21 Nicknames for Vegas and the History Behind Them

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A road sign saying "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada" next to palm trees
Las Vegas has many nicknames that are as popular and unique as the city

From Sin City to the Neon Capital of the World, there are dozens of nicknames for Vegas. While some are well-known by people around the world, others are a little more obscure and can give you some unique insight into the area's history.

Whether you're planning a trip or are just curious about this corner of Nevada, keep reading. Here are 21 nicknames you'll likely hear when discussing Las Vegas!

21 Las Vegas Nicknames

A view of a large water feature next to buildings and an Eiffel Tower sculpture
Many attractions in Las Vegas are geared toward adults 21 years and older

Adult Disneyland

One Las Vegas name that shouldn't be a surprise is Adult Disneyland. With its bright lights and countless shows, activities, and casinos geared toward visitors 21 and older, it's often been compared to an adult playground.

There are even rides and street performers you can take pictures with, which makes the comparison with Disneyland even more appropriate. However, the strip has added more family-friendly attractions in recent years to appeal to children and adults who don't partake in activities like gambling.

Desert Oasis

The Las Vegas Strip is one of Nevada's most famous landmarks. While there are numerous artificial structures today, the region was all desert when the city was founded in 1905.

In fact, the first bright casinos and restaurants stuck out among the relatively barren surroundings. This prompted the city to be dubbed Desert Oasis. This nickname also has prehistoric roots since it was once literally a wetland oasis in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Illuminated buildings with their reflection on a nearby artificial lake and a tree
Many nicknames for Vegas, like Glitter Gulch, allude to its colorful lights

Glitter Gulch

Glitter Gulch has been a term used to refer to Downtown Las Vegas since the 1940s. The moniker references the bright neon signs that line the casinos, hotels, and bars in this part of the city.

Since the strip has developed over the years, the use of Glitter Gulch has become more widespread. So it's not unheard of to hear it used to indicate much newer parts of the area as well.

Gluttony Central

Las Vegas's alternate name, Gluttony Central, isn't surprising to most people. The plethora of bars, casinos, and all-you-can-eat buffets means visitors can indulge in virtually any legal vice.

Perhaps one of the best examples of this nickname at work is the Las Vegas restaurant scene. Originally, the Strip was known for its cheap food options, which helped take the sting out of losses at the casinos. Today, instead, you can find world-class culinary options, making it a top food destination.

A city skyline with a rocky mountain in the background and a plane landing
Since Las Vegas is near the Mojave Desert, the climate can get very hot

Hot Vegas

Of all the Las Vegas names that exist, Hot Vegas might be the most literal. Its location in the Mojave Desert means temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, there are also more figurative reasons for this particular moniker. Lucky visitors who find themselves winning at the city's casinos sometimes refer to the location as Hot Vegas regarding their streaks.

Vegas is also known for its entertainment, much of which is aimed at adult audiences. These shows sometimes help keep this particular nickname alive.

Sin City

Sin City is Las Vegas's most famous nickname. It's interchangeable with the city's actual name and can be found on countless pieces of promotional material.

The name references the numerous vices you can indulge in during your visit. In fact, it's often used alongside the slogan "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." This slogan refers to the adult-oriented shows, entertainment, and gambling on the strip.

It's not exactly certain when the name was first used. Some date it to the early 1900s, while others say the first reference was in the 1960s. No matter when it was initially created, the Sin City moniker is well-connected with Las Vegas today.

Aerial shot of a city with buildings and structures illuminated at night
Ironically, a Vegas name that held for years is That Sleepy Little Town in the Desert

That Sleepy Little Town in the Desert

In modern days, That Sleepy Little Town in the Desert is a misnomer. However, it has its roots in the city's early history before it exploded with the popularity it currently enjoys. Before the 1930s, Vegas was just an up-and-coming area surrounded by desert with very few large businesses.

Of course, those who still refer to Vegas as That Sleepy Little Town in the Desert do so ironically. The bright lights and all-hours establishments guarantee that Las Vegas is a city that never sleeps.

Lost Wages

Coined by Milton Berle, Lost Wages is a Las Vegas nickname that hits close to home for a lot of visitors. A gambling haven, many travel to this part of Nevada hoping to return home with big winnings. However, as most people know, the house always wins.

Most tourists are able to gamble responsibly and will usually set a limit for how much they're willing to lose. However, Lost Wages also touches on the dependency that can be formed around it.

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com
A neon archway that says "Fremont East District" and a large martini glass sign
When the sun sets, Las Vegas shows its beauty with dazzling lights

The City of Lights

Though more often associated with Paris, the City of Lights has occasionally been used to describe the Las Vegas Strip. That's not surprising, considering how lit up the town is after the sun goes down. In fact, a large number of the most famous landmarks in Las Vegas are known for their lights.

This reputation for brightness isn't restricted to just the main strip either. Even Downtown Vegas is famous for its neon, and Fremont Street hosts a light show each evening.

The City of Dreams

Though not as frequently advertised as some alternate names, Las Vegas has earned a reputation as the City of Dreams. This is in part due to the release of the 2001 movie of a similar name. However, there are a few other reasons for this name.

As a playground for adults, a lot of people imagine what their trip here will be like, giving a sort of dream-like quality to the strip. Many tourists also have big dreams when it comes to their winnings. Even the most careful gambler has probably imagined winning a jackpot at least once while wandering a casino.

