Symphony Park – a 61-acre, master-planned neighborhood that is home to Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in an iconic Frank Gehry-designed building; The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a $450 million, world-class performing arts center designed by David M. Schwarz that puts Las Vegas on par with the world’s great stages; and the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum. Other planned uses include residential, retail, entertainment and hospitality venues.
18b, The Las Vegas Arts District – a neighborhood of now more than 18-blocks (18 b) offering an eclectic mix of galleries, stores, bars and restaurants. The area offers changing street art and numerous art studios, many of which are housed at a thriving commercial arts center known as The Arts Factory, and at Art Square, which is comprised of three remodeled buildings and an outdoor art garden. The Arts District is also the location of the popular First Friday festival, which draws 20,000-plus visitors who enjoy food and beverages, music, visual performances and artists displaying their works. Preview Thursday occurs the day before First Friday and offers serious art lovers and buyers the opportunity to visit with artists.
Fremont East – a historic area where the city of Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency contributed funds to spur revitalization and attract new businesses. The $5.5 million revitalization effort included the installation of retro-looking neon signs along a three-block stretch east of Las Vegas Boulevard that would become the Fremont East Entertainment District with intimate bars, unique restaurants and coffee houses. Since opening in 2007, the Fremont East area has grown beyond its original three blocks and is now home to diverse street-life, local businesses, restaurants, sidewalk cafes, bars, entertainment, shops, a historic hotel/casino and residential living. It also is home to many development projects spearheaded by the Downtown Project, a startup entrepreneurial venture led by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh that is investing $350 million to aid in the continued revitalization of downtown.
Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (The Mob Museum) – a $42 million museum created by the same world-class team that designed the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. It showcases the history of organized crime and law enforcement and presents an exciting and authentic view of the Mob’s impact on Las Vegas history and the world.
Neon Museum – a nonprofit dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs. The Neon Museum’s collection of nearly 150 signs chronicles the city’s history, as well as trends in sign design and technology through pieces ranging from the 1930s to the present day. The Neon Museum campus includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, a visitors’ center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery, which houses additional rescued signs and is available for weddings, special events, photo shoots and educational programs.
DISCOVERY Children’s Museum – addresses core educational areas of science, art and culture and early childhood development with 26,000 square feet of interactive hands-on exhibits that provide fun-filled education for children and families. The three-story museum at the Donald W. Reynolds Discovery Center is complete with nine interactive galleries featuring exhibitions, daily programs and activities as well as collaborative cultural programming.
Las Vegas City Hall – the 310,000-square-foot, LEED-certified City Hall building has seven floors of modern space for the city’s public services. Developed by Forest City Enterprises, the public-private venture serves as a revitalization catalyst for the area. It also led to the decision by the $1-billion online shoe and apparel retailer Zappos.com to renovate and take over the previous city hall location, bringing more than 1,500 employees to downtown and attracting other businesses to the area.
World Market Center Las Vegas – located across from Symphony Park, the 5-million-square-foot campus is a showcase for the home furnishings and design industry. It hosts semiannual trade shows that attract more than 50,000 industry insiders.
Antique Alley – more than 20 independent antique and vintage stores make up what is known as Antique Alley, with the majority located in the Arts District.
Catering to mid-century modern enthusiasts, as well as lovers of vintage clothes and collectors of antiques of all kinds, the shops include a warehouse full of antiques with monthly auctions, a costume design shop, several vintage clothing stores and a reality TV set (American Restoration at Rick’s Restorations). Las Vegas Premium Outlets North – located on 40 acres, it is home to more than 150 leading brands in an outdoor, pedestrian-style retail center owned and operated by Simon Property Group, Inc. One of the most successful outlet malls in the country, it will open an additional 33 stores as part of the mall’s second expansion in 2015.
Downtown Container Park – opened in late 2013 by the Downtown Project, this sustainable shopping and dining attraction is home to more than 35 small businesses, which set up shop inside 250-square-foot repurposed shipping containers and modular metal cubes. The Downtown Container Park also has a center courtyard with a giant treehouse playground, a stage for live entertainment, and its iconic, fire-breathing praying mantis at its entrance. For more information on downtown Las Vegas, visit www.downtown.vegas.
DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS TIMELINE
1800s – Area named Las Vegas, Spanish for “the meadows,” as it offered a green valley and desert spring waters for westward travels.
1905 – 110 acres of land adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks are auctioned in what would become the downtown area.
1906 – Hotel Nevada opens at 1 Fremont St.; Las Vegas’s oldest continuously operating hotel, it is now named the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino .
1907 – First telephone wires installed on Fremont Street.
1925 – Fremont Street paved.
1928 – El Portal Theatre opens on Fremont Street. Now home to a gift shop, the hacienda-style exterior and the interior beams are all that remains of the movie house’s historic architecture.
1931 – Nevada legalizes casino gambling and reduces residency requirements for divorce to six weeks. Gaming gets its start in downtown Las Vegas when the Northern Club receives Nevada’s first gaming license. Construction begins on the Boulder Canyon Project, now called the Hoover Dam.
1941 – El Cortez Hotel & Casino opens; now on the Registry of National Historic Places, the El Cortez was built in Spanish Colonial Revival style at 600 E. Fremont St.
1946 – Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino opens; it would later become considered the first property downtown to undergo a major renovation contributing to the beginning of the revitalization of downtown.
1951 – Atomic bomb testing begins 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Residents and visitors can witness the mushroom clouds from the city.
1956 – Fremont Hotel opens as Las Vegas’ first high-rise building at 12 stories tall.
1967 – Eccentric recluse and multimillionaire mogul, Howard Hughes, buys the Desert Inn Hotel- Casino so he can continue residing on the top floor.
1989 – Entrepreneur Steve Wynn changes the face of the Las Vegas gambling industry by opening up The Mirage, the first mega- casino resort.
1995 – The five-block Fremont Street Experience, featuring 12.5 million LED Lights and 550,000 watts of sound, opens downtown.
2005 – SATW holds its 50th annual convention in Las Vegas; the Mirage is host hotel.
2012 – During “The Year of Downtown,” $789 million dollars worth of projects make their debut, helping to revitalize this urban area. These include The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the Discovery Children’s Museum, the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, a new City Hall complex and renovations for Zappos.com’s new corporate headquarters.
For more information on downtown Las Vegas, visit www.downtown.vegas.