Las Vegas is one of the most well-known and popular cities in the United States. However, most people know it for the gambling tables and star-studded concerts. As exciting as The Strip can be, it is a very expensive, crowded, and flashy place that is aimed more towards tourists and entirely avoided by the locals. Most visitors are not aware of all the excellent locations that are hidden in Vegas and kept secret by the locals.
Where do Las Vegas locals go out for their own night of excitement and relaxation with reasonably priced meals and not overcrowded locations?
For this article, we are going to go over some of the places locals go out in Las Vegas!
Fremont Street, also known as The Fremont Street Experience, is one of the many places locals go for a day out. This entire location exists under a LED canopy that can be zip-lined through literally.
One particular place locals visit in this area is the Fremont East, a popular local haunt that includes the Griffin, which is known for its amazing fireplaces, excellent jukeboxes, and stiff drinks. Another Place you can visit is the Downtown Cocktail Room, which comes with superb craft cocktails and a secret bar in the back, where locals tend to retreat.
The Park on Fremont is famously known for its exceptional brunch, crazy art, and taxidermy. It also has a fantastic backyard patio oasis to admire. Corduroy is another place you can visit that is themed like a rock ‘n ‘ roll style bar that is made to attract photographers. There is also the Downtown Container Park, a shopping and entertainment complex developed entirely out of shipping containers (making it the first of its kind in the U.S.) with events, live entertainment, and cool bars such as Bin 702 and Oak and Ivy. Don’t forget to take a picture with the giant metal fire-breathing mantis out front.
If you walk a little bit further east, you will come across a place called Atomic Liquors and the Kitchen at Atomic. These two bars are known for being some of the best beer bars in Las Vegas. If you need a break from drinking anything alcoholic, check out PublicUs, a superb third-wave coffee house, cafe, and bakery. Right across the street from that place is the Bunkhouse Saloon, a place for anyone craving some indie live music.
Lake Las Vegas
If you are traveling with your lover and want to take them to a superb spot for a date, then consider checking out Lake Las Vegas. Located about 20 miles east of the Strip is Lake Las Vegas and offers you excellent seasonal activities and pleasant dining options for couples seeking to spend some quality time together. During the summer, you can rent a pedal boat for romantic sunset cruises around the lake.
When winter comes around, you can ice skate around the public rink, which opens when the weather starts to become colder. Several restaurants offer lakeside dining with quiet tables looking out across the water. A personal recommendation is Mimi and Coco Bistro. This place offers a fantastic setting night on the lake with French artwork that makes a romantic atmosphere that you both can enjoy. The wine selection is also excellent.
Once you are done with dinner, you can take a walk around the expansive grounds and pay a visit to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for some delicious treats before heading back to your hotel.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon is one of the most amazing places you will ever visit. The conservation area is around 30 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip. If you’re the outdoorsy type, then you will love this place.
All sorts of people travel to Red Rock Canyon to specifically climb the many challenging routes in this area. In March, the Red Rock Rendezvous happens. It is one of the largest climbing festivals in the world. It has become such a popular climbing attraction that world-famous climber Alex Hannold moved here because of the year-round climbing opportunities offered in Red Rock and Mount Charleston.
Even if you are not a climber, you can still enjoy Red Rock by driving through it with a car in under an hour on the scenic drive for under $10. There are also plenty of scenic trails you can take if you are not fond of hiking trails. These scenic trails will have you go through the surreal red sandstone of Calico Basin to the lush greenery and flowing waters of Fern Canyon.
If you do decide to trek through any of these areas, make sure you bring proper gear, protection from the sun, and tons of water. Depending on the year, Red Rock Canyon can see temperatures above 110 degrees during the middle of the day.
The Black Sheep
Las Vegas is known for having some of the most excellent restaurants in the world. Every known celebrity chef has opened up some type of restaurant bearing their name. Interestingly enough, some of the best restaurants are not the ones plastered with the faces of these famous chefs or located in the Strip, for that matter.
The best meals in town are independently owned and operated away from the Strip and ran by partner-chefs who cut their teeth cooking in kitchens for people like Daniel Boulud and Joel Robuchon. These locations can be found in Chinatown, Fremont, or even random strip malls in otherwise dull locations.
The Black Sheep is one of the best restaurants to have appeared in Las Vegas recently. The chef of this restaurant, Jamie Tran, previously worked at Boulud’s DB Brasserie and Charlie Palmer’s Aureole before deciding to open his own business with two other partners, who are also from DB Brasserie.
The results of this opening led to a unique Vietnamese-American concept with roots in dining and French cooking techniques. The menu is somewhat small, but each item comes prepared incredibly well, with an excellent selection of craft cocktails and affordable wine. Tran’s cooking has garnered tons of high praise that she was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award.
Las Vegas has earned a reputation for being known as a very entertaining city and not just because of the slot machines. Clique shows, magic shows, comedy shows, musicals, spoof shows, dinners shows, and much more can be found in this city. Any of these shows can be great to go to, but there is one show that changes every time it is performed and features a revolving cast of stars from every show in Las Vegas, Monday’s Dark at the Indie performing arts and events venue, The Space.
Twice a month on Mondays, you will be able to see an ever-changing lineup of Vegas performers, athletes, and celebrity chefs get together for a 90-minute variety show. Every evening will show something different, and best of all the tickets are only $20. Furthermore, the proceeds earned from these performances are all going into local Las Vegas charities.
Snow is a rare sight in the Las Vegas Valley but driving an hour north from the Strip will place you within the Mount Charleston wilderness in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.
In this location, you can go skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing to your heart’s content in the wintertime. During the summer, locals head out to Mount Charleston to escape the city heat since it is usually 20 degrees cooler up there. They take hikes among the bristlecone trees and forest tower ponderosa pine. There are hikes available for every skill level, which makes it a popular place for families, and seasonal waterfalls can be seen as the snow melts.
Regardless of the time of year, the Resort on Mount Charleston is a great place to grab a meal on the patio after a hike or enjoying a warm drink by the fireplace after a day out of skiing down the snow.
The Arts District
Most tourists are unaware that Las Vegas even has its very own Arts District. This is unfortunate since the place has some fantastic sites to see. Plenty of people receive their first introduction to the Arts District with First Friday Las Vegas, a monthly arts festival that takes place here. This festival has tons of art and craft vendors set up outside, along with living performances and a herd of food trucks. The art studios and gallery spaces inside venues such as Arts Factory and Art Square all open up to the public during these times.
However, the businesses here are open more than just once a month. You can grab a drink and catch live DJ sets at Artifice inside Art Square or check out an independent theater production at the 99-seat Cockroach Theater in the same building. Marker & Finders is also located nearby, and you can grab some superb Latin comfort food and specialty coffee or cocktails. Right next door to them, you can get some expertly-crafted beets at Hop Nuts Brewing.
The Art district has a lot to show, and all it takes is for you to explore and find them.
Las Vegas is a city filled with all sorts of excitement outside of the Stripe. It takes some looking into, but you will find places that are just as entertaining, if not more so than the ones found on the Strip. Best of all, these places are affordable, so you won’t have to worry about overspending your money. Take the time to visit these places whenever you head to Las Vegas for your next trip.