By Erin Moonyeen Haley
Want to enjoy the quirky side of Las Vegas? Start with the museums, shops, and shopping malls on Fremont Street and go from there!
Fremont Street in Las Vegas at night as the sun sets. Nevada, USA
- The Quirkiest Museums On Las Vegas's Fremont Street
- The Quirkiest Places To Shop On Fremont Street In Las Vegas
- The Quirkiest Things tTo Do On Fremont Street, Las Vegas
The Las Vegas Strip has a magnetism so strong a person could be forgiven for thinking that it's where Las Vegas as a city crystallized into being its rhinestone-studded self. However, Fremont Street is the actual genesis of Sin City, ranking as one of the many locations beyond the Strip where adventures (and, let's face it, cheeky misadventures) are born. The six-block stretch of road has also been called Glitter Gulch, an epithet bestowed in 1937 after Hoover Dam waters generated electricity that lit up the streets and skies with gaudy, glittery signs.
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Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas
To understand Fremont's lineage, it's important to know that the street was technically built in 1905 and paved in 1925. Its very first gambling club - the Northern Club - was built in 1931 and was only one of six halls to receive a gambling license. Fast-forward a few decades to 1996, and the rough-and-tumble street was converted into a pedestrian mall, a revamping that caused the road to be rechristened the Fremont Street Experience. Now an entertainment hubbub, the Fremont Street Experience has a plethora of shops, eateries, and venues that offer tourists an unparalleled amount of offbeat opportunities, helping them understand how this Vegas niche upholds its reputation as a quirky escape in a city of escapes.
The Quirkiest Museums On Las Vegas's Fremont Street
The Neon Museum is one of the best hidden gems in Las Vegas. It takes a utilitarian concept - making signs that can be seen day or night - and glamorizes it to a fluorescent extreme in the form of a museum. Recognizing that neon signs are a quintessential element of Las Vegas pop culture, the museum not only displays them but provides education about their significance. Visitors can traipse through the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas, an outdoor exhibition space that contains more than 250 unrestored signs. At sunset, ground lighting illuminates each sign like it's a Thundercats calling card, allowing visitors to gawk at signage for La Concha, Hard Rock Cafe, Wedding services, and even one for a local cleaner.
The North Gallery houses even more unrestored signs that sit like discarded roadside attractions in a dystopian movie. To really get into the garish glamour of it all, tourists can partake in Brilliant!, an immersive audiovisual experience that uses 3-D photogrammetry, structured light scanning, and digital animators to transport visitors to historical moments in Vegas history through sight and sound. With ticket prices starting at only $10, the museum ranks as one of the cheaper ways to find unique amusement in the city that never sleeps. On that note, learning how to budget for a trip to Las Vegas is wise for those with tighter purse strings.
- Address: 770 Las Vegas Blvd N, Las Vegas, NV 89101
- Contact: 702.387.6366
- Hours: Open 7 days a week, 2 pm to 10 pm
- Prices: Starting at $10
Due to the fact that nights sell out quickly, advance purchase of tickets is highly recommended
Also located in the downtown nook right by Fremont Street is the Mob Museum - one of the many unforgettable adventures in Las Vegas - adding a level of criminality to the quirky theme that the street and town are so famous for. With exhibits detailing everything from the Kefauver hearings to the techniques employed by the FBI to secure informants and keep them alive, the building itself used to be a courthouse. Within its storied neoclassical walls, mob bosses once met with the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee in the government's investigation relating to Interstate Commerce. Witnesses such as Moe Sedway, manager of the Flamingo Hotel, were among those who testified in various trials.
Once inside the museum, guests can get up close and personal with the notorious side of history courtesy of such artifacts as a replica of the wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, a valise with hidden flasks circa Prohibition Era, and an Art Deco flapper dress that would have been worn by a dame having fun on the wrong side of the tracks.
- Address: 300 Stewart Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89101
- Hours: Open 7 days a week, 9 am - 9 pm
- Prices: Tickets start at $29.95 and up
The Mob Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The Quirkiest Places To Shop On Fremont Street In Las Vegas
Billed as an ‘offbeat’ shopping oasis, downtown’s Container Park has a roster of stores that fit the quirky paradigm to perfection. Lording over the area is a 40-foot-tall metal praying mantis that had originally been constructed for the Burning Man Festival. Now it is a nightly pyrotechnic extravagance, burning about 50 gallons of liquid propane and spewing out flames that reach about 6 stories high.
