5 Pieces of History Worth Visiting in Las Vegas

Las Vegas History Las Vegas boasts a rich history, and the city offers up plenty of opportunities to step back in time. Throughout the years, Las Vegas has undergone several shifts in identity leaving traces of each change behind. From the Wild West era to mobster playground, and now a gambling mecca, Las Vegas is more than just neon lights and craps tables. If you’re looking to experience something a little different next time you visit, here are 5 pieces of Las Vegas history sure to change the way you think about the city.

Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort

Serving as the very first permanent structure in the valley, the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort was built in 1855, strategically located near a spring fed creek.  The original structure was a 150-foot adobe fort intended to serve as a mid-point regrouping area on the trail from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. Today, a small portion of the original structure still remains just east of Las Vegas Boulevard. Make sure to take some time to check out the visitor center of the state park for great details about this historic place.

Railroad Cottage District

The rail services in the area helped Las Vegas develop into the city it is today. In order to provide housing for those building the rails, the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad built a total of 64 cottages in what is now Downtown Las Vegas. Although only a handful of cottages remain in the original district, the area remains on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is sure to bring you back in time.

Famous Neon

Vegas Vic is the unofficial name for the famous neon cowboy located outside of a souvenir shop that was formerly The Pioneer Club. This staple of Downtown Las Vegas since 1951 measures in at 40 feet, and can wave and talk. Located directly across Fremont Street is another famous piece of Downtown neon known as Vegas Vickie. She is a seated cowgirl with a leg kicked over Fremont, erected in 1980, who now sits over the Glitter Gulch Neon Sign. In 1984, Vic and Vickie were married in a fun ceremony covered by local news. For more pieces of Vegas neon history, be sure to check out the Neon Boneyard.

The Bellagio Fountains

Since their first show over 15 years ago, the fountains at Bellagio have become an award winning staple of Las Vegas. This amazing (and free) fountain show takes place at regular time intervals every day and featured over 30 different combinations of water movements carefully choreographed to a variety of popular songs. The fountains are located on an 8-acre manmade lake and feature over 4 thousand lights and over a thousand nozzles. For another amazing free show, make sure to head down to The Mirage for the famous volcano show!

Hoover Dam

One of the most well-known manmade landmarks resides just outside of Las Vegas on the border of Nevada and Arizona. The Hoover Dam, completed in 1935 to control flooding and irrigation along the Colorado River, was built from 5 million barrels of cement and 45 million pounds of reinforced steel. This amazing artificial wonder of the world created Lake Mead, the largest manmade reservoir in the U.S., now a mecca for outdoor activities in the area. Make sure to take some time to check out some of these amazing historic sites next time you find yourself looking for something different to experience Downtown.

5 Unique Shopping Destinations in Downtown Las Vegas

Dining Downtown Las Vegas

Source: Vegasseven.com

Downtown Las Vegas is one of the most unique areas in the city. Over the past couple of years, and still continuing today, the area has undergone a massive transformation to make it a truly captivating destination for locals and visitors alike. One of the many things making Downtown so unique is the one-of-a-kind shopping presented by the wide array of boutiques located throughout the district. Whether you are looking for a special Vegas-themed antique, the perfect book for the gambler back at home or a highly coveted record, the shops in Downtown Las Vegas have you covered.

11Th Street Records

The perfect stop for the music lover in your group, 11th Street Records is dedicated to buying, selling, trading, and even recording records. The store boasts vinyl listening parties, in-store parties and performances, live streaming webcasts of these performances and much more. Stop in and do your part to help support the music industry and community today.

The Writer’s Block

The Writer’s Block is the only independent bookstore in the entire city and is much more than just that. The shop boasts not only an amazing selection of unique books, but also books from larger publishers, a collection of children’s books, apparel, collectibles and a book machine that prints, binds and trims paperback books in 5 minutes.

Retro Vegas

Just up the street from the Plaza, Retro Vegas is the place to go if you are looking for one-of-a-kind Vegas antiques. This massive shop is full of both Las Vegas themed collectibles and general mid-century antiques, and enough variety to fit into any price point. While you are there make sure to check out the famous pink kitchen. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, simply saunter up Main Street for over 10 more different antique shops to peruse.

The Gamblers General Store & Book Club

For the widest variety of gambling related products, including books, The Gamblers General Store is your go-to in Downtown Las Vegas. For over three decades, this Downtown staple has specialized in providing all your gambling needs including personalized chips, high-quality cards, dice, poker tables, memorabilia and much more. If you are searching for a book about gambling, check out the over 3,000 gambling books available at Gamblers Book Club.

