complex was completed on December 16, 2009, although construction work was underway upon our visit in February 2010. The City Center complex replaced the Boardwalk hotel and casino. Photo taken 02/21/10.
This series of photos shows the massive City Center complex as seen from the east side sidewalk along Las Vegas Boulevard near the Planet Hollywood resort (looking southwest toward the newly reconstructed Harmon Road intersection with elevated sidewalks). Photos taken 02/21/10.
Planet Hollywood (former Aladdin) Resort
On the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard across from the Monte Carlo is the Planet Hollywood (PH) resort; this building was recently converted from the Aladdin resort. Photo taken 03/28/08.
This view shows the Planet Hollywood resort and the Westgate tower as seen from the replica Eiffel Tower at the Paris resort. Photo taken 02/21/10.
The Planet Hollywood marquee sign rises above the Las Vegas Strip north of MGM Grand and south of Paris. Photo taken 02/21/10.
Paris Resort
Still on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard across from the City Center and north of the Planet Hollywood resort is the Paris resort (opened September 1, 1999). This view shows the replica of the Eiffel Tower and the hot-air balloon shaped marquee. Photo taken 03/28/08.
The hot-air balloon shaped marquee (based on the Montgolfier balloon) partially obscures the Arc d'Triumph, which is a two-thirds size replica of the real one found in Paris. Photos taken 03/28/08 and 02/21/10.
The replica Eiffel Tower is one-half the size of the original tower in Paris, France. However, it still towers impressively over the Strip and offers compelling views from the top. Rides to the top of the replica Eiffel Tower are available within the Paris casino. Photos taken 02/21/10.
Looking east from the Bellagio, this view shows the proximity between the Paris resort and the older Bally's resort. There is a direct indoor connection between the casinos in both resorts. Photo taken 03/28/08.
Bally's Resort
The entrance to Bally's resort from Las Vegas Boulevard features two movable sidewalks that pass through an arch of neon that changes colors. Photo taken 04/01/06.
A view from Flamingo Road (Nevada 592) looking south looks at the main entrance to Bally's resort as well as the Eiffel Tower replica. Photo taken 04/01/06.
Bellagio Resort
Now on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard north of the City Center and across from the Paris resort is the Bellagio resort. Home to the famous water fountain shows (which occur every 15 minutes each evening until midnight), the Bellagio features high-end suites, an art museum, large greenhouse, and a variety of other attractions. Bellagio opened on October 15, 1998. Photo taken 03/28/08.
A large man-made lake separates the Bellagio resort from Las Vegas Boulevard. Elegant handrails separate the west sidewalk from the lake, which is where the fountain shows are conducted. Caesar's Palace also has a presence on the lake. Photo taken 03/28/08.
This view of the Bellagio resort is taken from the replica Eiffel Tower located at the Paris resort. Distant mountains frame the towering hotel. Photo taken 02/21/10.
Along the southbound Nevada 604 (Las Vegas Boulevard), the Bellagio fountains dance regularly to music. Having this much water at play in a desert environment seems wasteful, but these fountains are a sight to behold. The Bellagio is located on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard, just north of New York New York. Photos taken 01/20/02.
This suite of photos captures the fountains at another performance. Good stuff! Photos taken 04/01/06.
An unusual view of the lake in front of Bellagio as well as the fountains was seen around noon on a Sunday from the replica Eiffel Tower (which is part of the Paris resort and casino). The noon-day sun resulted in a rainbow effect when the fountains turned on for the first time that day. Photos taken 02/21/10.
Caesar's Palace Resort
Looking north across the Bellagio lake is the remodeled hotel tower for Caesar's Palace resort. The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace were also remodeled prior to this picture being taken. Photo taken 03/28/08.
The is the main entrance to Caesars Palace. Photo taken 03/30/08.
The entrance to the Forum Shops is located on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard just south of the Mirage resort. Photo taken 03/30/08.
Looking west from an alley located between Flamingo's and O'Shea's casinos is this view of Caesar's Palace resort and casino. Photo taken 02/20/10.
