Once characterized by ugly quick-build housing tracts and trailer parks, East Las Vegas has been unable to avoid the incursion of new development. Still, the once-posh Commercial Center (953 E Sahara Avenue, between S 6th Street and S Maryland Parkway) has resisted change. One of the city's older malls, it's a scruffy spot that's home to a couple of the city's best ethnic restaurant, Lotus of Siam, various gay bars and sundry other businesses.
South on Maryland Parkway is the smarter Boulevard Mall; behind it is the modernist Paradise Palms, another old 'hood at the earliest stages of revival. East of here is Fremont Street, which runs into Downtown to the north-west and to the south-east, past Sahara Avenue, becomes Boulder Highway.
At the far north-eastern end of the valley, beyond Sunrise Manor, is Frenchman's Mountain, commonly known as Sunrise Mountain, where modern desert homes with pools enjoy panoramic views of the city. Along Boulder Highway sit several locals' casinos. Catch a movie at Boulder Station; if you're here in December, don't miss the Christmas lights at Sam's Town. A turn west down Tropicana Avenue to Pecos Avenue will take you to the Pinball Hall of Fame.
Restaurants and bars in East Las Vegas
With velvety flock wallpaper, Frank and Dino on the jukebox, and a shrine (a martini, a coffee cup and a cigarette) dedicated to former manager Marty, this vintage bar is a Dom Pérignon ’53 among Vegas saloons. Hipsters, barflies and discerning locals head here at all hours for cheap drinks; many find it hard to leave.Read more
Las Vegas’s favorite neighborhood Mexican, Lindo’s three locations are busy at virtually all times of day, slinging solid, filling fare for purists and picky eaters alike. The lunch specials are good value, but dinner is a better bet, with the menu of standards—including goat stew, chile colorado and a full slate of beef tongue dishes—brought to life by an atmosphere that’s never less than lively.Read more
You can look at the waterwheel, you can listen to the waterwheel, but you certainly can’t touch it. Sort of like the waitresses. The Dispensary is a throwback to old Vegas, complete with shag carpets, fake plants and leotard-clad serving staff who become more boisterous and less balanced as the night wears on (well, you try wearing high heels on a shag carpet). A dark, quiet answer to a bright and frenetic city.Read more
Things to do in East Las Vegas
For the most part, a pinball machine is just a pinball machine. To some folks, though, it's a kinetic monument to a simpler time when mindless entertainment didn't necessarily involve sex, hyper-violence or the pixelated undead, a perfectly designed blend of challenge, workmanship and skill. In Tim Arnold's world, it's all these things and more besides. How else to explain his Pinball Hall of Fame, a functioning museum of sorts where more than 100 operational pinball machines spanning seven decades are on show? The Pinball Hall of Fame is a true mecca in a city of replicated ones. Over the years, Arnold has assembled a vast array of machines from Gottlieb, Bally, Williams and other oddball manufacturers, from gear-and-magnet models to modern digital wonders. Descriptions of each machine's attributed and historic values have been attached to them, most handwritten on index cards. And then, best of all, Arnold invites all-comers to play his machines. All you need is quarters; and if you don't have them, he can change your bills into them. Arnold has recast some of these machines so visitors can best appreciate their inherent beauty. Take, for example, his painstaking public refurbishment of a 1978 Bally machine devoted to the band Kiss. Paying attention to the smallest detail (excepting, perhaps, an actual drop of Ace Frehley's blood in the back glass), Arnold is like an Italian restoration specialist working on the Sistine Chapel. But while both share a certain reverence in thRead more
Casino highlights in East Las Vegas
Arizona Charlie’s Boulder is a no-frills, 300-room bunkhouse for serious players who need a place to drop. The theme is the Yukon gold rush, though you won’t notice: the interior design is little more than a floor, a ceiling and rows of machines. Food options include the Yukon Grille, a low-price steakhouse, but the surest bet at Charlie’s is still the Sourdough Café, where you can grab a generous meal any time of the day, usually for less than $10 a head. There’s also a buffet. The Palace Grand Lounge hosts a range of lounge acts. The blackjack games here are decent, with typical low minimums, as is some of the video poker. Another outpost, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur (740 S Decatur Blvd, 1-800 342 2695, 258 5200, www.arizonacharliesdecatur.com) can be found in north-west Las Vegas. Games: Bingo; blackjack ($3–$1,000); craps (10x; from $5); keno; roulette (double zero). Bus BHX/self-parking & valet parking S Decatur BoulevardRead more
This Victorian-styled Station casino on the Boulder Strip is mostly a locals’ joint. The Railhead hosts a stable of mostly forgettable acts on the cheap, but there are plenty of family-friendly amenities, such as an 11-screen movie theater and a Kids Quest childcare center. There are decent dining options too: the Feast Gourmet Buffet is popular, as is the Broiler. The casino is typical for the Station chain, though the minimums in this part of town seem to run a little lower, with some $3 tables scattered about, 10x odds at craps and 50¢ roulette chips. The newest machines seem to show up here first. Games: Bingo; blackjack ($3–$1,000); craps (10x; from $2); keno; Let it Ride; mini baccarat ($5–$1,000); pai gow poker; poker (11 tables); roulette (double zero); three-card poker.Read more
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 Rancho (also much closer to McCarran airport) in the north (2400 N Rancho Drive;1-800 678 2846, 631 7000, www.fiestarancho.com). Games: Bingo; blackjack ($5–$1,000); craps (10x; from $2); keno; mini baccarat; pai gow poker; poker; roulette (double zero).Read more
