Old Vegas Out…Downtown Vegas In

I’ve been talking about a lot of the upcoming changes to the Vegas strip lately. I’m all for change and I’m pretty stoked about what the future of the Vegas strip will bring. It won’t be the Las Vegas that I came to love over the years but that’s what Vegas is and I’m cool with it.

When I first started visiting Las Vegas we used to take part of a day to visit “Old Vegas”. We saw what Vegas used to be. It was fun to go from Bellagio to the El Cortez and see the difference between new luxury and old n dirty. This was before renovations began to Old Vegas around 10 years ago. What’s happening to the Vegas strip has been happening downtown for years and its awesome.

The first downtown renovations I remember happened to one of my favorite downtown Vegas casino – El Cortez. The burnt felt was replaced around 6 years ago. Around that time they stopped asking if “El Cortez can buy me a drink” and beer stopped being served in dented cans. Bottles only. The charm was gone and so was I.

I needed to let the changes to soak in. This was just the beginning and I wasn’t ready for a new and modern El Cortez (or anywhere for that matter). Old Vegas was becoming Downtown Vegas.

Downtown Vegas is still old, technically. The renovations to many of the casinos and bars are just lipstick on a pig. New paint, new felt. Low brow fancy, but not really fancy. In addition to renovations there have been a lot of new bars and restaurants popping up in Downtown Vegas. You can see some on the wikipedia page for Fremont Street.

It took a while for me to be OK with the changes to Old Vegas. Now, downtown Vegas is one of my favorite parts of Las Vegas. If I just want to grab coffee and wifi I’ll head to The Beat. If I want to play craps, I’ll head to Main Street Station, the D or El Cortez. If I’m in the mood to drink? I’ll head to Mob Bar and get a cheap crash pad somewhere. There is a lot of fun to be had downtown and, even though it took me a while, I dig the change from old Vegas.

I’ll go into brief detail with some of my favorite changes to old Vegas…err downtown Vegas next week.

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