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Vegas, baby!

"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."
Las Vegas Conventions and Visitors Authority
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Sin City. City of Lights. The Gambling Capital of the World. The Entertainment Capital of the World. Capital of Second Chances. The Marriage Capital of the World. The Silver City. The Neon Capital of the World. America's Playground. VEGAS.

The most populous city in Nevada - over 75% of the state's total population lives in surrounding Clark County, mostly in the city and its immediate suburbs, which collectively forms the Las Vegas Valley - Las Vegas is famous worldwide for its ostentatious casinos, unrestrained excess, and nonstop debauchery. In actuality, it's more like The Theme Park Version of a Wretched Hive, with just enough free-wheeling enthusiasm to give visitors a rush of excitement without endangering themselves.

The city was founded in 1829 by a party of explorers traveling along the Spanish Trail to Los Angeles; its name means "the meadows" in Spanish, after the area's abundant grasses and desert springs. Incorporated in 1911, the city grew rapidly in the thirties, as Nevada's legalization of gambling and the construction of nearby Hoover Dam produced an influx of construction workers and tourists.

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Ironically, most of the world-famous casinos of Vegas (and even the page image of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign) are located in an unincorporated area called Paradise immediately south of the city limits, to avoid municipal taxes.note  The Las Vegas Strip, as it is known, is most popular in the evenings, where the neon lights and hotel attractions make it a uniquely scenic route. Downtown Vegas, centered around Fremont Street, is the other primary tourist destination for gaming and partying. Outside of these locations are several local and lesser-known attractions such as Red Rock Canyon National Park, Lake Las Vegas, and the Pinball Hall of Fame. The city gets over 40 million visitors annually, many of them from nearby Los Angeles.note 

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Unsurprisingly, Las Vegas is a popular setting for many works, as its unrestrained reputation makes it easy to justify various sorts of comedic or dramatic plots. Several works are set entirely in the city, and there is even a trope solely about traveling to Las Vegas.

Not to be confused with Las Vegas, New Mexico.


Works set in Las Vegas (or feature it prominently) include:

    open/close all folders 

    Fanfiction 

    Film 

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Caesar's Challenge: A game show set at the Caesars Palace casino.
    • The 1980 revival of Gambit (also on NBC) was taped at the Tropicana, and was hence titled Las Vegas Gambit.
  • Las Vegas: A drama following the employees of a hotel/casino.
  • CSI: Sin City provides lots of crime scenes to investigate.
  • The Defenders (2010): Two lawyers work in the city.
  • Pawn Stars: Reality TV show based on a Las Vegas pawn shop.
    • American Restoration: Spinoff of Pawn Stars featuring Rick Harrison's favorite restoration shop.
    • Counting Cars: Spinoff of Pawn Stars featuring Rick Harrison's most frequently consulted / hired quirky auto mechanic and restoration crew.
  • Vega$: A Vegas private investigator solves crime.
  • Vegas (2012): A period drama pitting the mob vs. the mayor.

    Music 

    Sports 
  • The city has long been a Mecca for boxing, with a history of hosting high-profile prizefights, unsurprising given the prevalence of gambling in the sport. In more recent years, this reputation has grown for MMA fighting as well, in no small part because the biggest MMA promoter, UFC, has its HQ in Vegas.
  • On the other hand, Las Vegas was historically the one city that none of America's Big Four major leagues (MLB, the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL) would even consider putting a team in. The reason was simple: doing so would be seen as an endorsement of gambling, which the leagues regarded as corrosive to the integrity and reputation of competitive sports.note  MLB in particular had the notorious "Black Sox" scandal in 1919 that saw several players on the Chicago White Sox throw the World Series to collect on gambling bets, which nearly destroyed baseball's reputation before the rise of Babe Ruth as a superstar, and the legacy of that scandal led to the cordon sanitaire that professional sports as a whole put up around Vegas. Indeed, so great was the reluctance of the Big Four in being associated with Vegas and its gambling reputation that the leagues would threaten to sue tourism agencies and sportsbooks in Vegas if they used terms like "NBA" and "Super Bowl" in advertisements.note  For many years, it was the largest metropolitan area in the US without a major professional sports team.
    • However, with the spread of legal gambling to numerous locales nationwide in the 21st century, as well as online casinos and instant Fantasy Sports contests, the reasons for keeping pro sports out of Vegas made increasingly less practical sense, and in the 2010s the major leagues finally started moving into the city.
      • The Vegas Golden Knights began play in the NHL in October 2017, becoming the city's first major-league professional sports team. The Golden Knights defied all expectations of an expansion team in their first year by not only winning their division, but also reaching the Stanley Cup Finals; however, the Knights fell four games to one against the Washington Capitals.
    • The Raiders of the NFL relocated to Las Vegas in 2020 after years of failing to get an updated stadium in their longtime home of Oakland. Las Vegas was chosen as the Raiders' new city after the NFL favored the Rams' stadium plan in Los Angeles over the joint plan between the Raiders and rival Chargers, the latter of which joined the Rams in LA after failing to get their own outdated stadium in San Diego replaced.
    • To further demonstrate how much the NFL evolved on Vegas as an acceptable city for professional football, in December 2021, the NFL announced that the Raiders' new Allegiant Stadium would be the venue of the 2024 Super Bowl.
    • The WNBA came to Vegas in 2018. The MGM Resorts casino company bought the San Antonio Stars from that city's NBA team, the Spurs, and rechristened the team as the Las Vegas Aces. They play at Mandalay Bay, also owned by the aforementioned MGM Resorts, in a facility now known per Product Placement as Michelob Ultra Arena. In 2021, MGM Resorts sold the Aces to Mark Davis, who controls the Las Vegas Raiders along with his mother Carol.
      • The NBA also hosts its annual Summer League tournament in Vegas, where NBA teams field rosters comprised of their rookie and sophomore players, as well as players from their affiliated G League teams and undrafted free agents looking to join a team's regular season roster. The competition gives the opportunity for coaches to experiment with different lineups for their teams' younger players and for scouts to look for talented players that went unnoticed by other teams.
    • With the NFL and NHL now sitting at 32 teams each, Major League Baseballnote  and the NBA are rumored to expand to 32 as well, with Las Vegas often mentioned as a leading candidate for expansion and / or relocation of an existing team.note 
  • Speaking of basketball, Vegas is also a regional hub for college tournaments, with the Big West, Mountain West, Pac-12, West Coast, and Western Athletic Conferences all holding their postseason tournaments here. Since the 2018–19 season, all but the Big West have held both men's and women's tournaments in Vegas; the Big West first brought its tournaments here in 2021–22. (Before 2018–19, the Pac-12 only brought its men's tournament to Vegas.)
  • With so many Vegas residents having been born elsewhere, the area has produced relatively few prominent sporting figures. Probably the most notable are tennis great Andre Agassi; current MLB superstars Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant, and Joey Gallo; and NASCAR stars Kyle Busch and his older brother Kurt.