Container Park

What good would an article about shopping in Downtown be without a mention of the amazing Container Park? This one-of-a-kind open-air shopping area is made entirely from shipping containers and contains enough activity to keep everyone in your group (especially the kids) occupied and entertained for hours. No matter what you are looking for, you are sure to find it here. Don’t forget to check out some of the mouth-watering food and drink options while you are here. No matter what you are looking to buy or do, Downtown Las Vegas has it all.  So make sure to give yourself ample time to explore this district the next time you are in town!

What to Expect When Dining at Oscar’s

Oscar's Steakhouse Las Vegas

Source: Vegasmagazine.com

Come on In

It isn’t a trip to Vegas unless you’ve dined at Oscar’s. Flirt with all the showgirls you want, but you haven’t done Sin City without the signature steaks and cocktails that await you at the only dining establishment that’s earned the name of the Happiest Mayor on Earth. And while you’re here, you may even get to meet the legendary mob-boss-turned-mayor, Oscar Goodman himself. Located in the iconic glass dome of the the jewel of Downtown – the Plaza Hotel and Casino – it’s a true Vegas experience worthy of any appetite.

Take in the View  – Inside & Out

The all-glass dome of the Plaza used to be home of this Downtown classic’s pool. This was a scene where you wanted to be seen…and not much has changed to this day. From your table, you’ll be treated to views of the iconic Fremont Street Experience. Inside, enjoy the glitz and glam of old-school Vegas with mood lighting and classic jazz. While you’re here, take in some of Oscar’s rare photographs of vintage Vegas, along with memorabilia from Mr. Goodman’s 12-year tenure as mayor.

Did We Mention the Broads?

Can you beat beauty and brains? No way. The Broads of Oscar’s are beautiful dinner hostesses and companions who can regale you with tales of Vegas history, recommend must-do Vegas attractions (although you’d be experiencing one during your conversation), talk sports, debate politics – anything you want. They were inspired by Oscar Goodman’s “booze and broads” trial back when he was a mob attorney, and the Bacchanal Room at the old Caesars Palace where guests were invited to party with the Goddesses. Oscar’s Broads are there to enliven your experience…after all, nothing complements a great dinner like sparkling conversation with a beautiful companion. As the man himself says, “I’d take one Betty over 100 showgirls any day.”

Eat and Drink Like You Own This Town

Oscars Steakhouse Steak The crowning jewel of Oscar’s is the amazingly varied food menu and classic drink offerings. As a fine dining steakhouse, Oscar’s offers a variety of perfectly aged cuts which are then seared over a 600 degree grill to ensure they are flavorful, juicy and tender. Adding to the unmistakably Las Vegas glam feel, Oscar’s offers jumbo shrimp, crab legs and lobster tail to complement any of the already delicious entrees. All of the side dishes at Oscar’s are made from scratch with only the highest quality ingredients. Featuring staples such as smashed potatoes and steamed asparagus to less-expected offerings such as roasted corn brulee and onion strings, you are sure to find something you love. With a full bar, you can opt for a classic cocktail or one of the many signature and hand-crafted Las Vegas inspired drinks at the restaurant. Don’t forget to try Mr. Goodman’s signature Bombay Sapphire martini while you’re here. Oscar would insist on it.

So When Are You Coming?

Hopefully your appetite is whetted for the quintessential Vegas dining experience, courtesy of beloved Mayor and famed mob attorney Oscar Goodman. Just remember, if you haven’t been here, you haven’t really been to Vegas. Cheers!

The Best Spots in Downtown Las Vegas to Have a Nightcap with “Old Vegas” Nostalgia

Atomic Liquors Las Vegas Travel back in time to the days of Elvis, Frank Sinatra, mobsters and showgirls. Here  nightcaps are in style and cocktails are elaborate concoctions unique to every bar, lounge or speakeasy on the streets of Vegas. Flash forward to present day: The magic of Old Vegas is alive and well downtown. Many of the vintage bars and cocktail lounges have become a part of the downtown renaissance — destinations that are reminiscent of days long passed but with a decidedly modern twist. Here are some of the best spots to have a nightcap with Old Vegas nostalgia.

Atomic Liquors

The oldest freestanding bar in Vegas, Atomic Liquors has been around since 1952.  The name comes from what used to be the main attraction — watching nuclear blasts at the nearby atomic test site from the roof of the bar. This downtown gem has quite a history in show business and was frequented by the Rat Pack, the Smothers Brothers and Barbara Streisand. Today, it boasts a well-stocked bar, a fabulous drink menu, late night hours and special events just about every day. Step into the Atomic and head right back to the 1950s.

