When I moved to Vegas 4 years ago they had recently begun really trying to revamp the downtown “Old Vegas” area. In the time that I lived there, it went from a sketchy area that I felt somewhat uncomfortable walking around in to a place I always brought every visitor. I saw casinos and restaurants built, torn down, renovated and fun and beautiful artwork painted on walls. I came to prefer the dining, bars, and overall experience of spending time in this renovated area. I had many a fantastic day and night at the music festivals that were held in this new area.
Where to Stay
The hotels downtown have not received the same level of renovation as the rest of the area yet but the Downtown Grand is an old hotel made new again – we stayed there New Years Eve the year it opened and it was nice. if you want a fun “classic” experience plus a fun pool, stay at the Golden Nugget and you won’t be disappointed with the pool area and shark tank!
Where to Eat
The Container Park in DTLV has a ton of options if you have a group of people with different cravings or if you are in a rush. Everything from raw and vegan to barbecue!
Also in line with a vegan/vegetarian diet is Vegenation – which even a true meat lover will enjoy a meal at (and not even miss the meat!) If vegetarian is not an option, Carson Kitchen is a great spot as well as Glutton.
Where to Drink
This area is the best place for true “bar hopping” because you don’t have to go in and out of Casinos and walk a mile in between bars. Hit up a true original like Atomic Liquors, founded in 1952 and a spot that The Rat Pack used to frequent. Barbra Streisand even had her own seat which has been restored and is on display. If you head to the Arts District, stop by Velveteen Rabbit, a craft cocktail bar with a seasonal menu.
If you are sticking to the bustling part of Fremont East, make sure to head to Park (I mentioned this bar in a previous post) it may not truly be “Old Vegas” but I love it too much not to include it and the awesome see-saw!
You should then stop over to Downtown Cocktail room, a moody spot with old-school vibes. If you can figure out the number and secret password, you may even be able to make it inside the not-so-secret speakeasy inside of Commonwealth!
What to Do
The Neon Museum is an essential piece of old Vegas. This graveyard where old Neon Signs retire has been re-born and is a fantastic piece of the city’s history. At night, there are a select few of the signs that are lit up. Make sure you sign up for the tour in advance as they fill up fast!
The Fremont Street Experience and Zip Line (I mentioned this in a previous post) was completely revamped in the time I lived in Vegas and looks like a blast now. In the evenings, the roof of the area lights up with music, which is the “Experience” but I think it is more about all the unique characters you see in the street…lots of people watching.
The Mob Museum is another fun way to find out about the history of Las Vegas. Walk through the history of the city and how it was truly run and who was in charge. They even talk about other major cities with Mob involvement so you may find out something about your own hometown too (I’m looking at you Tampa cough Ybor!)
- All photos in Badgley Mischa Sequin dress by my friend Alissa at Lissables Photography