Las Vegas — which includes the incorporated cities of Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas plus the unincorporated communities of Enterprise, Paradise, South Summerlin, Spring Valley, Sunrise Manor, Whitney (East Las Vegas), and Winchester — spreads across a basin in the Mojave Desert near Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. Travelers coming into the Las Vegas basin from any direction at night will see the glow of the city lights.
Known as “Sin City,” Las Vegas is famous throughout the world for gambling, vacationing and partying. Las Vegas is the first incorporated city encountered by Interstate 15 north since leaving Barstow, California. Las Vegas, a Spanish word that translates to “the meadows” in English, was established in 1905 and incorporated as a city in 1911. When gambling was legalized in Las Vegas in March 1931, the city began its inexorable growth. Today the Las Vegas region is a premier resort attraction.
In 2010, the official Census population of Clark County was 1,951,269. Of this amount, the city of Las Vegas accounted for 583,756 people. The remaining population lives in burgeoning Henderson, the city of North Las Vegas, or in the heavily populated unincorporated areas of Clark County. Most of the major, well-known resorts are located on the Las Vegas Strip, which lies along Las Vegas Boulevard between Russell Road and Sahara Avenue in the unincorporated areas of Paradise and Winchester.
With the comfortable desert climate, many have relocated to Las Vegas, making it one of the top relocation destinations anywhere in the United States through the 1990s and 2000s, only abating with the Great Recession of 2008-2009. As the population continues to expand, new homes are constructed at a rate unseen outside of Las Vegas, and the Phoenix metropolitan area in neighboring Arizona. As a result, more arterials and highways are being constructed in Las Vegas, with development of the Interstate 11 corridor improving connectivity to the Phoenix area to the southeast.