While Las Vegas is located in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Hawaii can be found in the center of the Pacific Ocean. But for some reason, Las Vegas is often referred to as the 9th Hawaiian Island. Why is that?
Las Vegas is called Hawaii’s Ninth Island because it’s home to one of the biggest populations of Hawaiians outside of Hawaii. But aside from that, there’s also a fair amount of history between the two cities dating back 50 years.
Las Vegas – Why It’s Called the 9th Island of Hawaii
Las Vegas and Hawaii have many similarities. Both cities are extremely popular tourist destinations with a large percentage of their respective populations being born somewhere else.
But the main reason why Las Vegas is called the ninth island is that a large number of Hawaiians live in Vegas. Recent census data found that roughly 50,000 Hawaiians live in Las Vegas NV, in addition to the 300,000 Hawaiian tourists that visit every year.
That’s a lot of Hawaiians who call Las Vegas home! No wonder it’s called the ninth island. But how did Las Vegas become so popular among islanders? It all started with the California Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas.
Hawaiian Connections to The California Hotel & Casino
The California Hotel & Casino was one of the first casinos on Fremont Street. Sam Boyd, who built the casino, went out of his way to appeal to Hawaiian tourists. He marketed directly to the Hawaiian audience by capturing the look and feel of the island state in the design of the casino.
From the entertainment to the restaurants, the Cal feels like a resort that belongs in Hawaii. There are also plenty of bars in downtown Las Vegas that serve Hawaiian-themed drinks.
This is tremendously different from the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. Many of the resorts on the Strip have more of an Italian theme (Venetian, Palazzo, Caesars Palace) or an Asian theme (Wynn, Encore, Resorts World).
Vegas Food vs Hawaiian Food
There are a handful of restaurants in downtown Las Vegas that serve Hawaiian food, however, there are no Hawaiian restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. Although Hawaiian food is relatively rare in Las Vegas, the culinary scene still offers plenty of delicious meal options.
Hawaiian Vacation vs Las Vegas Vacation
While both cities are warm for most of the year, Hawaii is the better tropical paradise. If you’re looking to relax by the beach, go to Hawaii. However, if you’re looking for a destination city with shopping malls, pool parties, shows, and endless attractions, Vegas is the better bet.