    Theatre 
  • Cirque du Soleil: As of 2016, seven unique permanent Cirque productions, which range from the family-friendly Mystère to the adult-oriented Zumanity, are playing on the Las Vegas Strip at seven different resort hotels, most of which are owned by MGM Resorts International.
  • Criss Angel BeLIEve
  • Penn & Teller

    Video Games 
  • Dead Rising 2: The backstory of the game has Vegas itself destroyed by the U.S. military as it was overrun by zombies. The actual game itself takes place in Fortune City, a rebuilt version of it.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: Life and adventures in a post-apocalyptic Vegas. The city was spared bombing during World War III thanks to the machinations of the mysterious Mr. House, and now, control of the city-state is being contested between him, the New California Republic to the west, and Caesar's Legion to the east.
  • The "Desert Bus" game from Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors: Drive a bus from Tucson, AZ to Las Vegas. Yes, really.
  • Las Venturas in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a pastiche of the city. You can freely gamble in the casinos, one of which is owned by the Triads (and which you use as a base of operations) and the other by The Mafia.
  • Homefront: In the novel tie-in Homefront: The Voice of Freedom, Las Vegas was bombed by the KPA utilizing captured USAF B-2 Spirits bombers based from Whiteman AFB, Missouri. Their target was to kill Benjamin Walker, a.k.a. The Voice of Freedom, who promotes patriotic broadcasts among Americans fighting the KPA occupation. Thankfully, he successfully escaped the bombing of Vegas.
  • An internet cookie for you if you can figure out where Rainbow Six: Vegas takes place. (Well, if we're being fair there's also some missions at Hoo- er, Nevada Dam.)
  • Project Gotham Racing: The third and fourth entries in this racing game series have tracks that are held on the Strip. Notably, almost all of the resorts and storefronts are shown fully-licensed and modeled with full images of how they appeared circa mid-2000s, defying No Communities Were Harmed. Players could also make their own tracks in the city in the third game.
  • The Crew: The massive open world racing game taking place across the continental United States has a condensed version Vegas as the main city for the Mountain States zone. When Alex Taylor reaches this city in the story, from here he has to find out what happened to Roxanne's sister, revive the 5-10s' contraband trafficking network, and stop corrupt FBI Agent Bill Coburn.
    • It reappears in The Crew 2, only now it has an elevated highway going through the western portion of the city.
  • PAYDAY 2: The Golden Grin heist has the crew head to the eponymous casino in Vegas so they can rob the place blind.
  • Subway Surfers: Had a stage set in Las Vegas in one of the events in the game. The character Ricky and his car hoverboard is Las Vegas-themed.

