Las Vegas | World’s Best Cities

Las Vegas

The story of Las Vegas blossoming into a “real city” has usually been told of late with breathless praise for its economic success. Tourism—the number one economic driver for Southern Nevada—has long paid for Las Vegas’ roads, parks, school construction and teachers’ salaries. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), more than 41% of Southern Nevadans are employed directly or indirectly because of tourism. But this single reliance on the visitor economy also means that the COVID-19 outbreak has decimated Las Vegas like few other American cities. When Governor Steve Sisolak took the unprecedented step of ordering every casino and gaming operation—the lifeblood of the state’s economy—to shut down by midnight, March 17, citizens were thrust into an unimaginable financial crisis. Overnight, hundreds of thousands were furloughed or lost their jobs outright. Perhaps the city’s pursuit of transforming into a hometown will accelerate its rebound as the lockdown begins to lift. If there is a silver lining for locals, it’s that they’ll have the nation’s #4-ranked Programming, including #3 in Culture, #4 in Nightlife and #8 in Restaurants, all to themselves for a few months, all while helping fellow citizens put in the reps to once again host the world.