Business travel to Las Vegas often takes you to the Strip — the iconic stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard where most of the city’s casinos and resorts cluster — and with good reason: The Strip is one of the great American places.
But there’s another place that’s just as compelling: Downtown Las Vegas.
Going Downtown takes you to the roots of the city. Gaming started here (legally) in 1931 and never left. Downtown offers a combination of historical hotel-casinos — such as the Golden Nugget and Fremont Hotel & Casino — and newer restaurants, clubs, and arts and entertainment venues, offering business travelers a more intimate vibe. You’ll find everything you need here to turn any average business trip into a memorable — and successful — experience.
- There’s Meeting Space For Everyone
Downtown fields enough meeting space and places to stay that a business group of just about any size can tap it for all of its events. A dozen hotel-casinos combined offer more than 100,000 square feet of traditional meeting space. The leaders in meeting space are the Golden Nugget (43,600 square feet of meeting space; 2,419 hotel rooms), the Plaza Hotel & Casino (21,000 square feet of meeting space; 1,000 rooms) and the D Casino Hotel (11,000 square feet of meeting space; 629 rooms).
More than a dozen other venues — a mix of non-casino hotels, event spaces and museums — also offer an extensive amount of meeting space. You can gather people in Cashman Center, which has a theater space; The Venue Las Vegas, for a high-style setting; Place on 7th, with indoor- and outdoor-meeting options; and Keep Memory Alive Event Center, a Frank Gehry-designed space for corporate and social gatherings.
- Business Travel Isn’t All Business
Fremont Street Experience, a five-block pedestrian mall at the west end of Fremont Street, is the place to go for light shows, nightly live music and the SlotZilla zip line, which lets you (literally) fly over the entire scene. Family-friendly entertainment is easy to find at Downtown Container Park. A walk through the Arts District — called 18b — takes you past galleries, antiques dealers and vintage shops that kick the party up a notch every first Friday of the month, when venues stay open until 11 p.m.
Don’t pass up two essential collections of Vegas culture and history: The Neon Museum (just north of central Downtown), with its outdoor neon-sign collection, and The Mob Museum, with its Smithsonian-quality exhibits about organized-crime and law-enforcement history (you can also find a few great spaces for business meetings here).
- Downtown Is Affordable For Business
Downtown tends to be generally more affordable than the Strip. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority data for January through October 2016 found that the average daily room rate for the Strip was $137 while for Downtown it was $66.
Fremont Street Experience and the Arts District will give you all the positive stimulation you need, and you may find more flexibility with rates for booking spaces there.
“Downtown is affordable vintage Vegas,” said Jaki Baskow, who has led Baskow Talent, a management service, in Las Vegas since 1976. “You could create anything anywhere because there are so many venues,” she added.
- It’s A Paradise For Strolling Foodies
And what about the food?
In the heart of Downtown, a business traveler has an easy walk to some of Vegas’s leading dining establishments. You can find premium meats and perfect pastas at Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse (in the D Casino Hotel), the award-winning pizzas of Pizza Rock (next to the Downtown Grand) and the over-the-top Fat Elvis (French toast with peanut butter, bacon, banana, strawberries and Nutella) at MTO Cafe. For a healthier option, there’s the 100-percent plant-based menu at VegeNation. In the morning, there’s breakfast at Eat, which serves perfectly prepared comfort food.