Constructed in 1905, the avenue was the first and main street of the now famous gambling city. However, with the development of the Las Vegas Strip, luxurious hotels complete with mesmerizing attractions took center stage over the historic street. During 2002, the city, determined to return the popularity of the original downtown boulevard, created the Fremont East Entertainment District. Today, along with the many hotels on Fremont Street, visitors once again frequent the now pedestrianized location with its host of special features.
The Fremont Street Experience
The Viva Vision light and music show remains one of the most unique and memorable attractions on the avenue. A barrel-shaped canopy rises 90 feet above ground level and spans an impressive 1,500 feet in length, which provides shade from the heat of the Nevada sun during the day. However, at night, the canopy lights up with more than 12 million LED lights. Every hour, the canopy presents an amazing display of animated psychedelic patterns, images, and videos that are strategically synced to a 550,000-watt sound system.
The SlotZilla zip lines appeal to anyone with a need for speed and bit of excitement. Four lines begin at the planet’s largest slot machine, enabling guests to careen downward at speeds between 25 and 40 miles per hour. The zip lines rise 77 feet into the air and take passengers down to the promenade between the Fremont and Four Queens casinos. The adrenaline-pumping Zoomlines rise 114 feet into the air and travel 1,750 feet toward the landing platform stationed at the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino.
The Shark Tank
While all Las Vegas hotels feature lavishly landscaped outdoor swimming pools and water features, the Shark Tank pool at the Golden Nugget is in a class all its own. The tri-level structure has two pools. The ground-level oval pool contains a centrally located 200,000 exotic fish tank filled with more than 300 species of marine animals that include five species of sharks. In addition to the two-story infinity pool on the top level, guests can enjoy an enclosed water slide that travels downward through the fish tank and into the oval pool.
Although not as renowned as the Las Vegas Strip, Fremont Street is the oldest attraction in Las Vegas and was constructed when the city was founded back in 1905. In 1906, the Hotel Nevada opened complete with telephone service and a gambling casino. Fremont Street’s connections with U.S. Highways 93, 94 and 446 combined with the newly constructed railroad depot made it possible for anyone looking for excitement to visit the new community. By the end of the decade, Las Vegas boasted 800 permanent residents.
The Boom Began
Construction of the Hoover Dam began, which brought thousands of workers to local bars and the casino. With the dam completed in 1935, the community enjoyed the luxury of electricity, which led to streetlights and the now famous neon signage. In the daytime, Fremont Street resembled any other community main street. Locals shopped in neighborhood stores, filled prescriptions at the pharmacy and bought groceries. However, nighttime was a different story. The glow of the neon signs on Fremont Street led to the eventual nickname of “Glitter Gulch.”
The El Cortez hotel opened in 1941. Soon, other casinos and hotels on Fremont Street followed. The Pioneer Club constructed the famous 40-foot Vegas Vic waving cowboy sign. Vic was later accompanied by Vegas Vicki. However, once the Strip came into existence, the popularity of Fremont Street waned. In order to bring visitors back to the downtown main street, the city planned a renovation project in 1995.
Fremont Street Experience
The first phase of the project involved building an overhead canopy, which spans four blocks of Fremont Street. The location prohibited vehicle traffic and converted into a pedestrian-only zone complete with a Pedestrian Mall. Landscaping and winding paths replaced the asphalt. By 2004, the canopy became the “Viva Vision” screen. A projector, a half-million-watt sound system and 12 million LED lights provide a spectacular light show every hour. The 700 block also features the unique Container Shopping Mall. Additional attractions include the SlotZilla 12-story and the Zoomline 10-story zip lines that span the avenue to individual landing platforms, making today’s Fremont Street a lively place for fun.