Downtown Cocktail Room

Located in the Fremont East Entertainment district, the Downtown Cocktail Room is an upscale cocktail lounge and speakeasy that serves up luscious libations in a Bohemian-Chic atmosphere. The handcrafted cocktails are one-of-a-kind creations that have acquired a huge following among locals and visitors alike. Be a part of the downtown scene that escapes the spectacle of the Strip — and embrace the glamour of Vegass’ past, present and future.

Oscar’s Steakhouse

Locatedin the iconicx dome at the Plaza Hotel and Casino, Oscar’s has been attracting discriminating visitors to its restaurant and bar since 2011. Oscar’s famous bar, adjacent to the steakhouse, serves up world-famous martinis in a glamorous, old-school Vegas atmosphere. Overlooking the Fremont Street Experience, Oscar’s also has the best view in town.

The Commonwealth

This swanky, 6,000-square-foot cocktail lounge was inspired by pre-prohibition era design. Serving a huge array of cocktails, craft beers and other libations, Commonwealth boasts over-the-top chandeliers, bow-tied bartenders, a dance floor and a rooftop patio. What more could you want in a classic, downtown bar? When you are ready to reminisce, there is no place like downtown to find that Old Vegas style. With such a unique array of nightlife opportunities, these are truly hidden gems, tucked away from the circus of the Strip. If you have been neglecting the downtown area, now is the time to visit these popular watering holes to see what you’ve been missing.

5 Spots that Showcase the Downtown Las Vegas Revival

Praying Mantis at Downtown Las Vegas Downtown Las Vegas may not be the first thing you think of when you think of Vegas, but in recent years it has done a fabulous job of rebranding itself. Instead of competing with the circus of the strip, downtown Las Vegas has worked hard to create an image that embraces art, music, and culture in a world-class destination. If you’re wondering why you should consider a stay in downtown Las Vegas, here are five must-visit spots that showcase the best of the downtown revival.

Mob Museum

Located in the heart of downtown, the Mob Museum shares the thrilling story of organized crime in Las Vegas. The mob scene played a huge role in the shaping of modern Las Vegas – helping it evolve and to become the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” At the Mob Museum, you’ll explore high-tech theater presentations, unique artifacts, and awesome interactive exhibits that tell both sides of the story; that of the mobs and that of the law’s. This intriguing presentation of Las Vegass’ colorful history will surprise and enthrall you. A must see.

Smith Center for the Performing Arts

From Broadway shows, to jazz, ballet, and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, there is always something happening at the Smith Center. This thriving cultural complex has enabled southern Nevada to take its place on the international stage, and the sprawling campus has become a mecca for world-class culture, art, and musical events. In fact, the Smith Center is an exhibit in-and-of itself, with unique architecture, outdoor sculptures, and beautifully landscaped grounds. A picnic in Symphony Park is almost as exciting as the first-rate performances.

Downtown Container Park

Downtown Container Park is a truly unique experience, unlike anything in Las Vegas. A Fremont Street destination built entirely of shipping containers, this urban gathering area features nightly music, boutique shopping, world-class cuisine, and a kids’ play area, complete with a 30-foot slide and water-play attraction. There’s always something going on at this hip, downtown destination.

The Neon Museum

Neon Museum Downtown Vegas

Founded in 1996, the spectacular Neon Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and displaying the iconic Las Vegas signs that used to tower over Sin City. Indoor and outdoor display areas, with more than 150 rescued signs, chronicle the changes and trends in sign design and technology from the 1930s to the present day. This uniquely Las Vegas museum is located downtown on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Discovery Children’s Museum

Located in Symphony Park, adjacent to the Smith Center, the Discovery Children’s Museum has helped redefine downtown Las Vegas as a cultural and artistic destination. This huge, interactive and educational play space provides a vibrant and engaging experience for kids of all ages. The 58,000-square foot building has nine exhibition halls spread across three stories. Science, art, technology, music, and theater: It’s all here, just waiting for your family to discover. Over the years, Las Vegas has become so much more than an opulent gambling destination. Thanks to a modern revival, Downtown Las Vegas is now an attraction in its own right, helping to define Vegas as a culturally diverse and internationally renowned urban center.    

