University District • Area guide

Get to know Las Vegas area by area—the best local restaurants and bars, arts and entertainment and things to do in the University District

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Lied Library, University of Nevada at Las Vegas

Lied Library, University of Nevada at Las Vegas © Shutterstock


Bounded roughly by Flamingo Road, Paradise Road, Tropicana Avenue and Eastern Avenue, the University District is an enclave of normality and casual sophistication a mere skip from the Strip. Most businesses of note are on Maryland Parkway, with the rest of the area given over to apartments.

The University of Las Vegas, aka UNLV (4505 S Maryland Parkway, 895 3011), runs along S Maryland Parkway, where the stunning Lied Library and a beautiful desert garden compete for visitors’ attention. The university also has many walking paths and trees, a tranquil refuge from the summer sun.

The Marjorie Barrick Museum and the neighbouring Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, both on campus, stage shows by student and professional artists; the former also houses
a permanent natural history exhibition.

Paymon’s Mediterranean Café & Market, a local lunch favourite, is adjoined at the corner of Maryland and Flamingo by the restaurant’s Hookah Lounge, a Bedouin-styled cocktail bar. Across the way is the used-clothing superstore Buffalo Exchange; further up Maryland are two shopping centres filled with pizza joints, coffeehouses, bars including the Freakin’ Frog, and even a tattoo studio: The Pussykat Tattoo Parlor is one of the best in town, in a town with more tattoo shops than most.

Restaurants and bars in the University District

Double Down Saloon

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

No head for drink? Then hand over $20 for puke insurance: if you barf, staff will clean up. Otherwise, you’re on your own at this darkly chaotic bar. ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’, they bill it, and with good reason: the music is loud, whether from the impeccably curated jukebox—filled with ska, surf, psychobilly and punk tunes—or the regular bands, and the vibe is welcoming. Acts that have graced its stage include TSOL, Dickies and the Supersuckers. It’s also known for its tasty alcoholic concoctions such as Ass Juice and bacon martinis (no one’s ever had two). Beers are a better bet.

  1. Paradise Plaza, between E Harmon & E Tropicana avenues, 4640 Paradise Road
More info

Freakin’ Frog

  • Rated as: 3/5

Despite its irritatin’ name, the Frog is a locals’ favourite, and not just because of the 400-strong beer selection. Located across the road from UNLV, this is about as close as Vegas gets to a college bar. Order some fried mac ’n’ cheese triangles or a corn dog to accompany your discussion of Peruvian beer versus, say, Colt 45 (both of which are stocked). There’s a whiskey bar upstairs.

  1. 4700 S Maryland Parkway, at E Tropicana Avenue
More info

Hookah Lounge

  • Rated as: 3/5

In this dark and ornate haven – a stark contrast to the adjoining Mediterranean Café – you’ll be served by a hookah jockey dispensing cocktails and water pipes. Flavours range from floral to fruity, but we recommend Turkish pistachio. Take a couple of puffs and then pass it on. There’s food and herbal smoke before 9pm; afterwards, the kitchen closes and the real tobacco is brought out.

  1. Paymon’s Mediterranean Café & Market, at E Flamingo Road, 4147 S Maryland Parkway
More info
More restaurants and bars in the University District

Things to do the University District

UNLV Barrick Museum

Technically UNLV's natural history museum, the Barrick has fine permanent displays on ancient and modern Vegas, including a wonderful collection of folk-art masks. It's also one of the city's finest exhibition spaces: a number of excellent shows have graced its front rooms, drawing from UNLV's art faculty and regional sources. It's a must for any gallery crawl; call for details of current shows.

  1. 4505 S Maryland Parkway, at E Tropicana Avenue
More info

Kids Quest

Kids Quest has all manner of attractions, including a Barbie area, a big cliff and jungle area (very popular, these) and, of course, computer games. Kids aged from six weeks to 12 years can be dropped off for up to three and a half hours, but parents must remain on site. There are also Kids Quests at Santa Fe, Sunset and Texas Stations, as well as at the Palms and the Red Rock.