Some of the quirkiest shops within the park include House of 1000 Pins (707 E. Fremont St, #89101), a boutique packed with pins and stickers by local artists. Black Spade Tattoo (707 Fremont St., #1140) soothes customers with mellow energy while inking them with tigers and prismatic pyramids and with artfully applied permanent makeup. Want a skeleton goblet or a trio of salamander-green aliens in a ‘see no evil’, ‘hear no evil’ ‘speak no evil’ pose? Then swing by Gift Envy (707 Fremont, #2330) for eccentric trinkets and souvenirs.
Restaurants and eateries are just as kooky, with dessert destinations such as Waffelato (707 E. Fremont St., #1300) serving up gelato in giant waffle cones. For the culinarily curious, the Olive Branch is a spiceologist’s nirvana. The theme of the story is experimentation, as rubs and seasonings run the gamut of Greek Freak to Black & Bleu to a Cajun Black Magic Blackening rub.
- Address: 425 E. Fremont St., Las Vegas, NV 89101
The praying mantis - which took 3,000 hours to build - is an exact replica of a female praying mantis and was designed by aerospace engineer Kirk Jellum. Every sundown, the sleeping mantis awakens to a drum circle call-and-reponse tattoo called ‘Call to the Mantis’, so it’s a good thing to arrive a few minutes before the sun goes down.
Related: Fremont Street's Foodie Scene: Discovering The Best Eats In Downtown Vegas
Fremont Street East in Las Vegas, Nevada
The Quirkiest Things tTo Do On Fremont Street, Las Vegas
One of the reasons that Fremont Street still carries the moniker Glitter Gulch is because of the installation of Viva Vision. Not far from the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, is a 1,476-foot-long gallery that is absolutely star-smothered with 12 million LED bulbs on a renovated screen with 16.4 million brilliant pixels. Starting at 6 pm and going until the witching hours of the night, there is a stratospheric light show that lasts for approximately 6 minutes, making audiences feel as though they are being swallowed by a time warp or riding out an electric storm that heralds the arrival of Thor.
Some of the light shows are cultivated around specific sounds and musicians. For instance, renowned DJ, Steve Aoki’s pulse-ripping throbs of punk rhythms, ambient techno and EDM stimulate new wave visuals that seemingly belong to music videos from the earliest days of MTV, while Shakira’s Viva Vision show synergizes “Whenever, Wherever,” “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Can’t Remember to Forget You” to a firework of images and hip undulations.
- Address: 425 E Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
- Hours: 6 pm - 2 am
- Prices: Free
In addition to Steve Aoki and Shakira, shows are also set to music by The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Tiesto, Green Day, and Linkin Park.
SlotZilla Zip Line in Downtown Las Vegas, Fremont Street
How many streets can boast of delivering adrenaline rushes thanks to zip lines? Once again, Fremont establishes its eccentric street cred thanks to SlotZilla, making it one of the essential and incredible things to do in Vegas in recent times. Billed as a family-friendly dopamine rush, SlotZilla is an 11-story zipline attraction inspired by the shape and construction of slot machines, hence the catchy portmanteau. A multi-million-dollar thrill, SlotZilla allows guests to fly via the Zip-Zilla Zipline and the Super-Hero Zoom Zoomline.
Note that anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. There are also height and weight requirements to consider before riding, so check the website or fact sheet before going.
- Address: 425 E Fremont St #160, Las Vegas, NV 89101
- Email: Fill out the contact form
- Hours: 7 days a week, 12 pm - 1 am
- Prices: Tickets start at $54
The Zip-Zilla launches riders from 77 feet in the air. Flyers are seated and land about halfway down the Fremont Street pedestrian promenade, betwixt and between the Queens and Fremont casinos. The Super-Hero Zoom Zoomline is for the committed daredevils, chucking flyers from a platform that is over 114 feet high (more than 10 stories up). In synch with the ‘super-hero’ title, flyers are launched in a superman-to-the-rescue position.