Las Vegas, Beyond the Strip
It’s no secret that the bright lights and unbeatable energy of Las Vegas continue to attract adventurous travellers from all over the world. Whether you’re a keen gambler seeking your fortune or wanting to soak up the decadent culture of a city where you can really have it all, Las Vegas is an undeniably unique experience that should be on every traveller’s bucket list.
While we’re all familiar with the iconic hotels and neon lights of the fabled Las Vegas Strip, there’s so much more to this vibrant city than just this particular stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard; most visitors don’t get the chance to experience it. However, the buzzing cultural, entertainment and culinary scene of the city beyond the Strip is just now appearing on an increasing number of visitors’ radars, thanks in part to a record number of convention visitors who are fast turning Vegas into the epicentre of business travel in the U.S. Whether you’re on the hunt for great food, avant-garde culture or a little bit of luxury, here’s your guide to some of the best experiences to be had beyond the Vegas Strip.
While most of the big name Michelin restaurants and gut-busting buffets are to found on the Strip, you don’t have to look far beyond to find some amazing local food that is innovative, affordable and delicious. There’s no shortage of top-notch cuisine to be had; if you’re in the mood for something trendy and creative, your best bet is the seriously tasty Asian fusion menu served up at Chada Thai over in Chinatown (yes, Vegas has a Chinatown). Try their addictive and liver-bruising Drunken Noddles for a pre-night out kick, or their more than moreish Fried Quail’s Eggs for something a little different.
If you’re on the hunt for some authentic local favour for seriously local prices, look no further than the homely Carson Kitchen for all-American fare cooked with love. This place has been credited with helping revive Downtown Las Vegas, as residents line up around the block for a taste of their legendary Gyro Tacos, Butter Burgers and the beautifully-named ‘Mmm Rib’ concoction. Also a great option for vegans and vegetarians. For some out-there fusion burgers that are really starting to make a splash in the region, Fat Choy is the restaurant you simply can’t miss. This quirky combination of 50s Americana and Hong Kong noodle bar is a sight to behold, and their Pork Belly Burgers are not to be missed.
See and Do
There’s no shortage of great cultural activities and sights to take in while you’re in town, with the most interesting creative activity definitely taking place off the Strip, with the same going for the vast array of exciting entertainment venues. Many of the amazing galleries and museums tend to be off the radar for most people, due largely to the obvious lack of footfall experience by most off-Strip establishments, which has unfortunately resulted in some venues having to close up shop. Make sure you do your bit for some of the great spaces that keep the city vibrant, and experience all the fun to be had off the Strip.
One unforgettable spot which will undoubtedly make your day out a memorable one is a trip to the slightly forboding National Atomic Testing Museum over on Flamingo Road. This place documents the almost unbelievable history of Vegas as a test site for nuclear weapons during the Cold War and is chock full of eccentric memorabilia, jaw-dropping footage, and even the remains of some of the bombs. Definitely, the ultimate way to learn more about the riveting history of this characteristically crazy city.
While many don’t think of Vegas as a cultural hub, there’s ample opportunity to experience the work of some of the world’s most daring and bold contemporary artists once you leave the Strip. Head to the Contemporary Arts Centre on East Charleston Boulevard in the heart of the burgeoning downtown arts district to catch a glimpse at the work of leading artists such as Dale Hoyt and Tony Labat, whilst drinking in the insane architecture of the place.
It wouldn’t be a spread on Vegas if there was no mention of casinos, and this city has plenty of great spots that offer that authentic and euphoric Vegas experience beyond the big names of the Strip. If you’re feeling more of a resort-style casino with all the live-in amenities you could ask for, then the Red Rock is definitely the place for you, especially if you fancy a dip in one of the city’s biggest swimming pools. For the younger and hipper set, The D over on Fremont is the premier spot to gamble with an expertly-crafted cocktail in hand and gaze at the city’s Pretty Young Things.
If there are any must-do off-the-Strip experiences that haven’t been mentioned here, let us know in the comments!