In conjunction with the Downtown Grand’s five-year anniversary, the company recently announced an expansion. The hotel-casino will be adding a new hotel tower. The expansion will increase the footprint of its hospitality space by over 250,000 square feet. Construction on the new tower should be open by mid-2020.
It’s been more than three years since Derek and Greg Stevens purchased the Las Vegas Club casino in downtown Las Vegas. In that time, the owners of The D and Golden Gate casino have made some more deals. They have taken their time to reveal plans for the new casino that will be built on the land once occupied by multiple casinos, a strip club and more.
Downtown Las Vegas continues to evolve. The reimagination of downtown Las Vegas isn’t new. The Arts District and Fremont East areas have already changed how many people look at downtown Las Vegas. The massive music, entertainment, and arts festival Life Is Beautiful is bringing people to the area that might have never even considered visiting “old Vegas.”
Downtown Las Vegas can sometimes seem like an exotic destination away from the Vegas Strip. Truth be told, it’s only about a 15-minute car ride north into historic old Vegas. There is a mall of casinos, museums, coffee shops, art galleries and even an outdoor mall for the family. Downtown Las Vegas isn’t the Vegas Strip but it’s definitely Las Vegas.
The Nevada Gaming Commission has approved the ownership transfer of SLS Las Vegas to The Meruelo Group. The casino-hotel built on the bones of the Saraha was previously owned by Stockbridge Capital Group. The Meruelo Group adds the 1,616-room, three-tower resort-casino, including the W Las Vegas to its casino holdings which include the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, NV.
This summer the free concert series at the Fremont Street Experience returns once again. The mall of casinos has free entertainment all year ‘round but the summer series takes the entertainment to another level. The summer concert series brings nationally touring bands that you’d typically pay to see. Instead, you can see the bands for free during a beautiful Vegas night.
Getting around Las Vegas is fairly simple. It isn’t too difficult to navigate the Vegas Strip or downtown Las Vegas. It’s easy to figure out the non-touristy areas of Las Vegas once you learn the highway system and local streets.
Las Vegas has become the place to be in America for New Year’s Eve. Times Square might have tradition of dropping the ball at midnight but that’s so 1900′s. Las Vegas has more extravagant entertainment and parties than you’ll find in New York City. The fireworks at midnight on the Vegas Strip have become iconic over the years. The days surrounding the change of years are probably the busiest in Las Vegas.
Football season is here! Temperatures for the opening weekend of college football in Las Vegas have dipped below 110. Seriously, though, high temperatures in Las Vegas should be below 100 soon. The sportsbook might be the best place to enjoy football in Las Vegas, but it isn’t the only place.
There’s a new football party where you can enjoy the games outside but shielded from the sun. Beginning Sunday, September 10, the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center will be showing NFL games. The space will be known as the “Downtown Watch Zone” and will be the largest Downtown Las Vegas football viewing party.
The large casinos on the Vegas Strip are always upgrading and renovating. Downtown Las Vegas is growing in popularity and that’s showing. Last year the Plaza renovated their rooftop pool deck. The property continues to renovate and upgrade the experience for their customers.
Two other casinos in downtown Las Vegas recently reveals plans to upgrade and expand. The Golden Gate will reveal its new expanded casino in late August. Downtown Grand is just beginning the planning stages of a hotel expansion.
Finding good and unique food in Las Vegas on the cheap can be a challenge. While they might offer great food, some of the restaurants on the Vegas Strip can be pricey. Finding a delicious and interesting meal for under $15 is nearly impossible. Sure you can grab a quick bite a food court or get a sandwich for under $10, but you can do that anywhere.
There’s always something new around the corner in Las Vegas. The Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum was founded in 2002 and moved to Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas in 2008. I’d like to think I know everything, everywhere in Las Vegas but I had no idea about this gallery.
Neonopolis is located at 450 Fremont Street and next to the Slotzilla zip line and across the street from the Fremont Street Experience. This three level complex is now home to Denny’s (and the Denny’s Wedding Chapel), Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum, Fremont Arcade, Banger Brewing, Nerd Bar and much more.
If you’re a tourist you might not be aware that downtown Las Vegas is actually synonymous with art. The Arts District in Las Vegas is located in-between Fremont Street and the Stratosphere. There are plenty of art galleries and stores on the Vegas Strip. However, the Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum is the only art gallery located in the touristy area of downtown Las Vegas.
The Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum features over 20,000 square feet of exhibit area. The space includes the main gallery, a special exhibitions gallery, and a small works gallery. The non-profit gallery provides exhibit space for local, regional and International artists to display their current work. You can actually donate money to show your own art.
Beginning Thursday, June 1 Cirque du Soleil will have its annual art exhibition at the Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum. The Collective is a collection of artworks created by the company’s performers, technicians, and staff in Las Vegas. This is the 12th year of the art exhibition. Serving as a creative outlet for employees, the exhibit will be on display for a limited time, June 1 – 30 from Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12 – 5 p.m.
“Residents will have the opportunity to ‘get to know their neighbors’ as we reveal another side of our employees through their artwork,” said Lou D’Angeli, Vice President of Marketing & Public Relations for Cirque du Soleil. “In hosting The Collective each year, we are able to shine the spotlight on their unique talents, creating an even greater connection between us and the community.”
This art show isn’t just for locals. Tourist will enjoy The Collective display that includes Cirque du Soleil-owned art pieces, props, and costumes from various productions along the Vegas Strip. Among the items featured will be a Jester-patterned aluminum chainmail shirt by Michael Rawlins of “O”, a 3/4 scale animatronics robot by Preston Altree of Michael Jackson ONE and memorabilia from the Cirque du Soleil shows on The Strip. The full list will be announced at a later date.
The full list of items will be announced at a later date. You can visit mglv.org for more information. The Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum entry fee for this show is only $5.
Art isn’t the only thing on display at Neonopolis. Banger Brewing offers free tours of their brewing facilities daily. These tours are limited to 8 people so reserving a space in advance is recommended. Thankfully, you can make reservations online at bangerbrewing.com.
You’re never more than a few minutes from a drink when you’re in Las Vegas. The time to find a drink can be reduced in downtown Las Vegas where just about everything is closer than the Vegas Strip. There’s a drink for everyone whether you’re grabbing a yard of red slushy booze or sitting down for a craft cocktail that has so many ingredients that takes five minutes to create.
There was a day when drinking in Old Vegas was limited to well drinks and draft beer. That’s not the case any longer in downtown Las Vegas. Not only are there some great standalone bars but the casino bars have gotten better. Here’s a look at some of the best places to grab a drink in downtown Las Vegas.
You can find a mixed drink at any casino bar. However, not every bar can craft a delicious cocktail where every ingredient is carefully measured and poured. You’ll have to leave the casino in downtown Las Vegas to find some of the best cocktails in town.
- Commonwealth – Watch the bartender carefully make a cocktail, sneak away to the semi-private Laundry Room or just grab a beer and head outside to the second-floor deck,
- Downtown Cocktail Room – Dark and viby lounge with a unique cocktail menu. The drinks are delicious and different than you’ll find in the casinos. Good luck finding the door on your first visit.
You can find mass distributed beer everywhere in downtown Las Vegas. Heck, you can get a football filled with Coors Light. While a football of beer is fun, there’s something to be said for a delicious craft beer.
- Banger Brewing – Fremont Street’s first craft brewery makes their beer on site. Sit and relax with a flight of beer or grab a strong beer on to go. They offer free tours if you’re curious about beer making.
- Pizza Rock – Fantastic craft beer selection at great prices. Visit during Happy Hour for discounts on already low prices. The food is a great addition but you really can’t beat these prices in downtown Las Vegas for craft beer.
Just about everything in downtown Las Vegas is less expensive than the Vegas Strip. Drinks are no different. Here are a couple of options for extremely inexpensive drinks. You won’t find the fanciest drinks in town but you’ll find some good low priced options to get the day rolling.
- El Cortez – They have cheap beer and drinks every day with even more special Happy Hour deals. You’ll even find top shelf drinks $5 (as of this writing a Patron margarita is $5).
- Fremont – This casino is located right by the 3rd Street stage at the Fremont Street Experience. This is the stage where many of the free concerts are held. Run into the casino for $3 Corona, Bud Light or Heineken in between songs.
Casino bars in downtown Las Vegas are great because they’re still serving up complimentary cocktails while you gamble. I’m partial to one casino because they offer two very different great casino bar experiences.
- The D – Longbar – Energy, excitement, loud music, flair bartenders, new TV’s and a good beer selection highlight this bar on the main casino floor. This is a great bar to get the party started or to watch the games in downtown Las Vegas.
- The D – Vue Bar – Great video poker, mellow vibe, and heavy pours are the highlights of this bar on the second floor of the casino. The video poker pay tables are better at Vue Bar than most in downtown Las Vegas casino bars – including Longbar. This is one of the best places to play video poker while drinking.
