You may think you know Las Vegas, but local boutique owner Katherine Shiebel shares a softer side to Sin City enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
Each year, about 42 million visitors descend upon the desert-laden, surreal structures of Las Vegas, Nevada—which is over 65 times the number of people who live actually there (compare that to New York, which only sees about seven times the number of tourists versus locals).
Indeed, Vegas can seem so transient that it can be easy to forget that Sin City is a place that over 600,000 people call home. “It’s pretty laid back,” claims Katherine Shiebel, owner of Third & Arrow, an independent boutique in Downtown’s popular Container Park. “There’s actually more ease about the day here than you might think.”
The Downtown neighborhood, about a ten minute drive from The Strip, has especially evolved into a haven for locals and tourists seeking a more low-key side of Vegas. “It’s been evolving like crazy—there used to be a time when you just wouldn’t go to Downtown Vegas,” says Schiebel, “but now people are gravitating towards it because of the local vibe.”
Whether you’re traveling to Vegas for work or pleasure, there’s likely a side of the city you haven’t been exposed to—and that’s worthy of your time—because Vegas is the type of place that allows for infinite imagination: “Vegas is kind of like a blank canvas,” says Schiebel, “you can kind of create anything and people will welcome it.”
Below, Shiebel shares her ideal day exploring the best Vegas has to offer—mostly revolving around town, excluding, however, The Fremont Street Experience. “You have to love it for what it is,” says Schiebel. “And it definitely does grow on you.”
10 a.m. — Coffee + Container
I would start the day at PublicUs, because you can get yourself a coffee and something to eat and everything that they make, they make in-house. It’s so delicious. It’s also right by my store, of course, which is the Container Park, and there’s plenty to explore there in the morning.
12 p.m. — Downtown Lunch Spots
Le Thai is delicious. It’s kind of an artsy vibe and a great local neighborhood spot. That or Santo’s Tacos—it’s one of those places that you seat yourself and everything is reasonably priced. They have these really cool holy candles on the wall but instead of Jesus or Mary, they have pictures of Amy Winehouse and other stars. I love it.
2 p.m. — Explore the Elements
Springs Preserve is not something you would expect to find in Vegas. It’s got an outdoor and botanical garden and a little natural history museum. It’s great for families or a day activity.
If you’re looking to hang out at a pool, everyone loves the Golden Nugget. It’s got an old school vibe, like it’s still the 70s.
6 p.m. — The Best Off-Strip Eateries
Go to Esther’s Kitchen on California and Main. They make all their noodles in-house and I love their bucatini.
Chinatown is also a great place for food: Sparrow & Wolf is really great for dinner, and there’s an all-you-can-eat Korean place, and a delicious Thai restaurant called Lemaii on the same strip.
8 p.m. — Are You Afraid of the Dark?
When it gets darker at night, I would go to the Neon Museum. Be sure to get tickets ahead of time!
10 p.m. — Late Night
Go to The Griffin to grab a cocktail. It’s a dive bar. You’ll love it if you love rock and roll and drinking. I also love going to The Bunkhouse for shows. It’s a divier place, too, that hosts indie bands, and there’s a restaurant inside called Gaucho’s that’s awesome.
The Las Vegas Essentials:
Where to Stay:
On the Strip I love the Cosmopolitan and the Hard Rock. Off the strip, I’ve stayed at the El Cortez Cabana Suite. I’ve also stayed at the Golden Nugget, which is so much fun because it kind of reminds me of a Scarface situation. It’s super old school.
Know before you go:
Don’t wear flip flops! It’s not allowed in most places.