Downtown Las Vegas is in the midst of a facelift. The former heart of Sin City fell into hard times with the explosion of the Strip area, but with the introduction of hip businesses and a happening arts district, locals and tourists both have taken a new shine to Fremont Street and old “Glitter Gulch.” Yes, the downtown hotels have undergone much-needed refurbishments and yes, the streets are littered with far fewer people of questionable character, but Downtown 2.0’s most notable addition is undoubtedly a collection of shipping containers strung together to form a park, aptly named — you guessed it! — “Container Park.”
Situated at the east end of Fremont Street, Container Park is an open-air shopping center that beckons visitors in from the street with the help of a fire-breathing praying mantis. If, like me, you’re skeptical of venues that claim to have a little something for everyone, allow me to lay your doubts to rest; Container park truly does.
The Treehouse, a rustic jungle gym smackdab in the middle of the action, is every child’s dream come true. There’s a perpetually looping line for the 33-foot-tall slide and a slew of kiddies constantly gathered around the NEOS play system and over-sized foam building bricks. Wary parents can breathe easy, too, as there’s always at least one Container Park Security Dude™ at the park gate and several more wandering nearby.
Should the kids behave — or beg-whine at a high enough frequency — you can swing by Kappa Toys after they’ve tuckered themselves out at the Treehouse. The modern and nostalgic collection of odds ‘n ends will keep everybody busy for a long while, but if you get a hankering for a more grownup product line, Container Park also houses a number of unique boutiques from art shops like Lead in the Window — a stained glass specialty shop — to clothing and beauty stores like Crazy Legs and Blowout Dollhouse.
And, of course, no evening out is complete without something eat. If you’re in the mood for some classic barbecue in the park look no further than Big Ern’s. Big Ern’s shredded beef, chicken, and pork will melt in your mouth, and you’d be plain dumb to skip the potato salad. If you’re in the mood for something a little more refreshing, grab a torta and a margarita (ay ay arriba) at Pinches Tacos. Those with a more refined palate will dig the vibe and bites at Bin 702, where you can get a sip of wine to go with your artisanal panini.
Top the night off with a tasty latte from the Black Cup and kick back at the mainstage, where a sprawling lawn awaits you. There’s often a movie or live performance, and either way you can’t go wrong.