Grab n Go
Casinos are great but there’s so much more to the Fremont Street Experience. Walking the mall of the casinos, watching bands and the Viva Vision light shows can be nicely complimented with a drink. Grab a beer, frozen drink, or mixed drink in a souvenir cup and enjoy VEGAS BABY!
- The D – D Bar takes the Longbar outside with a good selection of beer, frozen drinks, souvenir containers, and dancers across the bar. The location next to the Third Street stage is great for concerts but you may end up hanging closer to the bar to make sure the dancers are safe.
- Golden Gate – Very similar to D Bar but next to the First Street stage. This is a great place to start your trip down the mall of casinos.
Las Vegas was made for drinking outdoors. The weather is beautiful most of the year so why not enjoy it? Between bars, casinos, restaurants, and malls there are more places to drink outside in downtown Las Vegas than ever.
- 4 Queens – The patio bar is right on Fremont Street. Watch a show on the 3rd Street stage or enjoy some of the best people watching in Las Vegas. Drinks are cheap and there are tacos nearby.
- Gold Spike – The backyard at Gold Spike is chock full of games from giant cornhole to massive beer pong. If it gets chilly at night, but snuggle up near one of the fire pits. The outdoor part of this bar is one of the unique adult playgrounds in Las Vegas.
This year the Life Is Beautiful festival takes place Friday, September 22 through Sunday, September 24 in downtown Las Vegas. Gorillaz, Muse, Lorde, Chance the Rapper, and Blink 182 will headline the music portion of the three-day festival. There are plenty more popular artists performing at the festival this year. Here’s the lineup announcement.
Since being introduced Life Is Beautiful has become a part of the evolving culture in downtown Las Vegas. Over the years musicians like Kendrick Lamar, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, and the Foo Fighters have graced the main stages of the festival. Hundreds of more bands have performed at Life Is Beautiful over the years. You can see a list of performers here.
While music may be the calling card of the Life Is Beautiful festival there is so much more. The Life Is Beautiful festival is more than just another concert. This is a music, arts, culinary, and learning festival is spread out all over the Fremont East section of downtown Las Vegas. In addition to bands you’ll see, hear, and taste food, science, art, comedy, and more.
Life Is Beautiful will have an interactive art experience once again. The festival will bring back the popular Art Motel installation. It will be reimagined by Santa Fe art collective Meow Wolf. The festival will bring back the popular “Crime on Canvas” art exhibit. Festival guests can view and purchase original artwork and rare prints by local, national, and international artists. The gallery will display work by Matt Skiba, Mark Ryden, Shag, Tara McPherson, Shepard Fairey, Brandon Boyd, and more.
The education portion of Life Is Beautiful will be highlighted by another appearance from Bill Nye (the science guy). Thousands saw Bill Nye’s 2015 appearance where when he talked about the changing world and being a speck in the universe. You can watch the 30-minute talk below.
The comedy showcase will return to the festival with performances by comedians that you may be familiar with if you watch Comedy Central. Matthew Broussard, Mike Lawrence, and Jo Firestone headline the lineup this year.
Food, Drink, And More
There will also be a culinary and cocktails section at Life Is Beautiful where you can enjoy food and beverages created by famous chefs and mixologists. Even more entertainment and art and entertainment will be announced leading up to the festival.
Downtown Las Vegas
The festival isn’t the only thing that makes Life Is Beautiful a unique experience. Life Is Beautiful isn’t contained to one giant space like other festivals. Everything is spread out throughout the urban areas of downtown Las Vegas. You’ll have to navigate a huge map and many street blocks to find everything. You should wear comfortable shoes for walking. The location is part of the fun for many people that have attended in the past.
You can find more information on tickets and performers at lifeisbeautiful.com.
Downtown Las Vegas hotels are getting better every year. There was a time where some of the properties were run down and beat up. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case for a few years now. Many of the hotels have been renovated in the past 5 years or so. If you visit the California, you may find room renovations that were finished in the past few weeks.
The rooms and casinos aren’t the only improvements you’ll find in downtown Las Vegas casino-hotels. Many restaurants have been updated and upgraded. Unfortunately, there’s one important renovation for the summer that you won’t find at every hotel. There’s nothing like the pool scene on the Vegas Strip. There’s something for everyone whether you just want to relax or you want to enjoy music.
