Weekend Escape: Downtown Las Vegas is now a place to stay, shop and play after a glitzy makeover
Trying to do the time warp in downtown Las Vegas is increasingly challenging. Many of the old, familiar and, yes, decaying landmarks are gone or barely recognizable after expensive face-lifts.
Here are a few recommendations about how to navigate the new downtown:
The aged Lady Luck hotel and casino has morphed into the Downtown Grand.
Check out the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino opened in 1906 as the Hotel Nevada, with electric lights and steam-heat radiators among the conveniences. (Air conditioning came later.) Now it’s a midrange hotel.
For those seeking glitz on par with the Strip, consider the Golden Nugget, the first resort to get the Midas touch from casino mogul Steve Wynn.
New (or newish) restaurants include Carson Kitchen, where the small plates are ideal for sharing, but choosing may be difficult. Tasty options include bacon jam with baked brie and toasted baguette and “devil’s eggs” with caviar and crispy pancetta.
For breakfast, locals flock to an eatery called, well, Eat. Don’t miss the cinnamon biscuits topped with fresh strawberry compote and the unique fried deviled eggs.
If you need a cocktail, head to Atomic Liquors. During the 1950s, people would grab a beer and head to the roof of this bar to watch atomic bomb tests in the Nevada desert 65 miles away. Memorabilia includes two ’60s-era Geiger counters wedged between bottles of Old Crow bourbon.
If shopping is your thing, head to the decidedly funky Downtown Container Park, an assortment of boutique shops and restaurants inside re-purposed shipping containers. The play area is crowned with a multistory tree house and, after dark, a massive metal mantis breathes balls of fire at the entrance.
Miles one way from downtown L.A.
Downtown Grand, www.downtowngrand.com; Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, www.goldengatecasino.com; Golden Nugget, www.goldennugget.com/LasVegas; Carson Kitchen, www.carsonkitchen.com; Eat, www.eatdtlv.com; Atomic Liquors, www.atomicvegas.com; Downtown Container Park, www.downtowncontainerpark.com.
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