When visitors come into town, I’m always asked what’s the best event going on, where’s the hottest club, and what’s the best deal. They always mean the Strip, but I like to remind them that Downtown Las Vegas has its own brand of nightlife — museums, theater, art galleries, smaller bars with live music, and intimate dining. It’s a more casual scene — I hate to say hipster, but definitely more bohemian. So, no Affliction, and leave the Bebe dress at home.
For those of you who spend your weekends club-hopping, maybe it’s time to spend a Saturday north of your normal scene. New renovations to properties such as the Plaza, El Cortez and The D Las Vegas (once known as Fitzgeralds) offer a cheap place to crash. Drink prices are way less than Strip nightclub prices at spots downtown like Beauty Bar and Insert Coin(s), which in the Fremont East Entertainment District, or any of the clubs in the casinos. It’s rare for the spots to have cover, but if so it is usually only $5. There is no stress dealing with lines and flagging down the door guy to try to get in first. On top of that provided entertainment is different from the norm, including video games, live bands and piano acts. Some places have DJs, but don’t expect to see Deadmau5 headlining.
That is, unless you’re downtown during this fall’s Las Vegas Glow Run, which is prime evidence of the cultural shift happening downtown. The first-year marathon has teamed up with Insomniac (creators of Electric Daisy Carnival) bringing a charity seven-kilometer marathon Oct. 7. The run goes down at night with participants dressed in costumes—individually or with a group that has a theme—and spectators lining the path with glow sticks and LED lights. There will be costume contest afterward, with uniqueness and the glow factor being the main criteria.
Registered participants actually don’t have to run to have fun. In fact, they can use the pathway as a bar crawl, but hopefully they will still be able to make to the finish line because that’s the best part. The finish line leads into a block party on Fremont where Girl Talk will be spinning. With Insomniac onboard, don’t be surprised if other DJ acts show up. Early registration is now open, with discounts before Aug. 1. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to AFAN.
The Strip is awesome and guarantees a good time, or a rough black-out session, but it’s time for people to open their minds to what else Vegas has to offer. A huge nightclub is very impressive, but so is a great time meeting a lot of people who are passionate about where they live.