You haven’t experienced Las Vegas until you explore Sin City’s colorful, storied past. Here’s AAA Travel’s picks for five best attractions in old Las Vegas:
1. The Neon Museum
The Neon Museum has taken on the task of collecting, preserving, studying, and exhibiting otherwise discarded Las Vegas neon signs. Guided tours take guests through the museum’s outdoor exhibition space known as The Boneyard where guests can see nearly 150 signs dating back to the 1930s. Highlights include a lamp from the former Aladdin Resort & Casino (now Planet Hollywood), a giant skull from Treasure Island, original branded signage from Caesars Palace, and the famed Stardust sign. Reservations are recommended.
2. The Mob Museum
The Mob Museum spares no details about what part organized crime played in shaping Las Vegas as well as the rest of the world. The museum covers the intricate details of stories built around money laundering, murder, and conspiracy theories. One-of-a-kind artifacts, photographs, theater presentations, and detailed interactive exhibits bring these stories to life. The Mob Museum is located in Las Vegas’ former federal U.S. Post Office and courthouse.
3. Golden Gate Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas’ oldest hotel, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, opened in 1906, when guests could pay just one dollar for room and board. Guests can still get a glimpse of the bygone days when they visit. In the lobby area, a cabinet displays the first telephone used in Las Vegas and a bottle from Prohibition that was found in the hotel’s wall during a recent remodeling project. The hotel’s new luxury suites and overall update have a fresh, contemporary feel blended with styling that preserves its historic character.
4. Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge
Since 1972, the Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge has remained a Las Vegas staple. This kitschy diner is decorated with neon lighting and a classic bar counter. It is also characterized by a relatively unchanged menu throughout its 40-plus-year existence. Dishes like French toast ambrosia and the Peppermill burger, served on grilled sourdough, are favorites. The likes of Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Guy Fieri have graced the booths here. It’s also been featured in films such as Casino and Showgirls and on the television show CSI: Las Vegas.
5. Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort
Long before mega-resorts and high rollers ruled Las Vegas, people just hoped to put down roots. The first non-native permanent settlers in the Las Vegas Valley were 29 Mormon missionaries who built a 150-square-foot fort in the area in 1855. The spring-fed creek that flowed through the desert valley, Las Vegas Creek, attracted these settlers, and they built a small community complete with a post office, fort, and homes. Efforts to settle in the area failed, and after less than two years, the fort was abandoned.
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