Category Archives: Fremont Street

Fading (or gone) icons Part 2

Time is undefeated and it will move on.  Nothing stays the same, sadly.   Another icon of Las Vegas has been the neon.  Hard to imagine Downtown Las Vegas or the Strip without neon.  Nowadays, the “neon” is actually a gigantic LED TV screen.  It looks sharp and can be updated with a few keyboard entries and a click of a mouse.  Neon itself is a dying art and there is not much of it left.  If you take a walk down the Fremont Street Experience, you will find several old neon signs still up, even though they have nothing to do with the business below or within the building.

You can still see the famous “Vegas Vic” the neon cowboy but his sidekick (companion?) Vegas Vickie was removed back in June 2017 as well as the Las Vegas Club sign to make room for the renovations coming to Fremont Street.  According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, she is supposed to be restored and put back up for all to see in another location, but no one seems to know where.

Family fun in Las Vegas Part 1

Whew! I realize it’s been a while since I been on here and I apologize.  I recently found out my sister-in-law and her husband are coming up to their 10th wedding anniversary and they want to celebrate it in….Las Vegas!!  They won’t be able to do the stuff they were able to do 10 years ago, now that they have 3 boys ages 6 and 3 (twins).  So I would imagine the fine dining, clubbing, gambling etc. is probably going to be a lot less than when they were first married.

Twenty years ago, Las Vegas tried to re-brand itself as a family vacation destination which ushered in the amusement parks, strip shows such as the Pirates at Treasure Island, lions in a glass cage at MGM,  it worked to the point that families were drawn to Las Vegas and they were spending, but not in the casinos.  The gaming was not doing as well as projected because families were not hanging around casinos because they had children who weren’t allowed into gaming areas.

I won’t be able to list every thing on this entry or even this site, but there are MANY things to do that are family friendly and don’t involve gambling, drinking and staying out all night.

I will begin by looking at the Strip.  If you walk up and down the Strip, (which can be sometimes faster than driving it), you could stop to watch the volcano eruption at the Mirage or the dancing waters in front of the Bellagio.  On Monday-Thursday the volcano only erupts at 8:00pm and 9:00pm but on Friday-Sunday, there is a 10:00pm eruption.

The fountains at Bellagio are a little bit more complicated so I posted them here:

Monday – Friday  3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  show every 1/2 hour

8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. show every 15 minutes

Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays  12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.   every half  hour

8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.   show every 15 minutes

*Schedule may vary

**Shows are subject to cancellation due to high winds


Omiyage or gifts to bring back home

When visiting Las Vegas, those of us from the 50th State always seems like we have to bring something back for others; neighbors who watched your house while your gone, co-workers who had to put up with you being gone…again, friends and relatives just because.

One of the most popular items to be brought back from Las Vegas is beef jerky.  Yes the flavorful snack that was originated to keep meat from spoiling and has evolved to 100’s of flavors.  My favorite to bring back is one that is soft and sweet, like teriyaki.  Everyone has their favorite; spicy, mild, natural, hot, hard etc.

If your staying Downtown Las Vegas, there are at least four businesses to shop at within walking distance of each other.  The most convenient one is 808 Vegas located in the California Hotel which has the beef jerky and other snacks, one of my other favorites is the cinnamon bagel chips!  If shopping here, check to see if they will deliver to your room.  I heard they deliver to the California Hotel, Main Street, and Fremont.  Not sure about the other downtown hotels.

Just off of Fremont Street on 3rd Street, close to the Four Queens and the D is The Beef Jerky Store .  Same location for over 20 years and probably the one with the largest selection.  The walls are lined with beef jerky selections and other snacks!  Iso peanuts, arare, lemon peel, dried scallops, li hing worms, too many to mention and it bore you to death.  Their webpage even allows for online shopping in case you don’t see a trip coming up in the near future and no one you know is headed that way.

The next most popular location seems to be Las Vegas Jerkys, located on the third floor of the Plaza Hotel and Casino at the top of Fremont Street.  Their shop is pretty low key, nothing fancy but a wide selection.

If you wander further east on Fremont Street into Neonopolis, you will find Beef Jerky Neonopolis, on the ground floor, right next door to Ultimate Sportscards and Memorabilia .  This is the shop Jeremy, the sports memorabilia expert featured on History Channel‘s Pawn Stars owns.  The selection in this store is very expansive too, but super similar products to the Beef Jerky Store.  One of the lady’s that works at Beef Jerky Neonopolis used to be at the Beef Jerky Store, but when you ask them, it seems like she tries to down play it.

