I'm standin' in the middle of the desert
Waitin' for my ship to come in
But now no joker, no jack, no king
Can take this losing hand and, and make it win
- Leaving Las Vegas, Sheryl Crow
When you think of Las Vegas, what comes to mind? Neon glitz? Showgirl glamour? Elvis conducting a wedding?
If someone told you that Las Vegas had an arts district, would you be surprised?
I recently asked a friend who goes to Las Vegas a lot about the Las Vegas Arts District and they were dumbfounded. They had never heard of it.
In early October my family and a group of friends went to Las Vegas to see U2 in the Sphere.
An ad for U2's latest single, Atomic City, pasted up in the Arts District.
The U2 concert - and the Sphere itself - was amazing.
I could write a lot about that, but for this post I'd like to share about the fun my friend Sammy and I had exploring the super cool neighbourhood of Las Vegas known as the Arts District.
With my limited knowledge of Las Vegas (a lot of CSI Vegas episodes plus a 2 day trip there some 12+ years ago) I was ready to take in all that the District had to offer!
The Arts District started in 1998 as an 18 block district to promote the arts. Hence why it is at times referred to as 18b, although it has expanded beyond the original area.
Fantastic Clint Eastwood inspired mural by @latin.artist (link to their Instagram page).
Our cab driver dropped us off near the building with the giant LOVE LAS VEGAS mural and we set out for adventure!
We encountered the Retro Vegas shop, which was currently closed at this location...
Great mural by @geometrkart (link to their instagram page).
We quickly were taken in by alleyway upon alleyway of incredible mural artwork...
A mural being created while we watched.
Artwork by Joe Pagac (link to their instagram page).
You can count on Sammy and I to ham it up a bit for the camera...
Here I am, playing my part...
The above mural was created by Recycled Propaganda, who has a store and exhibit space in the Arts District. A must see if you go!
Here are some of what we encountered in Recycled Propaganda...
Immediately next door to Recycled Propaganda was that most American of businesses, a 24 hour bail bonds operation.
Naturally Sammy provided some joyful visuals!
Freedom & Justice!
On the side wall of the bail bond shop was another powerful mural by Recycled Propaganda...
And nearby was this quote...
Stickers and street art were found aplenty as we walked...
We stopped for lunch at the Houston Hot Chicken restaurant. Boy was it good!
Chicken tenders and fries at Houston Hot Chicken.
There were so many cool shops to explore, especially the vintage and antique stores.
Here are a few items that we saw...
Zoltar Speaks - available for $9,999!
$2 Billion in Lenny Kravitz bills. Merely $29.99!
An antique vampire hunting kit (!?!). I was amazed that this store had more than one of these.
I could go on and on about how cool this area is. Exactly the kind of neighbourhood I love to explore.
Art continued to be found around every corner!
A mural by the very talented @pwoz.art (link to their instagram).
Naturally I captured some street scenes...
Kodak Gold 200 film
Kodak Gold 200 film
The Strat Tower loomed large, especially as we worked our way south...
Sammy took a phone call in the back patio of the super cool ReBAR...
Once he hung up, Sammy's poise and perspective quickly returned...
One thing is sure, if you are looking to get away from the thumping noise of the Vegas Strip, the LV Arts District is the place to go.
You can get there by the Deuce bus, by taxi or rideshare, or on one of those hop-on hop-off tour buses...
The Vegas Strip has a lot to offer, but if you can find the time, give this wonderful neighbourhood a visit.
This is one bet you are sure to win!
Scroll down for additional helpful links...
Greetings from Las Vegas
A beautiful mural by the ubiquitous @greetingsmural (link to their Instagram page).
Related links worth exploring...
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