A marvel of modern engineering
Talk of the town: Check out the plaque opposite the escalator dedicated to Nig, the dam's stray dog mascot who 'adopted' the dam and its workers during construction. He's buried nearby.
Word to the wise: The dam is less than an hour's drive from Vegas, so you'll need to rent a car or enlist a tour operator.
A trek to this man-made marvel and true blue testament to human achievement is a fitting antidote to the alluring vices of Sin City. Built in five years during the Depression, Hoover was the largest dam of its time and certainly one of the era's great public works - the whopping 70-storey structure contains enough concrete to build a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York. Striking with art deco embellishments, the great barrier tames the Colorado River, and its hydro-electric power and irrigation system enables Vegas and all its neon signs, green lawns and lavish fountains to exist.
Worthwhile tours (try Pink Jeep Tours
) access the structure's internal passageways and get up close to artist Oskar Hansen's surreal winged figures, made of bronze and sitting peacefully at the dam's base. Legend has it that rubbing their toes brings good luck.