“Our Favorite Spots in Las Vegas”: The Boys Share Some of Their Adopted Hometown’s Hidden Gems
Posted by Andrew C on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
If you’ve never been to Las Vegas—or, really, even if you have—there are certain immediate images that spring to mind: giant neon signs, sprawling casinos, luxurious hotels, and various unspeakable things that purportedly stay here after they happen here.
Things can change a bit, however, when you’re one of the 600,000 people who call this dynamic, fast-growing city home. Look no further than our friends in Human Nature. After more than five years of absorbing all the sites and sounds of their adopted hometown, the boys have come to appreciate plenty of Vegas hot spots that are “off the beaten Strip”—to twist the expression.
Now obviously, if you happen to be planning a trip to Vegas, we’ll tentatively presume that a night at the Venetian for a Human Nature show is already in the cards. And we’d certainly be the last to discourage that! But if you do have some time to explore some of the city’s lesser-known nooks and crannies while you’re here, Human Nature is happy to serve as your singing tour guides. They can direct you to some of the best-hidden gems in Sin City.
“There are quite a few places off the Strip in Vegas that are great,” says Phil Burton. “I’ve always been a bit more of a ‘local’ type, myself. Even back in Sydney, I didn’t go in as much for the big touristy places for dinner or a night out. One new place in Vegas I recently discovered and really liked is called Container Park in Downtown. It’s only new but is building nicely into a cool little shopping/dining/entertainment place– perfect for a lazy weekend afternoon with friends and family.”
Give Phil credit for being on the ball when it comes to new attractions. Container Park just opened last fall, but it’s been getting rave reviews from visitors. As the name suggests, the vast shopping center is literally constructed from large shipping and freight containers—making it an environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and 100% aesthetically unique complex. Along with 30+ boutiques and restaurants, the park includes gallery spaces for local artists, exclusive stores for the nearby Mob Museum and Neon Museum, a concert stage, and a dome-shaped 360-degree projection theater. “It even has an awesome tree house for kids!” Burton adds.
Meanwhile, just down the road is another Phil Burton-approved segment of the city. “Fremont Street East has some very funky bars,” he says. “And with our new ‘weekdays’ schedule this year, I look forward to visiting a few of them more regularly.”
There is a definite hip, noticeably less-touristy vibe in the Fremont East District, with a wide range of establishments frequented by locals and regulars who know their nightlife. Popular spots include the Don’t Tell Mama Piano Bar, Downtown Cocktail Room, and Fremont Country Club.
Cool new destinations are nice, of course. But our next tour guide, Michael Tierney, prefers visiting some nearby places a little more on the ancient side.
“Personally, I love taking people up to Mount Charleston,” he says, referring to the 12,000 ft. peak roughly 30 miles outside the city. “It’s very unexpected for most people that–not too far out of downtown Vegas– there’s snow! It’s a beautiful spot to get away in either summer or winter, and the lodge is very quaint up there with beautiful views all around.”
Yes, maybe the most commonly overlooked aspect of a Vegas vacation is the many natural wonders just a short drive away. Even if you love yourself a night at the casino, there’s nothing quite like shaking out the cobwebs the next day with a trek up to the Mount Charleston National Recreation Area—just one of many great nature parks in the region. For a “city in the desert,” Vegas is actually positioned right in the shadow of the beautiful Spring Mountains, offering visitors ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and even skiing and snowboarding.
For our final tour guide, though, the great outdoors can’t quite match the atmosphere of truly unique, top-secret Vegas club.
“I am a bit of a homebody until it comes to celebrating events,” Andrew Tierney explains. “Then, for me, Vegas has gems to visit left, right, and center. I recently went to a really cool bar, or ‘speakeasy’ they call it– The Laundry Room, which is in North Las Vegas, hidden in the back of the Commonwealth Hotel and Bar. It’s a small cocktail bar that has limited access if you know the SMS code to text your details to. It sounds pretentious, but it’s very quiet and cool and a fun discovery. The cocktail list is amazing and instead of bar nuts, they serve popcorn. And I love popcorn.”
Andrew failed to clue us in on the code needed to gain entry into this exclusive hotspot, but word is that bartender June Kang runs a very tight ship—with strict rules that keep the TV-free, noise-free bar true to the feel of its 1920s style. If you’re a fan of the flapper era and a bar where conversations can actually be heard, this seems like a great place to negotiate your way into.
All things considered, whether it’s beautiful mountain hiking trails, quaint shopping centers, or top secret, popcorn-serving speakeasies, Las Vegas does have a lot more to offer than Elvis impersonators, 5-minute wedding chapels, and Hangover-style hijinks. Sometimes you just need to listen to a “local” to discover a truly unique Vegas experience.