This view of Caesar's Palace resort and casino is seen from the replica Eiffel Tower at the Paris resort. Photo taken 02/21/10.
Flamingo Resort
This view of the Flamingo resort, located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, shows its proximity to Bally's resort. Photo taken 03/28/08.
This series of photos shows the Flamingo tower and entrance to the hotel. A Las Vegas Monorail station is located in back of the hotel. Photos taken 02/21/10.
Looking down from the Eiffel Tower replica at the Paris resort, this view looks north toward the Flamingo resort near the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road. Photo taken 02/21/10.
Mirage Resort
The Mirage arch crosses the entrance to the Mirage resort. The resort (opened in 1989) is located south of Treasure Island and north of Caesars Palace. Photo taken 03/30/08.
A faux volcano, which "erupts" every hour as part of a fire and water show, functions as a cascading waterfall and fountain during other hours of operation. Photo taken 02/20/10.
This view looks down on the Mirage resort as seen from the replica Eiffel Tower. Photo taken 02/21/10.
Treasure Island Resort
This view of the Treasure Island resort, located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sands Avenue, is taken from the pedestrian overpass that connects Wynn Las Vegas resort and Palazzo/The Venetian. Treasure Island (known as TI) opened in 1993 and shifted to a more adult-oriented theme in 2003. Its pirate show (offered for free in front of the casino adjacent to the Strip), which attracted millions (including families and children) through its first decade, became more adult and risque ("The Sirens at TI"). Photo taken 03/30/08.
Another view of Treasure Island from the front of the Venetian resort shows the Venetian's canals and bridges designed to emulate the canals of Venice, Italy. Photo taken 03/30/08.
The Sirens at TI show is performed at the main entrance to the Treasure Island resort. This view is from the walkways at the entrance to the casino. Photo taken 03/30/08.
This view looks at the Treasure Island resort and Trump International resort as seen from the Eiffel Tower replica at the Paris resort. Photo taken 02/21/10.
Venetian Resort
The Venetian resort is located on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip between Harrah's and Palazzo, just south of Wynn Las Vegas. Opened in May 1999, the Venetian resort features a Venice theme, and it interconnects with the Palazzo resort to the north. Photo taken 03/30/08.
The grounds of the Venetian resort feature fountains, arch bridge over the hotel entrance, and replica Venetian canals. The facade is commonly covered with advertisements for the various shows and events playing at the resort. Photos taken 02/20/10.
Palazzo Resort
The Palazzo resort is located on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip between the Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas. One of the newer casinos on the Strip, the Palazzo opened on December 30, 2007. Photo taken 03/30/08.
This view of the Palazzo resort was taken a few years later. Photo taken 02/20/10.
Wynn Las Vegas Resort
The Wynn Las Vegas resort is located at the intersection of Sands Avenue (Spring Mountain Road) and Las Vegas Boulevard, across from the Fashion Show Mall. The resort opened on April 28, 2005, at the former location of the Desert Inn Hotel. The adjacent Encore, which was under construction between 2006 and 2008, will bring additional hotel rooms to the resort. Photos taken 03/30/08.
Stratosphere Las Vegas
The Stratosphere tower rises 1,149 feet above Las Vegas and is the tallest free-standing structure in Nevada. Of such tall structures west of the Mississippi River, only the Kennecott Smokestack in Magna, Utah, is taller. The property is located at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Baltimore Avenue. Photo taken 03/28/08.
This view looks north from the Sahara resort toward Stratosphere. The resort boasts over 2,400 rooms, and it is regarded as the northernmost casino-hotel resort on the Las Vegas Strip. North of here, the next major destination casinos are located in downtown Las Vegas, which is some distance north of here. Photo taken 03/28/08.
The Stratosphere marquee is posted at the base of the tower. Photo taken 03/28/08.

Sources:

  1. Las Vegas Historical Information by Las Vegas Online Entertainment - has all opening dates cited on this page

Page Updated February 28, 2010.