(art, objects, or design) considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.
Las Vegas is the best place for those of us who love bright and shiny things. With so much history, pop culture, intrigue, and elegance packed into such a small area, millions can’t help but flock to it like the wide-eyed bugs that we are. The 2010 over-haul renovation of many hotels and the downtown district left us with a Las Vegas that embraces its kitschy past while still providing guests with the unorthodox Vegas fun that the city is known for. Everything in Vegas is loud and in your face, but let’s be honest, that’s why you came. Some of these spots may be a little off the beaten path, but all showcase Las Vegas in its tacky and dazzling glory.
History & Attractions
Starting our journey right in the heart of downtown, nothing screams kitsch louder than Fremont Street and the ever famous “Fremont Experience.” A boiling melting pot of flashing lights, quirky attractions, music, and crowds, it truly is the Times Square of the west coast. The street is covered by a fully digital canopy, with videos and graphics displayed for different events – so whether you decide to stroll on foot or fly through on the Slotzilla Zipline, there is never a dull moment.
Consider this Vegas’ neon sign graveyard, where all the city’s passed legends have been laid to rest. Founded in 1996 with a mission to collect, preserve, and study the city’s neon history, the museum now holds tours for the public to learn about the historical signs as well. Home to more than 200 old pieces, the one-hour walk through will take you on a trip back in time with flashy favorites like the original Golden Nugget and Stardust signs. Guests often recommend night tours too, where you can see some showstoppers restored to their original and bright glory.
American entertainer and pianist, Wladziu Valentino Liberace was one of the most memorable icons of the 20th century. Known for his eccentrics and elaborate costumes, Liberace left an enormous impact on Las Vegas. This private museum collection includes outfits, jewelry, cars, pianos, and bits of nostalgia throughout the star’s time on the Vegas stage. As if life was a performance in itself, everything is a diamond-studded work of art.
It’s no secret that the Mob has had a large influence on the gambling industry, so it only makes sense that this museum is located in the city where legal gambling all began. There is a plethora of exhibits on display that take you deep into the world of organized crime including violence, bootlegging, drug trafficking, and corruption. After your tour, head down to The Underground Speakeasy in the museum’s basement. Praised for its timeless décor and moonshine cocktails, you will feel nostalgic for the Prohibition-era you never even knew.
“This is the home of mid-century modern history, style, and all that’s fabulous about Las Vegas…There are treasures and objet d’art to fit every budget and space. We have many pieces that are full of historical significance from some of the most spectacular homes in town. From Danish Modern to Hollywood Regency, our inventory changes all the time. For glitz, glamour and fun, check out Retro Vegas.” This shop has talked highly of themselves for over a decade, as they should. The warehouse showroom holds endless pieces from bygone decades and is also home to the Red Kat vintage clothing store. From shag couches to bell bottom jeans, it’s easy to imagine Austin Powers spending his Sundays here.
Bars & Restaurants
Located in Chinatown, this eclectic tiki lounge is always ready to (dole) whip you up something amazing. With a laundry list of exotic cocktails and tropical decorations to match, I wouldn’t mind being stranded on this Survivor island. There is no reason why leopard chairs, neon lights, cheap wallpaper, and tiki torches should be in the same room, yet it works. Patrons often gush about how fun and lively the staff is, so don’t miss this joint for your dose of good times!
Are you a pop culture nerd who loves unique fandom paired with themed cocktails? Look no further. A video game looks like it just exploded inside this bar, leaving a surprise around every corner. The walls and shelves are covered with memorabilia from film and television favorites, and screens scattered throughout the venue play an endless reel of cult classics. And regardless if you’re a Star Wars fan or not, you have to see how the place transforms for their May the 4th party.
This lounge will make you feel like the star of a 70’s porno, in the best way possible. You will forget what year it is the moment you step inside, with the wavy carpet and velvet seats playing some serious mind games on you. The ceiling is metallic as well, reflecting the neon lights throughout the room like an enormous disco ball. Guests can indulge in delicious food in the dining area, or romantic drinks and apps in the fireside booths. Just prepare yourself before leaving this dimly lit haven and entering back into that desert sunshine.
If you ever needed a reason to dress up, this is it. “Inspired by supper club in London and around the world, The Mayfair will redefine the traditional ‘dinner and a show’ for today’s traveler, with a restaurant that evolves throughout the evening, amplifying in energy as dusk shifts to night,” Tripadvisor raves. A strong mixture of soul jazz and Great Gatsby vibes, this restaurant knows how to piece together all the best parts of Vegas through the food, swag, and entertainment. The Bellagio’s grand fountain performance in the background really rounds it out as a perfect evening. The whole experience might seem a bit ‘extra’ for some, but they can’t sit with us.