There are things to do in downtown Las Vegas that even the locals love.
Downtown Las Vegas or Old Vegas, has a touristy side, but it’s also a place where locals hang out. From when we lived here in 2013 to moving back, we’ve seen it change drastically.
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Last Updated: October 25, 2023
About Downtown Las Vegas
In 2013, Zappos had just moved their headquarters downtown and allocated $350 million in aid to revitalize Downtown Las Vegas. Tons of development happened, and it turned fairly run-down areas into new spaces for start-ups, new restaurants, tiny homes, and art installations.
Fast forward to the present day, and it’s become a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The closer you are to the Fremont Street Experience, you’ll find more tourists, and the further east you go, you’ll find more locals.
17 Things to Do in Downtown Las Vegas
300 Stewart Ave, map
We’re not huge museum-goers, but we love how interactive this one is.
This is our favorite museum in Vegas and even makes our list of favorite museums in the US. The history of organized crime and seeing what it is today is truly fascinating. Plus, since their renovations, they added a speakeasy and distillery in the basement!
Local Tip: If you only want to go to the speakeasy, look for the secret door near their parking lot.
1028 E Fremont St, map
This former motel is now a complex of cute shops. They are only open from Wednesday to Sunday (besides the coffee shop and restaurants), and they even have a night market on weekends.
We had so much fun exploring this area. It’s going to be a place we bring our friends who visit us. Don’t forget to check out our full guide below.
E Fremont St, map
The roof of the Fremont Street Experience recently got a $32 million upgrade. It’s the largest video screen in the world and has 16.4 million pixels.
The last time we went was years ago, and it looked like a completely different place.
After checking out the show, there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and casinos to explore. Plus, it’s a great spot for people watching if you’re into that sort of thing.
Local Tip: They have live music from time to time, so check out what their lineup is.
707 E Fremont St, map
The Downtown Container Park was one of the first installations in the area that really changed the vibe. It’s made out of containers and filled with shops, food, and art. They also have a stage where they hold events and concerts.
Local Tip: The giant Mantis is hard to miss. If you stick around until dark, it breathes fire.
5. Pretty Done
1531 S Commerce St, 89102, USA, map
Pretty Done, one of our favorite muralists in Vegas, now has a brick-and-mortar store you can visit to view and purchase artwork. If you’re a Vegas local, you’ve most likely seen his work around town. The store is open by appointment only (email itsprettydone [at] gmail.com). He holds events and painting classes once or twice a month. You can see his next dates on his Instagram. The next one is November 29th, 2023 from 4-6 pm.
If you want to track down Pretty Done’s murals in DTLV, these are some spots:
400 Stewart Ave, map
They are currently not doing these tours, but we’ll update this once we hear they’re back.
Though much of their company culture has changed after Amazon took over, it’s still interesting to learn how the company became a success through its customer service and community-oriented culture. Some say it’s a cult.
Plus, they played a big role in revitalizing downtown.
770 Las Vegas Blvd N, map
The Neon Museum is a popular spot for photos, whether it’s for the gram or weddings and portraits.
All the old neon signs in Las Vegas now rest in peace here. They have very specific rules for photography, so read our post below before you go.
Local Tip: If you’re trying to be in photos, it’s better during the day. If you want to see the signs lit up, it’s better at night.
450 E Fremont St, map
Throw axes with your friends, or go for the VIP experience and also throw spears, metal throwing cards, ninja stars, shovels, and more. They also allow kids 7+ to throw, so it can potentially be a fun family activity.
Seriously, try the shovel. So much fun!
Local Tip: If you need something to relieve stress, they also opened up a smash room where you can destroy things.
9. Million Dollar Photo at Binion’s
128 E Fremont St, map
It’s back summer of 2023 after being gone over pandemic. This was underwhelming since we imagined ourselves interacting with the million dollars more (like rolling around in it haha). But it’s a quick stop and FREE.
