Las Vegas. A city that is synonymous with nightclubs and casinos, made up of glittering lights and late nights. You’ve heard the monikers and hashtagged the sayings: Sin City, What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas, etc…
But there’s more than that. And that more is us. The locals. The people that live here 24/7/365. And we have our own spots that we like to keep ourselves. But I just happen to be in the mood for sharing.
So, if you want to experience Las Vegas like a local, I’m here to show you around.
The Smith Center
That’s what we call it. Officially, it’s known as the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. This is a world class performing arts center that provides first rate programming for the residents of the Las Vegas community. We no longer have any reason to envy New York or London, the Smith Center plays host to the world’s finest performances, from Broadway shows to world class concerts to supporting and encouraging local artists. Inspired by the Art Deco style of architecture and designed by the internationally renowned design team David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc., this is where the fine art of the world and Downtown Las Vegas meet.
Need tickets? We can help.
This is a local staple that dates all the way back to 1952. Founded by Joe & Stella Sobchik, it is the oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas. And yes, there’s a story behind the name. You see, there was a time when the Nevada desert was home to atomic bomb testing. And what better place to watch it from than the roof of a bar. No, I’m not kidding. Customers would come to sample Atomic Cocktails while watching the nuclear blasts from the nearby Atomic Test Site.
How does that compare to your local bar? I know, it can’t.
This is a late night talk show that goes down every Thursday night in the heart of Downtown Vegas. It’s recorded live at the Las Vegas Inspire Theater at 9pm and covers everything from music and fashion to tech and more. The late night talk is home to high caliber guests and conversation. Then, we all head on to after party at the Gold Spike. Oh, and it’s free.
Just what you need after a long work week.
Gold and Silver Pawn Shop
I’ll be the first to admit, if you’re a local and head down to this place, you’re either in dire straits or looking to get an engagement ring on the cheap. either way, I feel sorry for you. But it’s a place you can visit. And if you ever saw the show Pawn Stars, well, you’re in for a double whammy of local and tourist extravaganza.
Downtown 3rd Farmers Market
Some of us enjoy leading a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, something that seems irreconcilable with the Las Vegas lifestyle. The Downtown 3rd Farmers Market is where local farmers bring their wares. It’s also a place to experience healthy living classes and demonstrations from some of Las Vegas’ most famous chefs.
The DT3 (Get it? It’s a locals thing) is held on Fridays from 9AM to 2PM. Find it off of US-95 and Casino Center Drive. Who knew right?
Where independent coffee, vinyl, handcrafted food, great beer and wine come together to form a community. Located in in the heart of downtown on the ground floor of the Emergency Arts center. Frequented by local musicians and artists, reminiscent of the grunge scene in the Mission District of 1990s San Francisco. You’ll find a vinyl collection to browse and choose from as well as a little art gallery.
Local bands are always welcome to play here. Maybe it’s time to start yours?
Pinball Hall of Fame
Forget all those Vegas platitudes about chance and gambler’s luck. This whimsical place is the antidote to the gambling thrall that hangs over this city. Have you seen the zombies mindlessly playing the slot machines? Do you really think they’re having fun? Well, the Pinball Hall of Fame is where locals (and some lost tourists) come to have the type of fun you remember as a kid. With pinball machines that range from the 1950s up to the 1990s, restored to like-new playing condition by the Hall of Fame’s curators. Older pinballs are set to 25 cents per play while the newer models cost 50 cents. This is a far better return than you’ll find at any casino on the Strip.
Plus, this place actually has windows and a clock.
Las Vegas Arts District
An exclusive zone of 18 blocks set aside for local art and artists, the 18b as it’s known to locals is an eclectic mix of art galleries, one of a kind stores, restaurants, bars, theatre spaces and more. It’s home to the “First Friday” Art Walk, an arts and cultural event that draws up to 30,000 on the first Friday evening of each month.
The Las Vegas Arts District, and First Fridays, is a perfect place to browse, buy, eat, drink and mingle amongst locals, artists, and artisans. You can always expect a cool and diverse crowd and a night filled with live music, street performances and plenty of surprises!
A truly unique place in Downtown Las Vegas. This outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment venue is made completely of shipping containers! Stacked one on top of the other, it offers an eclectic variety of boutique shops and food outlets. You’ll be impressed with how they transformed shipping containers into a sustainable and entertaining place.
Oh, and did I mention the giant robotic praying mantis that spits fire? No, I’m not kidding.
The Golden Tiki
A unique venue located in the heart of Chinatown. The decor is a mashup of tropical tiki theme meets Pirates of the Caribbean. Simply picture an animatronic skeleton, water features, starlit ceiling, a giant clam shell and you’ll start to get the vibe. The artifacts on the walls have interesting stories behind them; ask your waiter. The drinks are fantastic – and strong!
The place for economical movie going. Cheaper than Redbox, a Netflix subscription, or a taco. What more can a cash strapped local ask for? You can also find limited, exclusive engagements of movies not screening anywhere else in the state or having been shown for a very abridged run. The added entertainment comes from the other patrons who frequent this place.
All for the amazing low price of admission of merely 2$. And 1$ on Tuesdays! Cash only though.
Double Down Saloon
This is where urban decay and the interplanetary abstract meet. Make sense? Probably not but who cares. This is where you come of the unexpected. The Double Down saloon is the Anti-Vegas hotspot since 1992, a place that has the dubious distinctions of serving the fabled ass juice and the bacon martini. Try them at your own risk.
If you’re a tourist and frequent any of our watering holes, there’s a chance you may stick out amongst us locals. But don’t worry, we won’t say anything. We love Las Vegas and everybody that happens to stop here on the crazy long road trip called life.