Las Vegas is fittingly named Sin City, what with the city’s promise of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. Gambling, drinking and dining are the three top reasons people visit Las Vegas and rarely do they venture off the famous Strip. However, little do they know, there’s a whole other world that not many people know exist, Downtown Las Vegas.
Downtown Las Vegas is a great place North of the main Strip, dubbed as “Vintage Vegas”. A few years ago there would be no way anyone would recommend a trip to Downtown Las Vegas, but my, oh, my have the times changed. Buzzing with a collection of unique bars and restaurants, eclectic street performers, and bustling festivals, Downtown Las Vegas is now the place to hang out for locals and in-the-know tourists. A flock of local owned business and a community based project, the Downtown Project, headed by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, has kicked off the transformation of Downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world.
The Downtown Project is investing $350 million into the revitalization and transformation of the area. As part of their mission to integrate the arts, music and culture, they have invested in festivals and events attracting locals and creating a community. Here are few you should know about:
- First Friday: Las Vegas’ monthly art festival held in Downtown’s 18b Arts District and on Fremont East. Expect food trucks, art stalls, live music and entertainment at this family friendly event. The event is free and open to all, but be sure to take cash with you if you plan to eat or purchase any art.
- Downtown 3rd Farmers Market: This weekly market is Las Vegas’ largest indoors Farmers Market, featuring organic produce, local farmers, and artisanal foods from 9am-3pm.
- Vegas StrEATS: The second Saturday of every month sees Vegas StrEATS, a street food and cultural festival from 6pm – 1am opposite El Cortez. With live music, DJs and a vast collection of food trucks offering a variety of different cuisines, StrEATS is great for the whole family.
- The Sunday Reset Project: For those who are dedicated to a healthier lifestyle, the Sunday Reset Project focuses on creating a healthier community in Las Vegas by resetting the mind, body and spirit. Sessions are run on the first Sunday of the month and include a 45 minute run or walk followed by a meditation session and a healthy meal.
On top of the festivals and events, Downtown Las Vegas has a great collection of bars which run their own events. Here are a few of our favorite bars:
- Insert Coin(s): As the name suggests, this joint is an arcade games haven with retro arcade games and Gaming Booths featuring X-box 360s and PS3s. With DJs spinning the latest hits, classic tracks and remixed video game soundtracks, you’ll be on the dance floor dancing along to the mega-sized video-wall.
- Don’t Tell Mama: This piano bar attracts a wide range of people, playing all of the classics and welcoming everyone. The bar staff are not only there to wait on you but also to entertain you, getting up to sing throughout the night. Warning! This place can get very loud with the whole bar singing along, so if you don’t like lively atmospheres give this one a miss.
- The Commonwealth: This new addition to Downtown Las Vegas, brings a collision of art and architectural influences inspired by pre-Prohibition era design and libations. Their roof-top patio bar has a great vibe with a DJ and view of Fremont St.