When you hear a friend talk about Las Vegas there is one thing that comes to your mind. That’s the bright lights, the giant neon signs, the giant casinos with huge hotels and some of the hottest shows on earth. Businesses on that famous Strip spend a ton of money advertising each year so that’s exactly what you’ll think about when you hear the words Las Vegas. Apparently, it’s money well spent because it works on every single one of us.
A lot of us have forgotten, or maybe didn’t even know, that things really got started over there in the downtown area, the region they call Old Las Vegas. That’s where the first of everything happened, but as things got bigger and better they moved to the outskirts of the area. Soon, most people had forgotten all about that downtown area and the Strip was the only thing people cared about.
Over recent years there have been several events that have brought some spotlight back to that downtown area and people are still learning that things might be a little cheaper for them there. A perfect vacation would be to visit both sections, but staying in the downtown area hotels might offer better options for you, depending on what you are looking for. There are plenty of cases as to why this is true and plenty as to why it's not. We look at both sides today so you can make your decision on where to stay.
20 Stay Downtown: It’s A Crime Not To Visit The Mob Museum
If you are one of those people who is fascinated by the criminals of the past, you’ll want to stay in Old Las Vegas so you can visit The Mob Museum. It’s dedicated to all the stories of high profile crimes from years passed and the criminals who committed them.
Do you think you know everything there is to know about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre? A visit here just might change your thinking a bit. It’s always good to learn something new and a visit here will definitely accomplish that. If you think you know everything there is to know about Al Capone and his buddies from back then, you’d better Fuhgettaboutit!
19 Stay Downtown: The Foodie Tour Is To Die For
Do you love to eat? Would you consider yourself a ‘foodie?’ If you answered yes to either of these questions then you’ll want to plan your stay to take place in Old Las Vegas. Not only does the downtown area offer food at much cheaper rates, the area also offers you a foodie tour that you will never forget.
It’s an award-winning tour and it’s called the Lip Smacking Foodie Tour and you can sample some of the great tastes of the area for almost three hours. It’s an amazing time that your taste buds and tummy won’t soon forget.
18 Stay Downtown: Container Park Is Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Seen
People go to Las Vegas because they like to see the sights, as well as check out the casinos. There aren’t many sights around quite like the Container Park downtown though. Plan your stay for Old Las Vegas and you can easily visit the open-air shopping and entertainment center that is literally built out of fixed-up shipping containers.
If you saw the movie Burning Man, you’ll remember the giant praying mantis. That exact one is here, standing 55 feet high and spitting fire into the air each night. That’s a great landmark for you to look for to confirm that you’ve arrived!
17 Stay Downtown: The El Cortez Is A Long-Running Main Feature
The El Cortez is the longest non-stop running hotel and casino in the entire Las Vegas area. For more than seventy-five years it has been one of the main features of the downtown area and that continues today. It’s such a part of history that in 2013 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
At one time it was owned by mobsters Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Moe Sedway and Gus Greenbaum. The restaurant attached is still named Siegel’s 1941 and it is home to some of the best steaks in the entire region. Stop in and try one, you’ll be very happy you did!
16 Stay Downtown: The Neon Museum Is A Sight You Won't Want To Miss
A lot of people think of Las Vegas as the Neon Sign Capital of the World. They aren’t that far off because everything there is illuminated and each sign is designed to take your attention away from all of the other signs around. You might have wondered though, where do the signs go when they are replaced with newer, bigger attractions? Well, they go to the Neon Museum of course!
That’s right, these pieces of Las Vegas history just don’t get tossed into the trash. They are placed in the museum which is located in Old Las Vegas and you can get a guided tour to see each and every sign that has had its place in the history of the fabulous city.
15 Stay Downtown: The 'Life Is Beautiful' Festival Is Forever Transforming The Area
One of the benefits of staying in Old Las Vegas is you get to witness first hand all of the beautiful art that has made the downtown area a place your eyes definitely want to visit.
The Life is Beautiful Festival began in 2013 and each year famous artists come from all over the world to be a part of it. Everything that they create stays behind to give the area a fresh new look every single year. Some people consider the entire downtown area an open-air museum to some of the greatest art in the world. Go ahead and see for yourself!
14 Stay Downtown: The Grand Hotel & Casino Offers Better Priced Options
One of the biggest reasons a person might want to stay in Old Las Vegas as opposed to the Strip is that the room and resort fees downtown are much cheaper than they are on the Strip. That alone could give you some extra spending cash if you take the short trip over to where the bigger casinos are.
The Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino is a fabulous place to stay if you’re looking for a fun atmosphere and an all-around great time. They have the same casino activities as the more illustrious ones on the Stip, so you don't have to venture too far if that's what you're after.
13 Stay Downtown: The SlotZilla at Fremont Street Experience
If you have ever heard people saying that you can do absolutely anything in Las Vegas, well, here is some proof of that. If you are staying in Old Las Vegas and you like to ride on an awesome zip line, you are more than in luck.
If you take a ride on the SlotZilla Zip Line you’ll start your journey by exiting through the world’s largest slot machine. It will bring you right above the Fremont Street Experience and then you can go even higher up on the Zoomline. That trek lands you right at the Golden Gate Casino. With this here, who needs the Strip?
12 Stay Downtown: A Million Reasons To Visit Binion’s
One of the attractions to staying in Old Las Vegas is that there are fewer people (not by all that much though) and that offers you a better gaming experience. Fewer people means smaller crowds, less rowdy folk and generally a better experience.
If you go to Binion's you’ll see a million real-life dollars stacked into a pyramid. They encourage visitors to take photos with it and even offer you a souvenir frame for the picture. How many times in life will you get the opportunity to take a photo with a million dollars in cash? This alone might be worth the trip!