Well, when Downtown Grand opened in 2013, the property brought a new and improved pool experience. The pool was one of the nicest pools at a downtown Las Vegas hotel. Much like the casino as a whole, the pool area at Downtown Grand has already been improved. There’s new decor, outdoor gaming, food, and drink.
The pool area at Downtown Grand, known as Citrus, is now more than 35,000 square feet large. This pool deck has an infinity pool, restaurant and full bar, very affordable semi-private cabanas, a fire pit, backyard games like cornhole, foosball, and table tennis. There’s even a grassy seating area with umbrellas and outdoor day beds.
This year, Downtown Grand is adding, even more, fun to their pool scene beginning May 4. Take a look:
Thursday – Old School by the Pool
Enjoy “back-in-the-day” R&B hits poolside every Thursday night, presented by the valley’s own KOAS Old School 105.7. For the launch on May 4 at 8 p.m. catch Next Movement. Upcoming bands and performers include Phil Flowers, NA Fect, Sons of Soul, and Rhythm Nation.
Friday – Dance Party Kicking Off with Shakira Tribute Band featuring Lorena Peril
Poolside dance party every Friday night? Yes, please. Kicking off on May 5 – Cinco de Mayo – with a Shakira Tribute Band featuring Lorena Peril, hangout poolside every Friday night with KLUC’s Morning Zoo personality, Kayla, and watch local favorite on-air talent Davey The ShowKiller serving as DJ.
Saturday – Rock Nation
Summer Saturdays will rock at Citrus with 92.3 KOMP and 97.1 The Point alternating throughout the weeks. A combination of live bands and DJ-driven nights including a monthly Albumpalooza show – a concert that highlights classic and timeless albums played live – will turn the pool deck into a classic rock concert every Saturday night. The fun kicks off on Saturday, May 6 with Albumpalooza: A Tribute to “Zeppelin IV.”
Sunday – Noche de Ritmo
La Buena 101.9 presents a tequila-friendly combination of live bands and a DJ. Noche De Ritmo or Rhythm Night begins Sunday, May 7 with Banda Corazon Sinaloense taking the stage.
This is the perfect use of a pool area in Las Vegas. You can relax at the pool during the day with a book while you work on your tan. At night you can party outside with a beautiful summer breeze. In-between time at the pool you can grab a drink and snack during Happy Hour at Pizza Rock, play some blackjack in the casino, or walk down the street to see the Fremont Street Experience.
There are many people looking for places to stay in Las Vegas that are less expensive than the Vegas Strip. The great pool scene at Downtown Grand will help separate it from the other options in the area.
One of the very best free activities in Las Vegas is the free entertainment in downtown Las Vegas at the Fremont Street Experience. During most of the year, you’ll find local bands, tribute bands, DJ’s and other forms of entertainment on the three stages under the canopy of the Fremont Street Experience.
The quality of the entertainment gets even better during the summer when the Fremont Street Experience hosts a variety of well-known national touring bands. That tradition will continue this summer as the Fremont Street Experience presents The Downtown Rocks summer concert series.
The big-name free entertainment gets a boost this summer from a different venue. The Downtown Grand casino, just a block away from the Fremont Street Experience, offers their free Rock The Street concert(s).
Downtown Rocks will host performances by the Rock’n Road Trip Tour with Fuel, Tonic, and more (June 10), Rick Springfield (August 12), Seether (August 26), Collective Soul (September 1) and Chevelle (September 30). Rock The Street with Vince Neil will take place on Sunday, May 27, and will be headlined Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe. Todd Kerns & the Anti-Stars and open the show.
“This year we’re kicking things up a notch with our new summer concert series, Downtown Rocks,” says Patrick Hughes, CEO, and president of Fremont Street Experience. “The free concert series is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our tremendous, loyal fans. Their support and patronage allow us to show our appreciation in the best way we know how, by throwing parties and free concerts featuring top acts all summer long that deliver exciting, quality entertainment experiences for our fans.”
The Fremont Street Experience will be adding, even more, national touring bands as the summer gets closer. Keep an eye on this post as we’ll update the list of events. All concerts are free to enter but have different entry processes. The concerts at the Fremont Street Experience are ticket-free shows so just show and and have fun.
You should note that these free concerts are always crowded. Arrive early for the best spot. The best spot for these concerts will be different for everyone. Some people may want to stand close to the stage for the best view while others might want to stand near an exit for a quick run to the bar or restroom. It will take a few minutes to navigate from the front of the stage through the huge crowd if you don’t plan on watching the entire concert.
