North Las Vegas & Nellis Air Force Base
The north end of the Las Vegas valley stretches from Nellis Air Force Base in the far northeast to Centennial Hills in the northwest, extending all the way to the Kyle Canyon exit for Mt. Charleston. The city of North Las Vegas has older sections that have been around for many years, but most of the homes in these neighborhoods were built within the past ten to twenty years. Before Las Vegas exploded with tract homes, much of this area was rural, filled with horse corrals and small rodeo arenas. Residents have done their best to preserve the early character of the neighborhood, so it's not unusual to see horses and older, ranch-style homes in northern sections of the valley.
Nellis AFB, home of the Thunderbirds, sits close to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a racing complex that has everything from NASCAR races to dirt track events. You can even learn to drive those fast cars at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. On big race weekends, severe, miles-long traffic jams appear along I15 and on the streets around the track—keep this in mind if you're going to the races or will simply be in that area.
Some of the northwest's rural character shows at Floyd Lamb State Park, known locally as Tule Springs, where the ruins of old buildings still dot the main grounds. The Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary, which started as a bird rehab, is near Tule Springs and is a great place to take kids. Further out I95, after you've left Las Vegas mostly behind, you'll find the Paiute Reservation's golf courses, far beyond any place you'd expect to see greens.
Hotels and motels are plentiful in this area. Along Rancho, the Texas and Santa Fe offer good accommodations far away from the Strip. The Cannery, which is close to I15, is a great place for race fans who plan on spending lots of time at the track. Restaurants are also abundant in this area, especially national chains. For a taste of old-time Las Vegas, visit Bob Taylor's Ranch House. This classic Vegas restaurant was once quite a trek out of town, but now sits right off the freeway.
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