Downtown. The word conjures up all sorts of images. In Las Vegas, the image is one of excitement, glitz, growth and innovation. A visit to downtown, the Fremont Street Experience and the surrounding neighborhood is basically a vacation in and of itself. From the traditional bright lights you might expect from a Vegas hot spot to the not-so-traditional – like a fire-shooting praying mantis – here are some of the best attractions in downtown Las Vegas.
Where: 300 Stewart Avenue
The Mob Museum – also referred to as the National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement – consists of a collection of more than 600 items pertaining to the law enforcement and mob related memorabilia, as well as exhibits, presentations and events. They even have the wall from the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Appropriately, the museum is located in a former post office and federal courthouse.
Neon Museum & Boneyard
Where: 810 N. Las Vegas Boulevard
With the constant influx of newer, younger signs in Las Vegas, it's nice to know that there's somewhere where the city's old neon signs can lay to rest peacefully. The Neon Museum pays homage to the glittering signage of Vegas vintage and allows visitors to take a guided tour where they can pay them the respect they deserve.
Discovery Children's Museum
Where: 360 Promenade Place
Behold the Discovery Children's Museum, a treasure trove for activities your child that will not only tire them to the point of exhaustion but will also inform their impressionable minds. With nine educational exhibits disguised as unabashed fun, your kids will beg you to bring them back time and time again, and you won't have to feel even a little bit guilty about it.
Where: Fremont Street Experience … ummm, seriously you can't miss it
Zip line underneath the world's largest video screen on SlotZilla at the Fremont Street Experience. Aptly named for its slot machine inspired façade and Godzilla-like size, SlotZilla features a traditional lower zip line as well as a Superman-style upper zoom line, which are 77-feet and 114-feet respectively.
Where: 450 Fremont Street
Wait, what? Denny's? How is that an attraction? Well in Vegas, even America's favorite diner is a spectacle. At this Las Vegas restaurant, you can actually get married, and grab a greasy meal. There's literally a chapel inside serving up marriage ceremonies along with your sunny side up eggs.
Where: D Las Vegas, second floor Vintage Casino
It's off to the races with Sigma Derby. Just don't forget your quarters. Sigma Derby is an electronic horse racing game where up to 10 players compete to see who comes out the winner. There are now just two left in the entire city. And watch out, it's quite addictive.
Burlesque Hall of Fame
Where: 520 Fremont Street
Burlesque is an art form, so it's no surprise that there would be a museum to pay homage to it right in the middle of the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas. What once started as a personal collection in the 1950s by Jennie Lee is now housed in the Emergency Arts Building on Fremont Street East. The building also houses the Beat Coffeehouse and Records (try the Slap & Tickle: Organic peanut butter and homemade jam with smoked bacon and pickled jalapeños on country white) and several art galleries by talented local artists.
Downtown Container Park
Where: 707 Fremont Street
Head over to Downtown Container Park for a change of pace (or if the kids are driving you crazy). The "mall" is made entirely from shipping containers, and you'll find numerous events such as movie nights and musical performances, a play area for kids with an enormous treehouse and slides, several restaurants with outdoor seating and a variety of shops and boutiques. The Container Park is also home to the aforementioned 55-foot-tall fire-shooting praying mantis and a super secretive structure called the Catalyst Dome.
Where: Several walls throughout the Fremont East District
Prior the original Life is Beautiful Festival in 2013, several murals popped up on the walls around downtown. This year's celebration of music, art and food was no different as even more murals and art installations were created to add to the urban gallery amid the festival footprint. The murals, which were painted by artists from around the world, remain as part of the downtown scene and continue to beautify the area.