One of my friend’s commented to her about the Beef Jerky Store having expanding into this location and he was immediately shut down with “No, we opened this place.  We are not an expansion of them”.  Looks like family dramas.

Didn’t stop me from buying many bags of flavorful beef jerky, candies, nuts and other treats to take home back for the family, neighbors and co-workers.

Super Bowl Sunday in Las Vegas

I recently got to visit Las Vegas from Feb. 5 to Feb. 10.  I flew from Honolulu direct to Las Vegas with my friends Brian, Bert and Darrin. Friends since we weren’t even old enough to drive.  We didn’t plan it, but we ended up flying out on Super Bowl Sunday.  We landed right at kick off and made it to the California Hotel by half time.  On our way there, you could tell that the game was in progress because the freeways and main roads had no traffic and very little cars on them!

We checked into the California Hotel in time for the second half, which I found out I couldn’t place many prop bets at that time. The sports book at the California is more comfortable than when it was upstairs and there was a lot of seats and viewing areas for people to watch the game.

TVs were on all over the casino; near the table games, the upstairs and downstairs bars and even in the Keno room!  There was even a special, by invitation only function going on in the Ohana Room on the second floor.

I took a quick walk down to Fremont Street and could see that it was pretty much a ghost town but I could hear the cheers coming from every casino bar, as most of them are near the entrance off of Fremont Street. While most of the places had some sort of drink special, party special or food special, most of the places were a bunch of football fans sitting together to watch the biggest game of the year. If your a Patriots fan, probably one of the best games ever.



Merry Christmas!!

Now that Christmas is here, I look back and realize that Las Vegas can be a fun place to spend the Christmas season.  Believe it or not, the crowds are not that bad until after Christmas Day.  If you check the hotel sites and other travel sites, the room rates are really good leading up to December 25th but will spike the closer you get to December 31st, but we all know that it’s a big party on that date.

Up till today, I would get e-mails almost daily inviting me to stay somewhere for anywhere from $39 to $299 a night.  I’m sure the Aria at $299 a night can be a bargain versus New Year’s Eve or Superbowl Sunday.

Let’s not forget about dining.  Because most of the occupancy is low for the weeks leading up to Christmas, you can get a table at almost any restaurant in town and we know some of them can be excellent and beyond excellent!  The best part, someone else does the cooking and cleaning up!

Christmas is all about spending time with family and I have met many families from Hawaii that have spent Christmas many times in Las Vegas.  While it may exclude the family members that can’t make the trip, it makes for great memories later.

Kahuku vs Bishop Gorman; Las Vegas and Hawaii game of the year

What has happened this weekend in Las Vegas has got to be something out of the ordinary. I’m not talking about Megabucks hitting twice in day but a huge football game. It’s not a professional game or even a NCAA FBS game but a high school football game between Kahuku High School and the number one team in the country, Bishop Gorman. The pride of the North Shore, Kahuku High School is ranked number 18 out of 20 according to the USA Today . It is really awesome considering that it is a public school which has to work with the student body that number barely over 1400 students.

Bishop Gorman also has a student body about the same size, but they don’t have community boundaries to operate within. It also helps that they have a long list of distinguished alumni with money.

On my Facebook page are a couple of videos of the Kahuku football team on Fremont Street attending a pep rally, which was huge! Located between the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino , Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel, The Fremont Hotel and Casino, and the Four Queens Hotel and Casino, a stage was set up and all I could see was red all the way down the Fremont Street Experience.

I was told informally that the game sold out within hours and Kahuku High School depleted their allotment of 2000 tickets, which goes to show the support the people of Hawaii can have for the home team. I know a few people from Hawaii made the trip (like it is hard to convince people from Hawaii to travel to Las Vegas) and thousands living on the mainland, I imagine the crowd will not be one sided in cheering.

I know this is early, but I wish the players from the North Shore the best of luck and to play hard, play with pride, and stay safe.

Container Park; Different Experience but so close to the action

While vacationing in Las Vegas last year, my friend Marc told me about a new attraction, so close to Downtown Las Vegas called “Container Park“.  He assured me that it was just across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Fremont Street Experience and that it would be worth checking out.

So one late afternoon I took a walk east on Fremont Street, crossed Las Vegas Boulevard and a couple of blocks later, I was walking up to gigantic metal praying mantis.  It is made of recycled metal parts and can move up and down. Also just outside of Container Park is large metal heart shaped sculpture with wire mesh covering it.  There are dozens, if not over a hundred padlocks attached to this heart.  This is a take off from the social media concept of couples locking a padlock onto a fence near a scenic point and throwing the key away as a symbolism to their loved having a lock on their heart.

