The history of Las Vegas starts with the casinos that once only existed in the downtown area, and the entertainment level has been raised with the addition of the entire Fremont Street Experience.
If you are looking to see some of the history of Las Vegas, then you will want to head down to Fremont Street. There, you will find many of the first casinos that dotted the Las Vegas skyline from decades ago. However, don’t go there expecting to see old relics – Fremont Street has been reimagined and is now a tourist attraction all on its own.
About Fremont Street
Fremont Street was the first “Strip” of casinos in Las Vegas, dating back to the first casino that ever opened in the city in 1906. Through the 50s and 60s, the Fremont Street area was home to the biggest gamblers and entertainers and was the place to be seen.
With the move to Las Vegas Boulevard and the megaresort concept in the late 60s and 70s, it was clear that the writing was on the wall for Fremont Street. By the early 1990s, the area was seeing limited foot traffic, and the hotels were barely seeing any guests. The casinos on Fremont Street came together to find a way to stay in business, and that is when the Fremont Street Experience was born.
Financed by the hotels, the Fremont Street Experience is a five-block pedestrian mall featuring all kinds of attractions. The city had the five blocks of Fremont Street closed to cars in 1994, and the construction of the main project was complete in the fall of 1995.
Three reasons you should visit Fremont Street
The history of Las Vegas
First and foremost, even though there is a brilliant entertainment experience built on the downtown strip now, you should be traveling to Fremont Street to immerse yourself in the history of the city. You can see hotels like the Golden Nugget and Binion’s, and imagine what it was like to roll through Las Vegas like a big shot back in the mob days of the city.
The light show
The main fixture of the Fremont Street Experience is the barrel vault canopy that soars 90 feet above the street and covers four blocks (approximately 1,500 feet). This is a real sight to behold, as the canopy comes alive with a light show that is dazzling to watch. This show happens all day and night and is something you don’t want to miss if you are visiting Las Vegas. The other side effect of the canopy is that it blocks the street from the sun, meaning you can wander to your heart’s content during the day and not be overwhelmed by the heat. All told, the canopy seems to have rejuvenated the downtown Fremont Street area of Las Vegas, and we are now seeing the construction of new hotels for the first time in decades.
See Fremont Street from the air!
Added to the Experience a few years ago was the SlotZilla Zip Line. This zip line soars high above Fremont Street, and the upper lines of this ride cover almost the entire length of the canopy itself. You can fly high above the tourist below and see Las Vegas from a totally different view from this incredibly exhilarating ride. The ride is very popular, however, so be prepared to wait for some time for your turn!
One thing to remember about Fremont Street
While the Fremont Street Experience has given new life to the casinos and shops in the area, the pedestrian mall makes the whole experience more like being on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. There are a lot of people walking the street drinking, which can become chaotic at times. If you are planning to travel to Fremont Street with children, you will want to keep a close eye on them, with so many people walking around. This isn’t meant to scare you into not visiting Fremont Street – we just want to make sure you know what you are in for when you arrive.
Fremont Street FAQ
Does it cost anything to visit the Fremont Street Experience?
To walk the Pedestrian Mall, see the light show and listen to many of the concerts on the street you do not need to pay anything. However, rides like the zipline cost money, and there are many bars and restaurants that also charge for their goods. You can always sit down at a blackjack table or a slot machine to grab a drink for free, but you will not be able to take those drinks out onto the road with you.
How do I get to the Fremont Street Experience?
There are several ways to get to Fremont Street. IF you are driving, it is a short drive on the highway from the Las Vegas Strip. IF you don’t have a car with you on your trip, you can always take a taxi or rideshare from your hotel. Finally, the Deuce, the public bus, runs right along Las Vegas Boulevard, and one of the routes will take you right to the entrance.
What is the best time to visit Fremont Street Experience?
There is always something happening day and night on Fremont Street, but you will want to visit when you know the light show is happening. Nighttime is busier but really gives you the full effect of the canopy, and the temperature is much lower, so that’s a nice touch as well.