E. O./Shutterstock.com
City buildings and a sculpture of a woman holding a flame next to palm trees
Las Vegas attracts those looking for career opportunities in entertainment

The City of Opportunity

The City of Opportunity may not be one of the most well-known nicknames for Las Vegas, but it's an enduring one. This particular title refers most often to the casino and gambling scene. Since most of the games you can play are up to chance, there's always the opportunity, however small, of winning a jackpot.

The City of Opportunity also refers to career opportunities, especially those in the entertainment industry. Since there are so many jobs for singers, dancers, magicians, and more, there's a chance of getting discovered by an agent or producer.

The City of Second Chances

Part of Las Vegas's charm is that it's always changing. There's a joke that nothing ever has a chance to get old on the Strip since buildings are always being remodeled, knocked down, or rebuilt.

This constant cycle of change has caused the area to be dubbed the City of Second Chances or the Capital of Second Chances. Numerous people visit or move here every year to start over and reinvent themselves, thus getting a second, third, or fourth chance.

RYO Alexandre/Shutterstock.com
Aerial shot of a city with skyscrapers and roads illuminated brightly at night
Even from miles away, Las Vegas lights glow and shine brightly

The City That Shines

Las Vegas's lights have earned it multiple titles, one of which being the City That Shines. Before ground broke on constructions in the early years of the 20th century, this vibrant and bustling area was just part of the vast desert.

Now, the lights from its neon signs and hotel beacons can be seen from miles around. In fact, when seen from space, Las Vegas is the brightest city on the planet.

The Desert Jewel

The Desert Jewel may not be a popular nickname for Vegas, but it's one of the most appropriate. Before the city was founded in 1905, the area where it now stands was just a wide, mostly empty desert.

In the years that followed, the vacation destination that you know today formed. The glamor and vibrance of the city soon earned it the title Desert Jewel as a shining spot in the arid Mojave terrain.

Katherine Welles/Shutterstock.com
A sphere-shaped modern building with a sign saying "T Mobile Arena"
From leisure to sports and entertainment, Las Vegas is the place to be

The Entertainment Capital of the World

Las Vegas has long been considered the Entertainment Capital of the World. Between concerts, magic shows, and acrobatic performances, there's no shortage of things to see during a visit.

In recent years, this moniker has become even more relevant. Since 2017, the city has been home to the Golden Knights professional hockey team, and in 2020, the Raiders football team relocated to the area. So, there's an even greater number of entertainment options to enjoy in this part of Nevada.

The Gambling Capital of the World

While being the world's gambling capital is no longer a true Las Vegas fact, that hasn't caused the reputation to die down. The area has approximately 60 major casinos, not including the slot machines and small gambling areas you can also find around the strip.

These establishments bring in over eight billion dollars of revenue yearly. So, while gambling isn't the only reason people visit, it's certainly a big one, giving reason to the Gambling Capital of the World moniker.

The Marriage Capital of the World is one of the nicknames for Vegas
Las Vegas is a popular destination to elope or have a one-of-a-kind wedding

The Marriage Capital of the World

The Nevada fact that a lot of weddings take place on and around the strip has become a part of pop culture. It's even led to the Las Vegas slogan of the Marriage Capital of the World.

This is due to a few reasons. The first is the ease at which people can get married. While many states require a marriage certificate to be obtained a few days before a wedding ceremony, Nevada allows engaged couples to get their license the same day as the nuptials.

That means Las Vegas is a popular place for people who want to elope. In addition, many people in the area may not be thinking logically due to alcohol or the adrenaline of winning at a casino, leading to an impromptu wedding. Therefore, it's not surprising so many people get married in Vegas!

The Neon Capital of the World

One look at the Las Vegas area at night, and it's not surprising it's come to be known as the Neon Capital of the World (sometimes also called Neon City). The incredible number of lights that are able to brighten this part of the desert is thanks to the nearby Hoover Dam.

The dam produces enough electricity for Vegas to reliably shine so many lights without risking any power outages. Today, there's even a Neon Museum showcasing some of the city's old signs.

Old neon signs and sculptures displayed under a blue sky
Las Vegas is known as the Boneyard due to many turnovers from fast-paced developments

The Boneyard

The Boneyard is one of the most obscure names for Vegas. It's actually considered a local term rather than one that tourists are likely to be aware of.

It often refers to the so-called Neon Boneyard. This area is part of the Neon Museum and showcases decommissioned signs once used at hotels, restaurants, and other venues. The name also subtly refers to the city itself. Many of the towering and modern hotels you see today stand on the foundations and remains of previous establishments.

The Divorce Capital of America

Las Vegas is known for many unique things. One of the most surprising of which is its title as the Divorce Capital of America.

This is mainly because getting married in Vegas is incredibly easy, especially since you can get your marriage license on the same day as the ceremony. That ease leads to a large number of impulsive marriages that have to be ended.

randy andy/Shutterstock.com
A view over a city and a large fountain illuminated under a black sky at night
You can enjoy casinos, restaurants, bars, and more until the morning in Las Vegas

The City That Never Sleeps

New York City might be the City The Never Sleeps on the East Coast, but Las Vegas has that title in the western part of the US. Since its casinos never close in an attempt to help players forget what time it is, many of the other places in the area follow suit. You can see shows, grab a bite to eat, or even check into some hotels until late in the night.

In Summary

Las Vegas is a vibrant place full of things to see and experience, many of which have helped contribute to its collection of nicknames. Some people know it as the Glitter Gulch, while others know it as the Entertainment Capital of the World.

No matter how many nicknames you recognized on this list, hopefully, it helped you learn a little more about this one-of-a-kind city.

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 FORMER WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!

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