Hotels and resorts in East Las Vegas
Carefully isolated within the Lake Las Vegas community, roughly 20 miles south-east of the Strip, the Ritz-Carlton is one of the most luxurious resorts in the Vegas metropolitan area, in no small part because it doesn't really feel much like Las Vegas. Key to this, of course, is the lack of an in-house casino: gamblers can wander next door to the Casino Montelago (939 8888, www.casinomontelago.com), but the Ritz-Carlton remains unsullied by the incessant blinking lights and tinkling melodies that characterise most major resorts in the region. The hotel itself offers all the luxury you'd expect to find in a Ritz-Carlton property. The rooms themselves are handsome without being needlessly flashy, kitted out with plush beds and chairs, fabulously generous bathrooms and most conceivable amenities (minibars, high-speed internet access and so on). The lobby bar, Firenze, delivers worthwhile cocktails, decent sandwiches and, on weekend afternoons at 1pm, a Florentine-style high tea. The real culinary action is downstairs in the renowned Medici, which serves a winning range of Mediterranean-influenced American dishes for breakfast, brunch (Sundays only), lunch and dinner. The luxury extends to the hotel's capacious spa, rightly regarded as one of the city's best. Nearby amenities include the Falls and Reflection Bay golf courses, which essentially adjoin the hotel, and Montelago Village, a sort of upscale Italianate theme park dotted with expensive boutique shops, restaurants and barRead more
Located 15 km from Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Luxury Loft Villa offers accommodation in Las Vegas. The property is 16 km from Crystals Shopping Center and free private parking is provided. Free WiFi is featured .A dishwasher and an oven can be found in the kitchen and there is a private bathroom with bath robes, free toiletries and a hair dryer. A flat-screen TV is available. Other facilities at Luxury Loft Villa include a hot tub, fitness centre and year-round outdoor pool.CityCenter Las Vegas is 16 km from Luxury Loft Villa, while Las Vegas Convention Center is 16 km from the property. The nearest airport is McCarran Airport, 13 km from Luxury Loft Villa.Read more
This all-suite Henderson hotel offers a free shuttle to/from the Las Vegas Strip and McCarran International Airport. It features an outdoor pool and sundeck and all suites have a full kitchen.Cable TV and free Wi-Fi are included in each spacious suites at Residence Inn Las Vegas Henderson-Green Valley. A seating area and a dining table are included. Select suites feature a fireplace.A free hot buffet breakfast is served daily in the dining room. On select nights, a light dinner is offered during the manager’s reception.Las Vegas-Green Valley Residence Inn offers a gym as well as an outdoor hot tub and barbecue picnic area. Guests can also use the business center.Ethel M Chocolate Factory is less than a 5-minute drive from this hotel. The University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Las Vegas Convention Center are a 20 minutes’ drive away.Read more
Music and nightlife in East Las Vegas
Most people love the blissfully semiconscious state between waking and sleeping and the absurd thoughts that accompany it—hence the appeal of the notoriously potent green liquor. Add a dash of uninhibited libido to that dreamlike feeling and you get Absinthe. While it has some elements as other Las Vegas productions, such as burlesque acrobatics, the 18-and-over show is set apart by its intimate quality. Hosted by emcee-provocateur the Gazillionaire—a greasy-haired, mustachioed carnival barker plucked straight out of the 1970s—and his assistant Joy Jenkins, he plies audiences with dirty jokes and double entendres, while cabaret and circus-style acts play out on a nine-foot-diameter round stage just a few feet from the audience. Performed in the Roman Plaza in front of Caesars Palace, Absinthe may leave you a little woozy, but without the killer hangover in the morning.Read more
Fine dining is alive and very well inside the “mansion,” a fitting nickname for Chef of the (last) Century’s opulent Michelin three-star restaurant just off the MGM Grand casino floor. The honorific was awarded by prestigious French culinary guide Gault & Millau in 1989, and as you’d expect, a meal inside Joël Robuchon’s jewel-hued rooms is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so opt for the full experience. The 16-course parade of transcendent French cuisine takes more than three hours, makes ample use of caviar, black truffles and foie gras and won’t leave you contemplating a slice of pizza on the way home. There simply is no dinner more decadent on the Las Vegas Strip.Read more
The second entrant, in 1998, into Cirque’s Las Vegas–dominant empire, O has endured for a couple reasons. First, its debut marked the advent of a new kind of show for Las Vegas—a large production built around its own specially designed aquatic stage. As anyone who has ever sat and stared transfixed at an ocean, lake, or even a swift-moving river can attest, the power of water is transformative. O makes the most of this with skits combining comedy, derring-do and whimsy that play out above, on, and in 1.5 million gallons of the stuff. The show’s abstract narrative—conveyed through the eyes of Philemon, a boy who watches the story unfold—is the fine thread that weaves O into more than just the sum of its parts.Read more
Shopping in East Las Vegas
A bastion of the Las Vegas shopping scene and the first mall of its type to open in the city; it’s centrally located, reasonably priced and loaded with familiar favourites such as Sears, Marshall’s, Macy’s and JC Penney. When you’re weighed down with bags and nearing collapse, head to the food court for cheap international cuisine.Read more