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Destination Downtown: This season’s must-see in downtown LV

Destination Downtown: This season’s must-see in downtown LV
Kailtlyn Davidson and Jeremy from the Irving Berlins White Christmas 2014 National Tour. (Photo by Kevin White)

Yes, it's crazy to think people might get tired of gambling, poolside lounging, bar hopping, gourmet dining or toting around those yard-long margaritas. But it is entirely possible Vegas visitors may get the urge to check out something a little more, say, intellectually fulfilling. The good news is, fall is the perfect season to experience the cultural offerings found in downtown Las Vegas.

Fans of musical theater will want to check out the 2016-2017 Broadway Las Vegas season, already underway at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts (, with "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical" making its debut Sept. 20 to Oct. 2, followed by the holiday classic "Irving Berlin's White Christmas" Nov. 22 to 27. Meanwhile, inside the Smith Center's intimate Cabaret Jazz showroom, diversity is the thing, with a fall schedule that includes such talented performers as Susan Anton (Sept. 9 and 10), Rumer Willis (Nov. 4 and 5) and Ana Gasteyer (Nov. 11 and 12).


Downtown's theatrical offerings aren't limited to the hallowed Art Deco halls of the Smith Center, of course. The Art Square Theatre in the 18b Las Vegas Arts District is home to independent theater troupe Cockroach Theatre ( Known for its daring black box productions of national and local plays, Cockroach is kicking off its 2016-2017 season with Kristoffer Diaz's award-winning "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" on Oct. 6.

Another downtown cultural institution, the Mob Museum
(, is always worth a visit to learn about the history of organized crime and law enforcement in Southern Nevada. But it also offers arresting programming, such as a Sept. 13 talk with Christian Cipollini, author of "Murder, Inc.: Mysteries of the Mob's Most Deadly Hit Squad," temporary exhibits like "Ready to Roar: Evening Fashions of Prohibition Women," which opens on Nov. 4, and the annual Kefauver Day celebration on Nov. 15.


PJ Perez is a longtime Las Vegas resident who has been writing about his adopted hometown for a variety of travel guides, websites and magazines since the 1990s, which isn't possible, because he's not that old.