Green City: Las Vegas

by Lauren Verini

We, the editors at, have decided to chronicle our travels and highlight some of the green aspects in various cities. Please feel free to submit city ideas and information for upcoming Green City features.

When people think of Las Vegas, the word green doesn’t usually come to mind. I was fortunate enough to live there for two years and I saw a much different side to the city than most visitors ever get to see. When you aren’t there on a business trip or for a bachelorette party and you have some time to explore attractions besides the trade show floors, dance clubs and slot machines, there is a lot to this great city I called home that will surprise you.

Sin City is known for excess, everything is over the top and that includes the hotels. From the older hotels like Caesars Palace and the Tropicana, to the new ones like Cosmopolitan and Aria, they all try to out-do each other in lavishness and grandeur.  One of the ways they compete is by going green and now it’s almost a necessity for hotels to have an eco-friendly aspect to them. Even the President goes green when he stays in Las Vegas; during his most recent trip he stayed at the eco-friendly Element by Westin hotel. Other sustainable hotels that are LEED certified are the Palazzo and hotels located in the CityCenter including Aria, Mandarin Oriental and Vdara.

The CityCenter, a 67-acre metropolis situated on the strip between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo hotels that opened, opened its doors in 2009 and became the largest green initiative the city had ever seen. This collection of hotels, casinos, shopping malls and restaurants were designed with sustainability top of mind. The CityCenter will save approximately 50 million gallons of water annually as a result of conservation efforts, will save enough energy to power 8,800 households every year and currently houses the first fleet of compressed natural gas-powered limousines.

During your stay in Las Vegas, the most eco-friendly way to get around is by walking (if its not too hot) to take in the sights on Las Vegas Boulevard. You can also take the monorail, which will get you from one end of the strip to the other in 15 minutes. In 2010, the monorail helped to reduce emissions from vehicles by more than 37 tons.

For some non-gambling and non-drinking related entertainment, the Botanical Gardens in the Bellagio are a must see, exhibits vary throughout the year and it’s free. Another free attraction at the Bellagio is the fountains, which go off every 15 or 30 minutes depending on the time, or you can check out the Wildlife Habitat at The Flamingo, which features flamingos, of course, among other animals.

If you are able to get away from the strip during your stay, make it a point to visit the Springs Preserve and the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, both are breathtaking and you won’t even feel like your in Las Vegas. The Springs Preserve is a 180-acre outdoor sanctuary dedicated to educating people on sustainable living and features museums, botanical gardens and hiking trails. The Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, which attracts rock climbers from around the country, features a collection of hiking trails and a 13-mile scenic loop you can drive through to take in the view of the beautiful sandstone and limestone rocks.

Whether your next trip to Las Vegas is for work or play, try to take some time to enjoy the eco-friendly aspects of the city. You’ll see a whole new side to Las Vegas you’ve never seen before and will have a new appreciation for it.

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