North Las Vegas • Area guide
Get to know Las Vegas district by district—the best local restaurants and bars, arts and entertainment and things to do in North Las Vegas
A working-class city that grew from the Nellis Air Force Base to the north-east, North Las Vegas has experienced a limited renaissance of late, a result of the growth in the valley as a whole.
African American, Asian and Hispanic residents have moved in as Anglos have moved out, turning the area into a melting pot of ethnicities; new homes and shops have sprung up to fill land north of Craig Road (between Rancho Drive and I-15) in a pricey new development known informally as the Golden Triangle. The shiny new locale seems somewhat removed from its surroundings, but that's the price of progress.
Largely untouched by redevelopment, the older sections of North Las Vegas carry more urban flavour than does Las Vegas itself. To reach them, turn off either US 95 or Rancho Drive and head east along Craig Road, then turn north back toward Downtown along Las Vegas Boulevard North. En route, you'll pass numerous ethnic eateries, the historic public Forest Lawn Cemetery and the Las Vegas Paiute Indian Reservation (1 Paiute Drive, 386 3926), which represents the original ten acres deeded to the Paiute by Helen Stewart back in the 1900s.
Things to do in North Las Vegas
The Nevada State Museum has permanent exhibits on the natural and anthropological history of the region, from ancient Paiute Indians to 19th-century pioneers, and the men and women of the Nellis Gunnery School in World War II. The standout exhibit tells the story of Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo, complete with interactive recordings of Bugsy (played by an actor) threatening business partners. There are plans to move the museum to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve in 2008; call ahead to check.
- 1775 N Rancho Drive, between Vegas Drive & Lake Mead Boulevard
Skydiving without an airplane? Well, sort of: you can free-fall in one of only three skydiving simulators in the world, an indoor 21ft vertical wind tunnel that generates air speeds of up to 130mph. After an hour of instruction, you get 15 minutes of flying time shared with five others.
- 200 Convention Center Drive, between Las Vegas Boulevard South & Paradise Road
The small cinema has a 360º screen. After the day's last performance, you can also scan the sky through the planetarium's telescopes (weather permitting).
- Community College of Southern Nevada, between Las Vegas Boulevard North & Van Der Meer Street, 3200 E Cheyenne Avenue
Restaurants and bars in North Las Vegas
Go for the giant, mirrored armadillo disco ball, stay for the entertainment. On Fridays and Saturdays, this red-tin-roofed lounge hosts Lefty Lucy, who play country music mixed with rock from 9.30pm until 1.30am. On Sunday afternoons, sample a little swing music with Jerry Tiffe and his band.
- Texas Station, at N Rancho Drive, 2101 Texas Star Lane
- Price band: 2/4
Only a few tottering stiletto steps from the temples to haute couture on the second floor of Neiman Marcus, David Glass's equally fashionable temple to haute cuisine mixes American classics with Asian, nouveau continental and Mediterranean flavours. Think truffle asiago mac and cheese, black angus burger with melted gorgonzola, caramelised onions and Belgian fries, or miso-glazed ahi tuna burger. Request a seat by the floor-to-ceiling windows, and you'll enjoy unobstructed views of the Strip.
- Neiman Marcus, Fashion Show Mall, 3200 Las Vegas Boulevard South
- Main courses $9-$23.
- Price band: 2/4
Next door to Neiman Marcus's ultra-chic Mariposa sits its trendier sibling, more Juicy Couture than Chanel. Perch at the sleek bar nibbling on classic Middle Eastern fare from the meze sampler or sip cosmos on the shaded patio. Fashionistas flock here to see and be seen, but also to try exec chef Jason Horwitz's shrimp chermoula and greek salad, and NM's famous chocolate chip cookies.
- Neiman Marcus, Fashion Show Mall, 3200 Las Vegas Boulevard South
- Main courses $9-$18.
Casino highlights in North Las Vegas
The slot-club at the Fiesta Rancho is known for regular triple-points days and no-hassle food comps. There’s also a 300-seat bingo room and a drive-up sports-betting window, where you don’t even have to get out of the car to lay some money down. Besides the gaming, it’s the party-style atmosphere that draws visitors here. A variety of acts play Club Tequila, where the emphasis is on Latin music; the obligatory Mexican food comes courtesy of Garduno’s huge menu and the Blue Agave Steakhouse. Escape the desert heat in the outdoor swimming pool or the NHL-size ice arena. For visitors arriving at the other end of the city, there’s Fiesta Henderson (also much closer to McCarran airport) in the south-east (777 W Lake Mead Pkwy, Henderson, NV; 1-888 899 7770, 558-7000, www.fiestahenderson.com). Games: Bingo; blackjack ($5–$1,000); craps (10x; from $2); keno; mini baccarat; pai gow poker; poker; roulette (double zero).
- 2400 N Rancho Drive, at W Lake Mead Boulevard
The original Station casino has been a locals favorite for more than 30 years, thanks largely to its popular gaming promotion. You’ll find 1,600 slot and video-poker machines here, along with 45 gaming tables, a 300-seat bingo room, poker room, keno lounge, and a race and sports book. The hotel draws its share of tourists too, due to its close proximity to the Strip and cheap rooms. Several of the restaurants offer fine neighborhood fare: the Feast Gourmet Buffet; steaks and seafood in the Broiler; and a food court. Jack’s, an Irish pub, has live music. The rooms and suites range from economy courtyard to deluxe tower rooms. Games: Bingo; blackjack ($5–$3,000); craps (3x, 4x, 5x, 10x; from $5); keno; Let it Ride; mini baccarat ($10–$1,000); pai gow poker; poker (9 tables); roulette (double zero).