  1. Boulder Station, 4111 Boulder Highway, at E Desert Inn Road, East Las Vegas
More info
More things to do in the University District


Hotels and resorts in the University District

Sam's Town RV Park

Located just 7 minutes' walk away from Sam's Town Casino, this Las Vegas RV park offers a spacious lot for guests to park their RVs (parking for recreational vehicles only). No hotel rooms/accommodations are provided. Full RV hook-ups and pull-through RV parking sites are available.Cable TV and phone hookups are available to guests of Sam’s Town RV Park. A guest launderette and shower facilities are provided.Guests have access to a BBQ area at Sam’s Town RV Park. Pet runs are located on the property.Horseman's Park is 1.4 km away. Sam Boyd Stadium is 5 km away. Stallion Mountain Golf Club is 2.6 km away from this RV park.

  1. 5225 Boulder Highway, 22
  2. $17.99 to $29.00 per night
Book online

A Fisher's Inn Motel

Located off Interstate 515, this centrally located Las Vegas motel offers simply furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi. It features 24-hour reception and has a guest launderette on site. Las Vegas Convention Center is 5 miles away.A flat-screen TV with extended film and sports channels is included in every room at A Fisher’s Inn Motel. All of the air conditioned guest rooms include a fridge and an en suite bathroom.Fremont Street Experience is 4 miles from A Fisher’s Inn. Located on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Thomas & Mack Center is 15 minutes’ drive away. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport is 8 miles away.

  1. 3565 Boulder Highway, 21
  2. $54.99 to $104.99 per night
Book online

Longhorn Boulder Highway

Featuring a pool, this Las Vegas motel is 3 miles from Sam Boyd Stadium, home to the Las Vegas Locomotives football team. It features an outdoor pool and rooms with free Wi-Fi.Longhorn Boulder Highway provides rooms with cable TV. For guests’ convenience, ironing facilities and a hairdryer are available in all rooms.The Las Vegas Strip is 7 miles from Boulder Longhorn Highway. McCarran International Airport is 8 miles from this motel.

  1. 5288 North Boulder Highway, 22
  2. $38.00 to $68.00 per night
Book online
More hotels in the University District

Music and nightlife in the University District

Double Down Saloon

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

No head for drink? Then hand over $20 for puke insurance: if you barf, staff will clean up. Otherwise, you’re on your own at this darkly chaotic bar. ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’, they bill it, and with good reason: the music is loud, whether from the impeccably curated jukebox—filled with ska, surf, psychobilly and punk tunes—or the regular bands, and the vibe is welcoming. Acts that have graced its stage include TSOL, Dickies and the Supersuckers. It’s also known for its tasty alcoholic concoctions such as Ass Juice and bacon martinis (no one’s ever had two). Beers are a better bet.

  1. Paradise Plaza, between E Harmon & E Tropicana avenues, 4640 Paradise Road
More info

Divebar

  • Free

It's questionable whether Divebar lives up (or down) to its name, but the popularity of this drinking hole-cum-music venue isn't in doubt. The space is divided into two rooms, one with pub tables and the other, divided by a cutaway wall, is home nightly to everything from open mic nights to garage rock bands. Above-average bar food is available 24-7.

  1. 4110 S Maryland Pkwy, at E. Flamingo Rd
More info

Railhead

Don't let the suburban, local-casino location fool you: the intimate Railhead still rocks, albeit a little bit more slowly and quietly than some of its distant Strip cousins. Bands who play here tend to be at the down-but-not-yet-out stage of their careers: Blue Oyster Cult, Soul Asylum and the Ohio Players have all recently headlined at the venue.

  1. Boulder Station, at E Desert Inn Road, East Las Vegas, 4111 Boulder Highway
More info
More clubs and music venues in the University District

Shopping in the University District

Gold's Gym

Touted as a no-frills gym, Gold's offers all the aerobics classes, free weights, weight machines and CV equipment an exercise buff could handle. Other locations throughout the city.

  1. Gold's Plaza, 3750 E Flamingo Road, at Sandhill Road, East Las Vegas
More info

Buffalo Exchange

For first-rate second-hand clothes, this countrywide vintage chain is more popular than ever, especially with students at nearby UNLV. Its prices range from budget to middling; pieces from shop clearances round out the stock

  1. 4110 S Maryland Parkway, E Flamingo Road, University District
More info

Pussykat Tattoo Parlor

Owner/artist Dirk Vermin is a Vegas native and local legend who has dedicated his life to bettering the local subculture. His tattoo work is well known among aficionados; you will need to book ahead to see Vermin himself.

  1. 4972 S Maryland Parkway, E Tropicana Avenue, University District
More info
More stores in the University District

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