Recently, I took a mini road trip with a college bestie, who is a Las Vegas native. As a recovering Angeleno, I’ve spent more than my fair share of weekends in Sin City, but there is something special about spending time with someone who knows its ins and outs so well.
Our first stop was tracking down the illusive Park. The Park took us forever to find and we battled closed sky bridges, ridiculous heat, and our own self-doubt to find it (not a joke). After asking nearly every casino security person we came across, we found our destination a good hour after we started. Tucked in the strip of land between the New York, New York, and the Monte Carlo, The Park was well worth the hunt. A collection of different bars, eateries, large outdoor games (Giant Jenga!), and public art, The Park’s name is a perfect description of the place. After nomming on some fancy chicken and waffles at Bruxie, we had a chance to look around in a space that feels oddly sequestered from the hustle and bustle of The Strip.
Pro Tip: Park at the Excalibur. It is the closest parking lot unless you want to mimic the hike we went on. In which case, park at the MGM, which now costs money!?! (I’m not sure when the garages started to charge for parking, but I’m not a fan. If you are a youngin’ just know that parking at a Las Vegas casino used to be free.)
Next, we decided to explore Downtown Container Park, located in old Downtown Las Vegas. Y’all I’m obsessed with this place. It is basically a funky shopping center built in a series of old storage containers. It has a massive tree house for kids to play in, art galleries, food and a whole host of locally owned businesses for you to enjoy. There is also a setup for live music and large-scale art installations (including a giant fire-spitting mechanical dancing mantis). This quirky space is covered in local flare and if you want to feel a bit tucked away from the standard Sin City sparkle, this is a great place to do it.
The other reason to love Container Park is that it is part of the downtown revitalization effort spearheaded by Zappos Founder, Tony Hsieh. The greater purpose of the park is to help local artists, artisans, and small businesses get off the ground. The containers are relatively small and the cost of renting one is reasonable, helping entrepreneurs test out their ideas before taking them to scale. So basically, if you want to spend your hard-earned dollars close to the ground, container park is a fantastic place to start. Not to mention the cocktails at Oak and Ivy are delicious! I still dream about their Pimms Cup.
Pro Tip: If you are going for drinks and eats, get there a little bit early so you have time to explore the shops. Also, the space turns into a 21+ area after 9pm, so all the more reason to go early if you are traveling with those under 21.
Finally, we decided to take a wander down Fremont Street. The stretch eventually takes you into the Old Downtown area of Las Vegas, where you can zip line over old casinos, and see where the Rat Pack spent their time. However, in between Container Park and the old casinos is Fremont Street, an area packed with different bars and places to grab a bite. As consummate lovers of food and street art, this stretch is a fun place to come if you want something a little different from The Strip nightclub scene.
Pro Tip: There is plenty of parking around Fremont. If you park a few streets away, take a moment to enjoy the massive murals that cover the buildings surrounding Fremont. They are gorgeous and unlike anything you will find in any other downtown. The area looks a bit rough, but don’t let that stop you.