Images reflecting off of the canopy above, screaming teens riding the zip-line overhead, and stages of entertainment on the outstreets of Fremont Street summed up my Fremont Street Experience in the Old Town of Las Vegas.
We grabbed a seat on the local city bus and within fifteen minutes we arrived in Old Vegas. Fremont Street spans four blocks with casinos, buffet specials and bars on each side. Three stages provide live music and we were excited to take in the tunes of the Beatles with look-a-like musicians dressed up as John, Paul, Ringo and George. The electric atmosphere and intimate space differs than the wide open spaces of Las Vegas Boulevard and the prices were less expensive as well.
We enjoyed our time strolling the old strip where historical casinos have existed since the early 1900s. The Golden Gate, once known as the “Hotel Nevada” was the first casino in Las Vegas, built in 1906. More casinos would soon follow in the early 1930’s and Vegas’ gambling industry would grow over the next few years. People continue to visit the Golden Gate with a bit of nostalgia, but most will stop by for their cheap shrimp cocktails.
The Fremont Hotel and Casino opened in 1956 and was the first high rise to be built in Las Vegas and was considered to be the tallest building in the whole state of Nevada. This hotel makes up one of the “four corners” located at the crossroads of Casino Center Boulevard and Fremont Street. It is here where Wayne Newton made his Las Vegas debut in 1959.
Although a bit morbid, my fascination with Binion’s Gambling Hall and Casino was solely based on a television episode of “Snapped” where Ted Binion’s girlfriend and lover were acquitted of his controversial murder back in 1998. The hotel first opened in 1951 under the name of the Horseshoe Club and was owned by the Binion family until 2004. Poker players will recognize at as the venue of the annual World Series of Poker which began in 1970. The hotel portion of Binion’s was closed in 2009.
The Golden Nugget was completed in 1946, is said to be the largest of the downtown casinos with close to 2,500 rooms and suites. It is also known as the first building that was built as a casino from the ground up. The resort’s famed attraction is the 960 ounce gold nugget called the “Hand of Faith” and is on display in the casino.
Whether it is the Fremont Street Experience or the wandering among the Fremont Street casinos made famous by the Rat Pack, a trip to “Glitter Gulch” is an experience of unusual dimensions. It was given this name due to the large number of neon signs that were displayed here. Many of them have since retired and can be found refurbished and exhibited in the Neon Museum.
The most famous of all neon signs along Fremont Street is Vegas Vic, the cigarette toting cowboy. The number of lights can be overwhelming and the animation is entertaining.
Entertaining movies such as Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas”, the James Bond film “Diamonds are Forever” the 1997 comedy “Vegas Vacation” will forever memorialize the original Las Vegas.
Do you prefer the atmosphere of “Old Vegas” or “The Strip?” I would love to hear your opinion, so please leave your comments below! Many thanks for joining me on my Fremont Street Experience and wishing you many Happy Travels!