The Best of Downtown Las Vegas

by Diana Edelman on May 12, 2010

Believe it or not, there is life outside of the infamous Las Vegas Strip. In fact, just a couple of miles or so down the road from the towering mega resorts is a burgeoning and revitalized Downtown, complete with revamped hotels, delicious cuisine and a hopping bar scene.

Where to stay in Downtown Las Vegas

Golden Nugget Rush Tower

Enjoy modern luxury accommodations at the Golden Nugget's new Rush Tower

One of Downtown’s most iconic casino hotels, Golden Nugget, offers some of the best and most affordable options (room rates can start as low as $39/night) for getting some sleep. For a lush experience, book a room in the newly opened Rush Tower — they’re 20 percent larger than the property’s standard rooms in the Gold and Caron Towers. During the day, enjoy Golden Nugget’s swimming pool, The Tank, which includes a three-story waterslide that provides swimmers an up-close and personal view of the shark tank, packed with sea life, as well as private cabanas and adults-only infinity pools. At night, check out headliner Gordie Brown, the Frankie Moreno Band, or sip some cocktails at Golddiggers Nightclub, which includes a balcony overlooking Fremont Street. Other, off-property options includes the canopy entertainment at Fremont Street Experience.

Another sure-bet for comfort and satisfaction is El Cortez’s newest addition, the eC Cabana Suites. Located across the street from El Cortez, its sister property boasts some of the most modern suites in the Downtown vicinity.

Best Restaurants in Downtown Las Vegas

Firefly Downtown Las Vegas

For great Tapas visit Firefly in Downtown Las Vegas

If there is one thing Las Vegas is not lacking, it is stellar dining options. Firefly Kitchen and Bar at the Plaza Hotel (west end of Fremont St.) offers some of the best tapas this side of the Atlantic. Wildly popular with the locals, Firefly also has a happy hour from 5:00pm – 7:00pm (Sun-Thu). (EDIT: Plaza is remodeling and Firefly’s downtown location is temporarily closed)

Hugo’s Cellar at Four Queens Hotel and Casino gets rave reviews. This restaurant, housed inside the casino, is a dinner-only venue that serves up some of the tastiest continental cuisine in a romantic setting. Other upscale eateries include Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse at the Golden Nugget and Binion’s Ranch Steak House. Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse has been recognized as one of America’s 10 best steakhouses and was recognized by the MICHELIN Guide in 2009. Binion’s Ranch Steak House, situated on the 24th floor of the hotel, treats diners not only to delicious steaks, but also to some of the best views of the Las Vegas Valley.

For tasty bar food, head over to Triple 7 Restaurant and Microbrewery at the Main Street Casino. Snack on appetizers, pizzas, gourmet burgers, even sushi, and then wash it down with some fresh micro brewed beer. Buffets and Las Vegas go hand-in-hand, and there are no shortage of excellent buffets in the Downtown vicinity. Two great choices for buffets are Main Street Station and the Paradise Buffet & Cafe Restaurant at Fremont Hotel Casino. Be sure to grab 2-for-1 coupons before heading into either buffet.

Las Vegas Downtown Bars

Options prevail for drinking venues. Downtown Las Vegas has two brew pubs perfect for grabbing drinks — 777 Brew Pub at Main Street Station and the Chicago Brew Pub at Four Queens. Hotel lounges are another option for grabbing a cold one. El Cortez brings people in with its “Martini Madness” every day from 5 to 7 p.m. Over at the Golden Nugget, enjoy a cocktail al fresco at the popular H2O bar, or catch some live music at the Rush Lounge.

For those who want to mix in with the locals, head to East Fremont Street and check out The Griffin, which comes complete with fireplaces, or the swanky Downtown Cocktail Room with tasty concoctions every night.

Other things to do in Downtown Las Vegas

Gambling, drinking and eating aside, there are other things to keep people entertained in Downtown Las Vegas. For starters, people can have their photos taken for free in front of the million dollars in cash at Binions. Then, there are the street artists who spray paint along Fremont. Or, stroll along the Fremont Street Experience and sample some of the “local” delicacies — 99 cent shrimp cocktail at the Bay City Deli in the Golden Gate, and fried Twinkies. Every night, step under the large canopy and enjoy the LED light show that helped put Fremont Street Experience on the map. It’s every hour, on the hour, from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Recommend The Best Things to See and Do in Downtown Las Vegas

Do you have a favorite hotel, restaurant or bar in Downtown Las Vegas? Let our readers know what to see and do when planning a getaway to Downtown Las Vegas by leaving a comment below.

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