It seems like Downtown Las Vegas is giving the strip a run for the money – attracting locals and visitors; showing that Downtown Vegas is where it’s at! What is spurring on this interest in reviving the downtown area? There’s a combination of events including redevelopment and employment that are creatively bringing back the nostalgia and the cool to the Downtown scene. It’s working because downtown Las Vegas is where it’s at!
Discover the Vibrant and colorful Downtown Las Vegas vibe
With a huge infusion of support from local business groups and funding from private and public enterprise, over 1.55 billion has been invested in development projects throughout downtown Las Vegas. A large part of the downtown district has been revitalized and new civic projects have opened including the Smith Center for the Performing Arts and one of a kind museums like the Mob and Neon museums. Even mega apparel giant Zappos (Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is a big fan) has donated over $350 million to downtown revitalization projects. He even moved his company’s headquarters downtown. Zappos employees often visit many eateries and attractions close by along with hipsters, creative types, and the younger generation looking for something new and fun to claim as their own. The development has spurred popular new hangouts and attractions to the area and bringing in locals and tourists and there’s lots of free and cheap things to do in Las Vegas especially in the downtown district.
Where is downtown Las Vegas located?
Downtown Las Vegas is located in the heart of the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. It is situated just north of the famous Las Vegas Strip and is bordered by the Interstate 15 highway to the west and Las Vegas Boulevard to the east. This vibrant district is known for its iconic Fremont Street Experience, historic casinos, bustling entertainment, and a lively atmosphere that captures the essence of old Las Vegas.
How to get around Las Vegas area
Getting around the Las Vegas area is relatively easy with several transportation options available:
Car: Renting a car is a popular choice for exploring Las Vegas and the surrounding area. The city has well-developed road networks, and having a car provides flexibility and convenience, especially if you plan to venture beyond the Strip.
Taxis and Rideshares: Taxis are readily available in Las Vegas, and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft operate in the city. These services offer a convenient way to get around, particularly for shorter distances or when you prefer not to drive.
Monorail: The Las Vegas Monorail runs along the east side of the Las Vegas Strip, connecting various resorts and attractions. It’s a convenient and efficient option for moving up and down the Strip quickly, avoiding traffic congestion.
Free Shuttles: Many hotels and resorts in Las Vegas provide free shuttle services for their guests. Check with your accommodation to see if they offer this service, as it can be a convenient way to travel between major resorts and nearby attractions.
Public Transportation: The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) operates a bus system that covers the Las Vegas area. Buses can be an affordable option for getting around, with routes extending beyond the Strip to different parts of the city.
Walking: Exploring the Las Vegas Strip on foot is a popular choice due to its concentrated attractions and entertainment. Many resorts, casinos, and landmarks are within walking distance of each other, allowing you to soak in the vibrant atmosphere as you stroll along.
Remember to plan your transportation according to your itinerary and preferences. Las Vegas is a city that offers various transportation options to cater to different needs and budgets.
Here’s what to do and see in downtown Vegas
Fremont Street Experience – Of course, the main feature and draw to downtown Las Vegas is the Fremont Street Experience, a cool covered promenade with light shows beaming overhead into the largest ever video walkway. Now you can walk any time rain or shine under a stream of larger than life animation and video. At night the energy kicks up a few notches with live street performances, main stage singers, go-go dancers and the dazzling neon lights from old school casinos turned hip. The entire Fremont Street experience is a fully charged and unique experience that only happens in Downtown Vegas.
East Fremont Street
Just on the other side of the covered promenade and Las Vegas Boulevard, is the uber hip East Fremont Street. an area of old tacky casinos that have been revitalized into cool hangout spots for locals and tourists. Now the area is populated with swanky bars, delicious eateries and night clubs with a variety of evolving performances from indy bands to open mic nights. Start by visiting some of the trendy retro lounges like the Park on Fremont with its quirky outdoor patio or the upstairs rooftop lounge at the Commonwealth bar.
The Mob Museum – 300 E Stewart Ave.
Located in a large, historic neoclassic style building that used to be the courthouse, and post office. It is now filled with educational and interactive displays about organized crime, law enforcement, and the Mafia’s involvement developing Las Vegas. Inside are fascinating artifacts, photographs, dioramas and items used or collected by the mob to control its vast international empire. Fascinating stories, artifacts and interactive displays bring the mafia and their undertaking to life, showing how law enforcement dealt with connected crime syndicates from around the United States. To find out more about the museum and their guided tours, you can check out their website here.
Photo credit: Emily Wilson/Downtown Project
Container Park – 707 Fremont Street
A cool hangout spot in a reclaimed area next to East Fremont street and filled with actual shipping cargo containers that have been refashioned into shops, eateries and galleries. Most nights the amphitheater in the park offers free live performances including music performances, children’s programming, movie nights and variety shows. To find out more about the park and for a calendar of events, you can check out their website here.
The Neon Museum – 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North.
Just beyond the freeway and Las Vegas Blvd North is the Neon Museum, a sprawling outdoor complex lovingly called the ‘Boneyard’. The park has many of the iconic vintage neon signs (over 150 of them) with four still working signs which are restored. Day tours are done on a reservation and there are special night tours to see the neon lights that are still working. To find out more details about the Neon Museum and hours, check out their main website here.