Food Diary: Eating Our Way Through the Day

Plaza breakfast 7:00 a.m. The alarm clock went off and there was no hitting snooze. We had a lot to get to at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, but before we could do anything, whether work or play, we needed to eat a solid breakfast. The best way to start the day is with breakfast at Hash House A Go Go. One of our favorite dishes there is the classic Boston Hash – crispy potatoes, mixed onions and fresh tomatoes crowned with blue crab cake drizzled with horseradish cream and served with eggs and fresh fruit. After a breakfast of that magnitude we were almost ready to begin the day. We just needed to stop by Cafelatte for a Lavazza coffee first. 12:32 p.m. Before we knew it, it was already time for lunch. We were still a little full from breakfast and were busy making the most of the day so we opted for something quick and easy at Pop Up Pizza. We indulged in a slice of cheese, but also had a salad. Mom always said eat your veggies! 5:00 p.m. Five o’clock rolled around. It was a busy and productive day, but now it was time to relax and enjoy the evening. It was a beautiful fall day in Vegas. Today’s sky was a mix of pink, orange and red as the sun set. We headed to the Bier Garten for a craft beer and to enjoy the sights and sounds of Downtown Las Vegas from the outdoor area. In addition to our beers, we ordered a giant pretzel and wurst to share as a snack before dinner. Bier Garten food and drinks 6:52 p.m. We had a reservation at Oscar’s for 7 p.m. so we headed upstairs to the restaurant. The decor of Oscar’s is glamorous. It incorporates memorabilia from Oscar Goodman’s 12-year tenure as mayor as well as classic photographs of Las Vegas from over the years. It makes you feel like a star. We started with some calamari and chose the pork chop for the entrée. The calamari was nice and crispy on the outside and the pork chop had been perfectly seared. Not a bad way to wrap up another fun day at the Plaza. Oscar's calamari Oscar's pork chop

Holiday Shopping in Downtown Las Vegas

Downtown Container Park

holiday shopping downtown Everyone knows Vegas is one of the best cities to shop ’til you drop.  Whether it’s high end couture, beautiful boutiques or fantastic outlets, there are tons of places and a variety of ways to shop in Sin City.  Those who like to find special pieces that no one else will have should explore Downtown Container Park. It’s only a short walk from Plaza and has beautiful boutiques and a quirky design. And foor the bargain mavens there is Las Vegas North Premium Outlets, which offer an unparalleled combination of quality and great deals and are also located close to Plaza. Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be stressful or just a task to cross off your to-do list. It can be quality, relaxing alone time or a destination event for the whole family. Container Park has an amazing array of stores (art, apparel, décor, toys), dining options (BBQ, Mexican, extravagant hot dogs, whiskey bar, wine bar) and activities (treehouse and play area for kids and adults, live music). You can bring the fun back to holiday shopping with a visit to this popular Downtown Las Vegas destination. It’s a fresh urban landscape and more than a collection of stores. The area is constructed from shipping containers stacked on one another and was created as a place everyone can enjoy. Spend the day perusing the boutiques, sampling the different food options and having fun in the park. While you can pay top dollar for anything you want in Las Vegas, you also can find amazing brand name goods at bargain prices if you visit the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets. Tell everyone you picked a little something up for them in Vegas – just don’t tell them you bought designer wear for less than designer costs! With 150 stores, the outlets offer all of the high end designers you’d find at malls and destination shopping venues.  Come visit Las Vegas and shop it up – you’ll love what you find!

Downtown Las Vegas Buzzes as Life is Beautiful Returns

Life is Beautiful
Fred Morledge – FMPhoto.com
Downtown Las Vegas is a vibrant area that speaks to both a great past and promising future. The Life is Beautiful festival, which returns to Downtown Las Vegas on Friday, is a testament of this. The festival will bring some of today’s greatest musicians, chefs, artists and speakers to the art district for a three day inspirational social platform. The Plaza Hotel and Casino has defined Downtown Las Vegas throughout its historic past. Today, as the area continues to undergo substantial change and growth we continue to create the perfect combination of comfort and sophistication. The effort put forth by the Life is Beautiful team is something we admire. And as a fellow Downtown Las Vegas business we certainly appreciate the buzz it creates for our community. Adjacent to the arts district, the Plaza was a hub for those who attended last year’s inaugural Life is Beautiful festival and we be one this year as well. Whether you need a room to rest between days, something to eat or drink or just some help with directions, we are here to help make your Life is Beautiful experience as enjoyable and empowering as possible. For the full festival lineup, please visit lifeisbeautiful.com.

What You Don’t Know About Las Vegas!

