Tag Archives: Las Vegas

Experiencing Makers & Finders Craft Coffee in Downtown Las Vegas

On a recent early morning on the Strip I was looking for two things. The first was to see more of Las Vegas away from the high rises of Las Vegas Boulevard. Secondly, I wanted to take part in a true craft coffee experience. Both of these led my friend (another coffee snob if you will) and me to the Arts District and the 18b in Downtown and Makers & Finders Coffee.

Makers & Finders Coffee, Arts District, Downtown Las Vegas

Upon entering this Cuban inspired coffee shop, I immediately sensed a creative vibe as there were a few people working on laptops or notepads. We set up shop at the full length bar, but could have also sat at a communal table, on couch-like chairs or on the outdoor seating in front. Plenty of options. At the same time I looked up and noticed the industrial feel of the ceiling.

Makers & Finders Coffee, Arts District, Downtown Las Vegas

Makers & Finders Coffee, Arts District, Downtown Las Vegas

Makers & Finders Coffee, Arts District, Downtown Las Vegas

Now sitting, right in front of our eyes stood the M & F neon signage beyond the Syphon, pour over, French Press and other coffee gadgets. My friend ordered a Lavender Infused Latte made with their in-house syrup which looked delicious. That was amongst a full menu of espresso and specialty drinks.

Makers & Finders Coffee, Arts District, Downtown Las Vegas

Makers & Finders Coffee, Arts District, Downtown Las Vegas

Seeing those gadgets led me to choosing a V60 pour over drip with their Kenyan bean offering. You will find each cup of coffee is brewed to order. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t mind waiting for a craft coffee. It’s part of the true coffee experience which Makers & Finders definitely brings to life. I chatted coffee with the barista as he made my pour over out in the open. I sipped on the coffee during the rest of our stay, outstanding.

Makers & Finders Coffee, Arts District, Downtown Las Vegas, pour over coffee

Makers & Finders Coffee, Arts District, Downtown Las Vegas, pour over coffee

We only experienced the coffee of Makers & Finders on this visit. They have a full breakfast offering and a regular menu filled with Latin comfort food. I hear the arepas and empanadas are a must try. Something to look forward to for next time!

This was the best coffee I’ve had in Las Vegas. Next time you are on the Strip or on Fremont Street for that matter and are looking for a true craft coffee experience, make the short trek to the up-and-coming Arts District and the urban Makers & Finders coffee bar.

Makers & Finders Coffee, Arts District, Downtown Las Vegas

Makers & Finders Coffee, Arts District, Downtown Las Vegas

Learn more about Makers & Finders Coffee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas

When in Vegas exchange the neon lights of Las Vegas Blvd, with those of Downtown and old town at the Fremont Street Experience. Being only at the Fremont Street Experience during the day before, my friend had never been, we had no idea what to expect once the sun went down, the lights turned on and the streets filled up.

Downtown Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience

Downtown Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience

Arriving there recently at dusk we quickly became exposed to what I would describe as part carnival, part tourist trap, part family fun and part adult playground. We were amongst families, couples, barely dressed ladies dancing on the bars, street performers throughout and basically a bunch of people walking around with their camera out or an alcoholic drink in hand. A true, fun Las Vegas party was in full effect!

Downtown Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience

Downtown Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience

Downtown Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience

Downtown Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada

I have never seen so many neon lights concentrated in one place. Within the heart of the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown are all the old-town and famous hotels and casinos. At the intersection with S. Casino Center Blvd on the four corners sit the Golden Nugget, Binion’s Gambling Hall, the Fremont Casino and Four Queens.

Four Queens Resort and Casino Las Vegas

Fremont Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

Golden Nugget Las Vegas

As we walked we saw dozens of places to eat, one outdoor open bar after another and tourist souvenir shops. Music and videos were playing over our heads on the larger than life ceiling panels that cover much of the enclosed five block entertainment center. Tip: Get your souvenirs here versus along the Strip.

Downtown Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience

Speaking of music, the party really begins every hour on the hour with the Viva Vision Light Show, currently between 6 pm and 1 am. The casinos neon lights will go away, the lights of people’s cell phones will come on and all the eye balls will be focused up-top at the world’s largest video screen. Each hour will feature the music of a different performer. We caught Green Day and Heart.

Fremont Street Experience - Viva Vision Light Show

Fremont Street Experience - Viva Vision Light Show

Fremont Street Experience - Viva Vision Light Show, Green Day

Fremont Street Experience - Viva Vision Light Show, Green Day

Check out a glimpse of Heart’s Magic Man being played.

While watching the shows and walking about we randomly heard people screaming from up above. Look closely a few seconds into the video above. People are zip-lining! You can Zipline half-way across or Zoomline from one end of the experience to the other. The adventurers take off from the world’s largest slot machine. Everything does seem to be bigger in Vegas.

In fact, the first question people asked me when they realized I visited Fremont Street was whether I zip-lined? Unfortunately no. Something to think about for next time.

