Downtown Walking Tour, Las Vegas

Downtown Walking Tour (Self Guided), Las Vegas

Las Vegas has no shortage of exciting tourist attractions, such as peculiar museums (e.g. Neon Museum and Mob Museum), art galleries, cultural centers (Downtown Container Park), and other notable landmarks and sights well worth exploring. Take this self-guided walking tour to see the most interesting tourist hot-spots in downtown Las Vegas.
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Downtown Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Downtown Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Las Vegas (See other walking tours in Las Vegas)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Author: alice
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Neon Museum
  • Mob Museum
  • Fremont Street Experience
  • SlotZilla Zipline
  • El Cortez Hotel and Casino
  • Downtown Container Park
Neon Museum

1) Neon Museum

The main thing that characterizes Las Vegas is the multitude of neon signs. There's no better way to start off acquainting with the Sin City than through its neon lights that once graced the facades of the casinos, shops and businesses. Today, they are almost all lit by LED or LCD bulbs, so if you want to see the old signs, make way to the Neon Museum.

Here you will find neon signs dating back to the 1930s when the craze began. There is a huge variety of them in the two-acre outdoor Young Electric Sign Company Boneyard, where they wait to be restored in the museum and set up in various areas of the city. There are over 150 signs waiting to be given a new lease of life.

You can see some of them without visiting the actual museum though, as they have been set up in and around Fremont Street Experience. Among these are the Hacienda Horse and Rider which adorned the Hacienda Hotel in 1967, the Aladdin’s Lamp from the Aladdin Hotel in 1966, the 1961 sign from the Flame Restaurant, the Nevada Hotel sign that was first lit up in 1950, and Dot’s Flowers from a 1949 florist shop.

These signs are more than just pretty street decorations, but tell the history of changing times and tastes in Las Vegas.

Why You Should Visit:
To explore a part of Las Vegas's history in a fun way.

Especially exciting if visited at night.
The Tim Burton exhibit is particularly worth checking out.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Mob Museum

2) Mob Museum (must see)

The Mob Museum, officially known as the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, is dedicated to presenting the artifacts, stories, and history of organized crime in the United States, as well as the actions and initiatives taken by law enforcement to prevent such crimes. Opened on February 14th, 2012, the museum is housed in the former Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse which was built in 1933 and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In April 2018, a fully operational speakeasy and distillery was opened at the museum's basement, called The Underground exhibit, paying homage to the Prohibition-era speakeasies with Art Deco design and artifacts from the 1920s related to the Prohibition era as well as the bootleggers, rumrunners, and moonshiners who ensured Americans still had access to liquor during the 13 years of federal “dry” season. The most notable feature of the Underground is a custom-built pot used for distilling in-house 100 proof, 100% corn moonshine which, they say, is “as authentic as it can safely get.” In 2019, the Mob Museum started selling their moonshine – previously available only at The Underground – through Lee's Discount Liquor stores in the Las Vegas Valley.

Indeed, what a better place for a speakeasy than in the basement of the Mob Museum? Each day the museum runs 30-minute tours of the Underground facility, starting at 5 pm. To access The Underground, patrons must ring a bell and provide a password. Once inside, they can order classic cocktails and moonshine, and enjoy live jazz.

Why You Should Visit:
To explore artifacts from law enforcement's epic battle against the bad guys, to sample a variety of in-house distilled spirits (moonshine, vodka and the Jamaica ginger infusion), plus to receive an in-depth explanation of the distillery equipment and distillation process (Prohibition-era bootlegging and rum running), and to learn more about Prohibition and its impact on distilled spirits.

Consider adding the firearms simulator option, for it helps to learn more about how a police officer must be prepared to make a life/death split-second decision.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Fremont Street Experience

3) Fremont Street Experience (must see)

If you want to see something more of Las Vegas than the famous Strip, head for Downtown Vegas and the Fremont Street Experience – you won’t regret it.

This is one huge pedestrian mall with a barrel-vault canopy 90 feet (27 meters) high and 1,500 feet (460 meters) long. This amazing cover is held up by 16 columns, has 12 million LED lights and 220 speakers. It is a light and sound experience you’ll never forget. There are sound stages that host live concerts, souvenir kiosks where you can buy t-shirts, costume jewelry and hats, artists making cartoon sketches and spray-paint artists. A lot of people hang around dressed up as Elvis, Marilyn Monroe or other stars and celebrities and you can have your picture taken with them for a tip. Gambling halls and casinos line the Street, along with various bars and grills. However, top picks are the extremely entertaining fear attraction, Viva Vision, and the SlotZilla.

