We know what you're thinking a.) who doesn't love Vegas? and b.) why would you go to Vegas if you don't like it?
Well, a.) despite the $1.99 margaritas and the Bellagio Fountains. Las Vegas is definitely not for the faint at heart. and b.) maybe because you'd love to see the incredible beauty surrounding Vegas; you're on a business trip with a couple of days to spare; or because your cousin Bill decided to get hitched here could be a couple of reasons why you're currently hanging out in Sin City, even if it's not your thing.
Whatever the reason, we've got you covered! Here are a few gems from our recent trip to Las Vegas guaranteed to be loved by those that may not particularly enjoy a typical Las Vegas vacation:
EAT & DRINK
Turns out Downtown Las Vegas is becoming quite the culinary haven for those of us looking to stay away from the all you can eat buffets or the 1 million dollar throngs of insert famous chef here restaurants on the strip. They include:
Park on Freemont
It would be easy to blink and miss this gem of a restaurant tucked away in an unsuspecting building just east of the Freemont Experience. But walk inside the conventional looking building and you'll find yourself inside a charming saloon-inspired gastropub. Walk through the back doors and you'll be in a magical patio, twinkly lights included, with delicious food and a great selection of craft beer and cocktails.
Thai food isn't exactly what comes to mind when you're thinking of must try culinary experiences in Las Vegas, but then again, this isn't your typical Vegas guide. Just a few feet away from Park on Freemont, Le Thai focuses on simple but delicious thai food; curry, fried rice and stir fry dishes populate the menu, with a good selection of beer and must-try fried bananas for dessert. Meanwhile, the 50 seat restaurant provides an intimate atmosphere that feels like you're in your own neighbourhood's hidden gem; a perfect escape into a relaxing calm when you're feeling too much sensory overload.
This sleek gastropub takes comfort food to a whole new level with stand out items like bacon jam, chicken skins and cocoa-espresso new york strip, while the restaurant's drink menu features delicious craft brews such as Bad Beat Hoppy Times IPA and Maui Bikini Blonde Lager. A must try in yet another area of Vegas that is decidedly so unlike Vegas.
If you're looking for the most delicious brunch in the desert, look no further than Eat.. Delicious brunch options include truffled egg sandwiches, huevos motulenos and - because it wouldn't be Vegas without this staple - chicken fried steak. All locally sourced and made with the freshest ingredients, of course.
Lola's Louisiana Kitchen
One of the most authentic Cajun restuarants we've ever stumbled upon just happens to be - we kid you not - in Las Vegas. Bronzed catfish, Shrimp and Grits and Gumbo are just some of the A++ dishes that will leave you feeling like you're in NOLA.
This ain't no Vegas nightclub. Instead, it's a cocktail bar serving up delicious drinks with a great view of Fremont Street. If you can, booking a reservation in advance to the bar's speakeasy area is highly recommended.
Ok, we cheated. Because nothing screams Las Vegas more than Hugo's Cellar does. BUT in the most nostalgic way ever. Tucked away in the cellar of the Four Queens Casino, this is as classic Vegas as it gets; waiters dressed in three piece suits, Salad A La Carte, roses for the ladies. Treat yourself.
This downtown park contains a shopping area, galleries, restaurants, a playground and more built from shipping containers surrounding a giant playground. The container park regularly hosts special events, such as wine walks and craft beer festivals, as well as plays and family activity days. Definitely worth checking out!
A round of cornhole and some laughs at the Gold Spike
If you've ever wondered where the locals hang out in Vegas, this is it. This 24 hour spot has everything you've ever wanted in a bar: lots of outdoor space, good selection of beer, carnival games, live music, and an airstream (is the last one just us?).
Downtown Grand's Rooftop Patio & Pool
We loved, loved, loved our stay at the Downtown Grand Las Vegas. The rooms were spacious and clean and as an added bonus, the Casino attached to the hotel was incredibly quiet in comparison to the others in Downtown Fremont.
But the real gem of the whole place is the incredibly relaxing rooftop patio. Pool included!
If you're still not sold on the idea of staying in Las Vegas, you're in luck! The town is just a couple hours away from some of these incredible places worth exploring: Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, Death Valley, Zion National Park, Joshua Tree, etc, etc. The world - as they say - is your oyster. Enjoy!