The Best Things to Do in Boulder City

Historic photo of the Boulder Theatre
Historic photo of the Boulder Theatre | © National Archives / Wikicommons

The quaint, historic town of Boulder City is only 30 minutes from Las Vegas—but it feels much farther. Nevertheless, it offers a lot of activities for the Nevada wanderer.

The town of Boulder City was born in the 1930s, when workers on the Hoover Dam needed a place to live. Today, it’s an alternative to Las Vegas that offers a quaint, small-town feel. But that doesn’t mean it’s a dull spot: Boulder City has plenty to lure visitors to spend an afternoon or a weekend.

Where to eat

Coffee Cup Cafe

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Coffee Cup Cafe in Boulder City's Old Town | © J.R.Ramos / Flickr

The Coffee Cup Cafe specializes in a well-brewed cup of coffee and a big breakfast, like a broccoli scramble, pork chili verde burrito, or a “Big Texan” omelet. This family-run restaurant is a community standard, with the turquoise walls crammed with regulars’ relics, from snapshots to gold records.

The Dillinger Food & Drinkery

Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Gastropub, Restaurant, American, Pub Grub, $$$
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The Dillinger in Boulder City | © Bradley Fortner / Flickr

As you may guess by the name, The Dillinger Food & Drinkery works a gangster theme. There are sepia-toned photos on the walls, as well as Capone and Baby Face Nelson burgers on the menu, which is complemented by an extensive beer list. The Dillinger also frequently hosts live bands.

Fox Smokehouse BBQ

Restaurant, BBQ, American, $$$
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Come hungry and ready to get your fingers sticky at Fox Smokehouse BBQ. Everything here is slow-cooked, from brisket and pulled pork to smoked wings. You can get a sandwich, combo platter, or buy meat by the pound.

Milo's Cellar and Inn

Restaurant, Wine Bar, Italian, Mediterranean, $$$
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Located in the middle of Boulder City’s Old Town neighborhood, Milo’s is a combination restaurant, wine bar, and bed and breakfast. Milo’s has over 300 varieties of wine, all of which are available in flights. The menu is on the light side, with small plates, salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes.

Where to drink

Back Stop Sports Pub

Bar, American
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The Back Stop Sports Pub first opened in 1931 as a recreation center for dam workers and has been in its current location for 25 years. The historic oak bar boasts cheap drinks, comedy nights, and a daily 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. happy hour to keep things festive.

Boulder Dam Brewing Co.

Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Gastropub, Restaurant, American, $$$
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A brewpub with bands, DJs, and special events, the Boulder Dam Brewing Co. is a lively community hot spot. The eponymous beer is brewed on-site in eight tanks and includes varieties such as Spillway Saison and Pekoe Pale Ale. The space is adorned with photographs and other memorabilia of the Hoover Dam.

Activities to do

Boulder Dam Hotel

Building, Museum
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Historic Boulder Dam Hotel in Boulder City | © Bradley Fortner / Flickr

Built in 1933, the elegant Boulder Dam Hotel was a stopping-place for Hollywood stars like Bette Davis and Boris Karloff. Along with rooms, there is also a restaurant, bar, and shopping arcade—be sure to check out the vintage murals. The Boulder City and Boulder Dam Museum is also on-site, allowing visitors to dive even deeper into history.

Hoover Dam, Nevada

Natural Feature
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Hoover Dam at Night | © Gayinspandex/Wikicommons
Hoover Dam at night | © Gayinspandex / WikiCommons
The Hoover Dam was the largest dam in the world at the time of its completion in 1935, with a height of 726 feet. Taking five years to complete, the Hoover Dam was one of the most challenging projects of its time. Today, it’s a hugely popular tourist attraction that includes glorious views of the landscape and impressive architecture from the enormous towers to the interior mosaics.

Nevada State Railroad Museum

Museum
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Nevada Southern Railway in Boulder City | © H. Michael Miley / Flickr

For those who are interested in trains, the Nevada State Railroad Museum has plenty to offer, from antique tickets to fully functional locomotives. And if all you want is a scenic train road to the Hoover Dam, they have the Nevada Southern Railway for that.

Tom Devlin's Monster Museum

Museum
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Tom Devlin’s Monster Museum features a collection of props, masks, memorabilia, and more from horror movie history. A number of life-sized, life-like figures up the creep factor, especially with Ash from Evil Dead or Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre coming right at you.