Why You Should Visit:
Fremont Street is the pedestrian street of downtown Las Vegas, still hosting some of the original casinos.
The SlotZilla Zip Line, where you will fly over the mall, is a not-to-miss experience.

Try to find the free slot machines.
Although it is lively day and night, it gets more fun after dark.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
SlotZilla Zipline

4) SlotZilla Zipline

Housed is an 11-story building resembling a slot machine, SlotZilla zip line is surely hard to miss. This is by far one of the coolest experiences in Vegas as it sends riders flying high above the Fremont Street Experience, day or night, for an overhead view of the entertainment district.

There are, in fact, two lines in operation: the lower zip – flying riders on a seated harness from 77 feet in the air, about seven stories up, for 850 feet, about half the length of the Fremont Street Experience; and the upper, horizontal Superman flying position launched from 114 feet, or 11 stories, up and spanning 1,700 feet, the length of the Fremont Street Experience. The former ride lasts about 30 seconds, while the latter is about one minute to complete.

Decorated with an over-sized dice, a martini glass, a pink flamingo, coins, video reels, a giant arm, and two 35-foot-tall showgirls, the $12-million structure took 14 months to build. The showgirls' replicas on its sides mimic the two real persons, Jennifer and Porsha. These girls often accompanied former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, a colorful individual, at numerous functions.

SlotZilla opened in 2014. Five years into operation, by August 2019 it had offered adventures to more than two million riders. Later that year, Viva Vision, the world’s largest single video screen – serving as the canopy for the six blocks of the Fremont Street Experience – went through a $32 million renovation to accommodate 3D graphic technology.

Obviously, the best time to enjoy SlotZilla is after dusk since the Fremont Street Experience is busier then and the experience of the Viva Vision light shows is more dramatic.

Operation hours:
The light show goes on 7/24. Every hour from 6 pm to 1 am, it features a six-minute concert playing music and cool videos. Planning for a ride on the hour during those shows provides the best flying experience.
El Cortez Hotel and Casino

5) El Cortez Hotel and Casino

Opened on November 7, 1941, El Cortez is one of the oldest casino-hotel properties in Las Vegas that is still operating. This relatively small downtown gaming venue features slots, table games, and a race and sports book.

Located just a block from the Fremont Street Experience and Las Vegas Boulevard, back in the day, it was considered too far from downtown. However, it quickly gained profit so much so, in fact, that the notorious mobsters Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway rushed to buy it in 1945 for $600,000. El Cortez is also the place where Siegel learned the ropes of running a casino business himself.

Decades in operation, El Cortez is still thriving. Primarily Spanish Colonial Revival in style, the building reflects a 1952 remodel when the facade was modernized. Upon further renovation and revival, the place got a new tower and a new sign that uses neon – a classic Vegas art form that had fallen out of favor until a recent rediscovery by some hotels and businesses.

On February 22, 2013, the structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Downtown Container Park

6) Downtown Container Park

Downtown Container Park is an open-air shopping and entertainment venue that is built out of 43 repurposed shipping containers and 41 locally manufactured Xtreme cubes. This innovative, artsy center features a whimsical world of 38 one-of-a-kind boutique shops, unique restaurants and bars making for a great respite in the sun with a drink. It also includes a stage for presentations and live music shows for the whole family. Kids will love its interactive playground featuring The Treehouse, an interactive play area featuring a 33-foot-tall slide, NEOS play system, oversized foam building blocks and much more. In the meantime adults can relax enjoying free concerts, movies, and more on the main stage.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a 35-foot-tall praying mantis sculpture that shoots flames from its antennae. Food-wise, there’s something for everyone here, from gourmet quick service dining at Downtown Terrace to award winning beef jerky at JoJo’s Jerky.

The place is ideal for groups, much as for a nightcap since the bars are open later than other businesses in the container park. The place is a 21+ facility after 9 pm daily. IDs are to be presented at the gate.

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