Ok, so I have just read ANOTHER guide to Vegas that pretty much doesn’t get off The Strip, besides one sentence about the Pinball museum, and another about the light show on Fremont Street, but THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO DO IN VEGAS!
I am writing a guide to the rest of Vegas, cause I am pissed off that everyone just knows about the casinos and the strip clubs. F%^K THE STRIP! Locals do not go to The Strip unless they are getting paid. So why should backpackers. The Strip is great for first timers, for a couple hours…but over 2 million people live in Vegas; and no, WE DON’T ALL LIVE IN THE CASINOS!!!! Stop asking me which casino I live in every time I fly home!
Ok, here is things to do in Vegas that are not on the strip:
SPRING MOUNTAIN/CHINA TOWN/ASIA TOWN
Spring Mountain; which is just west of the strip on the other side of I-15, is our China Town. But really, its every Asian country you can thin of here. Want some REAL Asian food. Pick ANY restaurant and you wont be disappointed. The first main plaza you come to is the pagoda plaza. There is the 99Ranch Market – which I shop at because it has the freshest, cheapest fish and meat I’ve ever had (and I’ve lived near the ocean on the East Coast my whole life). Surprisingly, for the desert, Vegas has the freshest fish I have ever had (the fact that it gets flown in everyday helps). And every year we have a giant Chinese New Year celebration with entertainment, food, souvenirs, and flying people here on
Seriously, this guy did almost a full 360 like this. When did the Chinese learn to fly, and why wont they share the knowledge?
You should visit Spring Mountain, if just for a meal. Sushi, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc.…all next to each other. There is no place I have found here that I would not recommend!
So yes, Fremont has the LED light show. Locals will actually go to Fremont. It has all the crazy, weird people but with half the tourists, and drinks are cheap. But to really see something cool (after the light show, cause honestly, everyone should see the light show at least once, head East to EAST FREMONT (there’s a sign telling you you are there.). East Fremont; well the safe part of East Fremont, not the methhead, hooker graveyard part which is much further East, is only a block long. BUT IT’S A BLOCK THAT PACKS A PUNCH!
Beauty Bar on East Fremont district in Las Vegas, at night
There is Beauty Bar, The Griffin, the Hookah Lounge, Emergency Arts (an art gallery/café/Burlesque Hall of Fame), and Insert Coins. Insert Coins is the newest addition to this lot of amazingness. It’s a bar slash arcade! Yes, old school arcade games and pinball machines. Get drunk, play Tetris. Cant get too much more awesome!
The Griffin signpost in Eat Fremont in Las Vegas
Vegas is home to many Legends of Burlesque and Burlesque shows! ChaCha Velour and MissKarla Joy run a burlesque class here in Vegas(if you go to http://www.chachavelour.com/instruct.php I’m in the photo of the Jan-March 2011 class). Renea’ La Roux is one of my personal favorites to see. There are so many burlesque shows and performers in Vegas its hard to name them all. Look them up on Facebook. But BOOMER’S BAR on Sirius (on west side of I-15, in a dark back alley of a road) hosts many burlesque shows.
The BURLESQUE HALL OF FAME is located inside of Emergency Arts at the corner of East Fremont and 6th St. Check online to find hours.
VEGAS STREATS FESTIVAL
The second Saturday of each month (SO TONIGHT!) is the Vegas Streats Festival in the El Cortez Plaza (directly behind Emergency Arts – across the street from the El Cortez Casino). It’s a festival showcasing Vegas’s DELICIOUS gourmet food trucks, with music, artists, and beer… and sometimes surprises for those who stay there till 2am. The festival runs from 8pm-2am, and IS AWESOME!
Vegas is FULL of amazing gourmet food trucks and very often they have impromptu food truck ralleys in parking lots all over Las Vegas. if you sign up on Facebook or Twitter to follow them, they give daily updates to where and when they will be around town, and you can always ask them too. Some of our food trucks
HanShikTaco – located pretty much daily in Lee’s Discount Liquor parking lot on West Lake Mead Blvd (NW Vegas). Korean and tacos. There is NOTHING but awesomeness in my mouth here!