- 2411 W Sahara Avenue, at N Rancho Drive
Bigger is better in this Lone Star-themed hotel, which features a 60-lane bowling center, 18-screen movie theater, and 1,700-plus slot and video-poker machines. In the poker room, the game of choice is, inevitably, Texas hold ’em. And where would Texas be without a steakhouse? The award-winning Austins is a fine example of what a steakhouse should be: prime steaks dry-aged for 21 days, hand-cut and then marinated in their secret sauce. Surprisingly, there are only 200 rooms, making the hotel side of this casino almost boutique by Vegas standards. Texas also has a Kids Quest childcare and entertainment center. Games: Bingo; blackjack ($5–$1,000); craps (10x; from $5); keno; Let it Ride; pai gow poker; poker (8 tables); roulette (double zero); three-card poker.
- 2101 Texas Star Lane, at N Rancho Drive, between W Lake Mead Boulevard & Vegas Drive
Hotels and resorts in North Las Vegas
- Price band: 1/4
Bigger is better in this Lone Star-themed hotel, which features a 60-lane bowling centre, an 18-screen movie theatre, a 5,000sq ft (470sq m) arcade, and 2,300 very popular slot and video poker machines. In the poker room, the game of choice is, inevitably, Texas hold 'em. And where would Texas be without a steakhouse? The award-winning Austins is a fine example of what a steakhouse should be: prime steaks dry-aged for 21 days, hand-cut on the premises and then marinated in Austins' secret sauce. Texas-style entertainment can be found in the 2,000-seat Dallas Events Center with the likes of Merle Haggard. Surprisingly, there are only 200 rooms, making the hotel side of this casino almost boutique. Texas also has a Kids Quest childcare and entertainment centre.
- 2101 Texas Star Lane, at N Rancho Drive, NV 89032
- Rates $40-$250 double.
Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, this resort features a world-class Aquae Sulis Spa with 36 treatment rooms, full-service salon and gym. A 50,000 square foot casino is on site.While staying at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa, each room provides a 2-person spa bath. Cable TV with HBO is available in the rooms as well.An 11,000-square-foot outdoor pool with a waterfall is on site. The JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort also includes a gym and volleyball courts.Las Vegas JW Marriott Resort offers 11 fine dining and casual restaurants. American, Italian, Japanese and Mediterranean are served at the hotel.The Red Rock Canyon, where hiking and climbing are available, is 9 miles from the resort. The Rampart Casino is conveniently located on site.
- 221 North Rampart Boulevard, 45
- $110.00 to $199.00 per night
- Price band: 1/4
Santa Fe staples include a 432-seat bingo room, a wide variety of slots, bowling alley, showroom, dancehall and a multiplex. Locals enjoy good Mexican fare at Cabo (great margaritas!); other options include the endlessly popular Feast Buffet and unexpectedly impressive Charcoal Room for steak and seafood. Santa Fe also operates a Kids Quest childcare and entertainment center. The smallish casino has low-limit table games, though with no competition nearby, the rules are not altogether favorable. The video poker is typical for Station: there are a few 99% machines, but the rest lower. There is also a 24-hour poker room and a sports book.
- 4949 N Rancho Drive, at US 95, NV 89130
- Rates $50-$190 double.
Music and nightlife in North Las Vegas
The largest adult club in the world features a pulsing main room that's almost too big, bottle service, 13 private (and pricey) skyboxes, and the Playgirl Lounge, offering male dancers at weekends. Swing shift (11pm onwards) generally sees the best dancers, though on a busy weekend it can be a madhouse.
- 3025 S Industrial Road, at Stardust Road
The granddaddy of Vegas clubs is ragged, but merits its reputation as the city's most atmospheric nude club: it's the only one with a liquor licence. Upstairs, an egalitarian roster of dancers works a small stage, while downstairs (open weekends and busy seasons) 'feature dancers' (porn actresses, centrefolds) take to the catwalk. Changes in North Las Vegas may soon spell the end of adult entertainment here, so get your drink and your nudity while you can.
- 1848 Las Vegas Boulevard North, at E Owens Avenue
Shopping in North Las Vegas
Open since 1972, this couple-friendly establishment is Nellis Air Force Base's de facto adult bookstore. Gay men shop and cruise the joint, which is stocked with the usual naughty wares and also boasts video booths of various sizes.
- 4350 Las Vegas Boulevard North, at Craig Road
At this upscale boutique, stage mums tussle over designer apparel by Juicy Couture, Diesel, Phat Farm and Flowers by Zoe for their budding 'Idol'. There's also a great selection of dress-up clothes.
- Fashion Show Mall, at W Spring Mountain Road, 3200 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Leather goods, handbags, jewellery, sunglasses and other accessories by the likes of Bottega Veneta, Nancy Gonzalez and Adrienne Landau are displayed like miniature works of art in this well-designed shop. It's the perfect accompaniment to Outfit, the chic women's clothing store at Wynn.
- Wynn Esplanade, between E Desert Inn Road & Sands Avenue, 3131 Las Vegas Boulevard South