Freestylin’ on Fremont Street
The much anticipated opening of SlotZilla this past April has created a lot of new buzz around Fremont Street. This often forgotten area at the heart of the city has just as much to offer as the glitzier side of town. Take a walk on the wilder side and see what’s going down in downtown Vegas.
What most people fail to realize is that Fremont Street is Vegas. At least it was a hundred years ago when Vegas began its rise to fame on the corner of Fremont and Main. Gambling was legalized in Nevada 1931, and while many storefronts on Fremont Street opened small parlors inside, The Meadows was the first casino that was built specifically for gambling from the ground up. For 4 years, the corner of Fremont and Charleston was the gaming mecca of Vegas.
The man behind The Meadows was Tony “Lucky” Cornero, who would leave Vegas for a spell after his beloved casino shut down. 10 years later he showed up again and became one of the true visionaries for the town we now love to frolic in. He had a hand in the 1945 construction of The Flamingo, and was in the midst of building The Stardust when he passed away in 1958.
Today’s Fremont Street looks nothing like the one Tony helped build, but the character is still there. Fremont Street is Bourbon Street in February, where if you don’t see a cluster of showgirls parading down the pavement you haven’t been there long enough.
The clusters of free entertainment along Fremont Street make the trip worthy in itself. You might catch an impromptu clarinet performance or a bevy of Elvis impersonators crooning to love them tender. If you need your fix of people watching, then this is the best place in Vegas to do it.
Up until SlotZilla, the biggest attraction was by far the Fremont Street Experience, a 90 ft high LED Canopy covering four blocks. When you talk about free entertainment in Las Vegas, this rivals the Bellagio Fountain show. 7 times a night the screen comes alive in color, giving spectators a light show in time to music from bands you know and love.
Now you can zip through the experience, suspended in the space between the canopy and the onlookers below. Visitors who have already happily paid the twenty bucks it takes to hop on SlotZilla are raving about the thrill. Launching from a 12 story slot machine, fliers float down 850 feet to a landing platform located on the other end of Fremont Street. This attraction has been met with so much enthusiasm, that there are already plans in the works to kick the thrill up to a higher notch, with a higher launch pad and longer descent.
If you are a Vegas regular and have not spent time on Fremont Street then shame on you. If the entertainment doesn’t get you the massive selection of bars and restaurants should. If this is your first trip to Sin City make sure you add Fremont Street to your bucket list. To fully appreciate all that Vegas is today, you need to see from where it all began.