Tacos from Hanshiktaco food truck in Las Vegas
My favourite two Food Trucks (dont mind the dust in the photo)
SnOwOno – shaved ice, really does feel exactly like sticking your face in a pile of deliciously flavored fluffy snow. The girls home make the flavored syrups; so unlike most ice things that are so sickly sweet you need to pound water after – SnOwOnO is REFRESHING! And they have something like 50 flavors you can mix and match. All delicious – but try the Tiger’s Blood…MMMMMM!
Ok, so those are my 2 favorite…but here is a list of more of Vegas’s (in?)famous gourmet food trucks:
Tasty Buns (oh they are too!), Sliding Thru, LBS Patty Wagon, Fukuburger, Haulin’ Balls, Fat Daddy Icecream, Muncheeze, Grouchy Johns, Food Slingers, Island Breeze, H&H BBQ, BBQBOYLV, Curbside Café, The Cheese Steak Truck, Sloppi Joes….and so many more I cant think of right now.
RED ROCK CANYON
looking down over red Rock Canyon and the Las Vegas desert
Red Rock Canyon is located west, way west, of the strip. It has some of the best places to go bouldering (aka. jumping around the rocks like a mountain goat), and rock climbing. Take Charleston st past where the street lights end and you’ll come to Red Rock. you can also take the street right before the actually entrance to Red Rock (Calico Basin), and get into Red Rock on the backside, and the Calico Basin entrance is FREE. Its just a really cool place to climb, hike, picnic, see the whole valley, and basically have fun
VALLEY OF FIRE
Located about 20 min north of Vegas up I-15 is Valley of Fire. You come into nowhere, then take the street at when you see the casino (you cant miss it; it’s the only casino in the middle of the desert there). It’s a State Park, so it costs $6 (I think…it was less than $10 per car) to go…but there are some great rock formations, and you can climb everywhere. Its definitely a fun day to go out here. just bring water.
Actually, you should bring lots; AND DRINK LOTS of water anywhere you go in Vegas. It’s a desert. Especially in the summer, you can get severely dehydrated without knowing it. Sweat evaporates instantly, so many people don’t realize how much water they’ve lost.
Anyway, back to Valley of Fire. Im just going to show you its awesomeness in photos.:
entering Valley of Fire; just outside of Las Vegas, NV
Lizard camoflauging intot the desert floor and hidding under branches in Valley of Fire
Landscape in valley of Fire state park from atop rocks
White fuzzy plant growing out of the rocks in Valley of Fire, Nevada, USA
Landscape of Valley of Fire and Lake Mead in Nevada
looking down the rockface in Valley of Fire, NV
red rock landscape in Valley of Fire
This park is located on Valley View and is a nature preserve showcasing Vegas’s abundance of wildlife. They also host the RUN AWAY WITH CIRQUE DU SOLEIL event every year; which I had the opportunity to go to this past spring. A mini run, Cirque Characters running around, activities for kids, and raffle prizes for the runners. I’ve never actually been there besides that, but I can say, hanging out with Cirque people; in full costume, was wicked fun!
Costumed Cirque du Soleil character at Spring preserves, Las Vegas, NV charity event
Cirque character being silly for my camera
Ka girl plays with bubbles at the Springs Preserve in las Vegas
The cirque characters waited near the finish, cheering, supporting, and feeding racers
This is one of Vegas’s biggest, monthly events, and no one but locals seem to go. It’s the monthly art event held in Vegas’s Art District (YES VEGAS HAS AN ART DISTRICT!); which is about a mile south of Fremont St (have you noticed that most of the cool stuff is located around Fremont Street yet?) Each month, on the first Friday of the month (hence the name), part of the art district, south of Charleston St, gets closed down to traffic and there is basically a giant party of music, local artists, food, and so on. The galleries open up, and craftsman and artists line the streets. If you are into art, and want to see just how big the local art community is here in Vegas, go to First Friday! (ps: we call our entire art district 18blocks.) FIRST FRIDAY WEBSITE
So these are just A FEW of the things Vegas has to offer, besides casinos, expensive tourist shi-ite, and strip clubs (yes, we do have a lot of those too; but seriously, they are not any better than any other town in America)
Also, the casinos on Fremont have cheaper rooms. And weekday prices all over Vegas are significantly less than weekend. You can easily stay for $30 a night in many casinos on weeknights; especially in Fremont District.