The bright lights of Downtown Las Vegas and the Strip plus the fast-paced and high-energy gambling at any number of casinos. That’s Las Vegas in a nutshell — or is it? Sure, you’ve heard of these attractions, and you’re certainly going to hit them up the next time you’re in the city, but is there more to Las Vegas than meets the eye? Of course! Las Vegas is a city of surprises. Whether its your first time visiting Sin City or you’re a Vegas veteran, these beyond the strip attractions will give you a well-rounded vacation you’ll remember forever.

Ethel M. Chocolate Factory Tour and Botanical Cactus Gardens

chocolate What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so that means you’re free to overindulge. The Ethel M. Chocolate Factory promises fun, education, and a free sample. You’ll see how chocolate is made and learn about Ethel M., the genius behind the gourmet morsels. Once you’ve toured the factory, you can head next door for a completely unique experience – a visit to the Botanical Cactus Gardens. Displaying over 300 types of cacti, these botanical gardens are truly engaging, offering three acres of prickly pears, yuccas, aloe, and more. This excursion is perfect for parties of all ages, but it’s a great way for families to spend part of the day doing something together – and it’s free!

Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon

Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon Have you ever dreamed of soaring above all your troubles? At Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon, you can do just that – at 60 miles per hour. The moderately priced attraction ($159 for your three-hour tour) is perfect for those who love nature and adventure. Not only will you have the time of your life flying down four ziplines, but you’ll also get a captivating view of the historic and beautiful Bootleg Canyon. It’s one of the most breathtaking sights in the Las Vegas area. You might even glimpse some horn sheep or lizards as you zip through the Red Mountains. This experience is perfect for teens and adults with a sense of adventure or who are ready to get one! However, it’s not a great choice for those with health conditions, and there are strict weight limits.

American Muscle Car Driving Experience

musclecar Have you ever wanted to drive a really cool, really fast car? If so, Las Vegas is your town. The American Muscle Car Driving Experience provides you with a really awesome car – a 2014 Dodge Challenger SRT8, 2013 Corvette Z06, or 2014 Camero ZL1 – and lets you drive it really fast through 30 miles of Red Rock Canyon. While this is obviously an attraction for adults, almost everyone loves shiny cars, so it could be a fun opportunity for your whole group, provided no one is afraid of high speeds! One person can drive for $299, a passenger is $99, and an additional driver costs $150. Las Vegas has always been considered one of the world’s top tourist destinations, but there’s more to do than gamble and take in shows. Make your experience unique with one of these destinations.

20 Awesome Things to Do in Downtown Las Vegas [Infographic]

Downtown Las Vegas has been exploding recently with endless possibilities drawing people away from the Strip. The emergence of a fantastic arts scene, gourmet food, special bars, unique museums, and varied activities for every taste, have all attracted plenty of attention to downtown. Just like any city, even Las Vegas has hidden gems waiting to be discovered and explored. This infographic details the better and lesser known options that downtown Las Vegas has to offer for those eager to venture away from the Strip and learn something new about the city that is loved by so many people. Come on by and see for yourself why downtown is such a great neighborhood to be in!
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A Sneak Peak Into the Hidden Gems of Downtown Las Vegas

downtown Las Vegas Every town has their hidden gems – their “secret” local hangouts. You have to be on the inside in order to have the privilege of knowing about these trendy spots. Well, I’m here to give you a little insider information. Just about everyone knows about the famous Fremont Street Experience, and you may even know about the Rock of Vegas Summer Concert Series and the new Slotzilla zipline (that is being constructed all the way down Fremont Street). But what you may not know is that when you venture off Fremont Street you will find a bevy of speakeasy bars, a plethora of amazing food choices, and more art galleries than one person could see in a day – each injecting a thrilling sense of adventure and mischief into the regular Vegas experience. For the uninitiated, exploring downtown can be like opening a treasure chest of entertainment. Food is definitely plentiful in downtown Las Vegas and should not be overlooked. Key restaurants provide the best in American and foreign food, from the infamous burger joint Heart Attack Grill, to the gourmet, specialized food of eat. and even the wide selection at Le Thai. It certainly is easy to work up an appetite in this city so indulge yourself and try out one of these greats. The Laundry Room is hidden behind secret doors and has no markings. The unsuspecting might walk right by without any knowledge of the excitement held inside. This modern speakeasy bar operates under anonymity and specializes in classic cocktails. One of its unique features is the chance to simply name your preferred type of alcohol and have the bartender create something special for you. If you can find this hidden gem, make sure you make a reservation. Not on the list? No entrance! The Lady Silvia also falls under the category of the modern speakeasy, but come on in! No reservation required! There is no shortage of exciting activities when you step away from the downtown Las Vegas casinos, and engaging in downtown has never been more fun, so stop by and see what you’re missing!