Downtown Las Vegas Living
Downtown is located in the center of the Las Vegas Valley and just north of the Las Vegas Strip, centered on Fremont Street, the Fremont Street Experience and Fremont East. The city defines the area as bounded by I-15 on the west, Washington Avenue on the north, Maryland Parkway on the east and Sahara Avenue on the south.
As the urban core of the Las Vegas Valley, downtown Vegas features a variety of hotel and high-rise condos, cultural centers, historical buildings and government institutions, as well as residential and retail developments. You’ll also find wartime era bungalows and the former havens of showgirls and lounge singers.
But what’s old is new again, and the area that used to be called the “old downtown” of Las Vegas has now become the hippest and fastest growing neighborhood in the city, with plenty of new condo buildings for those who want to live here.
Downtown Las Vegas condos offer chic, urban sophistication perfectly in line with the neighborhood’s renaissance. The Ogden high-rise features spacious, modern condos steps from Fremont Street. Both the Newport and Soho high-rises offer urban loft styles amid the galleries and restaurants of the Arts District. Revamped live/work warehouse studios near Fremont East include Fremont9 the Vine on 8th.
Whether you treasure Old Las Vegas or want to be part of the New Las Vegas, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Downtown Las Vegas. This is the iconic place where old meets new, classic meets trendy, and rules are meant to be broken.
Downtown Las Vegas Neighborhoods
Downtown Las Vegas covers about 110 acres and is made up of several neighborhoods, all with a distinct feel. While the entertainment and attractions appeal to out-of-towners as well, this is really where locals go for fun. You can live, work and play, all within a few blocks of this historic downtown core.
Fremont Street is the main thoroughfare of old downtown, and houses the covered Fremont Street Experience, which is aptly named because it truly is an experience. The eclectic mix of this covered pedestrian mall offers access to classic casinos like the Four Queens, The D, the Golden Gate, the Golden Nugget and Binion’s, each one a favorite of locals. But it also showcases a menagerie of street performers and characters that attract the tourists.
Overhead, you can take in the hourly Viva Vision music and light show on the 1,375-foot-long LED ceiling screen, or watch zipliners flying through the sky. There are also free live concerts nightly on three separate stages, with a rotating schedule of non-stop talent performing hits from every musical genre. You can take in local favorites like Zowie Bowie, Velvet Elvis and Spandex Nation, while the annual Downtown Rocks concert series features chart-toppers like 3 Doors Down, Smashmouth, Sugar Ray and the Barenaked Ladies.
Across Las Vegas Blvd you’ll find the neon glitz of the newly created hipster paradise Fremont East, home to the Downtown Container Park open-air shopping center and classic watering holes like the El Cortez Hotel & Casino, Atomic Liquors, and the Commonwealth with its speakeasy Laundry Room.
If throwback speakeasys are your thing (and they should be, because they’re pretty cool), the Mob Museum has one downstairs called The Underground, complete with musical entertainment. There’s also the Downtown Cocktail Room, accessible from Las Vegas Blvd but completely discrete, and Mike Morey’s Sip’n’Tip off the alley behind it. Whichever one you go to, you have to know the password to get in. This is where the 1920s meet the 2020s, and tourists rarely know how to get in.
Dining options are decidedly hip in this neighborhood, including Carson Kitchen (a.k.a. CKLAS) with a fabulous modern mac-and-cheese comfort food dish, Rachel’s Kitchen fresh casual eatery, and La Comida Mexican restaurant with its whimsical décor and neon skeleton sign. In fact, whatever cuisine you’re craving, there’s a trendy version of it here, from sushi to Thai to American to modern twists on pizza.
The Fremont East district of downtown Vegas is also home to the beloved Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival, where you can take in world-famous acts like Green Day, Duran Duran, Billie Eilish, The Black Keys, Blink-182, Chance the Rapper and many more.
Don’t forget the galleries and studios of the Arts District, the epicenter to the monthly First Friday Las Vegas arts and culture festival, the Smith Center, and the hip Symphony Park. This is where Las Vegas proves it’s not just a glitzy tourist town, but a bona fide arts hub and a world-class Broadway of the Southwest.
If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, there’s no shortage of options. This is the area where artsy neighborhood cocktail bars and beer houses with trendy names abound, like the Velveteen Rabbit, ReBAR, Cork and Thorn, Level One, The Silver Stamp, CraftHaus Brewery, Nevada Brew Works, and Three Sheets Craft Beer Bar. You can create your own customized bar crawl with your besties, or tap into one of the many organized Pub and Restaurant Crawls.
When you’re craving a meal or snack, local bistros offer surprisingly top-notch quality food with unique flavors. Esther’s Kitchen seasonal Italian restaurant has an amazing fresh Porchetta Benedict and Truffle Polenta, while Casa Don Juan offers made-from-scratch Mexican classics and DE Thai Kitchen presents authentic Pad Thai and Kao Soi.
If you want to learn more about the city’s history, don’t miss museum attractions like The Mob Museum, where you can witness firsthand how the city used to operate with crime and punishment; the Neon Museum and Boneyard, where every historic neon sign comes to light up the sky for eternity; the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, where you can see artifacts from before the city was even conceived; and the Children’s Discovery Museum, where interactive displays let little ones learn while they have fun.
The Las Vegas downtown historic district is the ultimate place where past meets future, and the story of this iconic city unfolds through the good, the bad, and the ugly … which all adds up to make the beautiful.