Las Vegas in books

Get inspired for your next trip by reading some emblematic books set in Las Vegas. Discover authors that have shown light on this unique city through their stories.

Read about Las Vegas through amazing books

Las Vegas, often celebrated as the entertainment capital of the world, is a vibrant city that never sleeps, offering an array of attractions for tourists seeking a blend of excitement, luxury, and unique experiences. Known for its bustling casinos, spectacular live shows, and extravagant hotels, Las Vegas is a kaleidoscope of neon lights and high energy. The city’s famous Strip is lined with mega-resort hotels and casinos, each presenting a different theme and a myriad of entertainment options, from high-stakes gambling to world-class dining and shopping. Beyond the glitz and glamour, Las Vegas hosts some of the most renowned live performances by top artists, magicians, and Cirque du Soleil productions, making it a premier destination for entertainment enthusiasts.

Las Vegas in books

Las Vegas is not just about casinos and shows; it also offers a wealth of attractions beyond the gaming tables. Visitors can explore a variety of museums, art galleries, and natural wonders. The Neon Museum preserves the city’s iconic past through its collection of historic neon signs, while the Mob Museum offers an insightful look into the history of organized crime and its impact on American society. For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle, the surrounding desert landscape provides opportunities for outdoor adventures, such as hiking in Red Rock Canyon or visiting the Hoover Dam. Las Vegas also serves as a gateway to some of the nation’s most spectacular natural attractions, including the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, making it an ideal base for exploring the wider region.

The allure of Las Vegas as a touristic destination is further enriched by its ever-evolving nature, with new attractions and resorts constantly emerging to enhance the visitor experience. The city’s ability to reinvent itself while maintaining its core appeal of indulgence and entertainment is unmatched. Las Vegas seamlessly blends the thrill of gaming, the spectacle of live entertainment, and the luxury of world-class amenities with the serenity of its desert surroundings, offering a diverse range of experiences that cater to tourists of all ages and interests. Whether it’s the pursuit of luck at the casino, the enjoyment of top-tier entertainment, or the exploration of natural and cultural attractions, Las Vegas promises an unforgettable journey for those drawn to its dazzling lights and endless possibilities.

Las Vegas in books

Las Vegas in books

Here’s a list of 10 notable books set in Las Vegas.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (1972)
This is a gonzo journalism masterpiece that follows Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo on a drug-fueled journey to Las Vegas. They seek the American Dream in a culture of excess, encountering various bizarre experiences along the way.

Literary Las Vegas: The Best Writing About America’s Most Fabulous City (1995), edited by Tom Wolfe and others, presents a collection of writings showcasing various aspects of Las Vegas. It includes Wolfe’s famous essay “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby,” offering insights into the city’s multifaceted personality.

Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form by Robert Venturi, Steven Izenour, and Denise Scott Brown (1972)
This book critically examines Las Vegas architecture, advocating for designs that embrace ordinary people’s values and preferences. This work has influenced postmodern architectural thought.

Las Vegas in books

Leaving Las Vegas by John O’Brien (1990)
The story tells the tragic romance of Ben, an alcoholic intent on drinking himself to death, and Sera, a resilient prostitute. Their paths cross in Las Vegas, leading to a unique yet heartbreaking connection.

The Delivery Man by Joe McGinniss Jr. (2008)
The book explores the lives of childhood friends Chase, Michele, and Bailey, who are entangled in a web of past influences and risky lifestyles in Las Vegas. Chase’s narrative delves into their struggles and aspirations.

The Desert Rose by Larry McMurtry (1983)
It follows Harmony, a fading showgirl in Las Vegas, and her daughter, Pepper. As Harmony’s career dims, she remains hopeful for a brighter future, embodying resilience amidst adversity.

Las Vegas in books

Beautiful Children by Charles Bock (2008)
The book weaves the stories of four characters who disappear into the underbelly of Las Vegas. Their lives intersect in unexpected ways, revealing the city’s darker, less glamorous side.

The Stand by Stephen King (1978)
This is an epic tale where a deadly virus wipes out most of the human population. Survivors are drawn into a battle between good and evil, with Las Vegas serving as the stronghold of the malevolent Randall Flagg.

The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy (2001)
The book follows three law enforcement officials involved in a web of conspiracy and corruption that spans from the JFK assassination to plots against Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. Their story ties into Las Vegas’s Mafia operations.

Las Vegas in books

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013)
The story partially set in Las Vegas, narrates the life of Theo Decker, who survives a terrorist bombing that kills his mother. A stolen painting, The Goldfinch, becomes his talisman as he navigates loss, love, and crime.

These books offer diverse perspectives on Las Vegas, from its glamorous and sordid aspects to profound human stories set against the backdrop of this iconic city. Each story provides a unique lens through which to view the complexities and allure of Las Vegas.

See our section Travel with books.