How To Have The Best Vegas Trip Ever Without Hitting The Strip


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A couple of years ago, I took the Megabus from L.A. to Vegas to meet a girlfriend for the weekend. I’d been to Vegas a few times, mostly justing hanging out on “The Strip” and gambling extremely small amounts of money to get free drinks. This go around, my friend and I decided we needed to see more. We wanted to get off the beaten track and avoid the glitzy chaos, so we headed to Fremont Street, Downtown.

Fremont street is weird in all the best ways. It’s the older, seedier Las Vegas you sometimes glimpse in movies — vintage neon signs, actual dive bars, a two-story praying mantis that shoots fire out of its mouth — we were immediately in love.
It’s quirky, kitchy, and dive-y; in short, it’s the opposite of the towering hotels we’d spent our past trips visiting.

Immediately it sparked something in us, a desire to find the heart of the city without ever spending time in one of its massive resorts. Here’s where to go in Vegas without hitting The Strip.

1. Be a Fremont person.

Fremont Street is. Just. Great. At the Golden Nugget, they have sharks. Who knows why? But I’m glad they do. The Downtown Container Park has stores and restaurants tucked into repurposed shipping containers — while wandering around make sure to tuck into Oak & Ivy for a whiskey cocktail, a tiny, awesome bar in the complex.

The Mob Museum is also downtown — which is a great museum to hit in the afternoon. Later, you should slip into The Griffin, a dive bar with dim lighting, dancing, and strong drinks. It’s just the sort of place you might be fooled into thinking doesn’t exist in Vegas anymore.

Wander from Fremont St. and N. Las Vegas Blvd.

2. Learn your Las Vegas history at the Neon Museum