Fremont Street Experience - Viva Vision Light Show , The D Las Vegas

Downtown Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience

In between all the experiencing of Fremont Street we grabbed some Irish pub food and Jameson whiskey at Hennessey’s Tavern. A relaxing, quieter place if there is such a thing in this part of town.

The first taste of the Fremont Street Experience at night is in the books. It is definitely worth the short Uber or cab ride from The Strip when in Las Vegas. Tip: Make sure to check out the old-school casinos and hotels themselves as well!

Downtown Las Vegas - Fremont Street Experience

Checkout the Fremont Street Experience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Hanging Out With Dolphins Along The Las Vegas Strip

Real live dolphins hanging outside along the Las Vegas Strip you say? You bet. Head to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat tucked away within The Mirage hotel. On a hot summer afternoon day we headed to the back of the resort near the main pool to this Vegas sanctuary.

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

We could have signed up to be a trainer for the day, gone on a VIP tour, or done yoga with the bottlenose dolphins. We decided though to just hang out with them below ground and pool side. There play area is an expansive pool and 2.5-million-gallon saltwater tank.

The trainers fed the dolphins fish and ice while putting on a show. Lots of bottlenose smiles were to be had. We were in a relaxing environment amongst many kids and families. It didn’t even feel like we were on The Strip.

Well without further ado, some cute photos of the dolphins we saw.

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

The dolphins at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat within The Mirage in Las Vegas

Some other notes:

  • Checkout the white lions, white tigers, leopards and more while visiting.
  • Cost is $22 for adults, $17 for children 4-12 and those 3 and under are free.
  • There are two gift shops on site to explore.
  • Who knows you might even see Siegfried and/or Roy while you are there.

The dolphins had as much fun as we and everyone else did on this day. A recommended stop for families. Checkout the Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat page on The Mirage website for more information.

What other hidden family friendly gems are there along The Strip that you would recommend?

A Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas Performance.

Any trip to The Strip in Las Vegas should include checking out the Fountains of Bellagio at night. The fountain sits in-front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino within an 8.5-acre lake. It contains more than 1,200 jets, shooting the water up to 460 feet into the air.

The fountain is lit after dark and is choreographed to the rhythm of the songs which play every fifteen minutes. The music playlist remains consistent from week-to-week. On Thursday at 10:15 p.m., when were there, the song happened to be One (Singular Sensation) from the musical A Chorus Line. We grabbed a spot from one of the many vantage points along Las Vegas Boulevard and watched the water art that unfolded for the next five minutes. Caesars Palace is visible off to the right, with the Bellagio beyond.

As you can hear me in that background at the beginning, I liked the song, knew the song, but didn’t quite know from where until some of the way through. A Chorus Line was a favorite of the family growing up, so it was ironic that song was playing at that time. 🙂 It was a great show to experience.

What memorable fountains have you come across in your travels?

A Nevada Roadtrip: Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

When vacationing in Las Vegas, many people make the short trek over to Hoover Dam, one of the national wonders of the world. Instead of taking the popular route and the one that Google Maps recommends, get off the main highway to see another wonder, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Whether heading east on Interstate 515 or 215 as you head out-of-town, get off on Lake Mead Parkway (Nevada State Route 147) in Henderson. It will soon turn into Lakeshore Road as you come up to the park entrance.

Note: You will have to pay a fee of $10 to enter if you don’t have a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Upon entering you will have 10+ miles out on the Nevada open road amongst the desert basin. Lakeshore Road runs through the southern end of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the first such place to get the national recreation area distinction back in 1964.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Every mile or so will present a scenic overlook opportunity. Each will showcase panoramic views and the colors of the desert from various bluffs, overlooks and plateaus. Lots of rugged mountains off in the distance will be serving as a backdrop. The 33 Hole Scenic Overlook is a favorite.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

You will find walking paths, bathrooms, picnic tables and grilling options at each stop. Grilling restrictions will be in place most likely in the summer months due to the over one-hundred degree temperatures.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

As you are plotting along Las Vegas Bay, the Colorado River and Lake Mead will start to come into view. Looking out towards the water and beyond will present views from the state of Arizona. The approximate one-and-a-half-million acres of the park sits amongst the two states.

I’ll let the pictures that my wife and I took tell some of the story. 🙂

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Right before exiting the park, make sure to stop at the Alan Bible Visitor Center, maybe to get some tips for the drive back. Lakeshore Road and the park exit will put you on U.S. Route 93 just a few miles from Hoover Dam.

Heading east of Las Vegas, visiting the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is worth the Nevada road trip all by itself. If you are ever planning to visit Hoover Dam whether from Las Vegas or not, take this short side trip to get a taste of what this park has to offer.

Nevada, desert, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Besides views the park offers beach and water fun, fishing, swimming, hiking and camping opportunities. For more information checkout the parks section on the National Park Service website.

What National Recreation Area(s) in the United States have you visited that you would recommend?