The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) is a pedestrian shopping and entertainment complex occupying the westernmost five blocks of Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. It is covered by a huge canopy where impressive light shows are displayed every night. There is also three stages present for concerts and other types of entertainment.
Getting to Fremont Street Experience
The city’s SDX and Deuce buses stop at the Fremont Street Experience.
If you need to park a vehicle, there is a parking plaza with over 1,400 parking spots located at the eastern end of Fremont Street. The parking plaza is owned and operated by Fremont Street Experience.
Major features of the Fremont Street Experience
A barrel vault canopy runs over the Fremont Street Experience promenade, from Main Street to Fourth Street. The canopy, which is approximately 1,500 ft long, is upheld by 16 columns and 43,000 struts. Each column weighs 26,000 lbs and can hold up to 400,000 lbs. At its highest peak, the canopy is 90 ft above the street.
Originally, the canopy was adorned with approximately 2.1 million incandescent lights. Today, they have been replaced by over 12 million LED lamps controlled by 10 computers. The canopy also features a sound system with 220 speakers. After the latest upgrade, the sound system has a power of 555,000 watts.
Light and sound shows are presented here every night, starting at dusk, using a Visa Vision video screen. Before the Fremont Street Experience was opened to the public, new techniques were developed that make these curved, low-resolution images stunning to look at from the ground.
While The Strip prides itself on never turning off its lights, the Fremont Street Experience turns o all the canopy lights – and the lights of all the buildings under the canopy – right before each show.
When there is no show being presented, the sound system is used to fill the area with music.
SlotZilla Zip Line
The SlotZilla is a 12-story slot-machine themed zip line attraction at the Fremont Street Experience. Incorporated into the design are – among other things – two 37-foot-tall showgirls, a giant pink flamingo, simulated video reels and an enormous martini glass.
There are two levels of lines:
- Zipline has its lines 77 ft up and they run halfway down the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall
- Zoomline has its lines 114 ft up, and on this zipline you travel prone (“superhero style”) the entire length of the mall (1,750 ft).
The lower lines runs, while the upper lines go
The Neon Museum
The Neon Museum at the Fremont Street Experience was opened in 1996. This museum is filled with neon signs from old Las Vegas casinos and other businesses. To give the signs a new lease on life, the museum is gradually restoring their hoard and putting up the restored signs around the Fremont Street Experience.
Examples of casinos and hotels at or very near the Fremont Street Experience
- Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel
- California Hotel and Casino
- Four Queens Hotel & Casino
- Fremont Hotel and Casino
- Golden Gate Hotel and Casino
- Golden Nugget Las Vegas
- Main Street Station Hotel and Casino and Brewery
- The D Las Vegas
History of Fremont Street
Fremont Street is named after explorer and military officer John Charles Frémont (1813 – 1890). Las Vegas first hotel opened on Fremont Street in 1906 when Las Vegas wasn’t even a city yet. It was called Hotel Nevada and was located where Golden Gate Hotel and Casino is today. Hotel Nevada had the very first telephone in Las Vegas.
In 1925, Fremont Street became the first paved street in Las Vegas. Las Vegas’ first gambling license was issued to Northern Club on Fremont Street in 1931 and this was also the year when Las Vegas’ very first traffic light was installed – on Fremont Street of course. The following year, the Apache Hotel on Freemont Street installed an elevator, the first one in Las Vegas.
The abundance of neon signs on Fremont Street gave it the nickname Glitter Gulch. Examples of famous casinos that are, or have been, located on Fremont Street are Northern Club, Binion’s Horseshoe, Golden Nugget, Pioneer Club, Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, Eldorado Club, The Mint, and of course The Fremont Hotel and Casino.
Examples of famous movies that includes footage of Fremont Street are the 1964 Elvis Presley film “Viva Las Vegas”, the 1971 James Bond film “Diamonds are Forever” and the 2013 comedy “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”. Fremont Street is also seen in the video games Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (where the street is called The Old Las Venturas Strip) and Fallout: New Vegas (where the street is called Freeside).
Development of the Fremont Street Experience
The development of The Strip was a serious blow to Fremont Street and the rest of downtown Las Vegas. By 1992, The Strip had 80% of the Las Vegas casino market.
In order to lure visitors back to Fremont Street, a plan was launched to build a life-sized Starship Enterprise there. This plan had to be scrapped however, since Paramount Pictures refused to give their permission. Eight downtown hotels and casinos formed the FSE LLC and started work on The Fremont Street Experience instead. On September 7, 1994, a five-block section of Fremont Street was closed to automobile traffic for good.
The architect behind the light show on the underside of the canopy is Las Vegas native Mary Kozlowski, who worked together with the Young Electric Sign Company to carry the project into fruition.
During the first year, temporary stages were set up for special events at the Fremont Street Experience. Since the early 2000s, such stages are no longer necessary because permanent stages are in place.
What is Fremont East?
The Fremont East Entertainment District (FEED) is a separate arts and entertainment area located east of the Fremont Street Experience. It consists of six blocks, stretching from Las Vegas Boulevard East to 8th Street and from Ogden Street South to Carson. The area is pedestrian-friendly and adorned with retro-style neon signs. There are bars and restaurants here, as well as hotels and casinos. One of the most famous establishments is the historic hotel and casino El Cortez.