Before there was The Strip, there was Fremont Street. Only two to three miles from the Strip, the original heart and soul of Las Vegas is the Downtown area. Some of the most famous hotels and casinos are here and they range from classic vintage to the new-school cool. All the Downtown Las Vegas properties have been modernized and updated and offer personal service at moderate prices. Rumor has it that the slots payouts are a bit looser too!
Hotels downtown are clustered around Fremont Street. No matter which hotel you choose in Downtown you are within walking distance of all the vintage casinos and free entertainment. Most downtown hotels also offer free parking to their guests and many do not charge a resort fee.
The Golden Nugget is the iconic Downtown hotel with its facade often seen in the movies. During a renovation and expansion, the Rush Tower was added in 2009 offering more luxurious rooms. The prime location of the Golden Nugget with its proximity to the Cashman Field and Conference Center, the outlet mall and of course Fremont Street makes it an ideal place to stay. The Tank is the new heated pool area with a 200,000 gallon shark tank through which you can glide on the enclosed water slide! Fine dining, world-class entertainment and a spa/fitness center make the Golden Nugget the Grand Dame among downtown hotels.
Four Queens Hotel and Casino is a classic hotel on Fremont Street with value-priced rooms. The sparkle of the Four Queens predates that of Fremont Street and it still has enough to dazzle and charm you. Two towers house almost 700 rooms and you have pool access at nearby Binions. The casino is classic Vegas glitz and is known for the variety of poker rooms available. Gourmets will delight in the flavors at Hugo’s Cellar which has received the honor of “Best Gourmet Room” several times.
The Fremont Hotel is at the heart of the Fremont Street Experience. Best known for launching the career of Wayne Newton, the hotel offers 450 rooms with shuttles to the Strip, Sam’s Town, and the premium outlets. However, you need go no further than out the front door for all the action you need right on Fremont Street.
The D is hard to miss as it is the tallest hotel downtown. Voted “Best Slots Downtown” in 2010, it is the casino of choice for many gamblers; those who love penny slots frequent this casino. Formerly kown as the “Fitz” it is not the Ritz, but a good, clean, budget friendly hotel in the heart of Downtown.
El Cortez is in the East District of Fremont Street and you have the choice of the newer Cabana Suites or the original Tower rooms. A pleasant, quiet hotel about two blocks from the end of the Fremont Street Experience with low limit tables and an awesome steakhouse restaurant called Flame. Don’t be surprised to meet Jackie Gaughan, the owner, as he is known to frequent the casino floor and, like a good host, make sure all are having fun!
The Plaza Hotel was recently renovated, refreshed and refurnished. It sits at the intersection of Main and Fremont offering views of both the Strip and the Fremont Street Experience. The rooms are bigger than standard hotel fare in Las Vegas and are a much better value. A brand-new casino floor and ten new restaurants complete the renovation. A pool is open seasonally.
The must see attraction to Downtown is the Fremont Street Experience, a 5 block pedestrian mall under a canopy of lights known as Viva Vision. This entertainment extravaganza features light, audio and visual shows that are rotated in and out. Among the shows featured are “Bad to the Bone,” “A Tribute to Queen,” and “KISS over Vegas.” Shopping, dining and free live performances line the street from the Plaza Hotel all the way to the Neonopolis mall. For the adventurous a zip line ride breezes beneath the light canopy at speeds of 30 mph. At the end of Fremont Street is the East District with a group of eclectic bars, coffee houses, lounges and art galleries that are teeming with the artsy, hipster type.
Downtown Las Vegas offers an alternative to the Strip with many casinos, plenty of free entertainment, and more budget-friendly options, but with all the glamour and flash you expect from Vegas. Many tourists find they prefer the slightly more downscale options here and the walk-a-bility of the venues. Fine dining is no problem and beginner gamblers often feel more at ease in the more relaxed casinos. If these considerations are important to you and your travel companions, staying at a Downtown Vegas hotel is something to consider when planning your trip.
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