Occasion: The Nostalgia Tour
Walking through the Fremont Street Experience makes us nostalgic for the old days. There are so many light shows, explosions and such that sometimes you just long to get back to the days when Frank, Dino, Sammy and Joey were performing in the Copa Room. So here's our walk through old Vegas. Care to join us?
Q: Where is the the oldest hotel in Vegas? What are some of the classics?
A: The Golden Gate located downtown near the Fremont Street Experience is the oldest. It feels old and smells old, but that's because it IS old, circa 1906. But we love it for all of those reasons. Plus the shrimp cocktail for $1.99. The El Cortez is another venerable downtown property with a history spanning seven decades. Opened in 1941, it's the longest continuously operating casino in the city. Owned briefly by a group of men (including Bugsy Siegel) with ties to organized crime, the El Cortez's most adored proprietor was casino visionary Jackie Gaughan. He bought it in 1963 and retired in 2008, but still lives there in a penthouse suite and is frequently spotted in the poker room.
Q: I need my Rat Pack fix. Are there any tribute shows?
A: The show "The Rat Pack Is Back" features four entertainers who portray Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Dean Martin. Together, their playful stage demeanor and cool musical stylings help audiences relive the timeless music of four classic entertainers.
Q: I want to see some classic Vegas entertainment. What can you recommend?
A: The long-running production Jubilee! is reminiscent of Vegas' heyday.
Q: Are there any Motown acts in Vegas?
A: The Supremes brought Motown to Vegas with their performance at the Flamingo in 1966. More than 40 years later you can still hear the sounds of The Temptations, the Four Tops and other Motown acts performed live almost every night of the week in Hitzville The Show at V Theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Starring Jin Jin Reeves, the show also features a quartet of men, a trio of women and a five-piece band who take audiences on a journey through the different cities around America were Motown music was born.
Along with these acts several original Motown artists continue to perform in Vegas as weekend headliners including The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight.
Q: Where can I find some food like they made it back in the day?
A: Old school in your tastes? Lounge in old Vegas style when you have drinks at the Peppermill. For perfect prime rib, check out Lawry's. You can also find a nice piece of meat at the Circus Circus Steak House. At Mr. Lucky's, inside the Hard Rock Hotel, check out the memorabilia and the steak and shrimp special (that's not on the menu). They're both classics.
If you don't mind heading a few minutes off of the Strip, stop by Golden Steer Steak House, the oldest steakhouse in Vegas, and dine where the stars once did. Since their opening in 1958 they have hosted such celebrities as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and even Elvis Presley.
Downtown, visit Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse at the Golden Nugget, an old-school joint in a classic casino.
Q: Is there anything I'm missing?
A: For Elvis fans, stop by the LVH - Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, where they have a bronze statue dedicated to The King.
The Neon Museum is an interesting organization dedicated to preserving the city's rich history as told through neon. You can take tours of its Boneyard, a lot in downtown where the nonfunctioning signs of old properties rest in peace. The Neon Museum has also restored and relocated many iconic neon signs -- such as the Silver Slipper and Aladdin's lamp -- to Fremont Street Experience and the East Fremont Arts District. You can take a free self-guided walking tour to check them out.
The Mob Museum (formally known as the "Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement") offers a unique view of organized crime's impact on Las Vegas history. Located in downtown inside a historic former federal courthouse and United States post office, visitors will be able to explore three floors of interactive exhibits covering notable names in mob history as well as the organizations and people responsible for bringing it down.