Definitely one of the cool things to do in Las Vegas is to visit the Neon Museum and the night tour is a pretty amazing experience to do.
Antique district in downtown Vegas
Within walking distance from the art district is a string of antique stores mostly centered around S Main Street and East Charleston Blvd. Funky and cool shops like Retro Vegas, Vintage Vegas and Medusa’s antiques are the place to go for Vintage Las Vegas swag, kooky collectibles and other kitsch finds. Just look for the giant ape sitting on the sidewalk, colorful buildings and giant dice on the roof and you know that you are in the right location to start finding some antiques and treasures.
Art district 18B
In the downtown district is an area of smaller galleries and shops known as the 18b, just south of the Downtown business district and consisting of 18 blocks of galleries, one of a kind shops, eateries and mixed cultural buildings including the Arts Factory, Arts Square and the Emergency Arts building. Inside you will find emerging artists, fashion designers and other media artists offering a variety of services, art and products from local artists. First Friday of every month is the popular Las Vegas Art experience with live bands, food trucks and art exhibits featuring local talent in a variety of art media and shows for local audiences and occasional tourists that happen to be in Vegas on First Fridays. For more details about the Downtown Art district, programs and calendar, check out their web site here.
Las Vegas Premium Outlet, North – 875 S Grand Central Pkwy.
The North premium outlets contain over 150 discount stores with many popular name brands including: Calvin Klein, Ann Taylor, Armani Exchange, Coach, Cole Haan along with many other impressive brands offering great discounts from everyday prices. It is a very popular tourist destination spot and popular with locals in the area. Brands offered include a variety of high-end, middle to mass market brands. There is bus service to the outlets coming from downtown, the strip and the regional bus center. To find out more details about the premium outlets, check out their website here.
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts – 361 Symphony Park Ave.
Located downtown is the new world-class performing arts center with three theaters in two buildings. The art deco inspired center features international performing artists including dance companies, touring musical performances and symphony orchestras. The center also hosts local art performance companies including the Las Vegas Ballet theater and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. The center includes the new Discovery Children’s Museum. A unique feature of the center includes a 17 story bell tower with over 47 bells carillon that ring out in four octaves and creates a new focal point in the downtown landscape. For more information about the center and events happening in the various theaters, check out their main website here.
As you can see there’s a lot more going on downtown than old casinos and gambling, the downtown scene is hot again and a very popular draw for tourists and locals to enjoy a different vibe than the Las Vegas strip. To find out more details about activities and current events happening in Downtown Las Vegas, check out their website here.
Weather and best time to visit Las Vegas
Las Vegas experiences a desert climate characterized by hot, dry summers and mild winters. The best time to visit Las Vegas depends on personal preferences and the activities you plan to engage in:
Spring (March to May): Spring is generally considered an ideal time to visit Las Vegas. The weather is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (around 18-30 degrees Celsius). It’s a great time for outdoor activities and exploring the city without the scorching heat of summer.
Fall (September to November): Similar to spring, fall brings comfortable temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (around 18-30 degrees Celsius). The city is less crowded during this time, and it’s a good opportunity to enjoy outdoor attractions and events.
Summer (June to August): Summers in Las Vegas can be extremely hot, with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). If you plan to visit during summer, be prepared for intense heat and consider indoor activities or poolside relaxation. Many resorts have excellent pools and air-conditioned facilities to escape the heat.
Winter (December to February): Winters in Las Vegas are relatively mild, with daytime temperatures averaging in the mid-50s to mid-60s Fahrenheit (around 10-18 degrees Celsius). While cooler than other seasons, it’s still comfortable for outdoor exploration. However, evenings can get chilly, so packing layers is recommended.
Keep in mind that Las Vegas is a popular destination year-round, so hotel rates and availability can vary depending on events and conventions taking place. If you plan to visit during major events like New Year’s Eve or large conventions, early reservations are advisable.
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Conclusion to visiting Downtown Las Vegas
Visiting Downtown Las Vegas promises an exhilarating experience that captures the vibrant spirit and charm of this iconic city. From the dazzling lights of the Fremont Street Experience to the historic casinos and lively entertainment, Downtown Las Vegas offers a unique and captivating atmosphere.
Exploring the area is convenient, with various transportation options available, including taxis, rideshares, the Las Vegas Monorail, and even walking. You’ll have easy access to renowned resorts, attractions, and a multitude of dining and entertainment options.
Whether you’re seeking the thrill of casino gaming, indulging in world-class dining, or immersing yourself in the rich cultural offerings, Downtown Las Vegas has it all. The lively energy and bustling streets create an unforgettable atmosphere that resonates with both locals and visitors alike.
Downtown Las Vegas offers a unique perspective on the city, providing a memorable experience that truly embodies the essence of Las Vegas. Prepare to be dazzled and captivated by the extraordinary offerings of this legendary destination.
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Disclaimer: Thank you Downtown Las Vegas Tourism for hosting me on some of the popular venues to visit downtown, all opinions and comments were my own and I had a fantastic time in downtown Vegas.