If you’ve ever visited the Entertainment Capital of the World, then you know that Vegas doesn’t disappoint. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind show, the best happy hour, a peaceful hike through Nevada’s red rocks, or thrill-chasing memories, you’ve come to the right place. But, the million dollar question is: do you choose the Strip or Downtown when visiting Las Vegas?
Follow along as Downtown Vegas and the Strip battle it out in a faceoff. Which location will be victorious when it comes to pleasing the desert’s visitors?
Round 1: First Impressions
Las Vegas visitors are greeted by breathtaking views, amazing lights, impeccable weather, and an electric vibe. In round one, we look at the Strip and Downtown’s first impressions!
Generally, when you mention to people that you will be visiting Las Vegas, their first thought is of the Strip. These 4.2 miles are filled with many remarkable Vegas landmarks. There’s The Fountains of Bellagio, a free activity centered in the middle of the Strip, and the many hotels dotting the Strip give visitors plenty to gush over. The Cosmopolitan, ARIA, Caesars Palace, and many more exhibit the city’s modern edge and history. And when the sun goes down, the millions of city lights come out to play.
As you stroll North of the Strip, you’ll reach Downtown, or Fremont Street. The area is lined with some amazing hotels, such as the Golden Nugget, Golden Gate, The D, and Plaza, that contribute to the birth and growth of fabulous Las Vegas. Each hotel houses a casino and provides something unique for its visitors.
As you continue down the Fremont Street Experience, you’ll notice the amazing canopy above. Take in the dazzling lights, witness high flyers on Slotzilla, cheer on the street performers, or hop into a bar for a drink. There’s no denying that the Strip makes a great first impression, but don’t underestimate Downtown’s charm.
*Round 1 Winner: The Strip
Round 2: The Bar & Restaurant Scene
We’re sure that one of the first things on your Vegas checklist is finding the perfect restaurant or bar. Whether you’re looking for an upscale dining experience, something quick and easy, or a trendy new pick, Las Vegas has you covered. But do you head to the Strip or Downtown?
When it comes to top notch Las Vegas cuisine, you probably want to make your way out to The Strip simply because of the wide variety of dishes available. Whether you’re looking for an Italian dish, the freshest sushi, or a mouthwatering steak dinner, you can find it all. Bardot Brasserie specializes in luxury and impeccable flavor, while ARIA’s elegant cafe is the perfect place for French comfort food and wine. If you’re looking for something a little more “Vegas,” check out Cabo Wabo Cantina, right in the middle of the Strip.
The Las Vegas Strip has some delicious food choices, but what’s dinner without a drink? But beware, drinks on the Strip are sure to cost more than their Downtown counterparts. You pay for the drink, the service, the environment, and the experience. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome happy hours to be had. Margaritaville at The Flamingo offers nickel beer hour from 5-6pm every night, and Beerhaus at The Park has happy hour from 2-6pm and features $4 draft beers and hot dogs (and free yard games!).
It’s hard to beat Fremont Street’s restaurant and bar scene. Container Park is a fun area in Fremont East District that’s made out of shipping containers and has a number of food and drink options. Le Thai is a favorite among both locals and visitors, and although the waitlist can get long, the delicious Thai food is worth it. Plus, you can always pop into the many nearby bars to enjoy your time. Another mouthwatering pick is Andiamo Steakhouse at The D. Enjoy American prime steaks with an Italian edge.
Complement your meal with a drink or two at one of Downtown Las Vegas’ many happy hours. These deals blow the Strip out of the water and include beers, specialty cocktails, and brunch beverages.
*Round 2 Winner: Downtown Las Vegas
Round 3: Unique Activities
Not only is Vegas known for being the gambling capital of the world, but it’s also home to quite a few unique experiences. Some include the roller coaster at New York New York, the High Roller at the Linq Promenade, and riding in a gondola on the canals through the Venetian. And of course, there’s shopping! With so many elegant and unique shops around, it’s hard to walk away without getting at least a little something for yourself. If you’re looking for practical stores, check out Fashion Show Mall. Or, go all out at the shops at the Bellagio or Planet Hollywood.
The Strip may be big and flashy, but Downtown Las Vegas reigns with truly unique opportunities. There is the nightly light show on Fremont Street, unique casino games like Sigma Derby at The D or coin slots at El Cortez, and other picks that show off Vegas’ individuality. Not into gaming? Check out the many museums in the area, such as The Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, and the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.
The list doesn’t end there, though, for Downtown Las Vegas’ unique attractions. There is also the Slotzilla Zipline and Zoomline, Axehole, the Golden Nugget shark tank, Fear the Walking Dead, and – for the foodies out there – Heart Attack Grill! There’s no doubt that downtown wins this round.
*Round 3 Winner: Downtown Las Vegas
After three intense rounds, Downtown Vegas has come out victorious as the best overall Vegas experience! Other stand-out qualities include:
-The easy walkability
-Affordable hotel, food, and drink prices
-Smaller crowds compared to the hustle and bustle of the Strip
-The rich history
-The people-watching opportunities
-The overall vibe
Whether you choose to visit the Strip or Downtown Las Vegas, you’re sure to have a great time and will quickly want to come back for more fun and excitement.