Just beyond my half-full glass of green beer, I watch a thin man in a tight green full body suit—green facemask included—dancing to the music on Fremont Street. This is Saint Patrick’s day, 2015, in the afternoon, at a bar in downtown Las Vegas. I do not even blink from surprise; as a local, these are the types of happenings I expect to see in my city.
Why We Decided to Vacation Downtown Las Vegas
When my Aunt Tricia, who lives in Washington, called to tell me that a group of our family members would be driving in a van down to Nevada, to hang out in old-town Vegas for a few days, my immediate reaction was, “It’s a perfect time for a staycation!” Not long after, Mike and I booked a hotel, packed our bags, and headed down the road.
This local Vegas vacation allowed us to see Vegas through the eyes of a tourist again. It was a refreshing and enjoyable opportunity to be reminded how much fun we can have in this extremely entertaining city.
Where to Stay – The Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino
We stayed at the Downtown Grand Hotel, in Downtown Las Vegas.
If you could believe it, The Downtown Grand was only $23.00 per night (plus a few extra fees). The rooms were clean, comfortable, and stylish. We were just one short block from the famous Fremont Street Experience and only steps away to excellent food, drink, casinos, and more. The hotel is also across the street from the highly acclaimed Pizza Rock, another worthwhile place to eat. We certainly recommend the Downtown Grand to our friends, family, and blog readers, as we think it is a great value.
A Vase Thief is on the Loose at This Hotel!
At one point during our vacation, our group was relaxing at the Art Bar, a little hangout with decent drink prices, across from the registration desk and lobby, inside the Downtown Grand.
Uncle Dan, who was sitting across from me, suddenly looks very surprised and shouts, “Hey a guy just ran off with the hotel’s vase!”
Dan says he watched a man closely studying a large vase from the lobby, carefully looking at it, then the man grabbed it and ran out the front door of the hotel. We reported the crime to the nice bartender and she was un-phased, yet appreciative that we let her know. She told us, “That’s nothing. You should see what goes on later in the night here.” Someone got a very nice decorative vase for free that night.
Don’t Go to “Hogs and Heifers” if You Don’t Like Being Yelled At
Another night, we all decided to walk across the street from our hotel to check out a bar called “Hogs and Heifers.” Lined up on the outside of the bar is a row of many motorcycles, a sign that says, “If you love your country, you’ll love this bar,” and American flags.
So our group goes inside and sits at a small round table in front of the bar. The bar is dark, with an old juke box, and about 100 bras hanging from the wall. A couple of young women bartenders, who are taking orders while also taking shots of their own, are yelling at patrons, cursing, shouting, “f&^@ you!”, with a microphone, and occasionally dancing on the counter.
At first, everyone in our group was laughing hysterically, because it was so outrageous to witness, but after about half hour, our friend Margaret announces she’s leaving, gets up from her seat, and stomps out of the bar as she’s had enough of that “filthy language.”
Not long after, the group is ready to move on. The drink prices were too steep anyway. Hogs and Heifers wasn’t our favorite place, but it was certainly unique and entertaining. This is Vegas! You never know what kind of place, or type of people you’ll run into here. That’s what makes it fun.
Interesting Characters on Fremont Make Us Do a Double Take
The nine of us walked down the middle of the Fremont Street Experience, taking in all the sights, sounds, and funny characters that roam the streets of old-town. Later, with all of our green St. Patrick’s Day attire, silly hats, wigs, and cheap necklaces on, it was clear that we were ready for a party.
If we hadn’t had enough entertainment, we had more on its way. At one point, the Aunts and Uncles start laughing and looking at a woman standing next to us on Fremont Street. I look over to my right see a “nun” in a full habit, smoking a cigarette. However, the front part of the “nun’s” outfit is missing where her chest is, and we can see her large breasts hanging out. Only a tiny tassel covers the woman for a bit of modesty. She’s doing this for tips, and people are more than willing to tip her for a picture. We were all raised Catholic, so this was a remarkable sight. She wasn’t the Catholic nuns we remember from church!
Great Deals to Be Had Downtown – Some Insider’s Tips
If you’re looking for good deals, we found some to share. You can head over to the Triple Seven Brew Pub at Main Street Station for Happy Hour, where you can order 16 ounce, $2.50 dollar craft beers, and more. They serve cheap drinks and eats, in a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere; the ceilings are extremely tall in this pub, full of dark wood and dimmed lighting. We all enjoyed this place very much.
The Brass Lounge – Great Scenery, Even Better People Watching, and Good Drink Prices
Another place to check out for the cheaper drinks and great scenery is a place called the Brass Lounge, located above the Hennessy Tavern, on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd, right before you start walking across the street towards the Fremont East District. This casual bar has an outside patio, which overlooks Fremont Street. We ordered $3.00 and $4.00 drinks, while people-watching and listening to live music for a couple of hours at this locale.
Loosest Slots – Best Gambling Spot Downtown
It is our humble opinion (and others agree) that El Cortez has the loosest slots. The group headed over there for some gambling and many of us won up to $80.00 dollars. Unfortunately, most of us re-lost the money as well! At least, I know I did… Darn, gambling beats me every time.
Most Popular Restaurant in Our Group – Du-par’s
The most popular restaurant in our group downtown Las Vegas was Du-par’s, an old-style diner, complete with black-and-white checkered floors, bright red booths, old, historic pictures hanging on the walls, and servers with white aprons, inside the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino. It is a historic restaurant, as it has been in business since the 1930’s.
You should have seen the happy look on my Uncle Dan’s face, as he ate a freshly made delectable chocolate cream pie for dessert. Indeed, we were all content customers at Du-par’s. I loved my French toast there too! Some of the best French toast I’ve ever eaten.
Convenient, Relaxing, Stimulating, and Easy Vacation Downtown – Great Fun All Around
Not once during our entire stay downtown Las Vegas did we have to drive our cars, call a cab, or walk farther than a few miles to get to a desired spot. That was a real treat.
Joining our family and friends for an extended trip downtown was a great experience. With so many relatives visiting from different regions of the U.S., hanging out in Vegas together had us smiling and feeling in high spirits.
We leisurely browsed little shops, stopped to listen to live music outside, partook in a little gambling, stopped at bars for cheap drinks, and ate delicious meals at nearby restaurants. Food, family, and fun—what more could you ask for? Mike and I felt rejuvenated, entertained, and happy to have such a fantastic time with loved ones, just a few miles from our home.
Thanks for reading, and we encourage you to share your funny Vegas experiences in the comment section below.