Downtown Las Vegas has been one of the more exciting areas of development in the city. The most recent push to update the downtown area came about because changes to a water system were announced.
That led to a three-year infrastructure program that just started and will include not just replacing the water system and renovating the roads but also improving the aesthetic appeal of downtown.
If you hope to visit Las Vegas in the future, downtown might be a good place to make time for on your trip.
The following are some interesting things to know about the area.
The History of Downtown Las Vegas
Sometimes called Old Downtown Las Vegas, this area of the city is rich with the quintessential history often associated with Vegas as a whole.
The area along Fremont Street is now known as Old Downtown Las Vegas, and in the 1900s it was the up-and-coming part of the city.
Eventually, the Strip became synonymous with Las Vegas, however.
Fremont was the first paved road in Las Vegas. In the early 1900s, casinos started appearing when gambling was legal.
There were also several small hotels built, and then once the Hoover Dam construction started, even more people started coming to downtown Las Vegas.
After this, casinos like Monte Carlo and Lucky Strike started to be opened.
The current work being done downtown isn’t the first Fremont Street revitalization effort. In the 1990s, there was a $70 million project to create the Fremont Street Experience.
That is still a thriving part of downtown Las Vegas, with free public concerts, shopping, gambling, and more.
Then, in 2002, the city decided to create the Fremont East Entertainment District.
So what are compelling points of interest in downtown Las Vegas?
The Golden Nugget
There are hotels and casinos still located downtown, including the iconic Golden Nugget.
The Golden Nugget is on the Freemont Street Experience.
It is one of the oldest casinos in the city. The Golden Nugget has been featured in movies including Viva Las Vegas, Diamonds Are Forever, and Vegas Vacation.
It’s named for the world’s largest gold nugget on display in the lobby. The resort is now built around two aquariums.
The Golden Nugget may be the most well-known downtown Las Vegas hotel and casino, but there are others.
For example, there’s the Freemont Hotel & Casino, which is on the Fremont Street Experience as well.
When it first opened in the 1950s, it was the tallest building in Nevada.
It is one of the four corners casinos, including the Golden Nugget, the Four Queens, and Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel.
This hotel was used for filming Swingers with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. It’s also briefly shown in Vegas Vacation.
The California Hotel and Casino opened in 1975 near the Fremont Street Experience.
It underwent a major renovation in 2015 and 2016.
Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel was built in 1951.
Binion’s was in the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever and a number of other shows, movies, and music videos.
While the above hotels and resorts are more of the classic downtown Vegas style, a new hotel just opened in the area called Circa. Circa is where the Las Vegas Club hotel-casino used to be.
The resort has a two-story casino, a sportsbook, five restaurants and a six-tiered pool.
It is one of the tallest buildings located in Las Vegas city limits. The design pays tribute to the history of Las Vegas.
It has the longest indoor bar in the state and the longest outdoor bar on the Fremont Street Experience.
For a taste of the darker history of Las Vegas, you might want to visit the Mob Museum, officially known as the National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement.
The Mob Museum is located at the former U.S. Post Office and Courthouse building constructed in the 1930s. It is just steps from Fremont Street, and there are interactive exhibits that provide storylines bringing to life the history of key characters of mob history.
Fremont East Entertainment District
The Fremont East Entertainment District is six blocks going from Las Vegas Boulevard East to 8th Street and then from Ogden Street South to Carson.
It’s a walkable area with local businesses and restaurants, entertainment, retail, and more.
The Neon Museum was founded in 1996. This non-profit takes you through the history of the vibrant city of Las Vegas by showing some of the most iconic signs.
One feature at the museum right now is called Brilliant. Brilliant was created by artist Craig Winslow.
Many of the signs throughout the museum are from old casinos, and the museum includes a lobby shell from the old La Conca Motel.
Each sign showcases its history and why it’s important to the city.
Fremont Street Experience
The Fremont Street Experience is potentially one of the most well-known attractions in downtown Las Vegas.
One of the standouts is SlotZilla.
SlotZilla is a zipline that’s 11 stories and is, of course, inspired by slot machines.
It’s often voted one of the best attractions in Las Vegas, and it’s great for families and adventure-seekers alike.
The Viva Vision Light Show is also popular at the Fremont Street Experience. Right now, it’s featuring songs from Shakira. Viva Vision is the largest video screen in the world, with 16.4 million pixels.
The light shows are free, and they run every hour, lasting about six minutes each.
Other Things to Do in Downtown Las Vegas
There are a lot of bucket list items you can check off in downtown Las Vegas.
For example, head to the California Hotel & Casino to rub the Happy Buddha’s Belly.
The world’s largest keno board is downtown, and you’ll also find Vegas Vic downtown. Vegas Vic is 40-feet tall and was built in 1951, making him a Vegas staple. Downtown Las Vegas is an exciting part of the city you shouldn’t miss if you get the chance to go.