About Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas has boldly emerged out of the shadow of the domineering Las Vegas Strip. What was once a place to get cheap rooms, order cheap drinks, and play cheap table games, is now a mini-entertainment district of its own. The quirky shops and live acts of Fremont Street remain the heart of downtown, though the pedestrian plaza’s zip-line is also a focal point. At the Container Park, retail boutiques are housed in old shipping containers. New restaurants are serving dishes worth the 15-minute trek from the Strip, while a handful of low-key bars are welcome alternatives to giant warehouse clubs (and their drinks are stronger).
Living in Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown (Fremont Street) is rightfully considered to be the Strip’s older, less expensive, less glamorous sister. However the stereotypes don’t always apply. There are some downtown hotels (The Golden Nugget), that are nicer and fancier than some Strip properties (Circus Circus for example).
However in the vast majority of cases, a room on Fremont Street will cost much less than a typical room on the Strip.
It’s not uncommon when checking travel websites to find downtown rooms at places like the Plaza or 4 Queens to be 1/3rd to 1/2 the price of many Strip rooms.
You can sometimes find downtown hotel rooms for $30 (or under on occasion), yet I’ve often found it hard to find a room at Caesars Palace for under $300.
With Strip hotel rooms, you’re typically getting more square footage, better views, more luxurious surroundings, and nicer swimming pools. In contrast, downtown accommodations (with the aforementioned exception of the Golden Nugget) are more for those looking for a place to crash for the few hours before the fun and party starts again
Things to do in Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown Container Park
As the name indicates, the Container Park is an outdoor mall that’s been built using 40 old shipping containers. It’s a mix of shops, restaurants, and entertainment here, but none of the usual big-box brands you see in your mall at home. And there’s a wedding chapel too because, you know, Vegas. Families in search of a kid-friendly Vegas will find plenty to do here.
For an “only in Las Vegas” experience, catapult yourself out of a 12-story slot machine over Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. It’s a dizzying experience, literally, as you zipline over downtown Las Vegas. This is perfect for someone who wants to do something a little daring but doesn’t necessarily want to jump off The Stratosphere. Those afraid of heights probably won’t love this zipline, though the classic Vegas solution of liquid courage may help.
The Neon Museum
The Neon Museum originated as the “neon boneyard,” a fenced-in yard where many of the Strip’s neon signs were stored after being removed from casinos that were either renovated or imploded. About 120 signs, mostly made by the YESCO corporation during the 1950s-80s, lie in the “boneyard” adjacent to the museum. On a guided tour, visitors can learn about the trends in sign design and technology, which played a huge part in Vegas history. The museum also houses the translocated lobby of La Concha, an old motel, which was saved from demolition and now serves as the visitors’ center.
Directions to Rodney Okano