In 1925, Fremont Street, named after the explorer John Charles Frémont and having received the nickname Glitter Gulch because of its many lights a long time ago, became the first paved street of Las Vegas. But even before that, it had been the place for firsts: In 1906, the city’s first hotel, Hotel Nevada, had opened here and one year after that, the first telephone in Las Vegas had been installed here. After gambling became allowed in Nevada in 1931, the Northern Club at Fremont Street received one of the first six licences issued by the state of Nevada.
The Northern Club was soon followed by many others. In 1946, the Golden Nugget was opened; Binion’s Gambling Hall, then named the Horseshoe Casino, followed in 1951; as well as the small Mermaids Casino and the Fremont Hotel and Casino in 1956, then the Four Queens Casino in the year 1966. All of these casinos are still in existence and are proof that Fremont Street, often neglected and forgotten in contrast to Las Vegas Boulevard, can be a profitable ground for gambling operations. Along with various shops, the Neonopolis shopping center, bars and further casinos, for example the Golden Gate or La Bayou, which occupies the former location of the Northern Club, these venues make up Fremont Street Experience.
This experience mainly consists of Viva Vision, that’s the name of the curved roof over the street which has been closed to vehicular traffic since 1994. More than 12 million LED lights and more than 200 loudspeakers create a Light-and-Sound-Show under the canopy every evening at dawn. Both elements together create varying shows with various themes and picture sequences. In the day, music is played over the speakers in the roofed pedestrian zone, while in the evenings, after the shows on Viva Vision, live music performances can be experienced at Fremont Street.
Four Queens Hotel and Casino
The hotel named after the four daughters of founder Ben Goffstein has grown in the course of time from its original 120 rooms to the almost 700 offered today. The Four Queens was one of the driving forces behind the redesign of Fremont Street and is home to the world’s largest slot machine, the so-called Queen Machine.
Golden Gate Casino:
The hotel received its name in 1955, when the casino was taken over by a group of investors from San Francisco. Before that, this was the location of the Hotel Nevada since 1906, which had once received the city’s first telephone, the one with number 1. In 1959, the Shrimp Cocktail was invented and first offered here. This has grown to be a hallmark of Las Vegas - up until today, there is rarely a restaurant in town not having the characteristic Shrimp Cocktail on the menue. The original version is available at the Golden Gate for about two dollars.
The only luxury hotel at Fremont Street - having been awarded the AAA Four Diamonds for more than 30 years - can absolutely hold its own against the large hotels at the Strip with its 2300 rooms and suites. The hotel has been opened in 1946 and has been renovated repeatedly since then. In 2009, the newest part of the building was opened, expanding it by 500 rooms. Among the attractions of the Golden Nugget is the largest gold nugget of the world on display here, the 27-kilogram Hand of Faith in the lobby. Also, there are two aquariums, being home to sharks and other species and the Comedy Show of Gordie Brown, which can be seen Fridays through Tuesdays.
The Neon Museum, also located at Fremont Street, is dedicated to keeping an authentic piece of Las Vegas history alive. In its gallery, the museum features several, diligently renovated historic neon billboards. Those can be seen within Fremont Street Experience, for example elements of the former Aladdin’s Hotel’s billboards. Even more popular, though, is the so-called neon cemetery and boneyard, an open-air storage area outside of the city, for which the Neon Museum offers guided tours. There are about 150 historic neon billboards in the boneyard.