To go downtown its just a 5 mi ride north on the strip. Downtown has everything (in general terms ) that the strip does. casino, buffets,shows,shops,free and pay for entertainment. The big difference is all the things to do are located right next to each other and on a much smaller scale then the mega resorts of the strip. so a lot less walking.
The other big deal is the price on everything from your hotel room to the trinkets you buy to take home with you are all at a better price than the strip. (as a general rule). Most visitors stay on the strip and go downtown for a night. Well worth your time and investment.
The taxi ride downtown will not cost you more than 15 . or you could take the bus for less. If driving take the strip north to freemont street. Park in one of hotel lots, get your parking ticket (hold on to it). When you leave they need the ticket and you will pay around 5-10 . The lots are safe and rarely have reports of theft or vanlelism.
The main area (freemont street) is covered by a huge canapy of lights that do a show at dusk every hour on the hour. There is live entertainment most nights, street performers,costumed entertainers,bars,adult clubs,stores,pawn shops,specialty stores,and so much more. I would plan on at least 4 hours 5 would be better.
Like the strip downtown has its must see free stuff. here are just a few...... the freemont street experience,the gold nugget at the hotel same name,large slot machine, the swimming pool at the golden nugget (has a fish tank with sharks) the bayau gives free necklace beads out,the $1 shrimp cocktail.
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