While “Rock The Street” is free, you need a ticket to enter. You can obtain tickets for the Vince Neil performance from the Downtown Grand website. Tickets are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Downtown Grand will have other events during the summer so keep an eye on this page of their website.
Here’s a current list of free concerts in downtown Las Vegas this summer (all shows at the Fremont Street Experience unless noted):
May 26: Theory of a Dead Man
May 27: Rock The Street with Vince Neil (tickets here for Downtown Grand)
June 10: Rock’n Road Trip Tour with Fuel, Tonic, Marcy Playground, and Dishwalla
July 3: Ann Wilson of Heart
July 22: Good Charlotte
August 12: Rick Springfield
August 26: Seether
September 1: Collective Soul
September 30: Chevelle
I recently visited downtown Las Vegas at night for the first time this year and was, once again, reminded how much fun it can be. Downtown Las Vegas offers a very different kind of fun than the Vegas Strip. I’ve come to enjoy both equally for their differences since my first trip downtown.
The Vegas Strip is the Las Vegas that everyone knows from TV, movies, and the majority of visitors. Downtown Las Vegas isn’t as famous and that suits the area fine. “Old Vegas” has always offered a different experience from the Vegas Strip and that’s what has always made it special.
While the Vegas Strip continues to offer the “latest and greatest” of everything, Downtown Las Vegas offers a less flashy experience. A visit to downtown Las Vegas is closer to what visitors may remember from the 1990’s on the Vegas Strip. The gambling is good, even the nicest hotel rooms are affordable, there are plenty of good restaurants and there’s free entertainment everywhere you look at the Fremont Street Experience.
Increasing resort fees, parking fees, etc. on the Vegas Strip don’t bother me. I can budget for that stuff so Las Vegas is always fun for me. However, if you’re tired of all that (I know many of you are!) and looking for a different Las Vegas experience you might want to look downtown. Here are 5 reasons to visit downtown Las Vegas.
Fremont Street Experience Is Kind Of Amazing
There’s nothing like this mall of casinos at night anywhere in the world. There are three stages with, often free, entertainment and a light show on the canopy above that covers the mall. You’re free to wander without concern for vehicular traffic. There are street performers that are equally as entertaining as they are annoying. Just about every casino has access to a bar from the street. The alcohol helps fuel the chaos in the area. You’ll hear people riding the giant Slotzilla zipline screaming above you all night. A night out at the Fremont Street Experience is sensory overload in the best way.
The Gambling Is Great
If you’re the kind of person that enjoys a fun atmosphere, low limits, and good odds when you gamble then you’ll have a great time in the downtown Las Vegas casinos. The atmosphere is loose and not stuffy at all. You’ll find $3 and $5 minimum wagers for craps and blackjack at just about every casino. El Cortez even has quarter roulette. The casinos in downtown Las Vegas tout that they offer looser slots than the Vegas Strip.
For what it’s worth, I probably gamble more frequently in downtown Las Vegas than any other part of town. There seems to be more bang for the buck.
Great Drinking Options
My friends and I never hung out to eat or drink when I first started visiting downtown Las Vegas. That’s changed and there’s a great variety of restaurants and bars. The Vue Bar at The D has good video poker games and the bartenders are quick with a drink. If you prefer a non-gaming bar you can head to Downtown Cocktail Room, The Griffin or The Commonwealth. Beer drinkers can enjoy local brewery Banger Brewing or visit Pizza Rock for a great beer selection at fair prices. Beer prices (and food) are even better during Happy Hour at Pizza Rock.
Surprisingly Good Variety Of Dining
Downtown Las Vegas has grown beyond the mall of casinos at the Fremont Street Experience. Just walking a block or two outside of the canopy can bring more restaurants that may not be on the radar of most people visiting downtown Las Vegas. While the casinos boast some good high-end, but affordable, steakhouses like Andiamo’s at The D and Oscar’s at the Plaza you’ll find some great food options just a few steps away. Therapy, Eat, Carson Kitchen, and Pizza Rock are just a few good non-casino restaurants.
The Vegas Strip is great but it can feel a bit fancy at times with the newest of everything. It’s the hotspot of Las Vegas. There’s a time to dress nicely, have a great meal, and see a hundred dollar per ticket show. There’s also a time where a t-shirt, shorts, and a football of beer feel more appropriate. Las Vegas is great because you can enjoy both of those feelings in the same day. There’s just a more relaxed vibe in downtown Las Vegas than the Vegas Strip.
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