11 Stay Downtown: The Donut Bar Is More Than Enough Reason
If you’ve never heard of The Donut Bar, prepare to be amazed. There are only two locations for this wonderful restaurant, San Diego and right there in Old Las Vegas.
The Downtown area features this eating establishment that has, you guessed it, donuts. But not regular donuts. You can get a Monte Crisco (donut filled with ham and cheese), or the Big Poppa Tart (donut with a Kellogg’s Pop-Tart inside) or the Butter Beer donut, which comes complete with a pair of Harry Potter glasses!
Get there early though because once they are sold out for the day, nothing new comes out until tomorrow. This way they can assure you of the freshest product possible.
10 Choose The Strip: Transportation Is Completely Optional
You’ve probably seen all the beautiful photos of the Las Vegas Strip. It’s exactly how it looks in the pictures. Everything is very close together and you can go days without ever having to get in a vehicle of any kind. Your feet can take you anywhere you want and do it pretty quickly.
On any normal day a Vegas show, a restaurant, or the biggest casino you have ever seen, are all just a few steps away. If you are downtown you’ll spend more on transportation because things aren’t as close as you think they are, and a trip to the Strip is certainly not within walking distance.
9 Choose The Strip: Everything You Want Is Right There
One of the drawbacks to staying downtown is the fact that you can’t walk out of your hotel and have everything right there in front of you. On the Strip, you can exit your hotel and have a plethora of options to choose from. Are you looking for some food? A show? Maybe the top casino in the area? Everything you could possibly want will be available to you just by stepping foot outside of your hotel room.
If you are staying downtown you’ll have to go a little way to get to where you want to be. It’s not all that far mind you, but it’s not as close as if you were on the Strip.
8 Choose The Strip: Your Favorite Restaurant Might Be Right In Your Hotel
If you stay in Old Las Vegas the first thing you’ll notice is that things are spaced out a little, more than on the Strip. Now, I’m not talking miles away, but things are certainly not as close as they are on the Strip. If you decide to stay on the famous strip you might not even have to leave your hotel to get a fantastic meal.
There are lots of restaurants located inside each hotel. You may be able to find your favorite restaurant, sit down and enjoy a five-star meal and then return to your room… without ever stepping foot outside.
7 Choose The Strip: The Swimming Pools Are Some Of The Best Around
Most people visit Las Vegas to gamble and that’s fairly obvious, but there’s a lot more to do than just throw your money away. Some people like to check out the swimming pools and believe me, there are some top-notch beauties located on the Strip. There are lots of nice ones downtown too but none that can match what you’ll find if you walk down that famous strip.
The hotels are larger so a lot more money has been sunk into them. The swimming pools are never forgotten about, and some of the nicest pools in the world are located right there on the Las Vegas Strip.
6 Choose The Strip: Room Service Is Available Everywhere (but not downtown)
If you take a trip to Las Vegas and decide to stay on the Strip, you don’t even give a second thought to having room service. Every hotel there gives you this handy option to use and you wouldn’t even think for a second that it wouldn’t be offered. However, if you stay downtown you might not find the same.
Some places in the downtown area don’t offer room service so you’ll be quite out of luck if that’s something you’ll be looking for. Make that call down to the front desk and ask for some scrambled eggs and you just may not like the response that you get.
5 Choose The Strip: Your Spa Might Be Right There Inside Of Your Hotel
Earlier we spoke about your hotel on the Strip that just may have your favorite restaurant right inside of it. The same goes for your favorite spa. If you like them you might find one of the best in the world right there in your hotel.
However, if you choose to stay in Old Las Vegas, you may not find the same at your hotel. If you’re looking for a spa you may have to go to another facility. That’s not all that bad but isn’t it better when you don’t have to leave the building at all?
4 Choose The Strip: Plenty Of Entertainment Under your own roof
There are so many things to do in Las Vegas that everything is a competition for tourists' cash. So each place has to come up with the very best restaurants, shows and rides, to keep their visitors right there in the building. This could lead to a lot of things to do all under the same roof.
If you stay at one of the bigger hotels on the Strip you might find great amusement park rides, exciting Vegas shows and some of the best restaurants in the world, all under the same roof as your hotel room. You won’t find this at any place in the downtown area.
3 Choose The Strip: The hotels are casinos too
When you enter a casino on the famous Vegas Strip, you will always see or find hotel rooms very close by, in the same building. They want to make it very convenient for you to do everything you want to do right in the same building. A lot of places also will let you win free rooms as well.
Unfortunately though, if you are staying in Old Las Vegas, you may not find the same things all under the same roof. A lot of casinos downtown don’t have any rooms for you to stay in. You’ll have to leave and go somewhere else to go to bed.
2 Choose The Strip: The City That Never Sleeps (West Coast Version)
If you pick a hotel on the Strip you can expect to have a fun atmosphere and energetic time during your stay. The average age there is a bit younger than it is in the Old Las Vegas area. Downtown seems to draw a lot of the older visitors, maybe because of all of the lights and constant buzzing of the busier area.
If you’re going with a family it might be a better decision to stay in the downtown area because things can get pretty crazy on the Strip. You can only imagine what’s going on there twenty-four hours a day. But if that’s your kind of thing, then that’s the place for you!
1 Choose The Strip: Everything You Could want or need Is Right There For You
Try as they might, hotel owners on the Strip just cannot cram every single type of business inside of their hotel. They want you to never have to leave their building and the reasons for this are quite obvious. Anything you can’t find in your hotel though can be easily found, very close by, as long as you are staying on the Strip. Everything is so close that if you do have to leave your building, you won’t have to go very far at all.
The same can’t be said for the downtown area of Old Las Vegas. Things are a little more spread out there but not really enough to have to complain about. Things just aren’t as compact as they are right down the road.