Vegas vs. Hollywood

By Joey Herkert and Nick Roque

Although the distance between Las Vegas and Hollywood is only 270 miles, the two cities are actually worlds apart. Residents of each city will argue as to which city holds the crown of “Entertainment Capital of the World”. We’ll let you be the judge.

Entertainment is in the eye of the beholder. Hollywood entertainment is based on movies and television, where Vegas entertainment consists mainly of casinos, live shows, and sporting events such as boxing and UFC fights.


In 1905, the mining town and water stop between Albuquerque and Los Angeles became the city of Las Vegas. Although the first casino popped up in 1906, gambling wasn’t legalized until 1931. Hollywood isn’t actually a city; it’s merely a district area of Los Angeles, which became a city in 1781. Hollywood’s first movie studio, Nestor Studios, emerged in 1912 officially marking the start of the entertainment industry.

Famous Signs

The Famous Hollywood Sign originally read “Hollywoodland”; it was an advertisement for a housing development. Later on, “land” was dropped from the sign to read “Hollywood”, signifying the entertainment industry. The famous Las Vegas sign is two sided. The front reads “Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada”. The back reads “Drive Carefully, Come Back Soon”. The sign was created in 1959 and to this day serves as a welcome sign to the Las Vegas strip.


Las Vegas and Hollywood both have famous boulevards that draw millions of tourists to Mann’s Chinese Theaterthem each year. Hollywood Blvd. consists of over 2,500 stars in the walk of fame, and famous landmarks such as the Mann’s Chinese Theater where many of Hollywood’s great movie premieres have been held. Over ten million tourists visit Hollywood Blvd. each year. Las Vegas Blvd. consists of over 30 casinos with famous landmarks such as the Flamingo Hotel. Over 39 million tourists visit Las Vegas Blvd. each year.

Famous People

Over the years, few stars have had success in both cities. Two of the most famous that paved the way for those who did were Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

sinatraSinatra’s Hollywood career began in 1941 and spanned over 40 years. Although he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “From Here to Eternity”, he is probably best known for his 1960 role in “Oceans 11”. The movie, ironically enough, is about a group of guys plotting to knock off a Vegas casino.

Sinatra’s Vegas career began in 1951 at the Desert Inn. Sinatra’s first live album was recorded in 1966 at the Sands. Sinatra Returned to Vegas in 1974, performing at Caesar’s Palace. Sinatra also performed at the Golden Nugget, Desert Inn, the Riviera, the Sands, Bally’s, and his last Vegas performance was the 1993-94 New Year’s Eve at the MGM Grand.

elvisElvis’s Hollywood career consisted of 31 movies spanning from 1956 to 1969, including his 1964 movie “Viva Las Vegas”. His album of the same name also was released in 1964. Elvis’ Las Vegas career began at the New Frontier in 1956, but really took off from 1969 to 1971 when he performed sold-out shows at the International Hilton Hotel. He continued to preform periodically until his final Vegas performance in December of 1976.

If you want to catch a glimpse of the walk of fame or take a tour of a movie studio, Hollywood is the place to go. If you want the chance to win a million dollars playing a slot machine or go see an over-the-top live show, you should come to Fabulous Las Vegas. Wherever you decide to go, prepare yourself to have a lot of fun!!!!

Frank Sinatra photo courtesy akva; Grauman’s Chinese Theater photo courtesy Gerry Boughan; Hollywood photo courtesy Neo Edmund / all; Elvis photo courtesy of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.