After spending four days cooped up inside Caesars Palace and Casino where the work conference that had brought me to Las Vegas was taking place, I just really wanted to spend some time outdoors, even if that meant braving a 102 degree heat for a few hours. I had rented a car and planned to drive out to Red Rock some 20 miles west of the city. But I got lost and instead found myself downtown. What can I say… I’m a city girl. I somehow always wound up downtown 😉 Turned out the area looked pretty interesting with its boarded up old motels and retro signs decaying in the sun. Then I spotted an interesting mural and that sealed the deal. I parked my rental car, badly apparently since I got a ticket, and set out to explore the gritty parts of Las Vegas, north of the strip. Here is some of the cool street art I stumbled upon in the Fremont East District:
Most of these large scale murals were created for the 2013 or 2014 Life is Beautiful Festivals. They’re all within a few blocks of each other around the legendary El Cortez Hotel & Casino, the longest continuously-running hotel and casino in Las Vegas. That part of town has benefited recently from an influx of cash from Tony Hsieh, the founder and CEO of zappos.com. After moving his company’s headquarters to the former Las Vegas city hall (check out some pics of the new space here), he began investing some of his own money to turn that part of downtown into a place where his employee would want to work, live and play. The result is still ways away from the thriving creative scene and walkable tech-hub that Hsieh envisioned, but downtown Las Vegas is slowly becoming an exciting travel destination of its own, and an alternative to the scene on the strip. And yes, the street art is a big part of that scene!