The history behind the city of Las Vegas is unique and interesting. Built on little more than a handful of dreams and desert sand, with a darker past that includes gangsters and racketeering, it is now a mecca for conventions, weddings and weekend escapes.
Consistently one of the top travel destinations in the United States, it seems like there’s a new hotel or resort popping up daily. And while those new hotels are amazing, don’t forget about the historic hotels that made Vegas what it is today. If you’re looking for rat pack style and the glamour of days gone by, consider staying at one of these legendary places on your next trip to the City of Lights. Here are the must-visit historic hotels of Las Vegas so you can party like Questlove and Miley Cyrus.
The first resort style hotel on the Vegas strip, Caesars Palace opened in 1966 as an opulent and luxurious vacation stop for the rich and famous. It was considered a premium showplace for entertainers from all over the world, including Evel Knieval, who staged a jump over the hotel’s fountains in 1967.
The hotel has added several towers and done extensive remodeling over the years, and remains a premiere setting for the glitz and glam of Vegas shows. Its central location makes it a popular getaway, and the Forum Shops have everything from high-end designers to mainstream retail stores.
Located downtown in the heart of Fremont Street, the Golden Nugget combines historic Vegas with hipster chic. Built in 1946, it is one of the oldest hotels in the city, and has managed to keep its charm while also boasting modern amenities and recent upgrades.
If you’re a film buff, you’ve probably seen it as the backdrop to movies such as Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas” or the James Bond movie “Diamonds are Forever.” It is also home to the world’s largest gold nugget, the Hand of Faith, which is displayed in the lobby.
El Cortez Hotel
Built in 1941, El Cortez is the epitome of iconic Vegas hotels. It was once owned by the gangster Bugsy Siegel, and while the interior has been modernized and upgraded, the exterior still rocks the classic old school Las Vegas style.
The downtown location puts you just a few minutes from Fremont Street, where you can see the Viva Vision Light show or take a ride on a zipline. The rates here are often a lot lower than other hotels, even during busy seasons, which makes it a great choice for visitors on a budget.
The Golden Gate Hotel is both the oldest and smallest hotel of downtown’s Fremont Street Experience. Originally part of a tent city when construction first started in Las Vegas, it opened as a fully operational hotel called the Hotel Nevada in 1906.
Renamed the Golden Gate in 1955, the property remains a symbol of old Las Vegas, with history that spans all those glory days. It’s been updated over the years, but with just 108 rooms, it maintains an exclusive, boutique-style vibe, and its prime location makes it a sought after getaway for visitors and locals alike.
The claim to fame of Sam’s Town is that it was the first “locals” casino in Las Vegas. Its doors opened in 1979, and its location away from the strip made it popular with Las Vegas residents.
It still has one of the largest casino floors in town, and with recently remodeled rooms, a beautiful indoor atrium and prices that can’t be beat, it’s the perfect choice if you want to be away from the hustle and bustle of downtown or the strip.