• The Meadows


    Area named Las Vegas, Spanish for "the meadows," as it offered a green valley and desert spring waters for westward travels.

  • 1904

    Construction camp built here for railroad workers.

  • 1905

    110 acres of land adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks are auctioned in what would become the downtown area.

  • Las Vegas Inc.


    Las Vegas incorporated.

  • Gambling


    Nevada legalizes casino gambling. State reduces residency requirements for divorce to six weeks. Construction begins on the Boulder Canyon Project, now called the Hoover Dam.

  • Hoover Dam


    A growing tourism industry and Hoover Dam construction enables Las Vegas to avoid economic calamity during the Great Depression.

  • LVAACG School


    The Las Vegas Army Air Corps Gunnery School is established. Currently known as Nellis Air Force Base, it is home to the Air Force aerobatic team called the Thunderbirds.

  • Bugsy


    Notorious "Bugsy" Siegel is one of the several owners of a downtown hotel called the El Cortez. He went on to open the Flamingo Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. Both hotels are still in existence.

  • Mushroom Vegas


    Atomic bomb testing begins 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Residents and visitors can witness the mushroom clouds from the city.

  • 1940s - 1950s

    Las Vegas becomes the gambling capital of the world.

  • Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas


    "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign created by resident Betty Willis, who never sought a trademark or copyrighted.

  • Howard Hughes


    Eccentric recluse and multimillionaire mogul, Howard Hughes, buys the Desert Inn Hotel-Casino so he can continue residing on the top floor.

  • 1989

    Entrepreneur Steve Wynn changes the face of the Las Vegas gambling industry by opening up the first mega-casino resort, called the Mirage.

  • Fremont Street Experience


    The five-block Fremont Street Experience, featuring 12.5 million LED Lights and 550,000 watts of sound, opens downtown.

  • Solar


    During “The Year of Downtown,” $789 million worth of projects make their debut, helping revitalize this urban area. These include The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, a new City hall complex and renovations for Zappos.com’s new corporate headquarters.

  • Dayvid Figler and Rae Lathrop

    DF: Downtown was great as a kid and it is even greater as an adult. I love all of downtown’s hidden gems, its vibrancy, history and sense of connection. Rae is relatively newer to Las Vegas, but just as passionate about downtown. Downtown lends itself to the shared experience, and as a couple we both love seeing this part of the city through each other's eyes. Photo: Lucky Wenzel


  • Brandon Wiegand

    The downtown Las Vegas of today has much to attract residents - a burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene, growing diversity of businesses, and major centers of art and culture. Plus, living downtown I am easily within walking or biking distance of it all. Photo: Lucky Wenzel

  • Mark Brandenburg, President of Golden Gate

    I think downtown Las Vegas is a unique blend of intimacy and great energy. Plus, in contrast to The Strip, it’s so easy to walk around…The Golden Gate has been here for over 100 years and with all the changes going on downtown, it feels like a new era. It truly is a renaissance—the rebirth of a classic.

  • Alexandra Epstein, Executive Vice President of El Cortez Casino Hotel

    This downtown area… is emerging and where many events are happening.

  • Johnny Jimenez, Owner of Toy Shack of Las Vegas

    Our business is booming amid the foot traffic on Fremont Street, and we’ve started to see how tourists are falling in love with downtown as they discover it. In the past year, we’re increasingly hearing things like, ‘Wow, next time we’ll stay downtown instead of on The Strip,’ or ‘We’ve visited downtown many times, but this is the first year we’ve actually stayed in a downtown hotel.’ They like that there is more to do within a smaller walking radius.