What's old is new again. Vintage Vegas is all the rage.
In recent years, downtown Las Vegas has come back with a vintage vengeance,
transforming the area into a must-see stop for Las Vegas' more than 37 million visitors.
Here are some recent highlights that have led to the resurgence of the downtown area:
Fremont Street Experience
In 2004, nearly half of the visitors who came to downtown
Las Vegas noted they visited the area just to see the Fremont Street
Experience. The attraction recently experienced a $16.5 million technology investment.
The 175,000-square-foot pedestrian area now showcases a new video-display system.
The four-block-long canopy aptly named, "Viva Vision," has approximately 16 million lights, making it
one of the largest LED screens in the world. The bulbs used in the new video display are spaced closer
together, which results in a resolution that is 600 percent clearer. Five new Viva Vision productions,
created specifically for the LED technology,
were added to the show schedule in 2005. Viva Vision shows are free and appear on the hour nightly beginning at dusk
Focused on preserving one aspect of Las Vegas'
vibrant history, the Neon Museum is a collection of
classic neon signs dating back to the 1940s. Soon to
include a freestanding structure that will offer an information
center and a park, the museum's collection can currently be viewed
at the Neon Boneyard (open by appointment only),
and in several restored vintage signs on display downtown along Fremont Street Experience.
Downtown's 3rd Street
Third Street is quickly gaining popularity
as one of the newest hotspots in Las Vegas.
Located in the heart of downtown, 3rd Street is
a dining and entertainment district, featuring venues
that appeal to trendsetters looking for something new and
different. New York's famous Hogs & Heifers offers unique brand
of entertainment, featuring bartenders who wear halter tops and leather pants
and are armed with megaphones to keep the mood as raucous as possible.
Triple George Grill features not only great food, but also a classic lounge where
patrons can relax in oversized leather armchairs, smoke cigars and banter with the
piano player. Nearby, are Celebrity Nightclub (which regularly features live music)
and Sidebar, a small establishment featuring classic cocktails. Nearby, on Fremont Street,
Beauty Bar offers patrons a nail polish with their cocktail amidst décor taken straight out
of a defunct New Jersey beauty parlor.
Expect more announcements regarding new restaurants and bars. Word has it that the city's
goal is to liken 3rd Street to San Diego's Gaslamp District.
Poker Room Renaissance
Not long ago, poker was a taboo game
relegated to back rooms and legion halls.
Now, thanks to Benny Binion, the Internet and ESPN,
names like Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Phil Hellmuth are
as well known as many top athletes. With the 1998 release of the movie
Rounders and the increased exposure of the World Series of Poker, the game -
more specifically Texas Hold 'Em - has become one of the most popular table games
in Las Vegas. The World Series of Poker, which began at Binion's Horsehoe and is now
filmed at the Rio and airs on ESPN, has achieved such popularity that numerous other
televised tournaments have entered the scene, including the made-for-television
Celebrity Poker Challenge at the Palms on Bravo, the National Heads-Up Poker
Championship at Caesars Palace on NBC, and the World Poker Tour, which
is held at various locations across the country and films the final
tournament at Bellagio for the Travel Channel. Professional poker
players are now recognized and even receiving endorsement
opportunities from companies wanting to get their
names on television during the World Series.
As a result of the public's seemingly insatiable appetite for all things
poker, many casinos, which had
shuttered poker rooms a few years back, have answered
the call from their
guests and re-opened rooms.
While the game
of choice is currently Texas Hold 'Em,
many properties offer several variations of poker, seven-card stud and Omaha among them.