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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.
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Follow: @lasvegastips 👈 Before Steve Wynn built the first mega casino drawing the crowds to what is now the strip; Frémont St and the downtown area was the place to visit! With it’s own vintage feel of old Vegas you can also experience all that is amazing about the recent $350 mill revamp! Tag someone who you’d want to explore downtown with in the comments!🍺 📸: @tmurray87 👌 • • • #whathappensinvegasstaysinvegas #lasvegaslife #vegasvacation #dreamvacation #vegastour #travelholic #dreamvacation #vegasweekend #lasvegasparty #night #lovetotravel #oldvegas #vegasstyle #wanderlust #vacation2019 #wonderfulplaces #lasvegasstrip #adventure #fabulouslasvegas #travel #fremont #vegasbound #downtownvegas #vegasready #adventureseeker #drais #goexplore #vegasnightlife #fremontstreet #lovevegas
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
I mean, I know. You came to Las Vegas to lose brain cells not gain knowledge, but stay with me. The neon museum is a seriously cool place. The neon boneyard, filled with ghosts of glamorous Las Vegas past, is a treasure trove of interesting facts and anecdotes.
Just make sure to do the guided tour, it’s worth it. And while it’s cool in the day, it’s definitely pretty magical at night when it’s all lit up. A guided tour is $28.
770 Las Vegas Blvd North.