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Viva Lesser-Known Vegas

Stepping off The Strip in a tourist haven



The Fremont Street Experience bustles, buzzes and glows with activity.

 

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – mostly your money. The Strip is all glitz and glamour, with great shows and great chefs … at top-dollar prices. So my husband and I decided we would do Las Vegas differently. We would eschew the new and embrace the old.

 

From the city’s earliest days, Fremont Street has been the main drag of downtown Las Vegas. By the ’60s, the action had moved south with big, new casinos and hotels adding amenities such as floor shows with big names and endless buffets to the gambling enterprises. Downtown dwindled.
    
It’s back. It’s nothing like the neighborhood in south Las Vegas, but it’s got a lot to offer: neon, glitz and gambling, for sure, but now five blocks of Fremont are devoted to non-stop activity. A four-block-long canopy covers most of the area and serves as a screen for light and sound productions. With 12.5 million LEDs and a 550,000-watt sound system, there’s plenty of both.

Zip-liners zoom overhead, while on the pedestrian mall, shoppers mingle with buskers and costumed entrepreneurs willing to pose for a price. Between the casinos are souvenir shops, tattoo parlors and Heart Attack Grill, “The World’s Unhealthiest Restaurant,” which says it “proudly serve(s) The World’s Highest Calorie Burger” – Guinness-certified at 9,982 calories. Live bands play music from two stages at night. You can’t beat the people-watching or the price: free. If the State Fair married Bourbon Street, they’d have the Fremont Experience!

 

In the past, Las Vegas shows were rooted in the burlesque variety style of the ’20s and ’40s – noted for gorgeous showgirls and elaborate costumes – and filled long-gone venues such as The Dunes and The Silver Slipper. The sexual revolution and explicit TV shows and movies pretty much put an end to the art form’s popularity.

The tiny Burlesque Hall of Fame is currently tucked into two small rooms, but graphics, photos and a few artifacts give a good history of the era. The museum will eventually move into a much larger space in the Arts District, where much more of that glitz and elegance will be on display.

Sunset at the Neon Museum


Another institution paying tribute to Old Las Vegas is the Neon Museum. Spread over two acres, its outdoor collection is the world’s largest. Reinvention seems to be a way of life in Las Vegas, as casinos and hotels change hands, get demolished or are re-branded with regularity. This is where some of the most iconic signs have come to roost: the giant lamp from the original Aladdin, where Elvis and Priscilla were married, sits near a huge pirate skull that once graced Treasure Island. Tours are guided, and the knowledgeable docents will give you lots of history about Las Vegas and the neon itself.

For a more serious, yet fascinating, look at Las Vegas, visit the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement – popularly known as The Mob Museum. From the beginnings of La Cosa Nostra through mob influence in Las Vegas to contemporary crime, this museum’s multiple videos and hands-on opportunities take hours to see properly.

 

One of the coolest downtown areas is Container Park, a few blocks east of the Fremont Experience. Shops and eateries built out of shipping containers surround large playgrounds – including one area with an elaborate tree house. Outside the park is a giant metal praying mantis that periodically spews fire into the night sky. At night, except for family movie night, it’s adults only after 9 p.m.

We found a great little restaurant there: The Perch, whose Peña Berry Margarita is a neat combination of jalapeño heat contrasted with the icy alcohol and fruit mixture.

The Heart Attack Grill’s Quadruple Bypass Burger


Actually, eating wasn’t big on our itinerary, but we did find a couple of treasures, particularly for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast in Du-Par’s Restaurant and Bakery in the Golden Gate Hotel – pancakes that have their own press agent – was great, and the freshly squeezed o.j. delicious. Eat (that’s the name) on Carson Street was another treat, featuring a killer aged-cheddar grilled cheese sammy on sourdough bread, served with kick-ass tomato soup with a little Parmesan on top.

 

While many people do get married in Vegas, the weddings aren’t usually the traditional white-gown, six-bridesmaid affairs. Everyone here wants in on the act, though, and the Denny’s on Fremont is no exception. Yep, you can get married at Denny’s – complete with silk bouquet, boutonnière and wedding pictures made in their photo booth – all for $99.

 



Best bet: The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas 2016 by Bob Sehlinger – easier to use than the official website and more informative.

 

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Calendar

April 2019

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
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Celebrate Easter with a trip to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park! On Saturday and Sunday, get $5 off an All-Day Pass with our Eggcellent Easter Special. All-Day Passes include Go-Karts,...

Cost: $23.95

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Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The OSU Symphony Orchestra will conclude the 2018-19 season with Schubert's monumental and majestic Symphony No. 9 in C ("The Great"). The concert opens with The European Anthem,...

Cost: General Admission: $10; Students & Seniors: $7

Where:
Oklahoma State University Department of Music
132 Seretean Ctr
Stillwater, OK  74078
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Sponsor: Oklahoma State University Department of Music
Telephone: 405.744.6133
Contact Name: Dr. Thomas Dickey
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

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Cost: Free

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Potbelly Sandwich Shop
8500 N Rockwell Ave
OKC, OK  73132
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Sponsor: Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Telephone: 405-792-5112
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
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RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.412.2541
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Cost: $5 at the door, 13 and under free

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Heritage Place
2829 S. MacArthur
Oklahoma City, OK  73128
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Sponsor: Junk Hippy
Contact Name: Kristen Grandi
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Branson Junior High
263 Buccaneer Boulevard
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Sponsor: A Sporting Chance
Telephone: 404-314-2188
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RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
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Sponsor: Delta Dental

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Cost: Free

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Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Contact Name: Evan
Website »

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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Andy Alligator's is celebrating teachers! On Saturday and Sunday, teachers with a valid ID will receive a FREE All-Day Pass and $5 off for each family member! An All-Day Pass includes...

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Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
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Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
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Cost: Free, contests have entry fee

Where:
Fassler Hall
421 NW 10th
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: Revolve Productions
Telephone: 405.810.6977
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