    Visual Novels 


Tropes associated with Las Vegas and the Strip include:

  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The hotels built after the Turn of the Millennium invoke this trope. Instead of the oversized Roman forums, Egyptian pyramids, and faux Renaissance architecture previously used, resorts like Wynn Las Vegas, the Cosmopolitan, and the Aria all resemble tall, featureless, glass-and-steel monoliths.
  • The Artifact
    • Las Vegas showgirls, with their Pimped Out Dresses, Showgirl Skirts, Fluffy Fashion Feathers, and sparkling jewelry, have fallen out of favor since The '90s. No show built around showgirls currently runs in the city; at best they're minor players in B-level shows. Most of the Strip's shows today are either Cirque du Soleil productions, other performance art shows such as Blue Man Group and JABBAWOCKEEZ, musical concerts, or small stage acts. This does not stop resident women from dressing up like showgirls to take a few photos for tourists' tips.
    • The faux-Arabian Nights architecture of a large stretch of the Miracle Mile Shops mall at the Planet Hollywood resort is an artifact of the resort's previous identity as the Aladdin.
    • Neon lights and signs were once a staple of Vegas but have now been in decline since the 90s. With the rise in LED technology, resort owners found it easier, greener, and cheaper to just have large LED panels showing advertisements instead of building a custom neon sign.
  • Audience-Alienating Era: During The '90s, there was a marketing trend to promote Las Vegas as a family-vacation destination. It was led by the opening of the Excalibur casino and hotel, and was quickly followed with the MGM Grand Hotel's full-sized theme park, the Egyptian-themed Luxor, and a Treasure Island complete with pirate duels and sinking ships just outside the doors to the casino. The experiment was deemed a flop a few years later — the new features required a lot of manpower and money to operate, gamblers were annoyed at the kids running around the casinos, many parents simply dropped off their kids and rushed to the tables, the theme park bombed, and tourism did not increase significantly. By mid-2005, most of the new features were either shut down or repurposed into more adult fare, and only a few family-oriented venues remain. That said, the push for family-friendly entertainment was what opened the door for Cirque du Soleil to put down stakes in the city, and the Forum Shops mall at Caesars Palace was so popular that the Strip has since become an amazing destination for high-end shopping and dining.
    • The north end of the Strip has been going through this since the mid-2000s with the Stardust and several other 1950s-era hotel/casinos closing and being demolished - the Circus Circus is the only major survivor of its era and area - just before the 2008 economic crash which hit Las Vegas harder than just about any other major city, leaving empty holes in the oldest part of the Strip for the better part of a decade.
  • The Casino: The bigger the better; if it's not a Big Labyrinthine Building, you're doing it wrong.
  • Channel Hop: It's common for performers and even whole shows (usually small-scale ones) to move from one casino showroom to another as their popularity builds or declines. Often it's a jump from an off-Strip property to one on the Strip itself, or from a small/aging Strip property to a big-league resort, often with an corresponding jump in production values if their fortunes are on the upswing. Lounge acts are similarly mobile, if not more so.
  • Disneyfication / The Theme Park Version: Not only is Vegas itself a theme-park version of a Vice City, but many of the casinos are flanderized versions of Real Life attractions. Who needs to go to France, Rome, Venice, or Egypt when you can visit Paris Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, the Venetian, and the Luxor instead?
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Played with; although prostitution is legal in the state of Nevada, it is illegal in Clark County itself, where The Strip is located (hence the lack of brothels in casinos). That doesn't stop the numerous adult entertainers from advertising themselves to visitors, usually by "slappers" handing out titillating cards to passersby.
  • Follow the Leader: Common practice when it comes to shows, dining, clubs, etc. If one concept hits it big, every other casino will rush to come up with its own version of it. Now that two big corporations (MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment) run most of the big Strip casinos in The New '10s, it is even easier to quickly duplicate concepts that hit it big.
  • Goofy Suit: In the wake of the Great Recession of the turn of The New '10s, which cut heavily into available professional opportunities for performers in the city, the Strip and Downtown's Fremont Street have been flush with celebrity/movie character lookalikes and street performers in unlicensed character costumes (Mickey Mouse, Batman, Hello Kitty, etc.) who pose with passerby for pictures and take tips as payment, a la New York's Times Square and Los Angeles' Hollywood Boulevard.
  • Metaphorically True: As stated before, most of the opulent casinos and other tourist attractions on the Las Vegas Strip that are popularly associated with Las Vegas are not located within Las Vegas the city, but rather in a nearby unincorporated community named Paradise. However, it should be noted Vegas itself, Paradise, and the other surrounding suburbs and unincorporated communities collectively form the Las Vegas Valley, meaning that you can technically be honest about visiting the Strip and claiming that you were in Las Vegas.
  • Retool: Las Vegas resorts are constantly in a state of flux in one aspect or another. Showrooms, nightclubs, restaurants, shopping venues, etc. go up and are remodeled, rebranded, or torn down entirely to chase, keep pace with, and start trends.
  • Stage Magician: A mainstay of many of the Strip's headliners, from perpetual favorites Lance Burton and David Copperfield to Penn & Teller at the Rio and Criss Angel BeLIEve at the Luxor. The city's most famous magicians, however, are arguably Siegfried & Roy, who headlined at the Mirage for over a decade until Roy's Career-Ending Injury in 2003.
  • Trash the Set: It's generally a tradition when a historic resort/casino is closed down and replaced that it gets demolished by implosion usually preceded by a grand spectacle of fireworks and pyrotechnics. The demolition of the Landmark casino tower was filmed for use in Mars Attacks!, largely because Tim Burton had frequently visited there and wanted to immortalize it on film.


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