Las Vegas, officially the City of Las Vegas and often known as simply Vegas, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and the county seat of Clark County. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining, and nightlife and is the leading financial and cultural center for Southern Nevada. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its consolidated casino–hotels and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, Las Vegas is the 31st-most populous city in the United States, with a population at the 2010 census of 583,756. The 2010 population of the Las Vegas metropolitan area was 1,951,269. The city is one of the top three leading destinations in the United States for conventions, business, and meetings. Today, Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
Established in 1905, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in that century (a distinction held by Chicago in the 19th century). The city’s tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and this image has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films and television programs. There are numerous outdoor lighting displays on Fremont Street, as well as elsewhere in the city.
Las Vegas also is used to describe the city along with areas beyond the city limits, especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip, and the Las Vegas Valley. The 4.2 mi (6.8 km) stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Strip is in the unincorporated communities of Paradise, Winchester, and Enterprise.
Las Vegas is situated within Clark County in an arid basin on the floor of the Mojave Desert, surrounded by dry mountains. The Spring Mountains lie to the west. Much of the landscape is rocky and dusty; the environment is dominated by desert vegetation and some wildlife, and the area is subject to torrential flash floods. The peaks surrounding Las Vegas reach elevations of over 10,000 feet, and act as barriers to the strong flow of moisture from the surrounding area. The elevation is around 2,030 ft (620 m) above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 135.86 sq mi (351.9 km2), of which 135.81 sq mi (351.7 km2) is land and 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2) (0.03%) is water.
Within the city there are many lawns, trees, and other greenery. Due to water resource issues, there is now a movement to encourage xeriscapes. Another part of the water conservation efforts include scheduled watering groups for watering residential landscaping. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant in 2008 funded a program that analyzed and forecast growth and environmental impacts through the year 2019.
Las Vegas’ climate is a subtropical, hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification: BWh), typical of the Mojave Desert in which it lies. The city enjoys abundant sunshine year-round: it has an average of about 300 sunny days per year with more than 3,800 hours of sunshine.
The summer months of June through September are very hot and mostly dry, with a July daily average temperature of 92.5 °F (33.6 °C), while night-time temperatures often remain above 80 °F (27 °C). There are an average of 134 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, and 74 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs, with most of the days in July and August exceeding the latter benchmark, and only occasionally failing to reach the former. Humidity is very low, often under 10%.
Las Vegas’ winters are of short duration and the season is generally mild, with December, the coolest month, averaging 47.7 °F (8.7 °C). The mountains surrounding Las Vegas accumulate snow during the winter but snow is rare in the Las Vegas Valley itself, although on December 16, 2008, Las Vegas received 3.6 inches (9.1 cm). Temperatures reach the freezing mark on 16 nights of the year but rarely sink to 20 °F (−7 °C).
Annual precipitation in Las Vegas is about 4.2 in (110 mm), which on average occurs on 26–27 days per year. Most of the precipitation falls in the winter, but the wettest month (February) has on average only 4 days of precipitation.