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The Las Vegas Fremont Street Experience Is More Than Some Projected Light Shows

Updated on July 1, 2010


A few years after moving to Vegas there was an article in the paper that listed several signs to let you know if you were a “local” or not. One of those was “It’s a Saturday night, you’re in the city of entertainment yet you have nothing to do.” I’m not sure if it’s because most of us locals tend to avoid the Strip unless visitors are in town or what but it’s so true. So on this past Saturday my guy and I decided to do something that we haven’t done in a long time, we decided to go downtown to the original Strip which has now been covered by a canopy where they project music/video/light shows that go down the length of the old Fremont Street on the hour, there are kiosks selling everything imaginable, live performers on several of the stages and people, dear God, the people. The Las Vegas Fremont Street Experience is more than some projected light shows – Don’t Get Me Started!

If you come to Vegas and only stay on the Strip and don’t visit Fremont Street, I think you’re missing out. I think you’re missing out on seeing what Vegas was at one time and getting to see that yes, Vegas for all its glitz and glamour is just a little seedy and I mean that in the best possible way. Sure over the past eleven years we’ve lived here we’ve seen how they transformed the downtown area with the light show, cool bars and everything else they’ve done to clean up the place but there’s still a little low life to it and I like it. I mean, you’re more likely to see people walking around sipping their straw from a clear plastic football filled with beer on Fremont Street than you are to see that on the Strip where they sip from their Coronas thinking they look “cool” because they’re on the street and drinking beer and still walking. Fremont Street doesn’t have that pretentious nature about it…at all. You’re more likely to see a group of girls from Ohio with their sequined “Vegas” dresses on that never see the light of day back home, walking around with their little girl sequined tiaras on, celebrating one of them getting married as they walk Fremont Street with one strap off their shoulder, holding their shoes in one hand and holding a yard long drink swinging from around their neck on a strap in the other. Fabulous.

You see the families out in droves, shopping at the kiosks for their name on a piece of rice or a painting that someone does from layering different colors of spray paint on a board and then “cutting” into it to make some amazing piece of art that you would never know was done by this technique. There are the t-shirt wearers to the suit and tie set, all walking on the same street at the same time. I’m a people watcher by nature so just watching these people all walk along is a show in of itself. This past Saturday as we walked the length of the street we saw something coming toward us that you rarely get to see anywhere else in the world. There was a girl coming toward us wearing the biggest ball gown styled wedding gown you can imagine. She was not a tall girl but quite the round girl so the thin straps on the dress had their work cut out for them. She had both hands holding up the skirt as she walked down the street I supposed to not get it dirty (though how it would not get dirty walking that street with all the humanity is beyond me). The amazing thing was that here she was in her finery complete with the rhinestone tiara and yet no wedding party or even groom in sight. She was sweating to death as it was over eighty degrees even at midnight and she had a look on her face that was hard to read. I couldn’t tell if she was upset or just shvitzing (Yiddish word for sweating). The crowd parted for her as she walked through and though I have no idea where she came from or where she ended up, she gave me a chuckle and I appreciated her for that!

I know that everyone wants you to think of Vegas as high rise, five star restaurants, unparalleled performers and all that and it is all that but it’s also still (at least part of it) a small street where gambling establishments started and still thrive. Where a penny bet isn’t looked down on and where people still think they can be a millionaire for that penny if they put it in the right slot machine. So while I get that some may look down their nose at the downtown area of Las Vegas, some of us, prefer it to the Strip where people think they’re important or VIPs by paying thousands of dollars to get a table at a club. If you really want to take a walk on the wild side while you’re in Vegas, walk down what used to be the Strip, Fremont Street.  The Las Vegas Fremont Street Experience is more than some projected light shows – Don’t Get Me Started!

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