The site of the first homes and hotels in Las Vegas, Downtown is both the newest and oldest neighborhood in Sin City.
With its wide array of restaurants, bars, shops, and attractions, Downtown is one of the most interesting and varied neighborhoods in Las Vegas. Whether you seek an upscale steakhouse, a low-key nameless bar or an old-school record store, you can find it somewhere around Fremont Street.
Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, Steakhouse, Italian, American, $$$
Located in The D on Fremont Street, Andiamo Steakhouse offers updates on old Vegas classics. There are top-shelf martinis, tableside Caesar salads and a dessert cart the size of the Queen Mary. The menu includes carnivore standards like ribeye and porterhouse, as well as a range of homemade pastas.
Kerry Simon’s menu of twisted and tweaked American food is now presided over by his brother, Scott Simon. Diners can choose the intimate downstairs bar or the scenic upstairs patio to enjoy their small plates and specialty cocktails. Standouts at the Carson Kitchen include espresso-rubbed steak and the bourbon fudge brownie sundae.
The menu at Flock and Fowl may be minimal, but what they do, they do exceptionally well. And what they do is chicken: chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, Hainanese chicken rice and so on. The extensive drinks menu ranges from turmeric-spiced wellness shots to coffee Manhattans.
Today, Downtown Las Vegas has no shortage of bars, but when Downtown Cocktail Room opened it was pretty much the only option in the area. The dimly-lit front room features DJs and well-crafted cocktails; in the back, the Sip n’ Tip offers are more relaxed option.
Along with its menu of top-notch burgers and bites, Eureka! also offers a large menu of whiskeys and microbrews. There are ryes, bourbons and single malts, as wells as IPAs, stouts and saisons for your sipping pleasure.
You’d think the appeal of a fireplace in the middle of the desert would be limited, but the Griffin seems to do pretty well with theirs. The vaguely Medieval theme (brick, arches, those firepits) contrasts with the hipster jukebox and back-room DJ dance nights.
The Bunkhouse Saloon always has something going on: bands, variety shows, trivia contests, a vintage boutique and usually a food truck or two. The Western-themed interior has a solid sound system and friendly bartenders. An outdoor area accommodates larger shows or allows for a break from the volume inside.
Sure, you can drop those quarters into a video poker machine, but wouldn’t the world’s largest Pac-Man game be more fun? Fremont Arcade has video games, pinball, skee ball, basketball, cranes and a variety of other amusements.
The building that is now The Mob Museum was once a post office and courthouse. Today, it houses relics such as fixed slot machines and a brick wall that still has bullet holes from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. You can fire a Tommy gun, listen to FBI wiretaps, conduct a virtual autopsy or have a real drink in a fake speakeasy.
Beyond the fire-breathing mantis, the Downtown Container Park offers shopping and dining, as well as a playground and movie screenings. Whether you seek vintage clothing, pop-art toys, cigars or chocolate, you can find it here.
Writer’s Block is much more than just a bookstore. Sure, there’s an outstanding collection of volumes, but there are also readings, classes, book clubs and other special events. Say hi to the pet rabbit, check out the book machine and peruse everything from literary classics to graphic novels.
Citrus pool deck at the Downtown Grand, Las Vegas | courtesy Downtown Grand / David Guettler
The Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino offers a relaxed, cosmopolitan style and central location. The Citrus pool deck is a chill spot with a view of Downtown, good food and frequent special events. For dining, check out the in-house Freedom Beat restaurant, or cross Third Street to Triple George Grill or Pizza Rock.
The El Cortez Hotel & Casino is the oldest casino currently operating. It has enjoyed a rich and colorful past, as the mob once owned the establishment—former owner Bugsy Siegel gets his props at Siegel’s 1941, a restaurant popular with late-night crowds. Rooms range from budget doubles to tricked-out historic suites.
The glittering Plaza Hotel & Casino has been poised at the west end of Fremont Street since 1971. The lightbulb-dotted entry has been seen in films such as Casino and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; enormous murals by Shepherd Fairey and D-Face adorn the sides. The property has been recently renovated, but retains its old-school glitter.