There was a group of about 20 young children sitting a half circle near this metal giant, waiting anxiously.  I stood there long enough to see that they were about to start drum lessons from a instructor who appeared to be very relaxed in his teaching.

Walking into Container Park, you find that it laid out in a large circle, two and three stories high of recycled shipping containers that have been converted to shops, restaurants, art galleries and offices. My favorite has become the the BluMarble which is unique in that it takes used alcohol bottles and transforms them into serving trays, shot glasses, drinking glasses and other useful items that have the product labeling on it.

The restaurants appear to be very popular as I observed four members of the North Las Vegas Police Department stopping in for a bite to eat and it is no secret that cops know the good places to eat!

I make it a point to always stop by this attraction whenever I’m staying in Las Vegas because the business have changed out a couple of times already and there might be something new or just something I missed.

How to get value out your trip to Las Vegas

We all want to have the value filled vacation. It can be hard to determine if you should go cheap or splurge. I don’t have the right or wrong answer for that one because each traveler is different, but I can share with you some tips I found out while vacationing in the 9th Island.   Here is another way I have found to stretch your budget.

When you visit a casino, sign up for their rewards program. It doesn’t cost you anything to signup and sometimes you have the “newbie” specials like $10 free play or 10 percent off a meal if you present the card at the casino restaurant the day you sign up.    I have signed up for many casino rewards programs even if I only pass through. I start to get e-mails for specials such as discounted rooms and shows, VIP invites to events and invitations to participate in a slot, blackjack, craps or bingo tournament. They tend to have a “buy in” but when you think about how much is the buy in to play for almost an hour a day versus how much you could lose in an hour on the gaming floor? These tournaments tend to offer great deals on multi night stays at the properties.

I once got an offer and signed up for a blackjack tournament at Gold Coast Hotel and Casino which included tournament entry fee and three nights for $99. Hard to beat that one. Since then, I have gotten promotions from them all year long, sometimes for complimentary two and three night stays. The irony is, I’m not a high roller. When you hear someone tell you that have comps at a certain hotel whenever they want, most of the time it’s because they have lost a lot of money at that casino. For example: Spend $80 a night for a hotel room for four nights or lose $2000.00 in a night gambling? Economics will easily explain that one.

There are visitors who will gladly tell you about their winnings and comps but they won’t tell you about how much they lost.

I have met people who tell me they only stay at a certain casino, which is fine but a decent, clean and safe room can be found in many of the properties.

Breaking from the routine part 2; the Downtown D Casino

I wrote a few days ago about staying at The D Downtown Las Vegas and now I want to  continue on about my experience.  The lobby is small and has only 4-5 stations to check in guests, compared to Strip hotels that  have 3x the amount of stations.

After getting your key, the room elevators are pretty much right behind you.  The elevator system is one I’ve only seen at this hotel, but I’m sure it’s elsewhere.  You go to one central key pad, enter your floor number and the screen tells you which elevator to enter.  You really by pass a bunch of floors this way.   When you enter the elevator, there is no push buttons for which floor because you already entered it on the central keypad.

Once in the rooms, they are clean and comfortable.   Beds were very comfortable and cleaned daily.  The showers have the type of shower head that gives you the rain feeling.

Overall, I say staying here is worth the money and the experience.

Breaking from the routine

As I have stated in earlier posts, when most people from Hawaii travel to Las Vegas, they will stay at either The California, The Fremont or the Main Street Station.  These three are the most popular.  I have stayed downtown more often than I have stayed on the Strip and I have found out that one of the latest hotel casinos is worth the stay.
I have stayed at the Downtown D recently and I am pleased by what I have experienced.  It used to be the old Fitzgerald’s Hotel and Casino but it was purchased back in 2011 and completely renovated.  640 rooms got made over and two bars were added.  The owners for this property also own the classic up the street, The Golden Gate Hotel and Casino.
As far as the gaming floor, it is smaller than other casinos, especially if you compare it to the Strip properties.  On the ground floor it can flashy and have a nightclub feel at night; music playing with dancers elevated behind the tables and a very long bar not too far away.  The dancers I just mentioned are also dealers for the D too!  The blackjack tables have evolved with the times where payouts our 6 to 5 for a blackjack and the trend of the side bets are at these tables too.
The second floor harkens back to Vegas a couple of generations ago.  There are older slot machines and even a Sigma Derby!  For those of you who don’t know, it’s the classic old horse race game you play against other players.  It always seems to have people playing it no matter when I walk by.  One of these days I will jump on this to see what it’s all about.
More to come….