Is downtown Las Vegas safe?
The reputation of downtown Las Vegas as being a dangerous place is very outdated. Comments my other articles on News Break highlighting different aspects of downtown are filled with mentions about drugs, guns, and the homeless population. Las Vegas is an ever-evolving city, however, and what once may have been considered a dangerous area is no more.
Are there unsafe areas in the downtown Las Vegas area? Absolutely. However, those areas aren’t filed with art, bars, and restaurants. The gentrified areas that you’ll be visiting as a tourist or a hipster local are certainly safe. Downtown is so much more than low-income housing and Fremont Street. There’s a thriving community, and it’s safe to navigate.
First, there has been a ton of development in the downtown Las Vegas area. Fremont Street is the most notable recipient of development dollars, as you’ll see the overhead canopy and laser light shows. Street vendors used to be able to pop up at will, but the city closed those stores over a decade ago and added a kiosk system. A couple years ago they went a step further and street performers required a permit. The city added circles for each street performer to stand on and spaced them evenly underneath the canopy. Beggars and performers are not allowed without paying a permit fee. and this is most certainly enforced.
Next, the big development began on Fremont Street East, just east Las Vegas Boulevard. Tony Hsieh, former owner of Zappos, created the Downtown Project, which funded people’s small business entrepreneurial dreams. He also bought several buildings on his own and restored them. Many areas were converted to trendy apartments, restaurants, and bars. This gentrified area is fairly safe all hours of the night and day.
Lastly, the Arts District emerged. This area continues the spread of trendy residences, bars, and restaurants, and it’s stripped the tourist element. More Las Vegas locals can. be found in this part of downtown, which is south of Fremont Street. It’s well within walking distance of Fremont, and if you’re looking for a more laidback vibe, it’s a great choice. You’re also unlikely to run into panhandlers in this section of the city.
Before writing downtown Las Vegas off as “unsafe,” you may wish to visit again. Vegas is always changing. New restaurants, clubs, and trends are constantly rolling in. It’s a dynamic city, and if you had a bad experience a few years ago, you may find a completely different one now.