Travel

Downtown

Establishment neighborhood
Siegel’s 1941 at the El Cortez
600 E. Fremont St., Downtown
This new-ish spot in the El Cortez is part of the older, Downtown section of town and serves what’s probably the best matzoh ball soup in Vegas. The name pays tribute to Bugsy Siegel, the Jewish mobster who played a major role in the development of Vegas—1941 refers to the year the El Cortez opened. The restaurant is open 24-hours (a strange rarity, considering the late hours most people keep in this town), and the menu is nicely diverse—try the corned beef hash, the waffles, or the steak and eggs.
Neon Museum
770 Las Vegas Boulevard N., Downtown
This outdoor museum has an amazing collection of neon, including the original Moulin Rouge sign, the Stardust sign, and the Golden Nugget, which dates back to the 1940s. Since the museum has neon dating from the 1930s through the present, it’s a fascinating way to learn about the history of the city. Visitors are required to take a guided tour, so it's helpful to book in advance (even if they’re sold out online, they usually hold a few tickets for walk-ins). And while it's tempting for obvious reasons to visit at night, the deserted, vintage feel makes the place just as interesting during the day.
First Fridays
1228 S. Casino Ctr., Downtown
The historic downtown is having a bit of a renaissance right now, in part because of committed investment from Zappos executives (the company is based in L.V.), who acquired First Fridays– a street festival that takes place on the first Friday of every month–from its original founders, Cindy Funkhouser, Naomi Arin, and Julie Brewer. The festival is focused on art and food, with local vendors of both kinds lining the streets in huge numbers. It’s a great way to get a feel for the local art scene, which is much more accessible than what you’ll find at the overly formal galleries on the strip.
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