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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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).
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; steaks and seafood at The Charcoal Room; 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).
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.
Hotels and resorts in North Las Vegas
Ideally situated in a vibrant community in Las Vegas, Nevada, this hotel offers comfortable facilities surrounded by fine dining, shopping and golf courses with the Las Vegas Strip just a short drive away.Element Las Vegas Summerlin features spacious public spaces great for entertaining or relaxing. Get some fresh air on the furnished outdoor patio or take a swim in the outdoor pool. Guests can also stay in shape with the state-of-the-art fitness centre, which is open 24 hours.Restore: Gourmet Pantry is a 24-hour convenient store at Element that boasts a wide selection of snack and beverages, as well as ready-to-go meals for easy in-room dinners. The hotel also features a free daily breakfast and a free evening reception.
Situated in Las Vegas, this air-conditioned villa features a terrace and a garden. The unit is 10 km from Colosseum at Caesars Palace, and guests benefit from free WiFi and private parking available on site.There is a dining area and a kitchen. A flat-screen TV is available. Other facilities at 6 Bedroom Villa with Heated Pool and Spa include a hot tub.CityCenter Las Vegas is 10 km from 6 Bedroom Villa in LV, while Bellagio Fountains is 11 km away. McCarran International Airport is 13 km from the property.
Located 13 km from Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, this apartment features an outdoor pool. The air-conditioned unit is 15 km from Colosseum at Caesars Palace, and guests benefit from free WiFi and private parking available on site.The kitchen has a dishwasher and an oven, as well as a coffee machine. Towels and bed linen are provided in this self-catering accommodation. Other facilities at Cozy Apartment Home Summerlin Las Vegas include a hot tub and barbecue.Bellagio Fountains is 16 km from Summerlin Apartment, while CityCenter Las Vegas is 16 km from the property. McCarran International Airport is 19 km away.
Music and nightlife in North Las Vegas
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.
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.
Shopping in North Las Vegas
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.