Can you see my disappointment? I wear my emotions on my sleeve.
10. Hand of Faith
129 E Fremont St, map
If you like roadside attractions, this is your chance to see the biggest golden nugget in existence (and second-biggest ever discovered). It was found in Australia and weighs 61 lbs.
We also didn’t care much for this, but again like the million dollar photo, it’s quick and free.
11. See a Piece of the Berlin Wall
200 N Main St, map
Unfortunately, since it’s not gender-neutral, this can be only seen by men. It’s located inside the men’s restroom at Main Street Station. Maybe if we play dress-up, we can sneak in.
Who would’ve guessed you can see a part of history while relieving yourself?
12. Have a Drink at Atomic Liquors
917 E Fremont St, map
Atomic Liquors is Las Vegas’s oldest freestanding bar. It has a dive bar feel, and it’s cool to see all the history inside. Did you know Nevada played a huge part in atomic bombs? This bar name was even inspired by people having atomic blast viewing parties in Vegas.
We stopped in for a drink during our Vegas Pub Crawler tour.
15. See Iconic Neon SIgns on Fremont
25 E Fremont St, map
Most iconic Vegas neon signs are retired and now at the Neon Museum, but if you still want to catch some of the classics, downtown Vegas is the place to go. Some popular ones include Vegas Vic, Vegas Vickie (moved inside Circa), and Oscar’s Martini.
17. See the Frank Gehry Building
888 W Bonneville Ave, 89106, map
Did you know that Vegas has a Frank Gehry building? It’s the Lou Ruo Center for Brain Health and an event venue. Our friends had their wedding here and it was amazing!
Banger Brewing Brewery Tour – Permanently Closed
After ten years, this brewery has closed. They did brewery tours and used to hold events, like bingo night, which was a lot of fun.
Map of the Best Things to Do in Downtown Las Vegas
More Things to Do in DOwntown Las Vegas
- Alibi Las Vegas – It’s not back since the pandemic, but their site still says temporarily closed. It’s an interactive dinner theater/scavenger hunt that took us all over downtown.
- DLVEC – open-air venue to see concerts and other events
- First Friday Art Walk
- Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort
- Pawn Stars Gold and Silver Pawn Shop
- Rub Happy Buddhas Belly at the Cal – the Cal is where all the Hawaiians go.
- World’s Largest Keno Board at the D
- Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum – not for me, but if you’re into the paranormal.
Where to Eat in Downtown Las Vegas
- Carson Kitchen – It’s been a while since we’ve been here, but we loved everything we ordered. Will have to go back to see what’s currently on the menu.
- Esther’s Kitchen – one of our favorite Italian places in Las Vegas. I love the gem salad and pretty much all the pasta (Cacio e Pepe is still my favorite).
- Park on Fremont – The Philly mac and cheesesteak is amazing.
- Heart Attack Grill – the food here tastes horrendous, but you’re here for the experience of being spanked if you don’t finish your gigantic meal. Jacob got spanked and said while it wasn’t a beating, it was not soft either.
Donut Bar (originally from San Diego) and Vegas Test Kitchen have closed.
Essential Tips for Visiting Downtown Las Vegas
- Free parking is limited downtown. There are paid decks, paid street parking, and some free street parking. Just be sure you read all the signs.
- The closer you are to the Fremont Experience, the more tourists you’ll find.
- Double check hours before heading downtown. Some spots are only opened on certain days or hours.
How it Affects the Locals
To give you some background on what the locals think about gentrification.
Depending on who you talk to, you have varying opinions on all the changes downtown. Many locals born and raised here are sad to see the old mom-and-pop shops close. Meanwhile, most transplants seem excited about all the changes that bring in new and more “boujee” restaurants, Etsy-esque shops, and vibrant art.
I’m curious to know what you think.
Best Places to Stay in Downtown
Can you think of any other things to do in downtown Las Vegas that is a must-do?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.