Las Vegas beyond the Strip: how to enjoy the city’s other attractions
With the Strip being so iconic, it’s hard to imagine the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas all started a few miles north. Downtown you’ll find some of the oldest hotels in Las Vegas; from the Golden Gate Casino and Hotel, which is said to have been frequented by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, to the Golden Nugget which oozes mid-century charm. Of course, you may want to try your luck on one of the vintage slot machines dotted around Downtown, but make sure you visit the shark tank, see the largest gold nugget on display and have your photo taken with $1,000,000.
A night out at the Fremont Street Experience: what to see and do
Fremont Street was the first paved street in Las Vegas and its bright neon lights have long been associated with the city. In 2004 efforts were made to regenerate the area, now named the Fremont Street Experience, and it offers a much more casual vibe than the Strip. Prices are often cheaper and you’re sure to catch a free concert here in the evening. Head here at the end of the day to see the brilliant light show Viva Vision and if you’re feeling brave, you can even zipline across the length of the Fremont Street Experience.
How to experience the magic of neon at the Neon Museum
Vegas is famous for its imaginative neon signs, drawing customers into casinos. You’ve definitely seen them in almost any film or TV show set in Las Vegas! Signs that were once fixtures of Downtown have been donated and restored by the Neon Museum. This huge collection of old neon signs is a part of Las Vegas history, and the museum gives you the chance to have a guided tour either during the day for Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, or at night to see the lights in action.
Atomic Liquors: the oldest and coolest bar in Las Vegas
Founded in 1952, Atomic Liquors is the oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas. It was named after its customers’ habitual watching of atomic blasts from the rooftop. If you find yourself Downtown, head to this dive bar for a dose of Vegas history, a great selection of beers and reasonable prices. If you care to delve deeper into Nevada’s explosive history, the National Atomic Testing Museum is one of the few places in the world where you can see rare artifacts relating to the US’ atomic testing program.
The Downtown Container Park: where art, food and sustainability meet
The Downtown Container Park has a very different feel to the other malls in Vegas. The innovative complex is made up of 43 re-purposed shipping containers, all containing local businesses from art galleries, restaurants and boutique shops. If you want inspiration in creating a socially and environmentally responsible business, the Container Park is a must-see. If you have difficulty finding it, just watch out for the flaming praying mantis sculpture.
Red Rock Canyon: a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts
You don’t have to drive for four hours to the Grand Canyon to experience the natural beauty of the desert. Less than an hour away from the strip is Red Rock Canyon, a haven for walkers, cyclists and climbers alike. There are plenty of guided tours available if you aren’t an experienced walker, or you may wish to drive around the loop and pause for photo opportunities. The fresh air and open spaces are a welcome break from the busy strip.
Hoover Dam: a must-see attraction for history and nature lovers
However, if you did fancy a scenic drive, you can’t miss the feat of engineering that is the Hoover Dam. Expect stunning views from the top of the dam and plenty of learning opportunities with the various tours on offer. To get the most out of your visit, try to get there early to beat the crowd, and pack plenty of sun cream and water because it can get pretty hot!
This is the first of a three-part blog series to help you plan your time in Las Vegas outside of the IMEX America show. Whether you’ve got a spare evening to explore Downtown, or you’ve extended your trip and want to see what the state of Nevada has to offer, this list has got something for everyone, with most attractions being around a half-hour drive from the strip!